31 October 2021 (Sunday) - Lazy Day

I woke to the sound of the rain hammering on the bedroom window; we did the right thing in not planning a walk out today. I popped to the loo, and in doing so left an opening which Treacle immediately exploited. Having slept well for a few hours, the next few hours were something of a battle for bed space. Ans just as I finally got to sleep so my phone beeped with an automated message from work telling me to do a COVID test.


I made brekkie and as I scoffed it I had my usual trawl of the Internet  Facebook presented me with a memory - was it really twelve years since I was in the world record time warp?

I spent a few minutes looking at the paperwork for the new car, activating the warranty and generally farting about before looking at You-Tube videos about tyre pressure sensors. One of the videos featured one of the screens I’d seen on the car’s display yesterday. I *think* that once the tyre pressure warning sensor activates, it has to be manually reset. I can do the re-setting; I’ll go to a tyre place tomorrow and check all the pressures are right before I reset anything though.


I had some emails – a new series of geocaches had gone out not too far from home – that will be something to do over the next few weeks. However the things are quite spaced out. Looking at the geo-map that’s probably because there’s some puzzle caches in the way.

There are two sorts of puzzle geocache:

The sort I hide has a very simple puzzle to solve which takes people to the final location of the film pot you’ve hidden. This has the advantage of not having the complete newbies finding it – the sort who take it home to show their mum (they really do – I’ve had it happen!)

And there are the other sort (of which I have set two) with a frankly insoluble puzzle which would take people to the final location of the film pot you’ve hidden *if* they could solve it. Which they can’t. This has the advantage of making you feel incredibly smug because you think you are oh-so-clever but has the disadvantage of making you rather unpopular in geocaching circles. There are those who try to out-do each other in setting fiendishly difficult puzzles, and I know of one such puzzle (now archived) which had no solution at all. You found that geocache by asking for the location and promising not to tell the person who this puzzle had been set to thwart.

You can probably guess which sorts of puzzles are in the way of this new series. I wasted the morning struggling trying to make sense of them and got nowhere really. One of these puzzles has only been solved eight times in six years. So frustrating.


As the rain continued “er indoors TM” went to get some shopping and I put away the CDs that came out of my old car (there was a pile of CDs eighteen inches high - I measured it!), then I got on with some ironing.

By mid-afternoon the rain had stopped and the sun had come out, so with ironing ironed and “er indoors TM” still shopping I took the dogs for a short walk. We went to the co-op field where we played “fetch” for a while. A very short while. Treacle soon became rather quarrelsome and wanted both balls. Poor Pogo wasn’t allowed a ball at all and he’s nowhere near as fast as Treacle who managed to get both balls every time; even when they were thrown in completely different directions. On the plus side we didn’t argue with any other dogs or people on today’s walk, so the walk wasn’t an entire disaster.


We got home just as “er indoors TM” arrived home. She had brought cake home, and we scoffed that with a cuppa whilst failing to solve more geo-puzzles.

Over a rather good bit of dinner we watched the first episode of the new series of “Doctor Who”. And following on in the same vein of the last few years it was utter tripe. Without wishing to give away too many spoilers, pretty much every episode of the show these days features the end of the universe and the plot is getting somewhat repetitive. Admittedly the writers have got rid of two of the show’s most tedious characters, but Jodie Whittaker isn’t cutting it in the role of The Doctor. Rather than trying to make the most of rather bad scripts, she is doing an over-enthusiastic imitation of Christopher Eccleston. 
Such a shame…

30 October 2021 (Saturday) - Early Shift

Finding myself awake far too early (again) I made toast and watched an episode of “Inside Job”. It kept me amused for half an hour, but I got the distinct impression that (like so many American shows) if you aren’t American you miss an awful lot.

With nothing happening on Facebook so early in the morning and no emails at all having arrived overnight I got ready for work as everyone else snored.


Taking care to turn the new car's headlights on this time (unlike yesterday) I set off to work through a dark morning via the garage in Brookfield Road. The new car told me its back left tyre pressure was a tad low so I put some air into it. Not knowing what the pressure should be I stopped at thirty psi. It turned out that wasn't enough, but bearing in mind I'd started at seventeen I saw that as being better than it had been.

Being rather proud of myself for having figured out how to tune the radio to Radio Four I drove to work listening to the farming program on the radio. Usually I sing along to my rather strange choice of music, but at that point I'd not seen the car (properly) in daylight and didn't know where the MP3 input was.

The pundits on the radio were talking about climate change and methane emissions. Apparently  British farmers are responsible for most of the country's methane, and the Prime Minister has pledged to radically reduce the methane output of farms. The farmers being interviewed didn't actually say "tell Boris to get knotted", but that was their sentiment. They were quite clear that they didn't feel in any way bound or constrained by anything that Mr Johnson might have said.

There was also talk of fertiliser prices. Apparently the cost of the stuff has trebled in the last year, and one farmer was saying that having bought a job lot of the stuff last year he sold it this year at a far greater profit than any profit he might have made by actually using the stuff to grow crops.


As I drove so the rain started, and I got to turn on the windscreen wipers (having found out how to operate them yesterday). Unfortunately I'd arrived on the motorway just at the same time as a ferry-load of lorries was heading up it. As always both lanes were filled with lorries. There seems to be a new thing with lorry drivers in that they seem to be flashing their headlights (with the intensity of lighthouses) randomly and for no reason. As I drove, the lorries going off into the distance in front of me and behind me and over on the opposite carriageway were flashing like things possessed. They've been doing this for a week or so now - what's that all about?


I got to work just as dawn was breaking, and it was with a sense of relief that the car park barrier opened for me. I'd updated my details on the works car parking website last night and it would seem that the update had taken. And as I reversed into a parking spot I discovered that the car has reversing sensors too. Result!!


Work was much the same as ever. I don’t mind working at the weekends when the weather is bad, and there were torrential downpours for much of the day today. Being the weekend I popped to the hospital canteen for lunch. Sausage roll and chips followed by apple pie and custard. Not too shabby at all.


And then it was time to come home. Apart from the test drive this was the third time I’d had a go in my new car, and the first time in daylight. Being able to see the USB slot I plugged in my MP3 stick and the thing worked. And I can play my strange tunes in random order too – something the old car couldn’t do.

I stopped off at the garage in Brookfield Road on the way home. The tyre pressure was still what it had been this morning so I suppose that is a result. I put some more air in, but again probably not enough.


I arrived home to find Cliff visiting. Whilst we keep up on Facebook, I don’t think we’ve met in person since before the pandemic kicked off. It was good to catch up.

And then I went and sat in the car and read the instructions. Or some of them. Having pumped the driver’s seat up I’ve now adjusted the steering wheel so I can see the dials and things. I’ve put the time (and date) right. I’ve set it so that all the doors open when I unlock the car (not just the driver’s door). I’ve programmed some radio stations into the music thingy.

I’ve still got to sort out the tyre pressure issue, and the spare key thingy doesn’t seem to work  (even though I’ve replaced the battery) but I shall worry about those tomorrow. 

“er indoors TM” sorted out a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the third “Harry Potter” film. I’ve not seen that for a while; it was rather good… As was the bottle of rioja and the bottle of amaretto we saw off too.

29 October 2021 (Friday) - Getting the New Car

I was woken by the sound of a dog whimpering and stomping round the bedroom. I got up and Pogo seemed to be rather frantic. He ran to the back door and was in the garden for some time. He went out again as I scoffed brekkie. I wonder what’s upset his stomach.

I watched another episode of “Inside Job” then had a look at the Internet. One of my ex-trainees (from fifteen years ago) was selling her house… for over a million quid. At the time she made a couple of comments about her job being more of a hobby as her boyfriend (now husband) was keeping her. If I had my time again I would follow his example and be a plumber. The photos from the estate agent blurb made her place look like a palace. I sighed, and looked round my (rather small) living room. They say money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does allow you to be miserable in extreme comfort.

Driving to work was rather sad this morning as my old car did that journey one last time. As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting their drivel as they so often do, expelling so much hot air saying so much whilst saying so little which was actually worth saying. The most memorable part of a particularly unmemorable forty-minute drive was Pope Francis talking on the "Thought for the Day". He droned on (literally droned) in his native language whilst a translator repeated his words in English spoken with a frankly ridiculous put-on accent. I'd like to think that the Pope's speech lost a lot in translation as it really was "blah blah blah". I've got this theory that all the clergy know that whoever they are speaking to soon looses interest in them, and so they don't bother trying to make sense as they know no one will be listening after the first thirty seconds.

Work was surprisingly varied today; rather than having an allocated duty today, I was shifted from pillar to post as the need arose. In all honesty I quite liked it.

I managed to skive off an hour early, and drove up to West Malling. I arrived in the car dealership’s car park and phoned the bank. After what seemed like an age I got through to someone who (quite frankly) barely spoke English and after several misunderstandings she then transferred me to an English-speaking person who told me I had half an hour in which to buy the car, after which time they wouldn’t let me have my own money. So I went into the dealership and asked if we could do the money bit right away. The nice lady laughed – they were clearly used to the bank being difficult.
Once it was all paid for I then had to tax the car. Another lady helped me with that. I don’t know what was the most impressive – the fact that the new car’s road tax is only twenty quid per year, or her chest. With her blouse unbuttoned to her navel, her norks were certainly set to full power.
There would be those who would accuse me of being a reactionary sexist about that last sentence. I would challenge those people to sit where I sat for quarter of an hour…

And then I was given the keys and sent on my way. With the dashboar.d display telling me the car had a range of ten miles I drove a few hundred yards up the road to get petrol. As I drove, all the other cars were flashing me… The new car didn’t have automatic headlights. How did the headlights work?
I went back to ask.
I set off again, and realised there was an odd scraping noise, The rear windscreen wiper was on. How did I turn that off?

I went back again to ask.
From the dealership it was only a short distance to the motorway. I had a plan that thirty miles driving down the motorway would give me a feel for the car. As I drove I heard all sorts of strange noises… that all came from passing lorries

Once home “er indoors TM” came out to have a look at the new car. Eventually she got in to the car – only the driver’s door can be opened from the outside. I need to work out how to change that. I’ll look at that tomorrow, eh?
Regular reader of this drivel may recall that I got petrol for the old car yesterday… that was sixty quid down the drain, wasn’t it?