8 October 2021 (Friday) - Late Shift

As I peered into Facebook at brekkie time this morning I was presented with a memory from exactly thirteen years ago when I packed up being a scout leader. Was it really that long ago? I was a leader for thirteen years so I must have got something from it. I can remember most (all?) of the kids. But what I remember most was standing in the noisiest cacophony that anyone had ever heard waiting to get the attention of thirty-odd kids who had no intention of shutting up. The over-riding attitude of all the other leaders was that we should not enforce any disciple but wait until the kids were ready to listen to a leader, no matter what they did no child would ever be thrown out, and that the activities must be available to all. And  so consequently I gave up so much of my free time to entertain and subsidise the most ill-behaved brats of people far wealthier than me.

Looking back, what made me realise I was wasting my time was when I visited another scout group in Folkestone. When the leader said “shut up and listen” the kids shut up and listened, and in one night they got far more activities and games done with their group than we did in six months with our unruly brats.

I hear the group scout leader in my old group is very ill. Sometimes I wonder about going back and helping. Perhaps that might be a retirement project? This time I could teach them how to close their mouths and listen?


I got the dogs into the car and we drove to the woods. As we drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing the vice-chancellor of the university of Sussex over the treatment of one of their professors. Kathleen Stock (a professor of philosophy) has caused consternation by trying to make a distinction between a person’s biological sex (which is determined at the moment of conception) and a person’s chosen gender which isn’t (apparently). Professor Stock is facing a hate campaign (which is seeking to have her sacked)  run by a masked gang of anonymous cowards who (somehow) see her as disrespectful to the trans community.

From what was said, no one brave enough to be named really seemed to understand the protestor’s point. To me it seems that they are confusing two completely different things. Perhaps if they were brave enough to actually have a conversation with anyone then they might make more sense.

I wish I could understand this whole trans thing. There’s some person who rants about the matter on the Radio Four Facebook group; not only does that person make no sense to me, (s)he seems quite offensive to anyone who can’t see her/his points (whatever they are). I once tried asking him/her for clarification; never again.


We got to Orlestone Woods. The BBC’s weather app had told me there was only a one per cent chance of rain this morning. It lied. Fortunately I keep a coat in the car; we didn’t get *that* wet. As we walked we met a woman with a whippet on a lead. Pogo kicked off as he often does when another dog is on a lead. The woman said that she would let the dog off the lead and let him run away. She let her dog off the lead and he walked up to my two and they were all the best of buddies. I explained to her that Pogo (and many other dogs) seem to react badly at the sight of another dog on a lead. She replied that I wasn’t the first person to have told her that… I smiled sweetly and resisted the temptation to ask why she hasn’t listened to any of this advice.

We walked round the woods in an anticlockwise direction today. Usually we go clockwise and the woods seem relatively flat. Going anticlockwise there seemed to be a *lot* of uphill involved. What was that all about.


As we drove home Desert Island Discs was on the radio This morning’s castaway was Tom Ilube (of whom I had never previously heard). Mr Ilube had clearly not grasped the idea of Desert Island Discs as he was choosing records that he actually liked rather than pretending to like dismal classical dirges (like everyone else seems to do). I then spent much of the rest of the thinking about my eight Desert Island Discs. I’ve done this before. On 20 June 2014 I wrote “One day I shall publish my eight Desert Island Discs. I wonder what they will be? ELO and Sparks will be in there as will (I suspect) Kate Bush, Gloria Gaynor, Sinitta and Ivor Biggun”. After quite a bit of brain strain I came up with this list with which I will probably disagree tomorrow.


Cuban Boys – A Song That Sings Itself

ELO – Concerto for a Rainy Day

Sparks – Do Re Mi

The Enid – Heigh Ho

Kingdom Hearts - Hymn

Kate Bush – Them Heavy People

Piranhas – Tom Hark

Etolie Vipe – When Do I get To “Sing My Way”


Mind you it speaks volumes about my musical tastes in that five of those songs are cover versions.

I put some polish on my walking boots and then walked seemingly miles to two streets away where I'd parked my car when we came home from the woods. When we came home from the woods there were no spaces anywhere near home; our road was full of spaces as I set off to work.


I drove off listening to some absolutely dire (supposedly) comedy thing on the radio. Not so much alternative comedy as an alternative to comedy; it simply wasn't funny. It soon got turned off so I could sing along to my (frankly wonderful) choice of music. I drove past the petrol station just up the road (where I'd filled the “er indoors TM” -mobile on Tuesday morning) to see a big sign up saying "No Fuel", but when I got to Aylesford I drove straight up to the pump at the petrol station there and filled my car. One filling station empty, one with no problems.  Mind you as I filled my car the chap at the pump next to me was saying how he was desperate for petrol and that was the first petrol he'd got into his car for four weeks. Presumably he doesn't have a sixty-plus miles round trip to work every day like I have?

Work was work. As well as watching the goldfinches there were pied wagtails and woodpeckers today. The department wasn't quite so much a blood bank as an ornithological hide this afternoon; mind you a cake-free an ornithological hide (about which I was not pleased). I did that which I couldn't avoid, then came home in the dark - you know you are old when you comment on the nights drawing in.

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