30 November 2021 (Tuesday) - Bit Tired

As I drove home from the night shift the pundits on the radio were interviewing the head of MI6 who apparently goes by the code-name of “C”. The interview lasted from pretty much all of my drive home from Maidstone and was frankly something of a disappointment. Apparently MI6 does have a “Q-Branch” but any special gadgets they use aren’t made by their boffins but are bought in. And if anyone in MI6 gets a memo on green ink, then that memo has come directly from “C”. “C” himself likes the James Bond films but took great pains to point out that James Bond is seriously in the realms of fiction. He was rather reticent about exactly what it is that MI6 actually does. I got the impression that he didn’t want to cause widespread panic by admitting that there really are evil super-villains in hollowed-out volcanoes planning world domination.


Once home I had a quick scrub then went to bed for a few hours; waking to find a snoring Pogo with his head on my shoulder and his nose in my ear.

We went for a quick walk round the block; a good walk with no “episodes” at all. It was only a shame that when the normal people stopped to fuss the dogs, whilst Pogo was up for the attention Treacle cowered away in obvious terror. Twice. She really is a nervous little dog.

With walk walked we came home, and I set the dishwasher and washing machine going and spent the afternoon wrapping chrimbo pressies whilst watching episodes of “Four in a Bed”. Today’s episodes featured a particularly vindictive woman. If two contestants rate the cleanliness of a bed & breakfast at ten out of ten, how can the third rate it at four out of ten with any conviction?


It was late afternoon before I got round to having my usual trawl of the Internet. I had a dozen notification on Facebook; none for anything of note. Credit Karma told me that several people had been checking my creditworthiness, but clicking to find more details (like they suggested) achieved nothing.

I finally got through to the CPAP machine people at the hospital. I say “got through”; I was able to leave a message for them as their answerphone was taking messages (which it hadn’t been since late last week). Apparently they want to know what CPAP machine I’ve got. I would have thought they would have known?

It doesn’t really inspire you with confidence, does it?


I then created the Facebook album for this year’s Advent adventure. I wonder what this year’s will be about. Over the years my annual Advent story has developed  life of its own. It really does have a cult following with dozens of people tuning in to see what happens next. And (I think it is fair to say) no one is more surprised by each day’s instalment than me. Every year I get the calendar in September and it sits unopened on the shelf for a couple of months. I opened the lid of the box this afternoon and took photos, but each actual window doesn’t get opened until that day arrives. Most days in December are the same for me. I open the window of the Advent Calendar when I get up and then spend all day thinking “WTF can I say about that“. I really don’t make it easy for myself. Anyone else would open the thing up and have a look-see, but I won’t. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.


“er indoors TM” boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the Christmas episode of “Gavin and Stacey” (from 2008) which is memorable for Stacey being in the shower in the nip. I suspect Christmas specials from years gone by will be infesting the TV screens for the next few weeks. However I suspect Stacey in the nip won’t be doing the same…

Shame, really…

29 November 2021 (Monday) - Sorting the DNFs

I slept like a log. Over brekkie I sparked up the lap-top as I do, and sent out a couple of birthday wishes. Judging by the lack of anything much of note on social media it would seem that I hadn’t been alone in having had something of a dull weekend. There was quite a bitter tirade on one of the Hastings Old Town Facebook pages; apparently over the weekend there had been a two-minute silence for the asylum seekers who had recently drowned, and quite a few people had posted racial hatred about it on that page. The page’s moderator had a little rant saying how shocked and surprised she was. I was tempted to point out that had she ever done any moderating of that page she wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest but thought better of commenting.


I had a quick fight with GSAK (it’s a geocaching thing) and got myself ready for this morning’s mission. Having had reports of missing geocaches in Kings Wood I found out which ones needed a look-see. And as is always the case, the two which needed my attention was one which was about as far from the car park as was possible to get on the north edge of the wood, and one which was right down on the south edge.

We went out to the car to find that winter had officially arrived. The start of winter is the first time when I have to scrape ice from the car’s windows, and that was today. With ice scraped we drove through rush hour traffic up to Kings Wood where we had a very good (if cold) walk. It would have been too cold for a proper geocaching outing with all the stopping and starting that would entail. And it would have been too cold for poor Fudge who used to dawdle at a snail’s pace. But Treacle and Pogo ran about like mad things and didn’t seem too bothered by the frost. In fact the only problem was that they were thirsty and the puddles were frozen over. But Pogo soon worked out how to stamp through the ice.

As we walked we met four and a half other groups of dog walkers, and each encounter passed off without incident. We all had a little sniff and kept going which was for the best. The half of a group of dog walkers was one chap whose dog had disappeared into the woods. I did sympathise; Fudge once vanished for an hour in those woods in pursuit of heaven only knows what.

Our plan was geo-maintenance. The cache at the north of the woods was clearly missing which was odd. It was definitely there when I walked past it two months ago. We popped a new one out. The cache at the south of the woods wasn’t missing. I found it right away which was also odd as three other people had logged that they couldn’t find it. I wonder what was going on there.

I took a few photos as we walked – it was rather pretty today. a bright winter’s day can be very pretty, if very cold.


With walk walked we came home, and within minutes both dogs were curled up and fast asleep. I then had a look at my in-box to plan our next geo-maintenance walk. Every time someone logs a “Did Not Find” on a geocache that I’ve hidden an email goes into a specific folder in my in-box so I know if there are any issues. This morning there were sixteen such emails (I’d not looked at that folder for a couple of weeks which was remiss of me!). Five of them were about the two caches I sorted today. Four were about the ones that we sorted last Thursday. Five were on ones that other people have found in the meantime (and so don’t need me to do anything). All that I have left to sort are two possible issues on my “Out In The Sticks”. Needless  to say these two are at opposite sides of a six-mile circular walk. Still, never mind. I created the series with dogs in mind and sorting the issues might make for a dog walk next weekend (weather and mud permitting).


I filled a hot water bottle and went to bed for the afternoon. Why is it the bed is so cold during the daytime? When “er indoors TM” is having a kip she doesn’t realise the dogs sneak under the covers with her. They know I won’t have it though, and don’t try with me. Instead they lie on top of the duvet on either side of me and pin me down. I managed a few hours sleep, then spent half a rather claustrophobic hour being utterly unable to move.


I’m hoping “er indoors TM” will be home soon to boil up some dinner, then I’m off to the night shift.

And in closing, today marks five years since we got Treacle and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” got Pogo…

28 November 2021 (Sunday) - So Cold.

I slept like a log right up to when my phone beeped with a text message from work reminding me to take a COVID test. I sent the relevant department a rather pointed email saying that bearing that this is only my second complete weekend off work since July, is it too much to ask to not be woken far too early on a Sunday morning.

Finding myself awake I got up and did another (negative) COVID test, then made brekkie and had a look at the Internet.


There was more consternation about the Prime Minister’s announcement (yesterday) that in response to the new COVID variant, people coming in to the UK will be required to take a PCR test on the second day in the UK and then self-isolate and self-test until they get a negative result. Self isolate… having been squashed like sardines through a crowded airport and shuttle coach to their car or taxi? And masks are again compulsory in shops but not pubs or restaurants. I’m not belittling the crisis at all, but my concern with the mask-wearing is that it lulls people into a false sense of security. Find a vaping friend and have them take a suck on the vape, pull up a mask (correctly fitting from bridge of nose to under the chin) and then have them breath out normally. You will see clouds of vapour coming out in all directions. Admittedly a lot more vapour than in a normal breath, but this will visualise where the normal breath goes, and it is this which would be carrying virus. The mask contains coughs and sneezes, but I’d question how much reduction to viral spreading they do for people who are breathing normally.


I played “Cookie Jam” on Facebook games as “er indoors TM” got ready. We’d decided that today was going to be too cold, too windy and too muddy for a long walk so we settled the dogs and went to visit parents.

Getting out of Ashford took some doing. The road we would normally use to avoid the outlet centre was closed, and the traffic was queued up in all directions to get in to the place. Have you ever been to the MacArthur Glen outlet centre in Ashford? You can see the place from our attic window and I’ve not been there for two years. There is nothing that they sell that I can’t get from Amazon, but the public love it.

Pausing only briefly in Ham Street for geocachical reasons we were soon in Hastings. First of all we called in to see Dad who seemed well. He showed us his mouse traps – he caught a mouse in his kitchen on Thursday. Just the one, and since then there hasn’t been any tell-tale signs (mouse turds) but he’s got traps ready.

From there we went on to mother-in-law. She too seemed OK not having fallen off of any more ladders recently (!) Sister-in-law  and nephews were also about, and “er indoors TM” chatted with them whilst I found myself engrossed in the snooker which was on the telly.


Once home we took the dogs round the block. As we’d sat with parents I’d been glancing out of the window at the bright day and wondering why we’d cancelled our planned walk. After thirty seconds of our dog walk my nose was running and I was shivering. Today was a bright day, but oh, it was cold!!


With walk walked we had a cuppa and a Belgian bun and with a near-Herculean effort I managed to organise a family pre-Christmas dinner. Finding a day that everyone could make took some doing.

“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we watched whilst watching tonight’s episode of “Doctor Who”. Unlike quite a lot of people we are still watching the show. Over the last few weeks I’ve been rather scathing about it, and I think I’ve worked out why. Leaving aside the fact that I can’t warm to any of the main characters, the writers are trying too hard. Back in the day Doctor Who specialised in the hero averting rather simple minor disasters. But since the re-boot every season tries to out-do the previous in scale of disaster to be averted and complexity of incomprehensible plot. And (apart from yet another end of the universe) does anyone know what was going on?

Having said that, there was a lot of nods to what had gone before in tonight’s show. I quite liked the reference to the War Machines which I suspect went over the heads of the vast majority of viewers. I suspect that the viewers of today’s show would laugh at the simplicity of the props used in the War Machines, but back then the writers knew the special effects weren’t up to much so they had a decent story instead.