31 August 2022 (Wednesday) - No More Lateral Flowing

I had another restless night. I'm getting a bit fed up with them. I doze off during the daytime, and lie wide awake at night. But as Oliver Hardy once remarked, "twas ever thus".
I gave up trying to sleep, and it was still dark when I took the puppies out for their morning tiddle. And once tiddled they went upstairs to spend the rest of the night with “er indoors TM. They are funny; they love being on the bed, but are scared of Treacle grumbling at them when they go up. I have go with them and keep Treacle quiet whilst I lift them onto the bed.
I made toast and watched the second part of the second episode of "House of Dragons" which was quite good, and then set off for work. I spent a moment or so looking at the (epic) scratch on the side of my car. How much will that cost to put right? I'd posted a photo of the damage on Facebook last night and several people had commented about having a dash-cam. But what's the point? Perhaps the insurance people might do something with dash-cam footage, but I'm convinced the police won't. “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM  's dad was once knocked off of his moped and run over by a woman who blatantly drove through a red light. The entire episode was filmed on one of these dash-cams. It plainly showed he was in the right and she was in the wrong. But Folkestone police refused to prosecute.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how Germany (and the rest of Europe) are facing problems as the Russians have turned off the Nordstream gas pipeline. Ostensibly claiming that this is due to "maintenance issues",  the Kremlin has made no secret that the gas is off because the West is siding against them in their ongoing Ukrainian debacle. It just amazes me that everyone is pretending to be surprised about this.
And there was a lot of talk about "affordable housing" in Cornwall. House prices are going through the roof as people sell their houses to the rich who want a holiday home. In the village of Megavissey the local council has tried to stop the sale of houses to non-locals, insisting that people buying a second home should pay more than the locals... but they are having trouble enforcing any such rules. If I was selling a house I'd sell it to the person who would pay me the most for it.
I blame Margaret Thatcher who (forty years ago) turned a house from something you live in into a financial investment.
Work was work; I had an MGUS sort of day (as one does from time to time).  But today we had an announcement. For the last couple of years I've been doing a lateral flow test every four days. It's been a pain in the arse (nose!) but the government has announced that I don't have to do them any more. I'm pleased about that. Mind you having only ever missed one test in all that time (when I was on holiday in Gran Canaria) I've only got a reporting rate of eighty-nine per cent. How does that work?
With work done I took the dogs to the woods. As we walked we met a young family with a small French bulldog (on a lead). The children told me that they had thought that their dog was the smallest dog in the world, and there I was with two smaller dogs… and they weren’t even on leads. They asked their mother why my two weren’t on leads. Mother said that the gentleman (me?) had trained the puppies very well.
One lives and learns.

30 August 2022 (Tuesday) - Early Shift, Eastbourne

I had planned to start off today by saying “it’s not been a bad Bank Holiday” as it was my first Bank Holiday not working since the beginning of May 2021 and my second not working Bank Holiday since August 2019. But despite some rather productive garden work and impressing myself with my woodworking skills it could have been a lot better. If only Dad had been well enough to get to the bingo afternoon; he’d been looking forward to it for so long.
Talking of which I phoned the hospital to ask after him. No news is good news I suppose; there had been no change overnight. I made my appointment to visit (I suppose it makes sense) and watched half of yesterday’s episode of “House of the Dragon” which so far seems entertaining enough. I suspect like “Game of Thrones” (the show on which it is based) it will benefit from being watched a few more times.
I set the dishwasher going. That's quite a thing these days. Back in the old kitchen we had a smaller one which was just right for two of us. We've now got a humungous one, and since I'm too mean to run it half (three-quarters) empty it only goes on twice a week. And when it finishes it takes some emptying (!)
I got dressed, and chuckled as I saw Treacle and Morgan cuddled up together. An hour earlier Treacle had had quite the grumbles and snarls about the puppies coming up for the last couple of hours of the night, and there they were snuggled up together.
I drove through the rain to work. As I drove some admiral or other was trying to make light of the UK's aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales having broken down. What an admission; it was all over the news. I bet the Russians and the Chinese keep quiet when their aircraft carriers go west...
And there was quite a bit of talk of the Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi who was off on a jolly to America. Bearing in mind the new Prime Minister will be announced soon, he'll probably be out of a job within the week, so why not make the most of it and get the freebie holiday when he can. I would - wouldn't you?
But the main news of the day was the announcement that thousands of pubs face closure as they can't afford the ongoing energy costs and rising bills.
The cost of living crisis is hitting everyone; for a long time a trip to the pub has been something of a luxury. If people can't afford to eat and heat their homes,  a cheeky piss-up certainly not in the budget. The chap being interviewed was quite open that he can’t pass on his costs to the public any more, and was hoping (demanding) that the government subsidise him.
Will this be the death knell for pubs? Will they go the way of The Golden Egg and Rumbelows?
Work was the same as ever. I worked through what might have been tea break so that I could get out a tad earlier than usual when on the early shift, and set off to Eastbourne. Looking at the map there is no easy way to get from Maidstone to Eastbourne but at least I did it in daylight today (unlike last Friday night).
Next time I will take the main roads and totally ignore the sat-nav which was obsessed with taking the narrowest of country lanes.
So there I was driving along Smith’s Hill (B2010) when White Van Man came flying round the corner far too fast openly fiddling about on his mobile phone. The lane might have been wide enough for us to pass at walking speed (but only just). I swerved and scraped the hedges, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the look of panic on his face. But he didn’t slow down at all, and was out of sight in less than two seconds…
Presumably his van is scratched up too; I have no way of knowing. It has been suggested that I might have benefitted from a dash-cam. But (to the best of my recollection) this is my first smack-up in eighteen years.
After an hour and a half I eventually got to Eastbourne Hospital. Dad seemed far better than he was over the weekend, but was still very tired. He dozed off after twenty minutes, and I slipped off.
Getting home was much easier (and less traumatic) than getting there.
Oh… today would have been Fudge’s twelfth birthday…

29 August 2022 (Monday) - Bank Holiday Woodwork

Yet another restless night. I woke to see two missed calls from my brother on my phone. I phoned him (expecting the worst) but there was little news of Dad really. His temperature spiked overnight and he has been put on antibiotics, but that goes with a chest infection. Apparently his sisters are visiting today and once they’ve been and gone my brother is going in to see him.
I decided against going down; he will be worn out after all that lot.
I had a look at the pond as the puppies tiddled… I wasn’t entirely happy with what I did yesterday as the cascade/slide isn’t long enough. But the thing didn’t seem to have leaked in the day since I set it up yesterday, which is a “proof of concept” if nothing else.
As I scoffed toast I had a look at the Internet. My cousin was bemoaning the state of her local cinema. It isn’t what it used to be. Back in the day things were different. My aunts used to go to “The Classic” in Hastings every Tuesday evening as there were only three TV channels in those days and no VCRs or streaming. No matter what film was showing, it was better than the telly. And cheap too. But these days I've got a thousand channels of stuff on the Sky box which I can watch in peace and quiet and press the "pause" button whenever I like. 
I can’t help but think that cinemas have had their day. It costs over a tenner to sit through a film with the smelly burping farting great unwashed; many of whom are messing about on their mobile phones. I can't remember when I last went to a cinema... certainly I’m in no rush to go to one any time soon...
And the proprietor of “The Red Pig was having a rant on Facebook. The Red Pig is a little roadside café at Pett Level which has been giving tea and cake to refugees (who arrive in a boat) whilst they wait for the authorities to arrive. This little act of humanity has sparked quite a bit of outrage from the haters. I’ll just make the observation that (in my experience) many of those who object to the refugees do so as they see refugees as competition for their dole handouts, and it is those who were once refugees who now do many of the jobs in the UK that those jealously guarding their dole handouts won’t do.
We didn’t make plans for today… we had one or two options but what with Dad being a tad poorly (to say the least!) I wanted to be available and relatively local just in case. But the dogs needed a walk, so we walked over to Singleton and walked up part of the Greensand Way. I’d had reports that some of the geocaches I’d hidden there were missing. Some were, some weren’t. I replaced the ones that were missing, and “er indoors TM got to log finds on the ones that were there (and on the two I replaced).
The walk up the Greensand Way is rather pretty, and when you almost (but not quite) get to Hothfield there is a lovely little path down past Ripper’s Wood and back to the river where the dogs like to swim. It is only a shame that there are so many sheep along that way; the dogs were on the leads far more than I would have liked.
We got home at mid-day and had a Belgian bun and a cuppa for lunch, then I went to B&Q. As we’d been walking I’d had a (frankly genius) idea of rather than hunting around to find the exact child’s slide that I want, I might make a wooden frame and cover it with the spare pond liner that I’ve got to make a cascade of the size that I want.
I got to B&Q… and after ten minutes demanded to see the manager. I pointed out to her (and she had to agree) that at most only one out of twenty of their customers were watching where they were going. I’d had a dozen crash over the timber beams I was pushing on my trolly, and as I ranted at the poor boss-lady so the normal people were continually bouncing off of each other. I suggested that she might put a sign on the door saying: “open your eyes and look where you are going”. She admitted the need for one, but felt that people might take offence. I made the observation that when the idiot public sue for damages, she might change her mind. But it was obvious she was more worried about getting rid of me than about people falling over each other.
I went to load my shopping into the car… and had a minor disaster. The timbers didn’t fit; they were too long. I phoned “er indoors TMwho was brilliant and hurried round to help me carry them home.
And with shopping shopped “er indoors TM went off to visit her mother. I decided against going; all her family would mean well, but they would all be asking after my Dad, and tutting and shaking their heads. He wouldn’t want any of that. Instead I cut the timers to length and shape, and built the wooden frame that I need for cascade MkII. After three hours I had the thing made but was aching somewhat. I’ll put it in place another day, eh?
I really ache now…