10 December 2023 (Sunday) - New Boots, Canterbury, Munzing

I went to bed last night with something of an iffy stomach. I blame the sweet chili wrap I had for lunch on Friday; I’ve been farting like a fruitbat ever since. Assuming of course that fruitbats fart a lot. Do they? – I’ve never got that close to one.
I had a really good night’s sleep. I was licked awake by all three dogs at what seemed like the middle of the night only to find it was five past nine.
I got up and farted quite a bit more. I made some toast in the hope of settling my innards, but as I scoffed it I came over rather light headed.
“er indoors TM went off to the monthly brekkie meet-up. I didn’t go. Last time we went Treacle spent the entire time barking. I’m getting paranoid about the noise she might or might not make, so feeling a tad iffy anyway I wasn’t taking any chances.
I posted up today’s instalment of the Advent Calendar, did some CPD, and didn’t have any time to watch telly before “er indoors TM returned.
The plan for today was to walk the dogs on a little Munzee session round Canterbury. Being on pavements we’d avoid the mud, and we’d get an hour’s walk in before the forecast rain hit. Sadly the forecast rain came early, but we got a mile or so’s walking in; Munzing loads of Munzees as we went.
Having had to cut the walk short we popped into “Go Outdoors”. Back in the day when I worked night shifts in Canterbury I used to go into that place before seemingly every night shift. But I’d not been in the place for years. As well as having a nosey around I needed new walking boots. I used to be very good at waxing and polishing my walking boots, but over the last few months I got a tad lax and the leather had actually split. So I got some new boots.
I also got some pickled onion flavoured peanuts too.
We came home where “er indoors TM dropped me and the dogs off before going off shopping. We settled in front of the telly and I watched more “White Gold” as the dogs snored. They’d not had much of an outing, but they were worn out.
“er indoors TM returned and we had the pickled onion flavoured peanuts. Sadly they were something of a disappointment. Another disappointment was the children’s service from Canterbury Cathedral that was happening this afternoon. We got to watch it via You-Tube and did so for the simple reason that one of the smaller members of our tribe was singing in the choir. After a while we eventually spotted Bella who (sadly) looked rather miserable. The vicar giving the verbals was something of a let-down too. He was trying to persuade the kids that some fat bishop was actually Santa, and was encouraging the kids to write to the Prime Minister about the recent COP28 climate talks.
It’s been a while since I last watched a church service, and it will be a while before I watch another.
As we watched we got the news that someone had driven a van through “My Boy TM”’s garden fence, demolished it and drove off.
“er indoors TM boiled up a decent bit of scran which we washed down with a bottle of Malbec whilst watching “Taskmaster: New Zealand”. Whilst it passed an otherwise potentially dull half-hour, it isn’t a patch on the UK version.
I’m still not feeling on top form… but that might be the Malbec.

9 December 2023 (Saturday) - Another Late Shift

I woke feeling particularly morose this morning; I wish I knew why. I suppose these dark mornings and seemingly constant heavy rain don’t help.
I opened today’s window of the Advent Calendar, made toast, and had a look at the Internet. There’s a Facebook page I help moderate about a series of books. Rather good books. There was talk about having them made into a TV series, and the general consensus was that this would be a bad thing. Why do books have to be made into TV series and films? It rarely (if ever) works well. Most times it happens the TV series and film end up making an entirely different story (as happened with “Foundation” and “Game of Thrones” and pretty much every “James Bond” book). Or they try to follow the books but can’t condense what is in the book into such a short time-frame so just televise the most cinematic bits of the book. And so have just a disjointed series of scenes which mean nothing to anyone who hasn’t read the books. Like they did with “Harry Potter”.
I helped “er indoors TM load up her car, and with her off on her mission I got the dogs into their coats and we drove round to Dog Club. With the awful rain there were only five dogs along (including our three), but with a smaller attendance Treacle had a go at playing with other dogs. Bailey kept instigating games of chase with a bigger dog, and then screaming in terror when she got chased.
We had a good time, but it was rather wet. After twenty minutes we reluctantly gave up.
We came home for hot showers and brekkie. And with the dogs washed and fed I took off wet clothes. I was soaked through to the skin. My pants couldn’t have been wetter had I tiddled them. I stuck the wet stuff into the washing machine and got the Mystery Year contest right on the radio. It was odd not listening to that on the car’s radio.
I slobbed on the sofa with dogs until “er indoors TM returned from her mission and I then set off to work. It was still rather damp as I drove,  and I got progressively more wet as I drove. The driver's seat was still wet from our earlier return from Dog Club.
As I drove up the motorway I listened to my frankly wonderful choice of music, and the MP3 player in the car randomly selected the Electric Light Orchestra's "Concerto for a Rainy Day" as I drove past Lenham.
How apt.
Have you ever listened to the "Concerto for a Rainy Day"? It is the first side of the second LP in the double album "Out of the Blue" and was absolutely spot for my day today. Having started "Standing in the Rain" at Dog Club, I ended up looking out of the works window at a glorious afternoon (Mr Blue Sky!)
I hadn't really been supposed to be working today, but I volunteered to cover a minor disaster. When I've mentioned this before, most people make comments about ignoring the phone and pretending you've something else better to do that day... Most people are also begrudging the striking doctors too, but expect a hospital to be open all day every day. I can't say I dislike my job, but given my time again I would work somewhere that puts up a "Closed" sign from time to time.
Being on a late meant I was rather late home. Over a late dinner we watched today’s episode of Doctor Who in which the new chap took over. To be honest he should have taken over three episodes ago: I really can’t see what bringing David Tennant back was all about.
The new chap gets his first proper outing on Christmas Day…  

8 December 2023 (Friday) - Late Shift

Apparently during the night I asked which dog had jumped off the bed. I have no memory of this, but one of them must have done so as there was a turd by the back door when I came down this morning. I suppose they’d tried to get outside?
I made toast and had a look at Facebook as I do. A friend (from years ago) was again off on another holiday in the sun. I would post about how can they afford it, but as has been pointed out to me, it is probably cheaper to have a week in a Spanish hotel than it is to turn on the heating in the UK…
As I peered into the Internet I heard some noises outside. The scaffolders had arrived to take the scaffolding down. I was pleasantly surprised at how the dogs didn’t kick off; I’ve been rather paranoid about their barking just recently.
As I put my boots on so “er indoors TM got the leads onto the dogs. The scaffolders held fire for a moment so we could get out. Almost directly outside our house was a car stupidly parked taking up two spaces which was clamped for not having paid road tax. That will be there for a week making parking more difficult…
We drove through the fog (and up out of the fog) to Kings Wood. As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the poet Benjamin Zephaniah who had died. The chap had once been a guest editor on Radio Four and he’d run the show on that day only presenting good news. The chap was right to do so; I listen to the news most days and for all that wonderful stuff happens, it rarely gets reported.
We got to the woods and had a good walk. Twice we met forestry commission lorries driving in the woods, and both times the dogs came straight to me when called. We met other dogs and they were good.
The only fly in the ointment was I found myself comparing today’s trip with one we might do over the summer. Over the winter Orlestone Woods is a belly-deep swamp so we avoid it. But a trip to Orlestone, a walk, and the drive back takes just over an hour. Today’s round trip to Kings Wood was over an hour and a half, not including the time taken wash the mud off and then clean the bath out.
Bearing in mind I wouldn’t be home till quite late, I posted today’s instalment of the Advent Calendar story, and set off to the Repton centre to have a chat about Dog Club. A few months ago the chap who ran Dog Club couldn't make one session and wanted a volunteer to open up. I volunteered, and having given me the key the chap was in no hurry to take it back. And then he announced that his shifts had all changed and he couldn't make Dog Club any more. And somehow I now seem to be running the early sessions. Many years ago I found myself similarly embroiled in the snake club. A friend at the time made the observation "you can't just be a member, can you?"
He was right... then and now.
I drove on to work and did my bit. As I read my Kindle at tea break I saw a quote which made me smile. I do like my Kindle; I do read a lot. In the fifth book of the "Game of Thrones" series one of the characters says: "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads a book lives only one".
I like that.

7 December 2023 (Thursday) - Not On Leave

Usually when I need a tiddle in the night I just roll over and clench. I made the schoolboy error of getting up and going to a wazz at three o'clock last night, and came back to find the wolf pack all snoring in the warm spot I'd vacated. I eventually secured enough bed space in which to sleep, but sadly not enough in which to sleep comfortably.
I got up earlier than I might have done, and as I made toast so Morgan came down for a wazz. If only he'd come down when I'd come down a couple of hours earlier I might have managed to get a bit more of the bed.
I watched another episode of "White Gold". Being set in 1983 it brought back quite a few memories. All the girls had those perms, didn't they? And hooky videos. There were always market stalls and blokes on street corners selling incredibly badly copied VHS cassettes of whatever big movie was in the cinemas at the time. Funny how that never took off with DVDs to the same extent.
I then had a look at the Internet as I do. Quite a lot of the Lego Facebook pages were showing winter village scenes; perhaps I might turn my Lego town into a winter one? Perhaps I might do something with my Lego town - I've not done anything with it for ages.
I opened today’s window of the Advent Calendar and despite the torrential rain I set off to the car. It was where I'd left it three streets away. More and more I'm thinking I should spend a little more on house maintenance, sell the house and get one with off-street parking.
I had a quick Munz mission round Ashford; we achieved our first (of four) monthly goal today. And then I set off up the motorway. As I drove the pundits on the radio were all a-twitter about how the Immigration minister Robert Jenrick has resigned. Regular readers of this drivel may recall my rant of only two days ago about the farcical state of Britain's immigration policy. Perhaps the ex-minister read my rant?
And there was a lot of talk about Boris Johnson's giving evidence to the COVID inquiry. If ever there was an idiot, it is him. Given the state of the UK after Brexit, and then a pandemic, no one would have expected the impossible from any Prime Minister. But had he combed his hair, tidied himself up a bit, and given a couple of uplifting rousing speeches, Boris Johnson could have gone down in history with Churchill. Instead he looked like a mess, and mumbled his way through a shambles which was much of his own making. And now history is judging him as the shambling mess that he was.
If ever anyone blew a golden opportunity…
I went in to Sainsbury's before work to stock up on some Christmas supplies. They've got this thing now where certain items are cheaper if you brandish your Nectar card. Doing so got me seven quid off of a bottle of port and ten quid off of a bottle of Bailey's. The price I paid at the till (using the nectar card) was a quarter less than I would have paid had I not had the card.
Just goes to show, doesn't it?
And so to work. Originally today was to be a day's leave, but what with a dodgy weather forecast and one thing and another I cancelled the leave... and soon wished I hadn't. I won't go into petty trivial details, but today was a classic example of the two hundred and eighty-fifth Rule of Acquisition.  No good deed ever goes unpunished.

6 December 2023 (Wednesday) - Another Cold Day

I had another rather good night, sleeping right through till five o'clock. I was pleased with that. However having woken at five o'clock, I was then awake. I got up, made toast and watched an episode of "White Gold" starring him who was Boycie's son (in "The Green Green Grass") as a golf-playing yuppie.
With telly watched I had a quick look at the Internet. My cousin was posting her Advent Calendar of Christmas memories as she does every year. So many memories of things we used to have and used to do all those years ago. Today she was talking about the brightly coloured fluorescent towelling socks of the early eighties.  Pink, green, yellow... I had them all. And would always wear odd pairs. However today (forty years later) I earned that you were supposed to wear them in matching pairs. Mismatched fluorescent towelling socks were only worn by "Ultra Spazzes".
One lives and learns.
I scraped the ice off of my car and set off to work.  As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the ongoing enquiry into the government's handling of the COVID pandemic. Today the ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to give evidence. Rather than going over his lies (all of which have long been exposed), the chap presenting the news asked if the enquiry has actually unearthed anything that hadn't already been covered on the news. It would seem it hadn't. There was then a little discussion about the whole point of the COVD enquiry. Was it to learn lessons from the mistakes which had (no matter how well-intentioned) been made, or to assign blame?
The general consensus was that there had been a lot of mistakes made, but was it fair to assign them to Boris Johnson. Bearing in mind the chap's general demeanour, had it been fair on him and on the country to have ever put him into a position of authority in the first place?
Democracy - can't beat it !!!
I got to the work's car park and despite a very cold morning I went for a little walk. A geocache I'd hidden not far from work had been reported as missing. It was, so I replaced it. And I needed to cap a QrewZee as part of this month's Munzee Clan War. So I did.
As I was walking I met a woman with a pair of pugs, and spent a couple of minutes fussing them. They made exactly the same squeaking-huffing noises that dear old Sid used to make. Poor old Sid - I miss him.
I would have walked a bit further, but it was cold. I went in to work and had a cuppa, then cracked on with the day. As I worked I pondered on what I'd got out of my Advent Calendar this morning. I had absolutely no idea what the thing was supposed to be; let alone know what to say about it.
Sadly during the mid-afternoon my musings were put on hold. We had sad news - a colleague's pet chicken (Henrietta) had died. She was four years old, which apparently isn't a bad age for a chicken.
I came home to find the roof work was all done. I really should climb up and have a look before the scaffolding goes… if only I wasn’t too old to go climbing up scaffolds.
“er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of scran which we washed down with a bottle of plonk… you can’t beat a midweek bottle of plonk.

5 December 2023 (Tuesday) - Bit Dull

In a novel break with tradition I had a rather good kip last night. When I went up last night I took Morgan with me, and after he’d spent fifteen minutes running laps of the bed (under the duvet at top speed) he settled and went to sleep. I’d rather he charged about before I go to sleep rather than waking me up later.
I might try taking him up early again.
Over brekkie I started watching something new on Netflix. “White Gold” is a comedy set in 1983 following some Essex-based double glazing salesmen. So far it is quite entertaining.
I then had a look at Facebook, and saw something that made me think. An old friend of mine (from childhood days) was posting yet more photos from yet another exotic holiday destination. Someone had commented asking how he is always on holiday and never working. He pointed out that in his line of work he can work remotely, and that when you tot up the cost of renting a house in the UK and having a car and getting shopping and washing your socks, it is actually cheaper to go from one holiday hotel to another than to have a UK home.
Is it?
I don’t know, but it makes you think, doesn’t it?
I opened today’s window on the Advent Calendar, sent out some birthday wishes, then set off to work. I had a quick voom round Ashford Munzing then set off up the motorway.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the “infected blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s”. This whole subject boils my piss. The simple fact of the matter is that some people (quite a few!) did contract HIV from blood products imported from America. But the reason that blood came from America was that there weren’t enough UK based donors.
And as for “1970s and 1980s”… the first case of HIV in the UK was reported in 1981.
The implication is that health care professionals were negligent in not knowing the first thing about an unknown disease. It wasn’t that long ago that the public were on the doorstep clapping the NHS like things possessed. Now the knives are coming out…
But this is a rant I’ve done many times before, isn’t it?
While I’m ranting, I’ll have a little whinge about the UK’s immigration policy which was outlined on the radio today. Deliberate government policy is making it more and more difficult for immigrant workers to come to the UK; specifically those willing to do the jobs that Brits demonstrably won’t.
On the other hand those wanting to be fed and housed at the tax-payers’ expense are being welcomed with open arms.
Funny old world…
I got to work and did my bit. We had posh shortbread at tea time. And with my bit done I headed home. I came home to a message from the roofer. He’s hoping to get the roof finished tomorrow.
With the roof (nearly) done, I wonder what needs doing next? The house is old… does it need rewiring? That would be a messy job.
“er indoors TM boiled up some sausages for dinner which we devoured whilst watching the Christmas Lego Masters USA celebrity special. It was rather good, but I have no idea who the UK celebrities are in TV shows, let alone the American ones.

4 December 2023 (Monday) - Road Rage

I gave up trying to sleep and got up shortly after five o'clock this morning, made brekkie and watched another episode of "Green Eggs and Ham" which was sadly rather disappointing. I don't think I will bother with the rest of the series.
I had a little look at Facebook. Despite the torrential rain yesterday several people had been out getting real Christmas trees; perhaps the rain had been confined to a very small area down our road?
I opened today’s window on the Advent Calendar, and wondered what to do with today’s model. The wondering took up much of the day.
With time to spare I set off on a pre-work Munzee mission; Points of Interest, joysticks, jewels, crossbows... I capped them all before heading up a very busy motorway. As I drove I listened to the morning news. Sir Kier Starmer has again alienated himself from the rank and file Labour party supporter by singing the praises of Margaret Thatcher.  Love her or loathe her, there's no denying she sorted out a mess when she came to office... even if she did so by stomping over all the little people.
There was an interview with a Ukrainian soldier who claimed the war is going rather badly for them. Anyone who would have volunteered for the Ukrainian army would have done so long ago, and so the standard of recruit they are now getting is leaving quite a bit to be desired, or so it was claimed.
There was reports of an interview with a top American politician who was calling for Israel to ease back on their treatment of the Palestinians; the implication being that Israel is conducting itself in Gaza in such a way that America is fast having to defend the indefensible.
And the Ministry of Defence have got the arse having been told their spending plans are unaffordable. Personally I wouldn't have broadcast that on national radio to absolutely anyone who might be listening, but what do I know.
As I drove the traffic was getting heavier and heavier. I was wondering where it had all come from, and then I found out. There had been an accident on the run-up to junction six. I made the mistake of coming off at that junction...
As I went round the Running Horse roundabout I was nearly tail-ended twice by some chap in a red car who then followed me up Forstal Road (towards Aylesford) not five yards behind me. I pulled over at the first opportunity to let him pass when he dangerously flew in front of me (bashing his car up the kerb). He stormed out of his car, staggered up to my car and started shouting at me about how I had nearly crashed into him twice (even though I was in front of him). When I told him I had no idea what he was talking about he span around (nearly falling over), staggered back to his car and flew off at breakneck speed regardless of the traffic around him.
There are those who've said I should have reported this little road rage to the police. I can't help but think that bearing in mind that the police refused to act on video footage showing “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM's dad being knocked off of his moped and then run over, they aren't going to do anything at all about today's little unwitnessed altercation.
I carried on into Aylesford to the petrol station where the stuff was six pence a litre cheaper than the last time I'd got any, and then on into work. As I worked “er indoors TM messaged to say the roofer had blown it out today. I can't say I blame him for that. It can't be any fun being up on the roof in the rain, and at the moment the roof is (hopefully) waterproof. I really don't want him opening it up in a downpour.
With work worked I came home. As I do. “er indoors TM went bowling and I settled on the sofa with the dogs and watched the Bob Ross documentary on Netflix. There had been quite the squabble about the show on one of the Bob Ross Facebook groups I follow over the weekend. I can’t see what the argument was all about; from what I could work out (in between falling asleep; it was so tedious) what the late Bob Ross did on telly for many years was the work of a business partnership, and when Bob died his partners carried on taking the profit. As happens with business deals all over the world. It would have been nice for his son to have had a bung… but that wasn’t how the business had been arranged.
I really should have an early night…

3 December 2023 (Sunday) - Fed Up with Feeling Grim

I slept for nine hours last night, and “er indoors TM was up before me. that rarely happens; I must be poorly.
I eventually came downstairs with Morgan and Bailey to find “er indoors TM and Treacle already there. Sometimes this can be an issue; Treacle can get territorial and Bailey gets frightened and when “full” (like we all get overnight) we sometimes have little potty accidents. But this morning all was well.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Being the start of the Munzee Clan War there was quite a bit of whinging from the rank and file Munzers that they hadn’t received Clan War invites… Even though they had. But isn’t this life in general? There are those who contribute (not that what I do for the Clan War is particularly arduous) and there are those who find fault. Amazingly many of those kicking off were the non-premium people. A “non-premium” Munzer is one who plays the free version of the game. I personally chose to play the premium version for which there is a charge of about fifty pence per week. These people begrudge fifty pence and then complain about what they are getting for free… I decided not to tell them to wind their necks in.
There were several photos on Facebook from the two works parties I missed last night.  I had said that when I finished my shift last night I would go to the works Christmas do in Maidstone, and I’d also said that I would go to the boss’s leaving party in Tunbridge Wells. I forgot about both and came home instead. It looks like I missed some good parties. Perhaps if I’d not been feeling quite so grim?
I also had an email from my local councillor. On 15 November I found a local footpath flooded (yet again). That path has been flooding for over thirty years, and the fix is very easy. I wrote to my local councillor and at the time I wrote here “I wonder if she will do anything”.  Well, she hasn’t. She’s suggested I write to the Environment Agency and sent me a link that doesn’t work.
I opened my Advent Calendar. Today I had a reindeer. Perhaps an easier thing to add to my little Advent adventure.
“er indoors TM set off to Folkestone to deliver Daddy’s Little Angel TM”’s Christmas Tree; for some inexplicable reason we had it in the spare room. And with “er indoors TM off for the morning I took the dogs out. Rather than going to the woods we had a little walk round the local roads. Being the start of Munzee Clan War I wanted to get two Qrates (as one does). I got them, and also ten per cent of the Clan’s total requirement for the month too. Go me!!
Once home I went straight into the garden to harvest the dog dung, and as I was in mid-harvest so the heavens opened. That was rather good timing.
“er indoors TM returned from Christmas Tree delivery duties, and set off to Maidstone. A few months ago we went to Prison Island and had a great time. There was a family outing planned for today. I insisted that “er indoors TM  went and enjoyed herself, but by the time they’d all driven to Maidstone, parked, done the Prison Island rooms and the golf and had dinner, it would have involved leaving the dogs for far too long. And I was still feeling rather grim; the two-mile dog walk of the morning had worn me out.
With the heavy rain continuing and feeling grotty I settled down with the dogs and spent the afternoon staring at the telly.
I watched the last part of “The Couple Next Door” which was rather good. I won’t give spoilers… unlike Facebook did today for last night’s episode of “Doctor Who”.
I watched “King of Thieves”; a film about a jewel heist starring Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent and quite a few other famous actors. I quite liked it as a lot of it featured places I’d been. I’m funny like that; I like seeing places that I’ve been on the telly.  
I watched “Bronson”; a film about the chap considered to be Britain’s most violent criminal.
I watched the last episode ever of “Only Fools and Horses
I watched the Christmas “Blackadder”.
Normally I’d go stir-crazy sitting on my chuff for so long, but apart from getting up once for a cuppa and for a few (quite a few!) coughing fits, I didn’t move all afternoon.
I suppose I feel a bit better than I did this morning, but I’m still all-in.

2 December 2023 (Saturday) - Late Shift

I slept better last night; the sniffle appears to have turned into a cough. I got up, and immediately opened my Advent Calendar. For all that I do like my little annual Advent story, and for all that I don’t think anyone is more amazed than I am at how the story progresses, I have certainly made a rod for my own back by not opening the windows in advance.
I looked at a little Lego signpost with something of a sense of dismay this morning… what could I possibly say about that? Eventually I had an idea.
I had a shave, made toast, and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. There had been heavy (for Kent) snow across the east of the county overnight. I turned off the lap-top and went to get ready for the morning somewhat earlier than usual.
I scraped the ice off of the car, and with “er indoors TM off out on a mission with her mates I got the dogs into the car and drove round to the Repton estate. We collected the money pot for Dog Club, then went on and opened up. Despite it being a cold morning there was quite a good turn out for Dog Club. Morgan and Bailey charged about having a great time. Treacle didn’t really join in, but I spent quite a bit of time playing “ball” with her which she seemed to enjoy. As we Dog Club-ed there was a load of messages flying here and there via WhatsApp about the organisation of Dog Club. It seems there’s issues about collecting the money pot at the end of the last session, and from here on it Dog Club will be going cashless.
From Dog Club we came home listening to Steve on the radio. The mystery year was some time in the late 1970s… and each clue made me think it was earlier and earlier. Eventually I plumped for 1977 and was right.
I put a load of washing in to scrub, and as the dogs snored I made a cuppa. Usually before a late shift I do so much that by the time I get to work I’m worn out. But what with this ongoing lurgy I wasn’t feeling on top form, so with Dog Club done, a quiet morning cuddling dogs suited me.
Eventually I had to go to work. As I drove up the motorway "Any Questions" was on the radio in which a panel of politicians, business people and the less simple-minded celebrities were asked their opinions on the questions of the day. Some aggressive feminist was up in arms because there weren't enough women at the COP28 climate talks; she was up in arms because there were any men there at all. Apparently climate change is entirely a man- (as opposed to woman-) made problem, as (so she claimed) are all the wars currently raging round the world and all the wars that have ever raged. Some chap came on and made the point that Britain has halved its carbon dioxide emissions since 1990. This was a red rag to a bull to this aggressive feminist. Had a woman delivered this announcement then it would have been heigh, ho, pip and dandy. But how dare a man say it?
There was then the question of who owned the Elgin marbles, Britain or Greece? Another woman on the panel gave the view of most of the UK; up until doing her research prior to coming on the radio she'd thought the Elgin marbles were a bag of toy marbles like those with which children play.
A Conservative politician then bemoaned how expensive houses were, despite their ridiculously high prices being a result of the market forces about which he was so enthusiastic.
Some people do talk utter rubbish on the radio...
I got to work and coughed a lot as did my bit. Mind you it has to be said that being too mean to turn the heating on, being at work this afternoon was much warmer than being at home had been this morning.
And with work worked I drove home through sub-zero temperature and fog. “er indoors TM had turned the heating on and had sorted out pizza which we scoffed whilst watching this evening’s episode of “Doctor Who”. It was watchable, but I’m wondering why they brought back David Tennant; I don’t see what he’s giving to the show that a new actor couldn’t.
I hope I feel a bit better tomorrow; I’m fed up with feeling grotty.

1 December 2023 (Friday) - It Snowed

Having a bit of a sniffle and feeling generally sorry for myself I took a hot water bottle to bed with me last night. However I'd made the schoolboy error of forgetting that what with “er indoors TM and the dogs, space in the bed is at a premium. The hot water bottle soon got the heave-ho. But rather than just bunging it into the darkness I stuck it behind my pillow (for no explicable reason) where it kept clouting my head.  And rather than just bunging it into the darkness I just put up with it until I got completely fed up with the thing at which point I got up (far too early) and went downstairs.
Being the first of the month I had a shave with a new razor blade, and scrubbed my teeth with a new toothbrush. The bristles were falling out of the last one; I think I'd been a bit too vigorous with it.
I made toast and watched another episode of "The Couple Next Door" in which her who played "Demelza" in "Poldark" was getting particularly over-amorous with the neighbours. Call me puritanical if you will, but if you will wear saucy undercrackers like those she was brandishing, you get all you deserve.
I had a look at Facebook. The "Elf on a Shelf" memes were getting rather silly on one of the Star Trek pages I follow, with "Spock on a Cock" being perhaps the easiest one to guess. Opinion was divided as to whether these memes were good fun or annoying, and with seemingly nothing else to squabble about, people were getting rather aggressive about this particular bit of trivia.
Being the first of December I opened my Advent Calendar. Frosty the Snowman we perhaps an easier starting point that I've had in some previous years, but I still looked at him with a sense of "WTF".
I got dressed and pausing only briefly to put the bins out I set off to find my car.
It didn't take *that* long to scrape the ice from my car, and with ice finally scraped I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio spewed their usual brand of drivel. The cease fire in Gaza came to an end last night, and neither side wasted any time before commencing chucking missiles at the other. Both arguing that the other side started it, both seemingly as bad as each other.
There was talk of the COP28 climate summit meeting. It would seem the UK had a decent representation there, but how can you take the country’s commitment to climate issues seriously when the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the King all flew there in separate planes.
Talking of the King, it would seem that Prince Harry has accused him of racial comments. Personally I can’t help but think that if Prince Harry wants to flee half way across the world asking for the press to leave him alone, then he should piss off and stop attention-seeking like a petulant toddler.
I got to work and did my bit. As I did that which I couldn’t avoid I spent much of the morning watching the snow flurries. “er indoors TM messaged at tea break to say there was snow in Ashford. As I messaged that there was no snow in Maidstone so it started. Not even enough to make the ground white, but snow is snow.
I came home just as “er indoors TM was going to deliver an Advent Calendar to My Boy TM”. Every year she makes him a beer one. I had a shower and looked again at what had come out of my Advent Calendar this morning. Eventually I had some inspiration.
I wonder how the rest of the story will pan out?
“er indoors TM came home with some dinner. I was glad to be home this evening; the plan for today was for me to be doing the night shift, but my colleague doing tomorrow afternoon asked if we might swap. Had I done the night shift, today would have been an incredibly dull waste of a day, and tomorrow would have been spent with me constantly nodding off. As it turned out today wasn’t a bad day, and the weather forecast for tomorrow means that being at work will be marginally warmer than sulking at home because will be too cold to do anything. Or that’s the plan.
Mind you if I still feel this grim I might phone in sick…

30 November 2023 (Thursday) - A Day's Leave

I woke feeling rather grim this morning; whatever lurgy I’ve got has turned into some sort of cold. But as always I can sulk or get on with my life.
I got on with my life.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet as I do. This morning there were several posts on the 1970s nostalgia Facebook pages all of which showed some random still from a film with comments “this was always popular” or “I liked this one” and me feeling that I was the only person in the world who had no idea what the film was. I am so tempted to post up a random family photo and comment “watched this one last night” and see how many people pretend they know what the film was (when it wasn’t a film at all).
I had a look at my emails. I saw some people had been out in Kings Wood finding the geocaches I’d hidden there, and unusually a new geocache had gone out. Another fiendishly difficult puzzle though. Several geo-meets had been created over the next few weeks too. None particularly local though, which was a shame.
I did a YouGov survey, then as the dogs had their brekkie I got ready for the morning’s mission.
Leaving “er indoors TM in charge at home I took the dogs up to Kings Wood. It was a bright morning at home, but again we drove up into the fog. As we walked so the fog slowly lifted and the mud (which was frozen on arrival) slowly melted.
We had a good walk round the woods. We ate some horse poo, and with no fox poo to be found we rolled in a dead sparrow. As we walked we saw several birds of prey. More than we usually see. And they were all fairly close. Was I being paranoid in thinking that they had their eye on Bailey?
We came home and met the roofer bloke clambering up a ladder. The roofer chap was finishing the work on the flat roof up on top, but showed me photos of the state of the roof over our bedroom.  The bits I thought would be an issue are fixed, but more problems have been found. Part of me is thinking “OMG!!!” and part of me is thinking that now we know there’s an issue we can get it sorted before it becomes a problem.
After all, what is money for if not to squander on roof repairs?
I washed the dogs’ paws, legs and bellies, then had a look at the pond. It was crystal clear. Bearing in mind how cold it has been recently the water flow would have made sure the water was cold, and consequently the fish all in torpor (fish hibernation). So I turned off the pumps and the filter, took the filter apart, cleaned it all out and put it all back together again empty ready for the winter. Several Februarys ago I wrote “Every year I turn the filter off when the pond is shut down in November, and every year I don’t clean it out then. Instead I leave carp turds festering over the winter so they are nice and ripe a few months later when I come to clean the thing out.” I didn’t make that mistake today. It needs the new bulb putting in place; I can do that another time.
I’m really pleased with this pressure filter. Back in the day I used huge box filter things. They were heavy. Carrying them down the garden to the drain (where I can clean them) involved my getting covered in fish poo flavoured pond water, and the cleaning took over an hour. I started off with one of those things on 22 March 2007 (when “My Boy TM” installed the first one) and I struggled on with that sort of filtering for just over sixteen years until 26 April this year when I put in the pressure filter.
It’s brilliant. I wish I’d installed one years ago. Leaving aside the fact the thing does an excellent job, I can do a quick clean in twenty minutes, or a deep clean (like I did this morning) in half an hour. The quick clean can be done without moving the filter at all, and being a lot lighter and being a sealed unit means I can take the filter to the drain for a deep clean without slopping fish poo all over the place.
It takes longer to get set up to do the cleaning and to tidy away afterwards than it does to actually clean. Life is so much easier when you’re not spreading fish poo flavoured muck all over the place.
I then had a little tidy-up round the garden. As I pootled I kept looking up at the roof. The nice roofer is doing work on our house and new-next-door at the same time and he was all over the roof. This made me think… There’s no way I would clamber all over the roof. But I think nothing of spending large parts of my day dealing with other people’s blood.
No day off work is complete without doing the ironing; I spent some time with the ironing whilst watching more “Squid Games: The Challenge” It’s a “reality TV” sort of show, or so it is billed. I hope it is all acted out; some of the contestants being interviewed are truly nasty.
With ironing ironed I settled myself on the sofa… and woke two hours later. Despite having cracked on with the day I still felt rather grim, and probably needed the sleep.
“er indoors TM has gone out with her mates. I’ve just set up the Facebook album for this year’s Advent Calendar. I really should open the thing, shouldn’t I?
For a day’s holiday I’ve not stopped…

29 November 2023 (Wednesday) - Dull

I slept rather well, but still woke over an hour earlier than I might have done. I made toast and watched the second episode of “The Couple Next Door” in which her who used to be Demelza in Poldark intimated that she was up for a portion of jiggery-porkery from the neighbours, and in which Hugh Dennis nearly got a punch up the bracket.
I then had a look at Facebook… Last night we made a point of watching the final of “Bake Off” only a few minutes after it was broadcast. I was glad we did; this morning spoilers abounded.
I walked two streets away to where I’d parked the car last night, and spent a few minutes scraping the ice off of it, then set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how the Prime Minister of Australia has apologized to survivors of the thalidomide scandal and their families. I’m not in any way detracting from the horrific birth defects that happened, but the thalidomide scandal was sixty years ago, and the Australian Prime Minister is sixty years old. How can he possibly give a credible apology for something that happened when he was in nappies?
There was an interview with one of the keepers at Edinburgh Zoo where the giant pandas were being made ready to go home to China. There was talk about how the arrangement for their being in Edinburgh was a ten-year loan from the Chinese government. There was also talk that the zoo was paying three quarters of a million quid to the Chinese government each year to have the pandas. I wonder which is right?
And there was the seemingly obligatory interview with someone from Gaza. I have no idea on which side the person being interviewed was on. It might sound heartless, but everyone from Gaza being interviewed says the same thing. They all have an axe to grind and no one will be content until the other side is totally obliterated.
I got to work where we had the inspectors in. I smiled sweety at them, and then did my utmost to avoid them. For the most part I succeeded.
As I worked I had a message from the roofer. Having been all set to crack on today he’d been delayed, his fan belt had gone. I’m not sure where it went, but fan belts do that. As she took the dogs for their constitutional, “er indoors TM took a photo of our roof. There’s no denying that after twenty years it probably needed some maintenance; I’m glad it wasn’t me who had to go up there.
Having watched the final of “Bake Off” yesterday we watched the final of “Taskmaster” this evening. It was rather good.
Today was dull… and I’m not feeling well either…

28 November 2023 (Tuesday) - Feeling a Bit Poorly

I slept rather well. Over brekkie I started watching a new thing from Channel Four. "The Couple Next Door" stars her who was Demelza in Poldark who moves in next door to a rather saucy set of  neighbours who seem to invite equally saucy friends round for regular sessions of jiggery-porkery. And over the road lives Hugh Dennis playing a rather sad peeping Tom who is watching it all with his telescope. In a novel break with tradition, her who was Demelza in Poldark did remove her undercrackers before “performing the dirty deed” in today's episode, but her protagonist forgot to do so.
I then had a quick look at the Internet. Our Munzee Clan has reached our target for the month, which was something of a result. And I deleted a comment from a sci-fi Facebook group that I moderate.  Based on the books of Julian May, that group generally doesn't need much moderation. But today's uncharacteristically nasty comment came from someone who didn't even know which books Ms May had and hadn't written.
As I got dressed I could hear a commotion outside. Some chap was standing outside our house bellowing two different conversations into two different mobile phones. Fortunately he'd gone by the time I went out.
For once the morning's news was interesting. Bits of the asteroid Bennu have arrived at the Natural History museum for analysis, and manned long-distance space travel looks (possibly) to be a practical proposition as human hibernation might not be the fantasy it has always been billed to be.
There was also a lot of fuss made about the Greek Prime Minister having the hump because Rishi Sunak has cancelled a meeting with him. The Greeks want the Elgin Marbles back. Bearing they are only in England under the most dubious of circumstances, and also bearing in mind that the average bloke in the street is utterly disinterested in the things, why not give them back?
I got to work. The iffy guts I had yesterday were continuing, and I felt rather tired for much of the day. As I worked I had several messages from “er indoors TM. The scaffolders arrived shortly after nine o’clock, and the roofers arrived soon after that. Treacle woofed a bit, and Morgan watched out the window with interest.
I’m reliably assured that most of the roof work is now done, and that the roofers will be back in the morning to finish up and tidy up.
“er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of scran this evening (as she does) and we watched the final of “Bake Off”. I won’t say who won it, but I will say that if I was a betting man I would be out of pocket right now.
My guts are still iffy, I still feel tired, and I think I’ve got a sore throat coming on…

27 November 2023 (Monday) - Iffy Innards

I slept like a log last night, which was something of a result. Mind you I did have an early night after falling asleep on the sofa. I suppose I needed one after a night of “Darcie Waa Waa TM screaming and a bottle of plonk yesterday evening.
Over brekkie I watched another of the animated "Dads Army" episodes; watching it as a recorded program on the SkyQ box is the way to do it. Being able to fast-forward through twenty minutes of adverts meant I watched it in only twenty minutes. You'd think advertisers would give up, wouldn't you? There's no need to watch adverts, and I don't. To be honest (being an awkward bugger) if I find myself faced with an advert I can't avoid, I tend to avoid that product.
I set off to work on a rather rainy morning, but half past six this morning was a full ten degrees warmer than half past six was yesterday. As I drove there was a lot of talk on the radio about the upcoming United Nations climate talks. This latest round are being hosted by the United Arab Emirates. Apparently the BBC have found out that the United Arab Emirates plans to use its role as the host of UN climate talks as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals. It was claimed that leaked briefing documents revealed plans to discuss fossil fuel deals with fifteen other nations.
Like anyone would really be surprised about that...
There was a lot of talk about the cease-fire in Gaza and pretty much everyone was hoping that the cease fire might be extended. It's a shame that there had to be conflict in the first place, but whilst pretty much everyone interviewed on the matter is keen for the hostilities to stop, they've all got their decades-long grievances that they won't let go.
I got to work and made a bee-line for Trap One. Over the weekend Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM had dodgy guts, and whatever it was, I think I've now got it. I spent an inordinate amount of time in Trap One today.
Still, what are grandchildren for if not for spreading infections, eh?
In between dashing to the chodbin I did my bit at work. Work went better than it did yesterday; I prefer working with others around me, rather than being on my own for extended periods.
Over a mid-morning cuppa I sparked up the Internet through my phone. Someone had posted to one of the Dalek-related Facebook pages that I follow that they had just discovered the "Doctor Who and the Daleks" films made in the 1960s. Someone else had commented asking how any so-called Doctor Who fan couldn't know about these films, and the petty name-calling that this generated was rather impressive, to say the least.
After nearly two weeks my local councillor had replied to the email I'd sent her about the floods by Asda. She said she'd look into it. Will she? I wonder.
And I got a quote for the repairs to the roof following the chap's having had a look on Saturday.
With my bit done I came home. It wasn’t that long ago that I would take the dogs for a walk after an early shift. Today it was dark and raining. So I sat and wrote up some CPD, and my piss boiled about one of the articles that had been emailed to me.  It’s no secret that a few years ago I made a serious mistake at work for which I was comprehensively crucified. Now it seems the same workplace allow their staff to openly admit to mistakes, for which everyone involved has (presumably) got off scot-free.
With “er indoors TM off bowling I settled myself on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs and watched the fourth episode of “Squid Game: The Challenge”. It was rather good. Now it’s finished I shall have a little kip; I’m not going to move until the dogs wake up. If a dog falls asleep on you, you can’t move them. It’s the law. Even if you desperately need the loo.

26 November 2023 (Sunday) - Early Shift

Darcie Waa Waa TM didn't settle last night, and when she doesn't settle, neither does anyone else.  Perhaps having the heating on all night for her meant the house was too warm? I don't know but I couldn't have had more than fifteen minutes continuous sleep all night. I gave up trying at five o'clock and came downstairs where “er indoors TM was sitting with her. The dogs asked to go out, so I took them out and Pogo ran round the garden screaming. He doesn't bark; he screams. I wish he wouldn't. As do all my neighbours, I expect.
I scoffed a bit of toast, and once I'd scraped the ice from the car I set off to work (at 6am!). It was a cold morning this morning. As I drove I listened to the radio. There is rarely much of interest on the radio early on a Sunday morning, and today was no exception.
I caught the second half of "Something Understood". Have you ever listened to it? Give it a go; words can't describe how pretentious this drivel is. Supposedly about the power of memory, there were no end of readings of poetry which meant absolutely nothing to me (or anyone else I suspect). For all that there can be some interesting stuff on Radio Four, there is also a lot of highbrow rubbish that is of no interest to anyone but a vanishingly small minority. 
This was followed with an interview with Kelvin Fletcher. Apparently he was in Emmerdale and on Strictly Come Dancing, and he's jacked it all in to run a farm up north somewhere. He and his wife talked for half an hour without really saying anything.
Surely there could have been something better to broadcast before seven o’clock this morning?
I got to Pembury just as dawn was breaking, and got on with work. There's no denying that I didn't want to go to work today. I'd been sulking about it all week. I was probably over-reacting; I get worked up about working on my own at Pembury. Being a trauma centre, things can got from peachy to not-so peachy in seconds. I’ve had worse shifts than today, but I’ve certainly had better ones.
And with shift shifted I came home listening to the end of “Desert Island Discs” in which Matt Smith (of Doctor Who fame) was advocating some frankly dreadful music. My choices for that show are listed here.
I got home just as “er indoors TM was taking “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and her tribe home. I would much rather have been home with them today rather than working, but at least I got to see them today, if only in passing.
“er indoors TM boiled up a very good bit of dinner. I cracked open a bottle of Sainsbury’s plonk, and we watched yesterday’s Doctor Who sixtieth anniversary special. Bearing in mind how disappointing Doctor Who has been over the last few years, my hopes weren’t high. But the episode was rather good. Mind you I can’t help but think it a shame that they brought David Tennant back. Up till now the show has always moved forward… was this episode a backward step?