31 January 2023 (Tuesday) - No Lego Club

Treacle again woke me far too early by stomping all round the bed (several times) before finding the most comfortable spot. To be honest I am amazed she found one; this new mattress is still giving me a back ache if I lie on it for more than a few hours.
I dozed on and off for the remainder of the night but (apart from the backache I’ve have every morning with the new mattress) I woke feeling somewhat better than I did yesterday. I got up, "did" the puppies, and as they went upstairs to bother “er indoors TM so I made toast and watched more "Star Trek: Discovery". I then debated about whether or not I should take today off sick. Part of me was saying "sod it", but part of me knew I had to go to work; especially if I was going to go to Lego Club later.
As I drove through the "hursts" and the "dens" the pundits on the radio were talking about how today was the third anniversary of Brexit, and how by pretty much all measurable parameters the country is far worse off. They then wheeled on all sorts of windbags who claimed the exact opposite with equal conviction.
Who was right? Who knows? There is no way to know. It just strikes me that it is time to stop bellyaching about what might have been and to get on with reality as it is.
Similarly there was also a lot of talk about the Hillsborough tragedy. Without in any way trying to downplay the seriousness of what happened, isn't it time to move on from that as well?
So much of the morning's so-called news program isn't "news" at all, it is endless speculation about what might have been.
As I drove out of Biddenden I slammed on the car's brakes as a hawk swooped seemingly inches in front of the car's windscreen, snatched up something from the grass verge and flew off back past my windscreen again. It was rather spectacular; I wish I had a dash-cam which could have recorded it.
The journey to work was rather tedious today. Having left home rather later than usual I got caught in the slow-moving traffic which infests the A21. It took me forty-five minutes to drive the twenty-one miles to the Lamberhurst roundabout, then a further twenty-five minutes to drive the six miles from that roundabout to work.
Work was work; I’d arranged to leave an hour early so I could get to Lego club. I’m rather growing to hate the journey to Pembury, and Pembury to Hythe isn’t the easiest of journeys. After nearly two hours I got to Hythe and was rather concerned  to find the place where we meet in darkness and the door locked. A quick look at the Lego Club’s Facebook page told me the meeting had been cancelled…
Oh well… these things happen.
Had I known there was no Lego Club today I would have had another day on the sick leave…

30 January 2023 (Monday) - Sick Leave

I woke feeling like death warmed up. I should have stayed in bed and phoned work later to say I was sick. But I didn’t. Over the years others have taken sick leave for all sorts of reasons, but being rather “old-skool” I’ve never wanted to myself. I’ve needed to, but never wanted to. Over the last six years I’ve taken sick leave after nasal surgery (twice) and the time my ill-fitting glasses gave me double vision. I’ve vague recollections of having a week off when I seriously smashed my leg (and got cellulitis and couldn’t walk) after playing “Piggy in the Middle” with the kids in the garden when they were small, and I can remember two instances when I felt too grotty to get out of bed.
But generally “I don’t do sick leave” so I got up.
The puppies were as good as gold this morning. I made toast and watched “Star Trek: Discovery” then walked three streets away to where I’d left the car. Much as it would be a monumental arse-ache I’d really like to move to a house with designated parking. Yesterday when I came home I spent ages driving round trying to find somewhere to park, and the closest place was ridiculously far away.
As I drove to work I listened to the radio. The Prime Minister has finally sacked Nadhim Zahawi for… well, I don’t think anyone knows what he did wrong. All that I can find out is that he is being investigated by HM Revenue and Customs. I’m not defending the chap but is this a case of “no smoke without fire” or just the rough and tumble of political life.
That idiot Boris Johnson was also in the news, claiming that during his time as Prime Minister the Russian leader Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile strike in a telephone conversation. Did he? I don’t know, and the Russians are denying it. I would say “they would, wouldn’t they”, but there’s an easy way to find the truth here. Presumably all high-level diplomatic phone calls are recorded (if not, why not), so just play back the recording. And if there is some reason of confidentiality or national security as to why they recording can’t be made public, then that idiot Boris Johnson should be prosecuted for making the allegation public in the first place, shouldn’t he?
My piss then boiled with talk about how “trans women with male genitalia” are no longer to be housed in women’s prisons in the UK. Apparently some chap who’d been raping women declared himself a woman and got put in a women’s prison before he’d had his “meat and two veg” removed.
Perhaps I’m an old reactionary hopelessly out of touch with reality, and I am very open to being shown the error of my ways, but surely a “trans woman with male genitalia” is a man. Isn’t he? And then locking one of these up with a whole load of women... What am I missing here?
I got to work. I lasted an hour and a half before admitting I really wasn’t feeling up to it. I spent a few minutes talking to the supervisor… is “arguing” the right word? Why was I going home? Apparently “because I feel like death warmed up” wasn’t something that could be put on the form… even though that was the reason I was going home.
I came home, went to bed and slept solidly for five hours.
When I woke I saw I had a message from Hastings Direct asking how I felt they’d done with getting my car fixed after my little accident of last August. I marked them as low as I could in every category except the quality of the repair as a good fix had been done (if far too late), and told them “Having had the accident in August, not getting the car repaired until the end of November was far too long. Especially bearing in mind the local repair place (Alpha Rapid Repair)  could have done the job for only two-thirds of the price in the first week of September.
And since getting the car back  the petrol consumption is far worse. Where I used to get five hundred miles form a full tank, now I only get just over four hundred miles.
And - have you ever tried phoning Hastings Direct? It takes over an hour just to get put through to the wrong department.”
I wonder if they will reply?
“er indoors TM went bowling and I settled myself on the sofa underneath a pile of dogs from where I watched more “Star Trek: Discovery”.
I’m still not on top form but I’ve certainly perked up a little having spent the afternoon asleep. I shall have an early night. I should really phone in sick again tomorrow… even though I would feel guilty doing so.

29 January 2023 (Sunday) - Early Shift; Feeling Grim

I felt like death warmed up as I heaved my carcass out of its pit this morning. Having had a couple of rather good days off I wasn't keen on going to work today. It has to be said that I have been far happier in my job over these last few years than I have been for the previous thirty-five, but I'd still rather get the wages without actually doing any work.
I "did" the puppies, and as they snuggled up to “er indoors TM on the big bed (they love it) I made toast and had a look at the Internet. Yesterday I mentioned that I am getting an increasing amount of crackpot religion appearing on my Facebook feed. This morning in the targetted advertising that Facebook does I was presented with a job opportunity. Did I want to be a pioneer evangelist working of the Church Army in the Diocese of Gloucester? If I got the job I would be "pioneering activities that bring Christian hope and building worshipping communities (“fresh expressions of church”) amongst groups not normally touched by the church, and I would enable others to do so too. I would focus on young adults, particularly 18-35 years, and by extension their families, and particularly those with low incomes/low aspirations/low self-esteem". For  doing that for thirty seven and a half hours each week I would get twenty five thousand quid a year, and a pension if I stuck at it long enough. And before anyone shouts that heathens like me needn't apply, as part of the Church Army's corporate inclusivity, being a Christian isn't a requirement for the job - see page seventeen of the job pack. You don’t have to be a member of the religion you are professionally evangelising. Seriously?  
Back in the day when I was a steward in the Methodist church I and my fellow Sunbeams would have willingly done all this sort of thing for free. And we did.
Is this a sign of our times that even do-gooders have to be paid these days?
I rolled my eyes, and taking care not to wake anyone I set off to work. Being a Sunday the talk on the radio was of a religious nature... or was stark staring nonsense (depending on your personal perspective)
Someone or other was drivelling on about how in the Old Testament God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. So without batting an eyelid Abraham made a start of getting on with it. In some narratives apparently Abraham wasn't entirely keen on the idea so he asked his son Isaac what he thought... and the idiot child said that if the voices in your head say to kill your own child, then you have to do it. In the story, on seeing that Abraham was quite prepared to murder his own son, God changed his mind and suggested he mutilate a sheep instead. Which was nice for Isaac, but not so nice for the poor sheep (who wasn't doing anyone any harm). The most amazing part of this was that this nonsensical bollox was presented as a somehow being good thing?
To think I used to believe every word of it...
I turned the radio off and sang along to "Ivor Biggun" songs  as I headed to Pembury.
I got to work and did that which I couldn't avoid doing. As I worked I had an occasional glance out of the window. This time last year I sat in the garden and shivered for an hour as part of the annual RSPB Birdwatch.  The idea is that you sit in the garden, record all the avian activity, and tell the RSPB. Last year after an hour in sub-zero temperatures I recorded one pigeon,  and no one from the RSPB (or anywhere else come to that) thanked me for my contribution to avian research. As I glanced out of the window today I didn't spot many birds... none at all to be precise. Perhaps the rain put them off?
With work done I drove home through the rain. I stopped off at Gouldhurst to have a look at the farm shop there; I had a plan of getting “er indoors TM a pressie. I had a look round, got studiously ignored by all the staff, and came straight out. They weren’t giving it away. Take for example the gin they were selling from a local distillery. The stuff was ten quid a bottle more expensive in the farm shop than what you’d pay at the distillery.
I got home and found “er indoors TM having a “Bake Off” moment. She’d made some chocolate buns. Very nice. I scoffed one, then had a little doze with the dogs. Actually quite a big doze with the dogs. I probably needed the sleep.
“er indoors TM boiled up dinner which we scoffed whilst watching more of “Lego Masters: Australia”, and I slobbed in front on the telly some more. I’m feeling rather washed out… I’ve felt rough most of the day. perhaps another early night might be a plan?