31 March 2023 (Friday) - Cabernet Sauvignon


Usually when I go to bed I get an hour or so asleep before “er indoors TM and the dogs come up and cause mayhem. Last night as I went up so Morgan and Bailey woke, got off the sofa and quietly trotted up with me. Seeing how subdued they looked I naively thought we might all settle down. Bailey looked pathetically at the bed, and I lifted her up. She and Morgan lay down. I turned the light off, settled myself... and all hell broke loose. Both puppies embarked on a pitched play-battle that (despite my continually separating them and telling them off) continued until “er indoors TM finally came up at which point they both settled without her having to say a word… and then stared a play-fight with Treacle.

I made toast and watched the last episode of "Stath Lets Flats". Bearing in mind how well the show started, the ending was a grave disappointment.
I had a little look at the Internet and saw I had a friend request on Facebook from "Unfaceless Angel". I don't know if she thinks she looks sexy in the pose she is pulling in her profile picture; she just looks scary to me.
I got dressed and set off through the rain to find where I'd left my car. It was where I'd left it yesterday... a couple of streets away. Getting to it would have been easier had the bin men not deliberately made the local pavements impassable with discarded recycling bins. Back in the day the bin men collected the bin from your kitchen door and brought it back again. These days the bin has to be left in the middle of the pavement for them, and when they have emptied it, they just hurl it in the general direction of away from the bin lorry. Am I being unreasonably harsh in saying this? Come down my road on a Friday morning at half past six and watch them...
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking about how (ex) President Trump is to be indicted over the "Stormy Daniels" debacle. From what I can work out, it is quite acceptable to give a porn star large sums of money for the most vague of reasons. However if you do so, the accounts must be in order... and it was claimed that there are irregularities in the accounting of the bung that was allegedly given to Ms Daniels.
Either way, the expert opinion was that far from putting the tin lid on Mr. Trump's political aspirations, this whole business will do no end of good for his chances of being re-elected this year.
Funny old world...
And the UK government was hailing Britain's joining the Indo-pacific trade bloc as the UK's biggest trade deal since Brexit. Expected to be worth less than a tenth of a percent of the UK's economy it is certainly a piss-poor arrangement compared to what the UK threw away when we were part of the European bloc, but these days, (self-made) beggars can't be choosers. It was claimed that whilst the financial benefits to the UK might be trivial; the important thing would be that if the UK were part of the bloc then the UK would be able to influence Chinese policy should China ever wish to join.
It is a shame that they don't seem at all interested...
Work was work; the highlight of the day was a leaky biro. But being on another early shift I got out early. I drove home through heavy rain, and once home I took the dogs for a short walk. They weren’t keen on going out in the rain, but… they are funny. They clearly wanted to go out, but not out in the rain.
We walked round the block and came home again.
Despite no one having found the Wherigos I set on Wednesday I spent a couple of hours working on another new Wherigo project until “er indoors TM came home.
“er indoors TM boiled up a very good bit of dinner which bearing in mind today was the end of an era (“er indoors TM” left her place of work today after over twenty years of being there) we washed down with a rather expensive bottle of wine…
Here’s a tip – you can spend over twenty quid on a bottle of Pieroth Cabernet Sauvignon, or you can spend a fiver on a bottle of Sainsbury’s “taste the difference” Cabernet Sauvignon which actually tastes better.
As we scoffed and drank we watched this week’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard” which was rather good. In retrospect the program probably worked better if you’d been watching Star Trek over twenty years ago… but I was.

30 March 2023 (Thursday) - A Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday I started off by saying "I didn't notice a single dog all night long last night". I certainly did last night. If one wasn't constantly stomping all over my head in the small hours, one of the other two was.
I made toast (again) and watched another episode of "Stath Lets Flats", then got myself ready for work. As I dressed, three dogs who had been so restless all night long were all blissfully fast asleep. I resisted the temptation to rudely wake them; they wouldn't understand anyway.
Pausing only briefly to cap six bouncers out of the tree house (it's a Munzee thing) I set off to work. As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing all sorts of people about the problems schools are facing with pupils claiming to be "trans". It seems there is no national guidance from central government, and so schools are doing what they each think is probably a good idea. Some are being sensible; some are making a total balls-up of it. Some are telling the pupils not to be so silly. Others are treating the pupils as being the opposite gender to which the pupils' parents are treating them (and deliberately concealing this from the parents). I've said before that I don't understand the whole "trans" thing. Whilst I am sure there are some genuine cases of gender dysphoria there is quite a bit of evidence to show that those adults being treated for it are just as miserable after treatment as they were before. And as for teenagers with it...
Am I being really such an old reactionary in thinking that when my father was at school there were those who dressed as Teddy Boys. When I was at school there were those who wanted to shock by being Punk Rockers. Daddy’s Little Angel TM was a "Goth Chav"... Does my granddaughter *seriously* have twenty genuine trans classmates? Twenty? In one class?
And then the pundits on the radio played recordings from "Yesterday in Parliament" in which the county's leaders sounded just like ill-behaved schoolchildren squabbling over trivia. I've been in high-level professional meetings before where there were serious differences of opinion, but every time the protagonists disagreed by stating the relevant issues and the pros and cons of the matters under discussion. At no point did anyone resort to the (frankly pathetic) petty quarrelling and name-calling that characterizes the parliamentary process.
As I drove to work my phone pinged. The Wherigo caches I'd hidden yesterday had gone live. But I had messages about them. One was working fine; but despite all the testing I'd done, six had downloading issues. That was a pain in the glass (as “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TMmight say). I had a theory as to what the issue might be, but there wasn't much I could do without my lap-top. I disabled the problem and cracked on with the day. In between cracking on I had a look at the exact error message that was coming from Wherigo dot com, and I had an idea… I knew exactly what the problem was.
I came home, walked the pups round the block and then sparked up the lap-top. I took out the completion code that was mentioned in the error log, uploaded a revised cartridge, and watched it all go belly-up again. So much for my genius idea…
After a bit of farting about I found that the problem was that when you start the little game on the app on your mobile (which is what the Wherigo actually is) the Wherigo asks for your name, and then as the game goes on, it calls you by your name.
Or it is supposed to.
This bit worked absolutely fine (and is still working absolutely fine) in the Wherigo I created a month ago. But it was causing total system failure in the one I uploaded last night. So as the dogs slept after their walk I stripped out all references to the player name, and re-wrote all the interactions between the player and the game. It only took an hour or so…
I managed to upload a cartridge which didn’t crash at about six o’clock, and within half an hour several people had downloaded it. Bearing in mind that the first version was un-download-able, I saw that as something of a result.
“er indoors TM boiled up some scran which we scoffed whilst watching more “Outsiders” and an episode of “The Great Pottery Throwdown” in which several of the contestants had major disasters… which was entertaining.
As I gloated at the potters’ misfortunes I set about a tub of Cadbury’s Roses which “er indoors TM had been hiding since Christmas. She likes to have one sweetie a week; I scoff the lot in one sitting. So much for diet, eh?
And in closing, today would have been my Mum & Dad’s sixty-sixth wedding anniversary…

29 March 2023 (Wednesday) - Rostered Day Off


It was a rather cold night last night. It would have been warmer had I been allowed any of the duvet. After a bit of a rant and a forceful yank in the small hours I secured enough of the cover to get warm.
I fancied toast for brekkie this morning, and turned the toaster up. “er indoors TM only ever has the thing set to “warm the bread up” but I prefer the stuff cooked. With toast (as opposed to warm bread) I sparked up the lap-top and peered into the Internet. I saw I had two new friend requests on Facebook. One had no end of different people in its gallery of profile pictures (and so was so obviously a scam profile). The other just had an epic chest. I accepted neither to my select list of chums.
I printed out some geocaching log sheets, made up seven geocache pots and got the dogs on to their leads.
As I drove the dogs up to Kings Wood the pundits on the radio were talking about Paul O’Grady who had died overnight. Having started as a TV drag queen twenty (or more) years ago he’s been on the telly pretty much ever since, and was something of a local celebrity living only a few miles down the road in Aldington. Several TV personalities were reminiscing about him on the radio this morning; yet again, and as the day went on, everyone’s Facebook feed filled up about him. I found myself in a minority of one in not knowing who the chap was.
We got to Kings Wood. The plan for today was to put out the geocache pots which will be the physical goals for the Wherigo I’ve been working on over the last week. And that was what we did. 
As we walked we met a team of Labradors quite literally rolling in thick mud. My dogs get grubby enough without actually rolling in the mud. I exchanged pleasantries with the people whose dogs were in the mud. They seemed rather miffed that my dogs were relatively clean, and their demeanor wasn’t improved at all when I pointed out that even if my dogs *were* lagged up, being small they take a lot less scrubbing.
We put out seven geocache pots, then went on a little wander and found hiding places for four more. We could have looked for more, but the forecast rain had started so we headed back to the car park.
When we were about ten minutes from the car park my idiot mag leapt into action. Some bloke (and a harassed looking wife) appeared from nowhere and he demanded to know if he could ask me a question… well, two questions. How long had I been in the woods? (about two and a half hours.) Had I seen any birds? (a few pigeons and we’d heard pheasants). The bloke then started on a major rant about what a complete con Chris Packham’s TV shows are. Apparently whenever Mr. Packham goes into the countryside on his telly shows he is followed by flocks of golden eagles, and has to fight redcaps and nightjars off with a shitty stick. However whenever this looney I’d found goes into the woods he is lucky to see as much as a sparrow.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d seen the white deer earlier (if only fleetingly).
We came home to uproar. “er indoors TM’s mate had the front door in bits. It had been sticking recently. A little while ago I phoned Everest (who fitted it some time ago) about it but the woman I spoke to was disinterested to the point of rudeness. “er indoors TM’s mate has recently set up as a locksmith, and after an hour with him and his mate clouting the door the thing now noticeably opens much easier than it ever did.
Here’s hoping it don’t jam up again.
I did the geo-admin for the geocaches I’d hidden earlier, and then spent the afternoon watching episodes of “Four In A Bed” in which again those who knew the least were the nicest people and those who should have known better came over rather badly.
A quick bit of CPD, then on realizing she’d not got the makings of dinner out of the freezer, “er indoors TM popped to the KFC for scran. So much for diet, eh?
We scoffed KFC whilst watching another episode of “Outsiders” during which “er indoors TM learned a new word. How can anyone have never heard of the word “norks”?

28 March 2023 (Tuesday) - After Some Wine

I didn't notice a single dog all night long last night. I could have slept so well… Such a shame that I woke in a cold sweat following a nightmare in which “er indoors TM had half destroyed the chodbin trying to remove a lock on the door which wasn't there.
I didn't fancy a Slimfast shake this morning; neither did I fancy a visit to Downton. Instead I made toast and watched an episode of "Stath Lets Flats" in which our hero jumped in a canal because another idiot dared him to. For a series which started well, it is certainly fizzling out and looks set to end with a whimper rather than a bang.
I set off to work through a rather old and wet morning. As I drove the pundits on the radio were spouting all sorts of drivel on all sorts of subjects. 
Humza Yousaf is now the head honcho in Scotland. I'd never heard of him before, and from what was being said on the radio it would seem that all of Scotland's politicians are something of an unknown quantity these days. If Nicola Sturgeon hadn't been running pretty much a one (wo)man band, all of her sidekicks either went with her, or had been keeping very low profiles.
There was also a lot of talk about upcoming strikes by teachers.  The pundits interviewing the union official were rather critical, but they seemed to be missing the point of all these strikes. As a society we need skilled people teaching in schools and treating in hospitals. Why on Earth would anyone take on such a demanding job when you really can get just as much money working in a supermarket filling shelves?
Schools are already funded by do-gooders staging beetle drives and gofundme campaigns. I really can see a time when hospitals are run by St John's Ambulance volunteers.
I got to work. Being a Tuesday there was a greengrocer’s stall in the hospital foyer. The produce all looked rather good, but the chap was knocking apples out at five for two pounds fifty as some sort of a bargain. Fifty pence for an apple ain’t a bargain to me!
Work was much the same as ever. I did my bit and escaped early. I came home and walked the pups round the block, then (having finished my new Wherigo last night) spent a couple of hours on another new Wherigo project. Well… not so much “new” as “revamped”.
“er indoors TM boiled up a very good chicken curry which we washed down with a bottle of Sainsbury’s sweet white wine from their “Taste the Difference” range. With change out of a fiver, you can’t complain about that stuff. As we scoffed and swilled we watched an episode of “Outsiders” which rather reminds me of my days as a scout leader.
And with that watched we put on an episode of “Landscape Artist of the Year”. Some of the artists were quite talented. Others… I honestly think my eight year old grandson could have done better… and probably has.