Just when sin is quite the thing, here’s one who holds quite tight to what has worked before...
Beer (brewing and drinking), holidays, diets, dogs, fishing, ironing, hiking, geocaching, Munzees, Lego, wherigoing, painting (oils, emulsion and gloss), ranting, recording history as I see it. Days with family, days with friends. Always an opinion (always wrong); rarely a dull moment. Welcome to my world. Remember history is written by those who make the effort to write it.
With an alarm set I was up far too early as I always am
when I have an alarm set. I watched some "Shameless", then had
a little look at the Internet just in case something amazingly different had
There were loads of people squabbling on Facebook about how
"un Star Trek like" the most recent episodes of Star Trek had
been; all of these people proudly showing off how little they'd actually
watched the program. And quite a few people on my Facebook friends list were
posting from places abroad. As is so often the case, the more these people
plead poverty during the year, the more exotic their foreign holiday. Or
holidays... as they have several.
I set off to work and as I drove I listened to the radio.
As I drove there was a lot of talk about high street shops closing. Wilko,
Boots, M&S, Iceland... the
list is growing.
The amazing revelation was made that this is because of
on-line shopping and how people can order stuff from the comfort of their
living rooms without the aggro of having to go to a shop and face the Great
Unwashed. The chap being interviewed seemed to think this was rather surprising
... he really did. He went on to say that on-line shopping is all very well for
the younger generation, but it isn't something that the older ones among us can
do; the implication being that if you were over fifty then the twenty-first
century had rather passed you by. I thought that rather rude. Realistically
being able to use the Internet today is akin to being able to read or write. If
you can't do so, there's plenty of help out there.
Let's be honest - the only people who are IT illiterate are
those who choose to be.
There was also a lot of talk about how Chief Constables are
to have the right to sack bad
coppers. The police unions felt that in theory this was a good idea, but in
practice there might be those Chief Constables who would use these powers to
settle old scores. They might be right.
The point was also made that public confidence in the
police is at an all-time low. I must admit I've no respect or confidence for
the police. Here's a suggestion... why not make being a police officer
compulsory for everyone for a period of time just like National Service used to
be. If we've all done it, we might just be a tad more understanding of the Old
I got to work for the early shift and had a rather busy
day... matters weren't helped by my having the theme tune to "Tiny Toon
Adventures" stuck in my head. But an early start made for an early
finish, and seeing the forecast rain hadn’t happened I took the dogs down to
Orlestone Woods where something odd was going on. Or, to be precise, two
There was a hippy camper van in the car park which had
clearly taken up residence; there was a washing line set up out of the back of
it with all the hippy laundry drying. I tried to take a photo, buut couldn’t do
so without being obvious.
And the wooden bollard (to keep motor vehicles out of
the wood) had been removed. Removed very cleanly. The thing had obviously
been lifted out of the hole. But to lift it out without disturbing any of the
surrounding soil must have taken specialist equipment. And had it been done “officially”,
a gaping hole wouldn’t have been left. Fortunately someone had stuck a stick in
it to make the thing obvious otherwise I (for one) would have fallen
Had the hippies removed it, or were these two unrelated
“er indoors TM” got kebab for tonight’s
dinner. It was rather good, but I think my scoffing all the chilis was a silly
For once, pretty much nothing was kicking off on social
media this morning, so once I’d scoffed toast I got ready for the off. I’d
booked today as a day’s holiday as “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” had
some errands to run, but she’d changed her plans. So rather than cancelling my
day off, I thought I’d take it anyway.
I took the dogs out. With no burning need to hurry home we
went up to Kings Wood. Orlestone is a nine-minute drive away; Kings Wood is
twenty minutes, but a much bigger wood with a lot less mud.
As we drove the pundits on the radio were talking about the
summer’s various festivals that had taken place. Apparently every year about a
quarter of a million tents are left behind at festivals in the UK.
This was always a problem; back in the day there used to be a biker’s meet-up
on the Romney Marsh and after they’d gone the landowner would offer free tents
to anyone who wanted to come along and take one away, but now the numbers of
tents have got too many, and the things are gathered up and chucked into landfill
by commercial companies.
I found myself thinking of the years when we used to go to
kite festivals and spend hours taking our camp down. Perhaps we should have
just said “sod it” and left them all behind?
We got to the woods and took a rather circuitous walk…
because we could. We went for (almost) five miles and as we went we met
two other dog walkers and one group of forestry commission workers. Morgan ate
blackberries from the brambles, Treacle waded in swamps, Bailey was the one who
would disappear, but would come back when called.
But they seem to be getting better at posing for the
After five miles we got back to the car, and came home. The
dogs were soon snoring so I popped up the road to get some pastries, and also
to chat up the scaffolders. Our washing line is held up by three scaffold
poles. They were old when we moved in thirty-two years ago and are now rusting
through at the bottom. It can only be a matter of time before they collapse so
I’m on the lookout to replace them. The scaffolders didn’t have any spare…
shame. I eventually found what I need (what I actually need; not what I can
bodge) on Amazon. So do I replace the
poles now… or wait for them to collapse? They might collapse tomorrow; they
might do another few years. Mind you the ones on Amazon are quite a bit shorter
than the ones that are currently in the garden… if any of my loyal readers are
walking past a building site…
And then I smelled something. I looked down – the mostly white
Bailey had a rather odd-looking yellow smear on her neck. Fox poo! She wasn’t
happy about being woken and scrubbed in the bath. And then we found some rather
yukky marks on Morgan’s back. He wasn’t pleased to be chucked in the tub
As I have said many times before, no day off work is
complete without a couple of hours spent doing ironing, and today was no
exception. As I ironed I watched a couple of episodes of “Shameless”
then wrote up a little CPD.
“er indoors TM” sorted out a very good
bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching more of “Bake Off: The Professionals”
which tonight I couldn’t take seriously. Things started badly with one of the
judges talking about “dickhead pastry”. Having rewound and replayed a
couple of times we think he actually meant “decadent pastry” and I misunderstood
the accent. From then on my attention was divided between the amazing baking
and the dreadful haircuts. And one of the contestants was wearing a rather
obvious wig. What’s the etiquette when seeing someone wearing a frankly
dreadful wig? Do you politely try to keep a straight face, or fall about
pointing and laughing? I can’t say I’m happy being a slaphead, but the
alternative is far worse. Isn’t it?
I was up far too early again this morning. I’d been laying
wide awake in desperate need of the loo, but not daring to go because getting
up would mean surrendering the precious little bed space that I had.
I eventually got up and watched another episode of “Shameless”.
I do like the show, but the writers don’t do their homework. In the previous
episode the gangster family supposedly set up a blood bank in their kitchen
using freezer bags to hold the blood. Seriously? And the plot of today’s
episode involved a very junior trainee pharmacy technician being able to
regularly steal large amounts of prescription drugs. Again – seriously?
I then had a look at Facebook as I do. Someone had posted
to the Facebook page of the Gran Canaria hotel we went to last year slagging
the place off. Someone else had posted to one of the Lego groups I follow
trying to laugh at someone for spending money on a rather expensive Lego set.
Both had obviously started off thinking they were the voice of the majority;
both had been rather bluntly told to get knottted by the majority, and both had
promptly left the “discussions”. However despite their having left it (and
consequently being unable to see any further comments on their postings)
there were still no end of people queueing up to join in the petty bickering.
I set off to work… or tried to. The cars in front and
behind my car weren’t the ones that were there when I parked it on Sunday. The
one behind had left me about a foot or so of space; the one in front had left
perhaps six inches. There certainly wasn’t room to walk between the cars.
After a little to-ing and fro-ing I got out.
As I drove the pundits on the radio were talking about how
there is to be a revolution in the treatment of type two diabetes in
the under forties following the revelation that people aged
under forty with type two diabetes seem to have really bad disease progression
pretty much immediately after diagnosis. This obviously gave rise to two
possibilities. Either people are not getting diagnosed soon enough, or the
current treatment is causing the disease progression. The expert being interviewed
didn’t want to answer these points…
There was also a lot of air-time spent on the head honcho
of football in Spain. The chap got rather excited when the Spanish team won the
women’s world (football) cup last week and kissed one of the players.
From what I can work out this was a spur-of-the-moment thing caused by the
excitement of the moment and could (and should) have been forgotten
about as soon as it happened. But a week later there’s consternation all around
the world about the matter. The poor chap seems to have only one ally worldwide
(on reflection I think I shall remain neutral!); his mother, who is
currently in some church somewhere having a hunger strike in his
Work was rather hard work today Even though there was cake,
I was rather glad to get home.
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good
dinner which we washed down with a bottle of plonk whilst watching more episodes
of “Bake Off: The Professionals”. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t have
walked out of the Harbour Restaurant’s kitchen in early September 1981 but
stayed on and studied cooking rather than blood testing… Could I have ended up
on “Bake Off: The Professionals”? Possibly…
I had an early night last night and got four hours asleep
before needing the loo. I then had a pitched battle to get any bed space. How
can such small dogs take up so much bed?
I put a load of washing in to scrub, and over brekkie I had
my usual look at the Internet. This morning people were ranting about how we
should use cash rather than credit cards; the implication being that credit
card transactions cost whereas cash just goes round and round and round in free
But it don’t.
Eventually the cash in your pocket will be deposited or
topped up which requires a trip to a cash machine or bank, and costs (depending
on who you bank with).
Cash does not generate interest when in paper form like
digital money does, so you are effectively devaluing your money when you turn
it into cash (especially right now when inflation is so high).
If my cash is lost or stolen, I’m poggered. If my card is
nicked I’ve got some come-back.
Shops might not have the same costs on cash transactions as
they do on card ones, but it costs them to count it all and take it to the bank.
(I can remember my old boss (at the Harbour Restaurant in Hastings) going on
quite a journey to the bank with two burly washer-uppers as bodyguards as he
went to deposit thousands of pounds of cash several times each week).
Shops can also deal with far more customers per hour using
cards than they can taking cash payments (which must go some way to counteract
the cost of the card transactions).
On a personal level if I buy something for (say)
£3.99 on my card, that’s what it costs me. If I pay cash I spend a fiver and
the change just disappears.
I use my card whenever I can for the simple reason that it
has been my experience that about one payment in two hundred never actually
goes through and appears on my statement. This year I've had free fish and
chips, Amazon e-books and fifty quid worth of clothes. In the past I’ve had
free bar bills and tank-fulls of petrol.
And (like all government employees) my income is a
matter of public record and therefore so is my tax bill. If people are paid in
cash it is a lot easier to end up paying a lot less tax (not that *anyone*
would ever dream of doing that!)
I then took a deep breath…
Our plan for the day had been a family beach day. But
events conspired against us. So I got out the paint brush and put the last coat
of paint onto my epic wooden reel.
I mowed the lawn.
I hung out laundry and put more in to scrub.
I gave the pond filter a seriously big scrub (as opposed
to the routine fortnightly ones it gets), then washed myself off. No one
said anything about fish poo when I first dug the pond.
I had a little look at the pond. The plants in the bog
filter are now flowering and look rather impressive. Sadly the ones in the
floating baskets look dead, but you can’t have everything.
I hung out more laundry and put undercrackers in to
I pruned the stuff pouring over our fences.
After six hours I was aching somewhat. I went inside where “er
indoors TM” was putting the finishing touches to the assembly of
our new table. The old one was poggered. But despite it being poggered she’d
advertised it as a freebie on Facebook Marketplace and someone said they’d
collect it at two o’clock.
I’m told they arrived at half past five; I was asleep
underneath a pile of dogs.
The idea of a Bank Holiday is to have a bit of a rest. “er
indoors TM” had been busy indoors all day; I’d been busy
outside. But we thought we should do something today. So we took the dogs to
Kings Wood for one of our shorter walks. Starting from the lower car park we
did our two and a half miles walk. It was a shame that Treacle had to wallow in
every muddy puddle she saw, but that’s the kind of dog she is.
“er indoors TM” boiled up dinner which
we scoffed off of the new table whilst watching the final of “Lego Masters:
New Zealand”. The new table is rather good; it is higher than the old one
and so consequently has room to get your legs underneath.
And for all that today
was rather busy, being able to eat dinner without cramped legs was the
night I saw that “Alien Covenant” was on the Film 4 channel, so I put it
on, and then woke up at two o’clock. I went to bed and with everyone up in the
loft room with “Darcie Waa Waa TM” I had a rather good
night’s sleep. I heard her chattering at eight o’clock so got up, had a shave
and made toast before the mayhem started.
We had a good singalong to the “Bingo” song on “Lube-Tube”
(as my grandson calls “You-Tube”), then had some assisted walking round
the garden. Littlun insists on having her hands held as she toddles about.
After a few seconds you get the world’s worst backache, and she wants to toddle
about for ages.
Eventually she tired of it, and had her brekkie of dry
cereal and grapes, and with her fed she then fed Bailey. She would take a
handful of dog food and throw it at Bailey. Bailey loved this; I’m not sure
which one had the most fun.
“er indoors TM” then took “Darcie Waa Waa TM”home, and I took the dogs for a walk. Orlestone has been an unmitigated
disaster at the weekends before (as it heaves with normal people at the
weekends) but although we met five other groups of dogs walkers today, the
walk passed off without serious incident. The only problem was Treacle trying
to pick a fight with a Rottie about ten times her size.
We came home; I got some more fence paint onto my huge
wooden reel, then sat on the sofa with the dogs and slept until “er indoors TM”
The dogs soon settled, and we set off to Dymchurch for our
family bingo afternoon. We had a rather good time; even if it did pour down at
one point. I won one round, and emptied six bottles of ale down my neck.
All too soon it was time to say our goodbyes. I was all set
to have a little sleep on the way home, but “er indoors TM” suggested
I might check the new geocache notifications in case we got home and found we’d
driven straight past a new one. A couple of hours previously a new geocache had gone live a little way out
of our way home, but with no logs registered on the thing we took a little
detour out to it, and soon we had the cache in hand. First ones to find it too.
We came home feeling rather pleased with ourselves. “er
indoors TM” boiled up pizza and we watched the semi-final of “Lego
Masters: New Zealand”.
My phone had a message for me this morning. Apparently my
EVRI driver Adam had been unable to deliver my parcel at quarter past three
this morning. If I would log on to a very dubious website and give it all my
bank account details and passwords they might be able to redeliver…
I suppose it only takes one idiot to fall for these scams
for the scammers to break even, and the second idiot puts them in profit.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. I had an email
from the nice people at Credit Karma who told me that my score had gone up
twenty-seven points in the last month, and was currently three points up on
what it had been what I first joined them. The nice people at Credit Karma are
very quick to tell me when my score goes up or down, but are very vague about
what might make it go up or down.
There was an entertaining rant on one of the atheist pages
I follow on Facebook where some religious crackpot had joined to “spread the
word of the lord” and had found that the words of his lord were at odds
with the words of the lords of the other religious crackpots who had also
joined the atheist pages to “spread the word of the lord”. I follow one
or two religious and anti-religious pages for a bit of a laugh… mind you one of
them makes me very uneasy. When I was a lad I used to go to Boys Brigade which
is all about tricking small children in to going to church and then
brainwashing them. Looking back the Boys Brigade was a very dangerous
organization which should be banned. It certainly did me quite a bit of mental
harm. But when I was eleven years old I took my best friend of the time along.
Sadly he really fell for all they were pushing, and he’s now a Baptist pastor
in the West Country. I follow his church’s Facebook page; it’s macabre. My old
mate regularly stars in their webinars in which he presents stark staring
nonsense as supposedly being factually correct on a regular basis. He’s clearly
deranged… and it’s all because of me.
I had planned to get another coat of paint onto my wooden
reel after brekkie, but with a forecast of zero per cent chance of rain
overnight I’d left the thing out, and it had poured hard overnight. So I
carried on slobbing on the sofa until it was time for dog club.
We had a minor disaster as we drove to dog club; Steve
wasn’t on the radio, and whilst his replacement was bravely having a go, he was
sadly no substitute.
Dog Club was much the same as ever… it sounds rather dull;
you can’t really big it up. It is forty minutes in a fenced area in which dogs
run riot whilst the humans stand around chatting. But I love watching the dogs
have fun, and the dogs clearly love it; our three squeal in excitement when we
turn the car in to the Repton estate.
We came home, and seeing my big wooden reel had dried out I
got some paint onto it. Again what seemed like a simple and straightforward job
took ages. I then got pastries from the corner shop, and spent a few minutes on
the lap-top before setting off to the late shift.
As I drove I had a phone call from Sky. Did I want to get a
Sky Glass telly with them? I said I wasn't keen... and the woman on the phone
immediately hung up. I thought that was a tad rude... I would ask if they want
my future custom, but there's so few providers these days they've got something
of a monopoly anyway.
I drove up the "Operation Brock" dual
carriageway to work. The westerly bit of "Operation Brock" has
been abandoned (for now), but the easterly bit is still in force... for
no reason that I can fathom. Similarly there was a delay at the bottom of
Hermitage Lane where one of the lanes of the dual carriageway has been coned
off all week for seemingly absolutely no reason at all.
I also drove through glorious sunshine to work. I was a tad
miffed as when I left home the weather forecast gave seventy per cent chance of
rain. There were a few specks of rain as I drove, but I see "seventy
per cent chance of rain" as being somewhat more impressive than not
enough spots of rain to bother putting on the windscreen wipers.
I got to work and did my bit. After an hour or so the rain
set in, and I chirped up a little. I don't mind working at the weekend if I
don't think I'm missing much.
And with my bit done I came home to a very quiet house. Favorite
smallest granddaughter “Darcie Waa Waa TM” has come
for a sleepover, and she is fast asleep in the attic room with“er
indoors TM” and all three dogs.
The living room is rather lonely, but I’m making the most
of it and watching the telly in peace and quiet.
I didn't sleep very well last night, and gave up trying to
sleep whilst it was still dark. Being still dark I didn't see all the stuff
we'd moved out of the back bedroom onto the landing so we could get the room
plastered, and promptly fell over it all.
Oh, how I laughed. Mind you I was amazed (and grateful)
that the dogs didn't spring into "Red Alert".
I came downstairs and fell over the wooden reel I'd brought
I made toast and watched an episode of "Shameless",
then had a little look at the Internet. Apparently there are gangs of teenaged
thugs on the beach at Hastings hurling stones at passers-by, and (as is
always the case) the police are nowhere to be seen. It was suggested that
gangs of decent people go and "have a word with the children",
and (just maybe) break the arms that throw the stones.
I can't help but think that if the police aren't going to
do the job for which they are paid then this might be the way to solve the
problem. After all, gangs of vigilantes wouldn't have to render many teenagers
incapable of throwing stones before they got the idea.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were talking
about power bills. The energy
price cap is to fall so the amount that power companies will charge us will
be capped at less than it has been. So our leccie and gas bills will be less
than they were. However last year the government gave us all sixty quid a month
for half the year to help pay our leccie and gas bills, and they ain't doing
that this year, and so effectively the price of power will rise
Some windbag was being interviewed about bills; I don't
know who this idiot was, but he was billed as something big in the energy
sector. He said the answer was obvious... if people used less energy then their
bills would be less. So there we are... shiver, have a cold shower and eat raw
Work was work. I spent much of it with a rather annoying
earworm "Bertie, Bertie, Bertie the wonder glow-worm. He doesn't burp.
He doesn't fart. He rides around in a hovercraft".
Where on Earth did that come from?
I also found out that not only had Alvin Stardust been dead
for nine years, his real name was actually "Bernard".
I'm not sure why that should have been quite such a disappointment to me, but
I came home, and had a look in the back bedroom. The
plasterer had finished and done what looks like a good job to me. Certainly it’s
a better finish than anything I could do, but the burning question is “will
the stuff stay stuck on the wall?”
Time will tell; it always does.
Mind you I’m not keen on putting shelves back up on the new
wall – I think I might shop around and see if I can get some free standing
I then got a coat of wood preservative onto the top half of
my huge wooden reel (that only took half an hour!) then as “er
indoors TM” watched a German webinar about flogging candles I
had a look at the monthly accounts. There’s no denying that they are far better
than they were a few months ago. As part of this month’s sort out I organized the
last payments from Dad’s estate – that only took a year to sort out.
Having said that, given the choice I’d happily go back to
what the accounts were and have Mum and Dad back… but I’m not given that
I slept better last night than I had the night before; even
if I only had about eight inches along the edge of the bed on which to balance.
I didn’t hang around; with the plasterers coming at eight
o’clock I wanted to get the dogs out of the way so that they could set up in
peace. Admittedly the weather forecast was against us, but it was dry when we
set off. We got to Orlestone in some slight drizzle, but (as I said to the
dogs) “What are we going to do? Dissolve?” So we set off on our usual
walk. By the time we got to the third-of-the-way-round point the rain had
become torrential. At the two-thirds way so the thunder and lightning started.
At the point where the dogs go back onto their leads the puppies were hiding
under a bush.
We hurried home to uproar. Before new plaster can go on, the
old had to come off, and that was a very dusty job.
The dogs got a hot shower, and I wrung out my pants, put on
a dry pair, then had a little look at the Internet.
I had a friend request from some young lady with a rather epic
chest, but in a novel break with tradition, this one seemed to have it under
control. If not a triumph for morality, at least it’s a step in the right
direction. I downloaded bank and credit card statements to peruse over the next
few days, then set off in completely the opposite direction of work.
I headed off east up the A28, remembering all too well that
thoroughly miserable six years I had working at Canterbury. One of the more
trivial things I disliked about working there was the A28 itself. The speed
limit changes from national speed limit to forty miles per hour to fifty miles
per hour to national speed limit again, and all possible combinations and
permutations of those every few hundred yards. And at every stage is the very
real possibility of a police speed trap waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting
driver who didn't see the umpteenth change of speed limit.
Monday I mentioned that I was looking for a large reel for the pond filter's
hose. “Darcie Waa Waa TM”'s dad had sorted one out for me
from his work, so I drove to an obscure building site near Sainsburys where I
picked the thing up. As Big Jake and I hoiked it into the back of the car, a
bearded chap wandered past. He was the foreman of that building site. Big Jake
explained what we were doing; the foreman chuckled and asked if there was any
other rubbish I'd like. This reel really was going to get thrown away, and the
foreman couldn't work out why I'd driven miles out of my way to get what he
honestly thought was fit only for the bin.
I then checked my phone. Earlier I'd seen an email about a
new geocache going live in Whitstable. Whitstable isn't *that* far from
Canterbury... According to my phone it was eleven minutes’ drive from where I
was, and no one had yet found it. I set off, and eleven minutes later I had it
in my hand. No one else had found it. I was first. Go me.
From there it was a pretty much straight run to work... or
to the petrol station near work as I needed fuel. Petrol for the car and a
sandwich for me. I went to pull up at the petrol pump but in my world things
are never that simple. There was a chap standing by his car at the pump in
front of mine who was chatting away to whoever it was filling his car at the
opposite pump. And there was a rather dim-looking child (staring blankly
into space) standing exactly where I wanted (needed) to put my car.
So I waited. And waited. After a few minutes I beeped my hooter. The chap at
the car in front looked up, seemed genuinely surprised to see my car, swore
loudly at the dim-looking child, stopped his conversation with the chap at the
other petrol pump, and started putting petrol in his car. The dim-looking child
then blundered away, bouncing off of the petrol pump I wanted to use, and then
stood staring into space blocking up another petrol pump.
I went into work and had a relatively good day. But together
with everyone else I spent an inordinate amount of time checking the travel
news. There was an overturned lorry on the motorway. Had the wreckage been
cleared away? Could people get home up the motorway, or was everyone going to
be in one huge traffic jam?
I took the line that being on the late shift all the
traffic (jammed or otherwise) would have cleared by nine o'clock.
I woke in a panic at half past two this morning following a
nightmare in which I'd been implicated in a plot to assassinate the Prime
Minister. It had all been a horrible mistake stemming from “My Boy TM”'s plan to
kick Boris Johnson up the arse whilst shouting "Take that, you smarmy
f...er!", but somehow it all went wrong, the kick was a tad too
vigorous (and went up the wrong arse) and suddenly we had a dead PM on
our hands (or foot, to be precise).
I didn't get back to sleep after that; the dogs were taking
up far too much bed space for three small dogs, and each was radiating slightly
more heat that the summer sun.
I got up shortly after five o'clock, made toast and watched
another episode of "Shameless". Thinking that there can't be
many more episodes of that left for me to watch, I had
a look on-line.
I've got twenty-six more to go.
And with telly watched I had a look at Facebook as I do.
Yesterday it had been quiet, today there was something of a fight happening on
a page devoted to strange things found on Google Street View. Some (rather
thick) woman had looked up the place at zero degrees north (or south)
and zero degrees east (or west) and was rather surprised to find it was
in the Atlantic Ocean. Thinking this location had been chosen as the starting
point for longitude and latitude she asked "What idiot chose this
random place?". But sadly in doing so she gave a classic demonstration
of the old adage "it is better to remain silent and be though a fool
than to open your mouth and remove all possible doubt".
People weren't being kind to her.
Having had a couple of rostered days off, it was back to
work for me today. As I drove up the dual carriageway which is the M20, I
listened to the radio (as I do). It would seem that there is quite a bit
of consternation in Russia in that criminals
can volunteer for service in the army in the ongoing war in Ukraine, and
after a few months then be released from both the army and their prison
sentence. And so are free to go and make miseries of the lives of decent people
who had been glad to see them being locked up.
And there was talk of the armada
of small boats bringing illegal immigrants across the channel from France. (Note
that these people are "illegal immigrants" and NOT
"refugees"; they stopped being "refugees" the moment they
set foot in mainland Europe and became safe). It was alleged that the
French authorities aren't keen to chase after the small boats once they've left
France for the UK.
Of course they ain't. Once they've left France, the French
are rid of a problem, aren't they? Why did the French put the immigrant
facilities at Calais on the north coast (from where you can see the UK)
rather than on the south coast at Marseilles?
I got to work for the early shift and had a fairly good day
but was still glad to come home. I took the dogs to Orlestone Woods where we
had a very good walk. We went on a rather long walk (for Orlestone Woods)
but despite walking for over an hour only saw two other dog walkers, and both
of those withing a minute’s walk of the car park.
We did “boot dogs”; we came home. “er indoors TM”
boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching more “Lego
Masters: New Zealand”.
I do like that show… if “Lego Masters: UK” returns I
wonder if I could sort out a team mate…
My morning routine was much the same as ever… up until I
turned on the lap-top. Amazingly no one was squabbling with anyone else at all
I then spent a few minutes getting the dogs onto their
leads. Morgan is getting quite troublesome before a walk; he simply doesn’t
want to go out. Once we are on the walk he obviously has a great time. And if
he doesn’t get a walk he is like a fractious toddler. But before we go out he
runs from the lead and hides and clearly doesn’t walt to go.
As we drove to the woods the pundits on the radio were
talking about the government’s
announcement that they are spending a million quid to “support
children attending schools in disadvantaged areas across England to learn and
play chess, improve visibility and availability of the game and fund elite
playing”. There were those who felt this was a lot of money… mostly these
were those who were too thick to understand how to play chess. After all, this
million quid is just pissing in the wind compared to how much the government
spends on sports.
There was also talk about how the International Chess
Federation has banned trans women (biologically men) from competing in
women-only chess competitions. The head honcho of the English Chess Federation
was wheeled on who made the point that the top one hundred chess players in the
world are all men and made a rather good defence of the decision… Even though
the English Chess Federation don’t agree with it and
aren’t implementing it.
We went to Kings Wood today and went on a longer walk than usual.
At Orlestone unless we walk in circles and back-track a lot it is difficult to
get more than a three-mile walk in. I have a series of geocaches in Kings Wood
on a (sort-of) circular walk of eight and a half miles. Today we did a
walk of four miles. As we went we met three other dog-walkers; all within half
a mile of the car park. We walked for an hour and a half, had had a really good
(if uneventful) walk.
With walk walked the dogs were soon fast asleep in their
baskets. I got pastries for me and “er indoors TM”, and once
we’d had them (with a coffee) I went on a little shopping mission.
When I left home (in September 1984) one of the very
first things I got for myself was a fish tank. I’ve always had a fish tank. My
current one is rather old and tired and just a tad too small. I would like one
which has a footprint about six inches bigger in both directions, but is the
same height as the current one.
I couldn’t find one.
I also need some sort of a huge hose-reel thingy for the
pipe I use for cleaning the pond filter. I couldn’t find one of those either.
I came home. I had all sorts of ideas for things to do in
the garden but it was a very hot day, and the physical effort of the last two
days had taken their toll. So I sat on the sofa (with Bailey) and
watched episodes of “Four in a Bed” in which a pub, a holiday complex
and a hotel totally thrashed some posh woman who lets out bedrooms as a hobby.
And then the doorbell rang. The nice bathroom man came to
measure up. Our current bathroom is a bit tired; my Dad installed it as a
moving-in pressie some time in the early 90s. It is time for a new one. I’m
dreading seeing the estimate, but what is money for if not to squander
“er indoors TM” boiled up a very good
bit of curry which we washed down with a bottle of hock whilst watching a
rather good episode of “Lego Masters: New Zealand”. And then we watched
Sky Arts’ “Landscape Artist of the Year”. This programme really is “The
Emperor’s New Clothes” of our era.
Some of the paintings were *very* good.
Some really were pathetically awful; my eight year old
grandson really could do better, and has done so.
Sadly no one was brave enough to say “that painting is
truly crap”, and to ask who the (so-called) artist has porked to get
on to the show.
As I scoffed toast I looked into the Internet. There was a
post on one of the local dachshund groups. Someone’s dog has got dachshund
intervertebral disc disease and was bemoaning the cost of vet treatments. It
was claimed that the same treatment provided by local vets is several thousand
pounds cheaper *if* you drive a few hundred miles to see vets up north.
My Fudge had this condition, and it cost us thousands. We
might have saved a bit if we’d gone to a vet in Yorkshire, but he was under the
vet with this condition for years. Are people so desperate to save money that
they are prepared to spend an entire day going to the vet to drop the dog off
for surgery or a day in dog hospital? And then another day collecting the dog?
“er indoors TM” announced the dogs had
been fed, so I took them for a walk. We drove down to Orlestone, walked our
usual walk of about two miles and didn’t roll in anything disgusting, didn’t
wallow in any swamps, didn’t chase any squirrels, and didn’t see any normal
people to upset. All things considered, rather dull.
We came home and the dogs went to sleep. I wish I had. I heaved
a load of rubbish into the car, and then got all of “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”’s
tat (that I’d got from the lock-up last week) into the hallway.
I took the car load of rubbish to the tip. That place winds me up;
the staff there are incredibly petty and pedantic about what rubbish goes
where, no two of them agree on anything, and what one bloke tells you today
completely contradicts what the same person told you last time. For example the
last time I went there I dropped a pile of scrap metal at the entrance to the
metal skip. A member of staff had a grumble about why I should carry my rubbish
to the far end of the skip and put it on top pf the rubbish already in there.
So today I tried to do that and the bloke who’d grumbled last time when
hysterical because (today) I wasn’t supposed to set foot in that skip
but should pile the rubbish outside.
I then came back to base, loaded up all of “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”’s
tat and drove it down to her. She wanted to go get more tropical fish, so off
we all went. By one of life’s little co-incidences the fish shop is next door
to McDonalds so we got some McLunch. As we scoffed I taught “Darcie Waa Waa TM”
to say “halibut”; that confused the nice lady in the pet shop when we
came to get the fish.
With the first fruit of my loin (and her tribe)
returned to their home I came back to mine. Yesterday I’d got the back bedroom
to the stage where I could get the shelves (and fixings) off of the
walls, and today I spent an hour doing that. It didn’t take much doing, but
clearing up the wreckage afterwards was rather hard work.
No time off work is complete without ironing, and with “er
indoors TM” off bowling I ironed for an hour or so watching
episodes of “Shameless” in which our heroes again “did the dirty deed”
with their pants on.
The original plan for this weekend had me working last
night and consequently asleep for much of today. I was glad that plans had
I woke at half past six, rolled ever and slept through till
nine o’clock. We then had something of a minor panic as we had to be up, dogs
fed, and on our way within forty minutes as today was our monthly catch-up with
friends over a spot of brekkie. We made it with one minute to spare.
It is always good to catch up with old friends; we put the
world to rights, and in a novel break with tradition I had mushrooms and black
pudding in place of plum tomatoes on my Full English and ate far too much.
From Café Express we drove round to Quantock Drive for the
“Garage Safari” where people were effectively running boot fair stalls
in their own front gardens. Working on the old maxim that “one man’s trash
is another man’s treasure” I went along with high hopes. However the old
maxim is wrong. One man’s trash is actually another man’s rubbish. I honestly
think the idea of having a boot fair in the front garden was that the front
garden was closer to the car into which the rubbish would be loaded for a tip
run. People were selling worn and knackered old clothes, tired-looking
crockery, broken toys, and encyclopedias from fifty years ago. I had a
transient moment of excitement when I saw a large tub of Lego, but that which
wasn’t either broken or had teeth marks all over it was actually fake Lego.
We came home, hung out the washing, and cracked on with the
day. Pausing only briefly to mow the lawn, my plan was to empty out the back
bedroom. The plaster has blown (quite badly) and I needed to empty all
the shelves and then clear space for the plasterer. I boxed up books that I
haven’t read in years (and have no intentions of reading again). I found
my old telescope; having spent a small fortune on it twelve years ago I used it
twice and it has been in storage ever since. I found back packs which I was
sure had been binned years ago. I found a brand new pair of slippers I bought
to take on holiday two years ago. I found two broken printers which I’d been
saving for no reason whatsoever. And as I tidied and cleared stuff out of the
room I found loads of Lego minifigures which I’d obviously dropped on the floor
over the years.
By the time I’d swept up and made good the afternoon had
nearly gone. “er indoors TM” drove us all down to the woods
where we had a rather good walk. We didn’t see anyone else as we walked, but we
did do a little swamp-monstering, and there was a minor altercation with a dead
I was in charge of washing dogs when we came home.
“er indoors TM” sorted a very good bit
of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching another episode of “Lego Masters:
I’m quite worn out, and there’s a busy day planned for
Anyone who reads this blog will realise that one of my pet
hates is how nasty people are to each other on Facebook. But I saw a post this
morning that left me speechless. Someone had dug out a garden pond, lined it
with the weed-proof membranes that you put under gravel in the garden, and was
asking why the thing wasn’t holding any water. Have you seen these weed-proof
membranes? They are porous in the extreme; made of woven fibres they are
designed to let water though. How could anyone think that these would hold
water? Seriously? But faced with a very easy target, pretty much everyone on
that Facebook page was being kind and helpful. Here’s hoping this is the way
Being a Saturday morning I loaded the dogs into the car and
set off to Dog Club listening to Steve on the radio. Every Saturday on the way
to Dog Club there is a lyrics quiz; Steve reads out the lyrics to a song and we
have to work out which one... "Facing
twenty-thousand of your friends, how can anyone be so lonely?" Do you
know it? This was the first one I've ever known - Super Trouper by Abba. Go
We got to Dog Club, and after a few minutes “er indoors TM”
joined us. Dog Club was rather busy this morning, but nowhere near as many of
the bigger dogs were along. I got the impression that words have been said, and
the bigger (quite frankly huge) dogs have graduated from the small dogs
session to one of the later sessions. But there were plenty of small dogs to
swarm about. There was a minor incident when some small child felt overwhelmed
(and got a bit upset) by being mobbed by the dogs, but as the mother
pointed out, if you are going to stand there with a bag of dog treats you can
either give them out and the dogs will soon lose interest. Or you can stand
there holding the treats and get mobbed.
Morgan ran round with his mates; I watched him get told off
(by slightly larger dogs) a couple of times, which was good for him.
Bailey made a few heads turn as she screamed, but as I
pointed out she was screaming as she was chasing the bigger dogs. They weren't
chasing her. She was just excited.
Treacle even sniffed a few other dogs which for her is a
massive improvement in her attitude to other dogs.
I did chuckle as we walked out. A woman who hadn't been
along before fussed Bailey. As I walked away (with Bailey on the lead) I
heard her saying to her friends "there's a man who's not afraid to be
seen with a tiny dog".
As we drove from Dog Club Steve was doing the Mystery year
on the radio. When did Jon Pertwee step down as Doctor Who? Steve mentioned
he'd seen the photos I'd posted to Facebook from Dog Club, then mentioned me by
name saying that the next record would give the mystery year away to me. I
drove down the motorway grinning like a Cheshire cat listening to Sparks
We drove to the Conningbrook Country Park; not somewhere
we've ever been before. It looked rather pretty, but with signs everywhere saying
dogs had to be on leads it isn't the sort of place we'd go. Mind you there were
plenty of people with dogs ignoring those signs.
But today the monthly geocachers' meet-up was taking place
there, what with it being International Geocaching Day, and if ever there was a
day to meet up with hunters of Tupperware, it was today. So a dozen of us met
up, ate doughnuts and talked about things geocachical for an hour.
After an hour, leaving everyone else (and “er indoors TM”
and the dogs) behind I set off to work. Mind you I've worked on ten of the
eleven "International Geocaching Days" that have happened
whilst I've been a Tupperware hunter, so setting off to work today wasn't
really anything new
As I drove up the motorway I found myself thinking about
the little meet-up of geocachers. Looking back I think we took up geocaching at
the right time. There were dozens of people keen on the hobby back then; our
enthusiasm bounced off of each other and for many years we all had fun. Both in
going out for walks and in meeting up. But over the years I think it fair to
say that the novelty has worn off. Where a meet-up would have attracted dozens
of people in the past, today we barely got one dozen along.
As I drove up the motorway (which is still now only a
dual carriageway) I looked across at the miles of empty lane supposedly to
be used as a lorry park for "Operation Brock". I suppose that
this is better than the complete motorway closures that happened on the old
"Operation Stack", but it is still (to coin a phrase)
"a pain in the glass".
I got to work far earlier than planned. The original plan
for the day had me working the night shift at Pembury, but what with shift
swaps and illness and one thing and another I ended up doing the late shift at
Maidstone. I got to work and went to the M&S to get a sandwich. As I swiped
my Sparks card (M&S's loyalty card thingy) so the checkout laid an
egg, and loudly announced that I was the day's lucky winner and that today's
shopping was for free. Had I known that in advance I would have got far more
than just a sandwich. But something for nothing can't be bad.
Work was far more like hard work than I had hoped it would
be, but with it done I came home to an empty house; “er indoors TM”
was chauffeuring Cheryl about.
As well as letting the pups out in the night for that which
pups go out for, I turned the fan on for Treacle. She was incredibly breathless
and panting at four o’clock. What was that all about? As I lay awake worrying
about her so Bailey was constantly dabbing my head with her paws in her sleep.
I’d slept from midnight till four o’clock… what more did I
As I waited for the dogs to get up I made toast and
depressed myself by looking into Facebook. I really shouldn’t grumble; I do OK
really. But I get a tad jealous sometimes.
People who regularly post on Facebook pleading poverty were
posting photos of their weeks-long foreign summer holidays. An ex-trainee (who
recently moved into a mansion near Bodiam) was posting holiday snaps from
her eleven-bedroom second home in France (which she lets out when not using
I’ve absolutely no idea why I should be jealous of people’s
holidays; for all that I enjoy going away, I invariably get homesick.
And a chap I used to know (who works in insurance)
was advertising his house which is up for sale; the monthly repayments for a
mortgage on that house would be a lot more than my entire monthly wage.
I would say that I wondered where I went wrong in life… but
in all honesty I don’t think I’ve actually gone wrong; just not as right as I
might have done.
After a few minutes of feeling sorry for myself the dogs
swarmed downstairs and swarmed all over me. You can’t sulk underneath a pile of
dogs. As they swarmed, they hoovered up all the toast crumbs I’d made, then had
their own brekkie and we all went to the woods for our morning constitutional.
We had a good walk round the woods, meeting no one at all
as we went. The walk was only marred by the pups finding someone’s discarded
sandwich and scoffing most of it before I could stop them. Panicked by visions
of idiots spiking sandwiches with poison (you hear these stories) I had
a good look at what was left, but I couldn’t see anything amiss.
We came home; I gathered a bumper harvest of dog dung from
the garden then sorted out coffee and cake. Yesterday “er indoors TM”
baked a rather good banana cake. I’ve given her my regal permission to make
more of that(!)
I sparked up my lap-top and had a fiddle about on-line.
Yesterday I mentioned I was having issues with Paint Shop Pro 7. After a little
farting around I downloaded the latest version of Paint Shop Pro (in trial
format). I don’t like it for the simple reason that it is different to what
I’m used to, but I expect I will get used to it. After all I’m getting used to
this new lap-top (albeit slowly). I just don’t do “different”.
Just as the forecast rain started I set off to work. Well,
to the co-op to get lunch. I got to the co-op and saw a couple of young
children having a full-on fight in the doorway. After a couple of minutes of
waiting patiently for them to move it became quite plain that they had no
intention of stopping (or even pausing) their fight. So I stepped over
them; rolling my eyes at the manager-type who was chatting with the cashier. As
I walked in the general direction of sandwiches I could hear the manager-type loudly
asking whose brats were fighting the doorway, and an aggressive voice shrieking
back demanding who wanted to know; clearly not happy at having to take
responsibility for its children.
I then set off to work properly. Slowly. From Ashford to
Bethersden I was in a queue of traffic stuck behind a dustbin lorry. At
Bethersden the dustbin lorry turned off, but after a couple of minutes our
queue of traffic was soon going just as slowly behind a horse box.
At Biddenden there were epic queues for Tractorfest - a festival involving
lots of tractors. Add to this the usual hold-ups in Goudhurst and Sissinghurst
and half a dozen sets of temporary traffic lights (for no apparent reason)...
Some days my journey to Pembury is easy, other days not so.
I always say that whilst I quite like working at Pembury I hate going there.
Coming home was quicker, but the country lanes in the dark
This morning as I scoffed toast I read a rather amusing
argument on the Facebook “Ridgeway and Ancient Tracks of Britain and Ireland”
page in which people were arguing about the maximum length permissible for a
dog to walk. Someone (who didn’t have a dog) had unilaterally decreed
that fifteen miles was too much, and others who also didn’t have dogs were
backing him up. Those who did have dogs (or experience of them) were
being shouted down.
I can’t help but think that the dog himself is the best
judge. My Fudge used to walk for miles – he did over twenty miles round Sussex
with me once, and at the sixteen miles stage ran off (like a bullet from a
gun) chasing pheasants. At the other extreme on a couple of occasions dear
old Sid stopped after four miles and would not walk another step and had to be
carried. Mind you I wasn’t going to tell the Facebook “Ridgeway and Ancient
Tracks of Britain and Ireland” page that though.
I also had some issues with the graphics package I use to
create the piccies I use on these blog entries. I’ve always used Paint Shop
Pro, and while the thing can be downloaded in “trial” mode, after a
month I have to pay for it. I’m quite happy to pay for it, but when I try to do
so I get a rather unhelpful Windows “help” screen.
If any of my loyal readers can recommend a decent graphics
I took the dogs down to the woods. As we drove the pundits
on the radio were talking about the England women’s football team who won some
big competition or other yesterday. Mind you when I say “talking about”,
the one being interviewed was “hysterically shrieking”. I wish they
would just speak rationally rather than be so over-excited. It just makes me
turn the radio off.
In any event I thought the England women’s football team
won whatever it was last year?
We got to the woods; again we had a good walk round. But a
short walk compared to the walks in Kings Wood. When he’s not been walked
enough Morgan is very reluctant to come back to have his lead put on, and he
wasn’t at all keen on the idea this morning.
We came home. I got pastries from the corner shop and had a
look at MP3s on the Amazon store. I eventually downloaded Meat Loaf’s “Bat
Out of Hell” but it took some doing. I then wrote up some CPD and set off
I'd had a message saying that some chap wanted to buy the
spare bits for the old pond filter, but he'd not shown by the time I had to set
off, so I left instructions for him with “er indoors TM” and
set off listening to my downloaded "Bat Out Of Hell"; I've not
listened to that album for years. It was (and is) rather good. I played
it one and a half times on my way to Pembury.
I stopped off on my way at Singleton Post Office as I had a
letter to post. Over the years I've built up a mental map of Ashford but over
the years pretty much every post box I've noted has since been removed. I
suppose we have to wonder who actually posts letters any more when an email can
do in seconds what a letter takes a week to do. Eventually I hit on the idea of
handing the letter over the counter of a post office. The nice lady behind the
counter agreed that was probably the best way to post a letter these days.
I also stopped off at Tesco in Pembury to get a sandwich.
There was a new chap on the tills. Smiling and cheeky; I actually walked out of
the place with a smile on my face rather than (as I usually do) mumbling
under my breath about how unhelpful the staff are. I hope I see this chap again...
Mind you I suspect he won't last.
I got to work for the late shift and did my bit (as I do).
I sulked a little looking at the glorious day outside; I don't dislike my job,
but it's no secret that after nearly forty-two years I'd rather not be inside doing
it any more. But I did, and eventually the night shift arrived and I left them
to it, and listened to "Bat Out Of Hell" one and a half times
as I drove home.