13 April 2024 (Saturday) - Dog Club, Gardening, Sleepover

This morning there were a few rants on Facebook as there usually is. Someone was ranting about how the Chinese are flooding the market with cheap caviar and so what was once a posh delicacy only for the elite is being scoffed by the masses who probably don’t appreciate it. The implication being that if the great unwashed are scoffing caviar, then the pretentious need to find something else to pretend they like which is beyond the price range of the proles. I’m reminded of a rather nasty woman with whom I used to work who went to the opera regularly because she could afford to do so; not because she liked it.
There was also another rant about why should children shouldn’t have to conform at school but find their own way instead. The wife of a very good friend of mine did exactly that with her children. She took them out of mainstream school and “educated” them at home. One did nothing but play tennis and watch You-Tube videos all day long, and the other got to mid-teens and still couldn’t read.
Perhaps I shouldn’t look at Facebook in the mornings; it just boils my piss.
 
“er indoors TM was off to craft club this morning so I took the dogs to Dog Club where we had a rather good turn out this morning. The dogs had a whale of a time. There was a minor episode when a new dog was rather overwhelmed and frightened, but it seemed to sort itself out. I didn’t get involved; there were already enough people in the throng.
As we drove home I listened to Steve doing the Mystery Year competition. The Brittas Empire and the first Brit in space… 1992? No - I was one year out.
 
We went via My Boy TM”’s house. He’s decking his garden and said he had a few small rocks I might have.  I got the rocks, came home and used them. The splash pool which holds the pond’s bog filter is periodically overflowing. Yesterday “er indoors TM hit on the idea that it is too flat, so I had a minor disassembly, then without taking all the plants and water out I managed to lift its back and pop the small rocks in behind to raise the back up a bit. I then put it all back together and it seems to be OK. But I thought that a week or so ago when I supposedly fixed the leak (but hadn’t). Time will tell – it always does.
I then had a minor pootle about moving stone planters and generally tidying up before having a look in the shed. Assuming that today’s fix to the bog filter has worked (here’s hoping) I’m left with five sleepers I don’t need. Bearing in mind I’ve already painted them I can’t get a refund. And having negotiated a rock-bottom price for the waterfall I now probably don’t need, asking for a refund would be a bit cheeky. So having wasted the thick end of a hundred quid I had an idea about building a small water garden. All I needed was a pump. I found two pond pumps and a pond air pump in the shed.
And then I had stroke of inspiration. I could turn one of my current water features into a flower bed, move another over a bit, and use an existing pump for my water garden. All I would need would be another sleeper. So I popped over to Wickes to get a sixth sleeper.
As I came home I saw the people in a house down the road were giving away a couple of unwanted flower pots. I had those.
 
By then seven hours had passed, and “er indoors TM arrived with Darcie Waa Waa TM who had come for a little sleepover. Dog snogging, singing songs, not eating our dinner, wreaking mayhem… the usual.
As I type this she’s wandering around scoffing a banana whilst telling the dogs off for no reason that anyone can fathom. But the dogs don’t care - they absolutely adore her and follow her every move.
 
I’m going to work (hopefully) for a rest tomorrow.

12 April 2024 (Friday) - Early Shift

I woke in a bit of a panic following a rather vivid dream in which my old PE Teacher was demanding to know why hospitals send certain blood tests to specialist laboratories rather than testing them themselves. What was that all about?
Being on an early shift and not being awake quite as early as usual I skipped watching telly and peered into the Internet as I scoffed toast. There was a lot of consternation on one of the Dad's Army Facebook pages I follow. Yesterday someone had posted a photo of some of the cast sitting in a pub all with a pint of beer each. Someone else had reported the photos as going against Facebook's community standards and had the photo removed. I resisted the temptation to get involved; on-line arguments rarely achieve much. But again we see the farcical nature of Facebook's community standards. Having reported stuff myself I now have first had experience that a link to a close-up of a lady's lady bits doesn't breach their standards whilst a photo of three old men having a drink does.
And on the Facebook page I follow about UK footpaths and rights of way there was a lot of indignation being expressed about how someone got a Facebook suspension for mentioning a path which follows Offa's Dyke.
And there was a beach hut for sale on a beach near Hastings. Thirty eight thousand pounds for the shed and eight hundred quid a year for ongoing unspecified expenses.... that's more than my first house cost. We once borrowed a beach hut for an afternoon. By the end of the afternoon we'd had more than enough of it.
 
I set off to work. Whilst I'd been eating my toast so the seagulls had been squawking; as I walked down the road they'd shut their rattle and the sparrows were all hollering. I'd never before noticed that the birds don't all sing the dawn chorus together.
I made my way to work via nineteen Points of Interest and four QrewZees; there's never a dull moment in Munzee. As I drove I listened to the radio. The pundits were interviewing some windbag about why economic forecasts are invariably wrong. It turns out that when making an economic forecast, those making the predictions look at the current situation, consider what the rules governing economics say, and then pontificate. However it would seem that economics is blissfully unaware of these rules. It has been suggested that the so-called experts revisit cause and effect in economic theory as it seems that the causes aren't giving the effects they are supposed to.  Perhaps someone might like to do the same for weather forecasting?
And there was a lot of talk about food security... farmers are worried that they can't grow crops if their fields are flooded, and matters aren't being helped by insurance companies refusing to pay compensation as the flooded farms are "too far" from the rivers doing the flooding.
Seriously? I would have thought that you couldn't get much closer than being directly under or in the river.
 
I got to work. Without going into details, I’ll just make the observation that looking back at my many years of being in charge, I am far happier letting someone else sort the problems.
In between this and that I was asked if I'd like to be in the sweepstake for tomorrow's Grand National race. My horse is Latenightpass which has odds of 28/1.
I might win.
I also spoke to the pension people who assure me my paperwork has progressed to the stage where it is being processed. I suppose that's a step in the right direction. It's further along than when I last enquired.
 
I did my bit; I came home. Via the pond shop. Wanting a waterfall for my next pond project I'd already phoned Aylesford Aquatics as that place is only a five-minute drive from work. They said that they don't keep waterfalls in stock, but if I told them what they wanted they could get it in for me. I resisted the temptation to tell them that I too could get stuff directly from Amazon, cut out the middle man and get it cheaper. So I drove to Dobbies garden centre instead. They had one left. An ex-demo one they offered to me at half price. I offered a fiver less, brought the thing home and spent some time puzzling jut how I might get the waterfall bit to work.
Rather annoyingly “er indoors TM then hit on the frankly genius idea of lifting up the back of the existing splash pool. The problem I’ve got is that the sides of the splash pool are too low. Hopefully lifting up the back will solve that issue. I will have a major job to lift it up, but it will still be easier than building a whole new splash pool.
This entirely does away with the need for the new sleepers and the waterfall. But “nil desperandum” (as a dead Roman might say); I’ve an idea what I might make with those.
 
“er indoors TM then went off to visit Sarah. I stayed with the dogs. As time goes by I’m getting less and less keen on leaving them alone. We sat together and watched the last episodes of “Cleaning Upwhich was rather good.
 
Today has been rather relaxing compared to the last few days.

11 April 2024 (Thursday) - Another Busy Day

I had something of a lie-in this morning. Over toast I had my usual root around the Internet as I do. An old friend’s younger brother was posting photos from his time at our old school. Apart from formal photos, I don’t think I’ve got any photos from my time at secondary school.
One of the major changes in my life has been the availability of photographs. Back in the day cameras had film. A camera could take only so many photos and then you had to take the thing to a shop, leave it with them and collect the photos a few days later. Consequently photography was something of an arse-ache. These days you point your phone, upload to whichever social media you fancy, and within seconds everyone could see what you’d been up to.
I spent a few minutes looking at pictures of pre-formed waterfall segments. That might be exactly what I need for my Bog Filter Mk II, but they ain’t cheap. I shall go to a couple of pond shops to see the things in reality before I hand over hard cash.
 
Leaving in the washing machine doing its thing I got the dogs into the car and we set off for our walk. As I drove “In Our Time” was on the radio, Sometimes that show is fascinating and interesting and captivating. Today it was tedious in the extreme; utterly dull drivel about whether or not women went to the theatre in ancient Greece.
I switched over to my music and sang along to Ivor Biggun songs instead.
We got to the woods and had a good walk. The car park was quite full; there were loads of people with small children playing about in the hundred yards surrounding the car park, but once we were away from there we walked for four miles without seeing anyone else at all. As we walked I tested out one of the apps on my watch; one mile is near enough two thousand two hundred of my steps. Three miles was six thousand six hundred and one steps.
 
We came home. As the dogs had their brekkie I hung out the washing, then made myself a cuppa. Daddy’s Little Angel TM” phoned. Pogo had been to the vets where he had crapped on their floor twice and pissed up their counter. Much as I love him, he really can be a twatbag sometimes.
I painted up the sleepers that I bought yesterday. Treacle wouldn’t stop rubbing up against what I’d just painted.
I then ironed. As I ironed I watched a couple of episodes of “Cleaning Up”; a rather good Netflix drama, then went out to feed the fish. That bog filter was overflowing again…
And then my phone beeped. A couple of days ago I’d created an EarthCache based on the sink holes in Kings Wood. The geo-feds had accepted what I’d done.
 
“er indoors TM came home and boiled up sausages and chips. As we scoffed them so my phone beeped again. A First to Find on my new Earthcache less than two hours after it went live. Bering in mind that there were two places to visit in the woods, and both were over a mile into the woods (as the crow flies) that was rather impressive.
 
I’m going to work tomorrow… for a rest.

10 April 2024 (Wednesday) - A Birthday

I woke with a serious neck ache this morning. I wonder what that was all about? I made toast and had a look at the Internet as I do.
Again Facebook wanted to tell me about the Region de Murcia; according to Wikipedia it is a bit of south-east Spain. According to me it is somewhere that until a few days ago I’d never heard of, and since I’m seeing so many adverts about the place filling my Facebook feed I won’t go there on principle.
And again people thousands of miles away from the Middle East were “debating” (bickering like small children) about the Middle East situation. No matter what one side had done wrong, someone would try to justify it as revenge for some other historical misdemeanour. And there’s the Gaza situation in a nutshell. There was an interview on national radio with leaders of both sides several years ago when there was fighting over some different matter. Both sides kept harping back to issues that had happened years before either was born. Neither were prepared to make any concessions whatsoever, and both admitted that fighting would never stop because neither side was prepared to give an inch. Both did say that anyone who didn’t want to live in a war zone should emigrate because the place would always be one.
Nothing has changed. The leadership seem to want to fight, and it is the poor people in the street who suffer.
 
I took the dogs to the woods. We had a good walk. The woods were surprisingly not that muddy. We chased squirrels and took a different route to usual exploring a new footpath. There’s not many that we haven’t walked in those woods now. We met a few other dogs; all meetings passed off fine; the dogs said hello and came back when called. Morgan especially is so much more relaxed when not on the lead.
After three and a half miles we got back to the car and came home.
 
I went into the garden, got the paint out and painted round the wooden borders. It’s three years since I put them in; they needed doing. As I pulled a rather vicious splinter from my hand and rolled my eyes as the dogs were sticking to the wet paint so I noticed something. I saw that the pond’s water level had dropped by about six inches and the sleeper at the top of the pond was damp – the bog filter was overflowing its sides. It’s less than two weeks since that last happened.
I ran out the hose pipe and had a little think.
Realising that if the bog filter had higher sides it wouldn’t overflow quite so easily I went to Wickes to get some sleepers. They had two sorts in the size that I needed; the darker coloured ones were four quid per sleeper more expensive. Bearing in mind how many I wanted I decided I could slap a lick of paint on them myself and save loads. I treated myself to a new saw as well. Sleepers take some cutting…
I then popped to Bybrook Barn for pond liner, When I got home it was raining, which was probably just as well. Otherwise I would have cracked on and knackered myself. Once the weather chirps up the plan is to:
  • Paint the sleepers.
  • Remove the rockery.
  • Stick the bog plants into temporary buckets.
  • Turn off the filter pumps.
  • Remove the moulded splash pool without slopping all the muck into the pond.
  • Lift or cut the weed proof membranes.
  • Dig out and landscape the space for the new bog filter.
  • Saw the sleepers to size.
  • Put the new sleepers in place.
  • Line it all.
  • Turn filter pumps all back on again.
  • Stick the plants back in.
I’m not sure about how the water will come out of the bog filter into the pond. I’ll need to make some sort of waterfall arrangement. I’ll give it a think. At the moment that’s the only real sticking point. If any of my loyal readers have anything which might do the trick…
 
Once “er indoors TM had finished work we all drove down to Folkestone to see Darcie Waa Waa TM as today was her birthday. We took cake, and had a rather good couple of hours with the birthday girl. She was too young to realise what was going on, but we had a good time.
 
We were rather late home, so to save time we had KFC for dinner. We scoffed it whilst watching the first episode of the new series of “Hunted”. As always the amount of CCTV surveillance in the UK is an eye-opener.
 
A second day not at work; a second full-on day. I’m worn out.

9 April 2024 (Tuesday) - Busy, Busy

Having been asleep in the sofa for most of yesterday evening I had an early night last night and slept through till seven o’clock this morning.
I made toast and tuned in to Facebook. Apparently fourteen years ago I made a video. I used to make loads of silly videos back in the day. I should make more. And I saw some friends were having birthdays. I sent out birthday wishes to all; including an old schoolfriend. I’ve not seen him in person in over thirty years. Really should catch up before it is too late,
 
I loaded the dogs into the car and we drove over to Henwood to collect “er indoors TM who had taken her car to be serviced. We fetched her home where there was loads of parking… but we weren’t stopping. Leaving her to get on with work we drove up to Kings Wood. As we drove the defence minister was on the radio talking about the recruitment crisis faced by the armed forces. It turns out that when making career choices, youngsters aren’t keen on a job which involves regularly being shot at. Funny, that.
And Mattel (the games manufacturer) has launched a new version of Scrabble which is easier and less competitive; designed to be more collaborative and accessible for those who find word games intimidating.
Am I really out of touch with reality when I say “F.F.S.!
 
We got to the woods. Some half-wit had driven a 4x4 over the raised mound and churned up the grassed area by the car park. If I knew who it was I would put a brick through their window and a turd through their letter box. I really would. There was no need to ruin that area,
But that aside we had a good walk. We got several locations for my next geo-project, and the further into the woods we walked so the more bluebells were out.
After five miles (or so) we were back at the car. Bearing in mind there was loads of parking spaces when we’d dropped “er indoors TM off earlier, we came home to find no parking spaces.at all. We parked two streets away, and I popped to the corner shop for pastries with our coffee.
 
With coffee and croissant guzzled, I mowed the lawn and sawed up off-cuts to make some wooden supports for the pond filter’s hose reel. I’ve got an epic reel for the pond filter’s hose, but for it to work properly I need to get it up off the ground onto some sort of spindle. Just as I sawed through my finger rather than the wood so “er indoors TM announced her car was ready to collect. I stemmed the flow of blood and I took her over to get it.
We came home and having sawed the wood I needed, and having stopped bleeding, I screwed the spindle supports together. And then it started raining so I came in. The dogs looked peckish so they had a late brekkie. Morgan and Bailey yummed theirs up. Treacle waited till they’d finished so they could watch her eating hers.
Seeing the rain had stopped I went int the garden again, and before I could do much so the rain started again. I came in and had a sot of lunch. A SlimFast bar that expired last June. It wasn’t what it might have been, but to be honest those things aren’t much even when they aren’t nine months expired.
 
Seeing blue skies I went back outside; I wanted to test unwinding and winding my pond filter’s hose reel on its new spindle. I got it all set up and the heavens opened so I retreated indoors again. I made a start on the on-line parts of my latest geo-project, then seeing the rain had stopped again went outside and tested the hose reel on its new spindle.
It worked fine.
I was in the throes of fiddling with the pond’s aerator when “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” phoned. She’d found a new bed for “Darcie Waa Waa TM; could I collect it for her? No I couldn’t as it wouldn’t fit in the car. Would I carry it a couple of hundred yards up the road for her?
I drove down to Folkestone, carried the bed a couple of hundred yards up the road and came home.
 
“er indoors TM is currently having a Teams meeting with her mates. I’m having a rest. On a non-work day I usually do about twelve thousand steps. Today I’ve done eighteen thousand. I’m knackered…

 

8 April 2024 (Monday) - A Day At Work

Being awake far too early I watched the last episode of “The Gentlemen” on Netflix. Unlike many of the series made today, this one was unusual in that everyone kept their kit on, and no jubblies at all were flopped out.
I had a quick Munzee session from the comfort of the sofa then tried to get dressed. Getting dressed in the morning is something of a mission. I have to do it in the darkness for fear of waking anyone, and having got everything organized this morning I sat on a sleeping Bailey. I don’t think she realized.
I then tried to get another Greenie outside the house (as one does) but failed. On the plus side I capped nineteen Points of Interest on the way to work and our Clan has got to Level One. There’s never a dull moment when playing Munzee. Who would have thought that sticking bar codes to lamp posts could be so entertaining?
 
I went to work via the petrol station where the same bar of choccie that I bought yesterday in the works branch of WH Smiths was fifty-five pence cheaper. It pays to shop around.
As I drove up the motorway I listened to the radio as I do. Politicians were calling for a shake-up to sort out the NHS. Perhaps I have a vested interest here, but if forty-two and a half years of working for the NHS has taught me anything, it has taught me that a shake-up is the last thing the NHS needs. In my years in harness I’ve lost count of how many shake-ups the NHS has had. Just as the benefits of the most recent one take effect so everything is thrown back up in the air again as we have yet another shake-up. All are instigated on the whim of whatever is the favoured current political theory, and no one ever does any research to see whether or not any of them actually did any good. What the NHS needs is to be left alone to get on with its job.
And there was a lot of talk about a nuclear power station which was attacked in Ukraine. Both the Russians and the Ukrainians were blaming each other. The Ukrainian minster of something-or-other was being interviewed on the radio; like all Ukrainians being interviewed on the radio he seemed totally ungrateful for the military help the Western world has given Ukraine, and did pretty much nothing but demand (not ask for, bur demand) more.
 
I got to work where I saw a mitotic figure. In forty-two and a half years of looking down microscopes this is only the fourth I’ve seen outside of a textbook or quality control tests. I saw a harlequin cell as well – they too are slightly less common that rocking horse poo.
 
Talking of poo I came home to a letter. A few days ago I sent a turd through the post to the bowel cancer screening people. I’ve been told that no further testing is needed at this time, but they’d like me to post them another turd in two years’ time.
If that’s what they want, they shall have it.
 
“er indoors TM boiled up a very good bit of dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the final of “Lego Masters: New Zealand”. Both were rather good.
As we watched we had a message from Daddy’s Little Angel TM. I am reliably informed that Pogo is a twatbag; he’s eaten an entire tub of margarine (again). Poor Pogo.

7 April 2024 (Sunday) - Late Shift

I woke for a tiddle at five o’clock and felt like death warmed up. I went back to bed, slept till nine o’clock and woke feeling rather better. I wonder what that was all about?
I made toast and had my usual root round Facebook. My cousin is looking to move house. Moving is something I think about from time to time, but it would mean a major upheaval, loads of expense, and loads of work once the move was done… I think we will stay put for a while.
I reported two or three posts on Facebook this morning. I am sick and tired of seeing things “suggested for you” about dogs dying. I’m still having meltdowns over my little Fudge, and he’s been gone nearly three years.
 
I set off to work. There were some new geocaches that had gone live this morning. The chance to chase a First to Find would have been good. But one was thirty miles south-west, and two were thirty miles east. And I was heading thirty miles west.
I had a quick Munzee session before leaving Ashford. As I drove to Pembury I listened to the start of “Desert Island Discs”, but it was on Radio Four Extra. Reception of that channel is patchy at best, and the chap being interviewed was dull. So I sang along to my dire choice of music instead.
 
I got to work and popped to the hospital’s branch of WH Smiths to get a bar of choccie for the way home. A small bar of choccie costs £1.29.
Can you believe it?
 
And that was it for today. I did the late shift and came home again. I get so many days of these days I shouldn’t grumble about when I do work, but I can’t say I’m keen on it.

6 April 2024 (Saturday) - Dog Club, Kearsney Abbey

There was some minor excitement last night. When tumble drying you need to get the stuff out of the tumble drier when it finishes so it can air out otherwise it ends up damp. So I was awake about two hours later than usual waiting for the thing to finish so’s I could air the smalls when suddenly there was a major commotion next door, and then a frantic hammering on our front door. 
New-next-door was in her jim-jams in a bit of a state because her house was flooding. I went to have a look; more out of a sense of moral support than in being able to do anything practical. Sure enough water was pouring through the ceiling. She showed me a cavity in the wall in which the stop cock lived, but I couldn’t find any stop cock in there. Another neighbour had found the leak – their bathroom is upstairs and water was gushing from underneath the sink. It struck me that I could do something… there’s a stop cock in our back garden which controls the flow of water to our house. In the past that has turned off new-next-door’s water too. I went and turned it, and sure enough the water stopped.
She seemed a tad less fraught with the water stopped. She was adamant that she could clean up on her own so I left her with instructions to call me at any time if there were any developments and I went to bed. And lay there wide awake unable to sleep after all the excitement. I was just nodding off when my mobile rang. Some chap who’d arrived with new-next-door’s mum had fixed the cause of the leak. Could I turn the water back on. I told her I could do better than that; I could show her where the stop cock was (and still is).
We all went into the back garden, turned on the water, went back to check the repair, and seeing all was well I went back to bed. In the meantime several of her friends and family had arrived to help sort the flood. I left them to it and went back to bed shortly after two o’clock.
 
I got up at seven o’clock and had a look at the Internet. It was still there, and petty squabbles abounded. From posts on Facebook I saw an old mucker was in Sydney. This chap leads an interesting lifestyle. Having got a PhD in physics he then took a law degree and now works in the legalities of intellectual property. He once commented that it is cheaper to live in hotels than to have a house in the style he would like, and since all he needs to be able to work is a reliable internet connection he travels the world from hotel to hotel.
Sometimes I think I might have done better than a terraced house with more dogs than sense, but would I want that lifestyle? Each to their own, I suppose.
I also saw my cousin was on a four-day fishing session not far from Pembury. After two days he’s caught a fish. I’ve not been fishing for years…
I had a quick Munzee session from the couch, opened two Qrates and got two more and took my life in my hands by waking “er indoors TM and the dogs.
 
We got ourselves together and set off to Dog Club. There was a decent turn-out today. The dogs had a great time running and chasing about. For all that the rain held off, it was still rather muddy.
On the way to Dog Club I’d completely failed with Steve’s “Guess the Lyrics” competition on the radio, but I got the mystery year on the way home. ABC’s “Poison Arrow” and the introduction of the twenty-pence piece. 1982.
 
We had a cuppa, then on with the next part of the day. I drove to Folkestone to collect Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and her tribe. We then went on to Kearsney Abbey where the family soon gathered. The idea was that we would have a nice walk then a picnic, but grandchildren demanded playpark. So whilst everyone else walked the dogs round, “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and I took the kids to the playpark. The wrong playpark we were reliably informed by a truculent “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM who didn’t seem to know what he wanted to do, but didn’t want to do anything that was on offer today.
We all met up for picnic, then went over the road to the other part of the park and the other playpark where “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM went utterly ballistic because other people were daring to use the other playpark.
Sometimes he can be hard work. I wish I knew how to calm him down.
 
Leaving “er indoors TM to take Daddy’s Little Angel TM”, “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TMand 
Darcie Waa Waa TM shopping, and Cheryl and Dan-Dan to go to the Bargain Warehouse I ran “My Boy TM” home. He was amazed at how quiet the dogs were in the car. He’d driven down with “er indoors TM and the dogs had been rather over-excited. They were worn out on the way home.
I made myself a cuppa and uploaded a few photos of our day. I slobbed in front of the telly with the dogs watching the first “Harry Potter” film until “er indoors TM came home… then I fell asleep.
 
I woke two hours later. “er indoors TM boiled up a very good steak dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the semi-final of “Lego Masters; New Zealand”.
New-next-door has sent a message. The leak has stopped but something or other needs to be replaced. I just wish I could do something to help. I wonder if maybe basic plumbing is something we might all be taught at school? I’ve taught myself basic woodworking, but if I cut a length of wood wrong I’m not going to flood anything.

5 April 2024 (Friday) - Goats

As I scoffed toast this morning I saw an impressive squabble on one of the Star Trek Facebook groups that I follow about some trivial point in a Star Trek episode from fifty years ago. As the argument went on it became painfully clear that the more vocal people in the quarrel hadn’t actually watched much “Star Trek”. Some people just like an argument.
I had some emails. My credit score with credit karma has gone up by nine points. Even though I’ve halved my working hours and the pension people haven’t stumped up yet. I have to wonder what that score is actually scoring.
And I had an email about the dog insurance. It turns out that the Dog Club has got a specific policy for dog clubs through the Repton people, so that’s my mind at rest.
 
Leaving “er indoors TM with the dogs I set off on a little Munzee mission round town, then set off down the motorway to Folkestone. As I drove I listened to Dr Tim Spector on Desert Island Discs; a favourite radio program of mine. Like all the other castaways on that show Dr Spector has had a fascinating life, but has a frankly dreadful taste in music.
I got to Folkestone where Daddy’s Little Angel TM” was tearing her hair out. She was ready to go, but being too small to know any different, “Darcie Waa Waa TM was just being difficult. And “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TMwas still in bed.
 
We eventually got ourselves organized and set off back up the motorway. It wasn’t long before we were in the car park of Buttercups goat sanctuary putting on our wellies.
We had an excellent hour or so at the place. You can walk in and pet the goats. They are very friendly. You can feed them too (with bags of goat food bought at the place). Feeding is done from the other side of a fence as they can get rather forceful and demanding. It is suggested that you don’t feed the goats wearing the purple collars, but I never did find out why. I did notice that when feeding, the ones with the red collars were rather pushy and it was quite tricky making sure that a goat without a red collar got some food.
Darcie Waa Waa TM seemed rather put out that the goats didn’t sit and offer a paw before getting fed. I suppose I can see her point; the dogs at home have to do that, so why shouldn’t the goats?
We did chuckle when having an ice-cream at the sanctuary’s shop. An epically fat woman who had just gone arse-over-tit in the mud (and was caked in mud) was having a real spiteful rant at her mate who had just come out of the shop with two bags of goat food. What good was goat food to her? She couldn’t eat it. And she wasn’t joking, either.
After an hour or so we washed our hands and wandered back to the car. If ever you are in the Maidstone area and at a loose end I can’t recommend the goat sanctuary highly enough.
I took a few photos whilst we were there.
 
We returned to Folkestone for McDinner. Some little brat was running round the place screaming. I just kept quiet and watched. After ten minutes and various pointed comments from pretty much everyone else in the place, the brat’s mother (rather pathetically) asked him to sit down. The brat stopped, looked mother in the eye, said “No” and carried on running.
Perhaps a crack on the arse might have shown the brat the error of its ways?
 
I took Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and her tribe home, then came home myself. I had planned to take the dogs out, but “er indoors TM had already taken them on a little adventure of their own, so I had a cuppa and a much-needed few minutes rest.
 
“er indoors TM boiled up pie and chips which we scoffed whilst watching more episodes of “Lego Masters: New Zealand”. Again fast forwarding through the adverts reduced an hour’s recording to forty minutes.
Who still watches adverts in this day and age?

4 April 2024 (Thursday) - It Rained

I awoke at eight o’clock and spent a couple of minutes watching Morgan and Bailey scrapping until they noticed I was awake. They mobbed me for a minute or so, then we all came downstairs for brekkie.
There were two squabbles on Facebook this morning. One was on a “Dad’s Army” page I follow in which someone had made a tit of himself by not reading what someone else had written. Having read the first word, assumed the rest, and launched an utterly unfounded and irrelevant rant he was then just compounding his error.
The other was an April Fool’s joke that had backfired. If you change the name of a Facebook group it would seem you can’t change it again for a month. And so what was once a Sparks-related page will be attracting a lot of womble-related interest until May.
 
Seeing a bright day outside I loaded the dogs into the car and we set off to Challock. As we drove there was a rather interesting program about the life and times of Nikola Tesla. As is so often the case, for all that he was a genius, money is made by showmen and those who start off with money.
We got to the woods. There were four cars in the car park, and we saw three other dog walkers; all within a hundred yards of the car park. About a mile into the woods we met a woman on a horse. I whistled and all three dogs turned away from the horse and came to me to get their leads put on. They then stood as good as gold quietly watching the horse walk by. They behave far better when it’s just me with them.
At our furthest point form the car park so the blue skies suddenly turned black and the heavens opened. We were soaked by the time we got back to the car.
 
We came home for a warming shower. I put wet clothes into the washing machine and then over a cuppa I piddled about on-line. The Dog Club insurance was due. However there’s an issue with the Dog Club. The club runs reasonably well, but what happens when there is an issue or something needs to be done? The chap who started it left some time ago. The chap who took over set up a WhatsApp group of people who’d offered to help him, and then disappeared himself. Having made the mistake of offering to be a point of contact for the Repton centre people, the Repton people contacted me earlier in the week asking for the insurance money (a reasonable request).
How do we raise it? I asked the WhatsApp group… I can remember the chap who used to run my old Boys Brigade group telling me that if I wanted to avoid getting anything done, I should set up a committee. After three days, only three of the eight people in the WhatsApp group replied. I made a decision about how we would proceed. I’ve paid it and hopefully people will pay me their bit when they see me. It works out to about £2.50 per dog. I told the club what I’d decided via the club’s Facebook page.
Next time there’s something to be done I will just do it and tell people what I’ve done after I’ve done it.
 
I then had a little sweep around the garden. I wanted to do so much more out there, but the recent rain had made everything so wet. I had a little doze, then after lunch I got the third load of washing out of the washing machine and set about the ironing.
As I ironed I watched episodes of “Four In a Bed”. The people running a rather camp art gallery refused to put on a cooked breakfast because it would upset the art. The second people refused to put on a cooked breakfast because they’d converted their kitchen into a bedroom. And the last people refused to put on a cooked breakfast because it was too much arse ache. But they all criticized the others for not doing so.
 
“er indoors TM went shopping. I boiled up dinner. It didn’t turn out that bad really. As we scoffed we watched moreLego Masters: New Zealand”. I could make good Lego models better than the ones in the show *if* I had access to the brick pit with two million Lego bricks and if I didn’t have such a strict time limit.

3 April 2024 (Wednesday) - A Cyclist...

As I scoffed toast I watched the last episode of “Friday Night Dinner”. A rather good series; now to find something else to watch before work.
With nothing much happening on-line I set off to Pembury and work.
 
As I drove the pundits on the radio were interviewing some idiot who was complaining about how much cheaper supermarkets are than little local shops, how it wasn’t fair on the small shopkeepers, and how we should all boycott the supermarkets to teach them a lesson.
There’s no denying that (relatively speaking) supermarkets are cheap. Back in the day when Daddy’s Little Angel TM” tried to run a small shop she found that supermarkets were selling a lot of stuff cheaper than she could get it from the cash & carry. Supporting small shops is all very well if you can afford to do so. Personally I think the most recent fruit of my loins did the right thing in cutting her losses and not trying to compete with Tesco.
There was then a lot of talk about business… various experts were wheeled on to discuss all sorts of things. Retail, hotels, pubs, cinemas, nursing homes… the only thing that any of the experts were interested in was do these things make money? That’s the bottom line, isn’t it?
 
I got to work and did my bit. And slipped off early to use up a couple of hours of leave. As I drove home I listened to an album.
Fifty years ago Sparks released “Kimono My House”; one of my favourite albums. I have lists of favourite books and singles. Perhaps I should list my favourite albums too? A few months ago I heard that Pale Wizard Records were looking to bring out a cover album; all the tracks on the album covered by various bands. They were asking for crowdfunding and I signed up right away. I listened to the album of cover versions as I drove home. Sadly, of the twelve tracks two were good, two were OK and the rest were something of a disappointment.
Such a shame.
 
I got home and thought I might take the dogs to the park. But I forgot the schools were on holiday.
We had an episode…
As I was walking through the park I sensed something behind me. I turned to see some child on a pedal bike maybe two yards behind me, pedalling like a thing possessed whilst looking back over his shoulder at some old woman way behind (grandmother, perhaps?) The child suddenly noticed that he was about to crash into me, swerved, and missed Treacle by inches. He then carried on cycling whilst looking back at me shouting apologies.
I should have smiled and said nothing, but I didn’t.
I suggested he might like to stop apologizing, turn his head and look where he was going. Bearing in mind he was on a straight line for the river (only a few yards away) I thought that was rather sage advice. It was at this point that grandmother caught up and snapped at me that I should be more patient as it was only his third day on the bike. I suggested that she might have told him to look where he was going on day one. I marched off leaving her looking most indignant, I did my little whistle, and all three dogs followed me at heel.
We came home to find Bailey had rolled in something disgusting. Hopefully she’d done that after our little episode.
 
I then dozed in front of the telly for far too long. Early starts are a tad too much like hard work. “er indoors TM boiled up pork chops and we scoffed them whilst watching more “Lego Masters: New Zealand”.
I’m hoping that after peanuts, chili and Easter eggs, pork chops might sort my innards out.

2 April 2024 (Tuesday) - Spare Cake (?)

With the kebab not sitting well it took a little while for me to get off to sleep last night. It was a shame that her next door had either a nightmare or very noisy sex at quarter to three. Whichever it was, there was a lot of screaming. I’ve not seen her today; I do hope she wasn’t being murdered. What’s the etiquette for that sort of thing?
I didn’t get back to sleep after that.
 
Over toast I watched an episode of “Friday Night Dinner” then had a quick look at the Internet. One day it might be different; today it was dull. I sent out a couple of birthday wishes, and got ready for work. Now the clocks have gone forward I put on a summer shirt. I have summer and winter shirts (doesn’t everyone?)
 
I set off to work through the rain. As I drove I listened to the radio. I've not done that for a week; it's amazing how quickly you can get out of touch with the world. As a child I couldn't understand my grandfather's fascination with the news. It was so dull. It is still dull, but you miss so much if you don't pay attention.
Aid workers in Gaza have been killed by Israeli forces. This isn't the first time innocents have got caught in the crossfire. The Israelis are doing themselves no favours.
And the Prime Minister has announced that fifteen hours of free childcare is now available for working parents of two-year-olds. Or, to be precise, working parents of two-year-olds are entitled to fifteen hours of free childcare. A subtle difference, maybe. However being entitled to it doesn't mean they will get it. There aren't actually enough spaces in nurseries for all the two-year-olds because there aren't enough nurseries. Here we see the stark difference between Conservative and Labour philosophy. The Conservatives announce the policy and expect private enterprise to deliver. Which it doesn't. On the other hand Labour would have child care delivered by the state... if it were to be offering it. Which it isn't keen to do because there aren't enough nurseries for all the two-year-olds. Neither party can deliver, but have different reasons for not doing so. There's something to think about when casting your vote in the upcoming elections. We don't so much choose what we want, rather we choose our reasons for not getting what we want.
 
As I drove up the motorway my phone beeped. I could see from the notification on my watch that there was a new virtual geocache at Hadleigh castle. Bearing in mind that these things are rather rare and so getting to be first to find one of these takes some doing, I got rather excited. Hadleigh castle isn't far off of my way to work... And then I realised. It is Hadlow tower which isn't far off of my way to work. Hadleigh castle is in Essex.
Oh well...
 
I got to work and did that which I couldn't avoid. But there was cake. Lots of it. Someone back from maternity leave had made Easter cupcakes, someone had a birthday last Saturday ,and someone else had brought in a spare cake. "Spare cake". Not a concept I understand...
 
With work worked I came home slowly. “Operation Brock” is a pain in the glass. “er indoors TM boiled up chili and I scoffed an Easter egg for afters.
My guts haven’t been right all day – I suspect this won’t help them.
 
Being at work today my step count was under four thousand steps. This last week when I wasn’t at work I didn’t have a day with a step count under ten thousand.

1 April 2024 (Monday) - Building the Plant Box

I had hoped for a bit of a lie-in this morning. “er indoors TM ‘s alarm went off like it usually does, and then there was a major commotion outside at half last seven. Some idiot had driven his huge lorry through the barrier at the top of the road, found himself facing a queue of incoming traffic and then started shouting about it. You would think that people would think twice about making a complete cock of themselves when they are in the firm’s lorry with the firm’s name emblazoned all over it, wouldn’t you?
 
I gave up trying to sleep go up, made brekkie and had a look at the Internet. April Fool abounded with the Lego corporation announcing a full-sized Minion model, local Facebook groups showing photos of mis-spelled signs on the local college, and one Sparks fan page suddenly being devoted to wombles. And sadly this provoked no end of squabbles from people who didn’t understand the concept of “April Fool” or “Humour”.
 
I spent an hour weeding and tidying up in the garden until “er indoors TM and the dogs emerged from the pit. Once I’d hung out washing we took the dogs to the park. I had this vague idea to try the cooked breakfast in the dog-friendly café in the park but there was an Easter Egg hunt in the park and the café was full of face painting. We just had a little wander and walked home. As we walked I tried to get inside Morgan’s head. I wish I knew what he thinks. When on the lead on the way to the park he was confrontational and aggressive to other dogs. When off the lead in the park he was playing nicely with other dogs. We had the same yesterday at the Leas.
We came home via the corner shop where I got pastries. We had them with a cuppa, and just as the second load of washing finished so the heavens opened. It didn’t rain for long; just long enough to get everything wet.
 
Bearing in mind the box I was building for the garden needed something solid to stand on (or the base would rot away) I popped to B&Q for a paving slab.
Oh dear…
B&Q was absolutely heaving this morning. Children were running round screaming; people were randomly blundering about. Maybe one in twenty was actually looking where they were going. Some people were looking at what was for sale in total amazement in much the same way that I would go to the zoo and look at the animals.
I got the slab I needed and got out as quickly as I could.
 
I came home; “er indoors TM set off to visit family. Not wanting to leave the dogs all afternoon I stayed home. Seeing the rain had stopped I had a look at the box-sections I made yesterday. I put them together into a box. They didn’t fit together quite as precisely as they might have done, but a clout or two with a hammer got them into shape. I lined the box, painted it, and the rain started again. Realising it was two o’clock and that I felt hungry I stopped for scoff..
Yesterday I had an out-of-date Mars bar for lunch. Today I had a bag of peanuts. As I scoffed I watched another episode of “The Gentlemen. And seeing it was still raining when that episode finished, I watched another.
 
By then the rain had stopped. So… the purpose of the garden box was to replace the poggered pot one of our shrubs lives in. So I heave the poggered pot out of the way, got the new box into place, filled it with soil, transplanted the shrub and tidied up. Ten seconds to type; an hour and a half to do. It does look better than it was though.
By one of those strange co-incidences Facebook memories told me that I first got the shrub I transplanted exactly six years ago today. It is a “sorbaria sorbifolia” and according to the Internet it is quite hardy. I wonder if it will survive the transplanting? “My Boy TM” got one at the same time that I did and his soon died – and he is good at gardening.
I’ve two more shrubs to transplant. Which means two more boxes to build. If any of my loyal readers have an old picnic table or old shed or any old random lumps of wood kicking about… I can swap them for sorbaria sorbifolia cuttings or a big poggered flower pot.
 
“er indoors TM came home with kebab which we scoffed whilst watching the first two episodes of the second season of “Lego Masters: New Zealand”.
That kebab’s not sitting well…