30 June 2024 (Sunday) - Bootfair Safari

Another bad night. I was awake far too early listening to dogs smacking their chops and fidgeting about. Why can’t dogs just lie quietly in the mornings? They do for the rest of the day.
You’d think that after five days there would be some feeling back in my upper jaw, wouldn’t you? I wonder if some nerve damage has been done?
I made toast and peered into the internet and my lap-top announced that I should be using an official HP charging cable. I was using the one that came out of the box the thing came in; what more could I do?
Unlike yesterday there wasn’t much of note on-line today. The lorry driver who often pleads poverty was again banging on about the merits of his Tesla car, and there was a minor quarrel about a kiting event on Hamstead Heath. It is some years since I was part of the organised kite flying scene, but when I was it was one big argument, and it would seem little has changed.
Still feeling grim I slept for much of the morning. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” and  “Darcie Waa Waa TM  went out with their mates, and “er indoors TM  and I took the dogs out for a little walk. There was a local bootfair safari in which people set up little stalls in their front gardens selling the sort of stuff they would otherwise take to a bootfair. There was something similar over the other side of town last year which hadn’t been great. I wanted to have a look just in case, but everyone was selling the sort of tat that I would be wanting to get rid of, and no one was selling anything I’d really be interested in. Which I suppose is the whole point of a bootfair. If it was worth having, you wouldn’t be getting rid of it, would you?
Whilst we were out we popped to the park where there was a fair for Armed Forces Day. To be honest I don’t know what I had been expecting, but I had been expecting more than a few random stalls.
We came home for a cuppa. We only walked less than two miles, but I was exhausted. I sat on the sofa and struggled with more geo-puzzles. I even solved one, and flushed with success solved some more. One puzzle has me stumped though. Click here and tell me the answer if you can.
I’d spent some of the afternoon messaging with an old mucker about geo-puzzles, but eventually he turned off the PC and watched the football. Apparently there was some big football match this afternoon. I wish I knew what the attraction of football is. Seemingly everyone else in the world loves football. I don’t dislike it: I just find it incredibly dull. Once you’ve seen five minutes of a game, you really have seen the lot. Or that is, I have.
“er indoors TM boiled up a rather good chicken dinner. Once “Darcie Waa Waa TM was awake we scoffed it whilst watching some Bebefinn on Kids You-Tube. She’s currently in the bath – that’s usually good for an argument.

29 June 2024 (Saturday) - Lazy Day - Still Feeling Grim

Another rough night. For some odd reason my phone was beeping with various notifications during the night despite having no connection to the internet.  It does that; I wish it wouldn’t.
I got up and hosed out my sinuses, then looked into the Internet as I scoffed toast. Quite a few friends had news. One had moved to a rather large house in Norfolk, one had moved to Tyneside, one had taken promotion to a hospital in Bath, one had retired, one had had the all-clear from breast cancer.
Being a rather nosey sort of person this is the sort of thing I want to hear from social media. The morning’s on-line argument about whether or not Reg Varney had been the first person in the UK to use a cashpoint machine (he was) isn’t why the Internet was invented.
Being Saturday we left the girls asleep in the attic room and went to Dog Club. There was quite a high turn-out today, and none of the unpleasantness that we had last week. Everyone got on fine realising the petty spats between the dogs are over as quick as they start. I took a few photos too.
I had wondered if I should have gone to Dog Club; it only went on for forty minutes but at the end I was worn out. As we drove home we struggled with Steve’s Mystery Year competition on the radio. I was convinced it was some time in the mid seventies until Steve let the cat out of the bag by playing a record he said was one of his favourite eighties tracks. Whoops! Mind you I was still two years out.
We came home and the girls all got ready and went to the family golf day in Hastings. I stayed home with the dogs and watched “Bridge Over The River Kwai” as I did the ironing, and with the ironing done I sat and felt rather ill as I struggled with a series of geo-puzzles that have been put out for the South of England Mega event in a few weeks’ time. One was particularly fiendish and involved a game of Battleships… it gave me a headache.
Eventually the girls returned.  “Daddy’s Little Angel TM and “Darcie Waa Waa TM went off to see a friend’s new puppy. “er indoors TM boiled up some rather good beefburgers which we scoffed whilst watching the last episode of “Race Across the World”. Mind you I say “last episode”; there’s a celebrity version featuring people of whom no one has ever heard, and apparently the BBC have announced a new season will be made.
Despite having done pretty much nothing today, I feel worn out. 

28 June 2024 (Friday) - Feeling Grim

I didn’t have the best of nights. This morning I loaded up the washing machine, then decided it was time to start the saline douching of my nose. In the past I’d made the salt solution too strong so this morning I followed the instructions, and then syringed stuff up my conk. Yesterday I didn’t feel *that* bad. After the douching I felt rather rough, and stayed feeling rough all day.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet. It was still there. I had a friend request on Facebook supposedly from Laura Tobin. No? I’d never heard of her either. Apparently she does the weather forecasts.  Why would anyone set up a fake account in her name? Or if it was a real account, why bother me with it?
And I had a friend request from yet another pornmonger too.
I did chuckle when I saw that someone had posted about the website I mentioned a while ago. https://whogetsmyvote.org/ asks you some questions and tells you which political party is most in line with your way of thinking. At the last general election the chap posting this was extolling the virtues of the Conservative party. Having answered the questions it seems that the Tories don’t stand for anything this chap agrees with, and he’d be better off with the Dribbling Democraps.
And I had a message that one of my geocaches in Kings Wood had gone missing. I’ll sort that next week.
With toast scoffed I fell asleep, and woke up three hours later.
I spent the afternoon in the garden feeling thoroughly miserable. The saline douching always makes me feel grim, and as well as feeling as though someone has smacked my in the gob, my chest and my hips hurt too. What’s that all about?
I spent the afternoon crossword puzzling again. I spent an inordinate amount of time going over my answers time and again because “Spain” didn’t fit the answer to “Milan’s country”. Eventually I realised that Milan is in Italy. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but I’ve actually been to Milan.
All the fruits of my loin went off to Dover where they were playing bingo. “er indoors TM  and I took Darcie Waa Waa TM and the dogs to the park. Dogs aren’t allowed in the new playpark area so I took the dogs for a little walk. As we walked we found some chap preaching religion to an audience of six (I counted). I stopped and listened; he seemed to be talking utter drivel and was seemingly surprising himself with his pronouncements. After a few minutes Pogo had a spectacular bout of dire rear, so I took that as a message from above that it was time to move on.
Littlun seemed happy with Grandma (as she is called) on the swings so I brought the dogs home and douched my sinuses again. I don’t like that very much, and with sinuses douched I had a little sleep until “er indoors TM and littlun came home.
I feel yuk. I’ve felt yuk all day. I’m pretty much decided that if these polyps grow back a fourth time then I will just suffer them. I don’t want to go through this again.

27 June 2024 (Thursday) - Washing and Crosswords

I slept like a log last night. Not surprising I suppose. I put a load of washing into scrub, and as I leant over so a minor torrent of blood-stained snot poured out of my conk. I shaved as best I could, made toast and tried to scoff it despite a rather sore gob. As I peered into the Internet I saw loads of people had sent best wishes, which was rather touching.
I had a little rummage in the Internet as I do. Some idiot woman was asking (on one of the Facebook pond-related pages) where people get the water to top up their ponds during dry periods. Her pond was suffering from evaporation and she didn’t see why she should have to pay to fill her pond; she was on a water meter. I considered suggesting asking the nice man at Tesco for freebie bottles of Evian, but thought better of doing so.
Still feeling under the weather I planned on something of a lazy day for today. I loaded up the washing machine and set it going whilst I sat in the garden, and in between dozing I carried on with the crossword puzzle book I took into hospital with me yesterday. And with washing washed I hung it out, put more in, and did more crosswords until the second lot was done. And then did a third lot. And a fourth. In between crosswords and dozing.
By then it was late afternoon. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” boiled up a rather good bit of lasagne which “My Boy TM” and Cheryl came round to help us eat. It was good to have the tribe gathered; it was a shame I wasn’t feeling on top form.
A fifth load of washing is currently going through the machine. My face hurts and I feel worn out.

26 June 2024 (Wednesday) - Fourth Nasal Re-Bore

I slept reasonably well; even if my sleep was plagued with odd dreams about hospital waiting areas. I eventually got up, and didn’t have any brekkie at all; that was my instructions. Today was the day when my nasal polyps would be sorted out once and for all (or so I’d been led to believe).
I’ve had nasal polyps for years. They can be rather uncomfortable. Imagine having a constantly dripping nose because you can’t sniff because there’s a lump the size of a golf ball bunging your hooter up. There’s not much that can be done about nasal polyps short of having the things cut out. Having them cut out isn’t that bad at the time… they fill your nose with cocaine when they do it. However once the cocaine wears off things are rather more problematical, and you spend a couple of weeks hosing blood clots out of your nose with a syringe filled with warm saline. It ain’t nice…
I had my first nose job on November 4th 2014. What was most memorable about that was that I felt a tad iffy after the surgery and so took the offer of an overnight stay. I had perhaps the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had that night.
I had a follow-up appointment in the out-patients department shortly afterwards, was told all was well, and then somehow or other the hospital lost all memory of me. So when the polyps grew back I had a major fight to get referred back to the ENT people, and they scheduled surgery for the day I started my new job. There were various administrative hiccups, and two years passed before I got a nasal re-bore on 1 October 2019.
Having been told the first operation would clear the nasal polyps, and having believed them when they told me that very very occasionally the things grow back (which is why I needed the second operation) I was a tad hacked off to realise the polyps had again returned within eighteen months.
My third polypectomy took place on 11 January 2022 when I wrote “It no longer felt as though there was a marble lodged behind my nose. The surgeon told me all had gone well, and that although he can’t say I’ll never need another polypectomy, he felt I should be good for a few years”.
In the event I was good for two years. On 31 January of this year the surgeon stuck an endoscope up my nose and saw two huge polyps. He didn’t need to do that – I could feel them.
Having had three failed polypectomies, the surgeon suggested something a tad more radical this time. In the past he’s gone in up my nostril and carved the polyps out. Today’s plan was that he would drill through the bone in my upper jaw and come in at my sinuses from behind.
And that’s what happened. It’s called a Caldwell Luc procedure
Supposedly this has a ninety-two per cent success rate.
“er indoors TM dropped me off at the hospital in Canterbury (where I once worked) at seven o’clock, and I took a seat in the day surgery waiting area whilst the woman on the desk told everyone that she was just covering for someone else.
There was a minor episode as patients were called through to the ward area; one group were asked which one was the patient.  They weren’t at all happy that only the patient went into surgery and the accompanying tribe was asked to clear off. I’ve seen this more and more at the hospital appointments I’ve been to recently. Why can’t people just go on their own? Do they really need to go mob-handed?
I was shown to my little area where I put on rather ill-fitting hospital clothes, and then answered the same set of questions three times to the nurse, the surgeon and the anaesthetist. And it wasn’t long before I was walked through the hospital.to the operating theatre. You’d think they would have arranged things so that patients in hospital clothing don’t have to walk through the public areas of the hospital with the swarming general public, wouldn’t you?
I got taken into Theatre Three. I say “Theatre Three”; it didn’t look much like an operating theatre to me though. I lay down… and suddenly it was an hour later and all was done and I was being wheeled back to where I started.
I did crossword puzzles for a couple of hours until “er indoors TM arrived to collect me, and then I spent much of the rest of the day dozing on the sofa.
I think I’m still a bit iffy from the gas, and I feel as though I’ve been punched in the face. Very hard…

25 June 2024 (Tuesday) - Early Shift

I peered into the Internet as I scoffed toast this morning; I wasn’t in a “telly” mood. There was a posting about a rather dire TV show from the 70s on one of the Facebook groups I follow, and a rather vicious load of posts about the late Arthur Mullard. It would seem that like so many of that era he had been a wrong ‘un as well. Was there anyone famous back then who wasn’t actually a nasty piece of work behind the scenes?
And several friends were posting election propaganda… not so much about who we might be best voting for, but about who we should be voting against. I’m mentioned before that the upcoming election isn’t about choosing the best candidate as choosing the least worst. Which is something of a shame.
Leaving everyone fast asleep I set off to work. As I drove up a  busy motorway there was loads of talk on the radio about Conservative party candidates and the Prime Minister’s personal security guard all being suspended following allegations of betting on the date of next week’s general election.
On the one hand it is insider trading, on the other hand… is what these people have done illegal? It’s a tad cheeky, but at the risk of appearing to be something of a neo-puritan, can anyone who is into gambling claim the moral high ground?
As the day wore on I got a message. “Darcie Waa Waa TM had destroyed my Lego pirate ship. Oh well – it is made of Lego – unless she took a hammer to it, any damage is easily repaired.
She and her mother are staying with us for a bit so as to be helpful after tomorrow’s trauma. I spent much of my time at work today fretting about tomorrow’s nose job.
Today was rather hard work; yesterday I mentioned that I thought I’d caught the sun. I don’t think I was on top form today. I was glad when it was home time.
I drove home through a very hot afternoon. After yesterday’s relative success at Orlestone I had thought about taking the dogs there after work, but with the temperature less than one degree below thirty I thought better of it.
As I watered the shrubs I found a dead slow worm. He looked rather mangled – had I twatted him when I was strimming the lawn edges yesterday? I hope not. Google says I can make a little slow worm reservation from Onduline which I can get from Wickes. That will be a little project for the next week or so.
Daddy’s Little Angel TM” boiled up burritos for dinner. I’ve eaten too many.
An early night – I’ve got to be at the Kent and Canterbury hospital tomorrow at seven o’clock…

24 June 2024 (Monday) - Rather Hot

As I peered into the internet this morning quite a few people were ranting about a new law in Louisiana which requires the ten commandments to be on display in all public classrooms in the state.
There are those who are very much against this, not no one seems against it enough to do anything other than rant on Facebook. I’m reminded of my crackpot landlady who owned the flat in which we lived forty years ago. She had some strange ideas about animal welfare and veganism and all sorts of things which at the time were considered laughable. She once told me that her and her loony mates needed to be in positions of authority and then no one would laugh at them… and whilst people laughed they stood for election in councils and public bodies and now their ideas are mainstream.
Much the same is happening in America right now. A lot of people are angry about what is happening in Louisiana, but no one is angry enough to do anything other than whinge on Facebook.
And there was an argument about the relative merits of America and Denmark. Americans were getting rather nasty about how much tax the Danish pay, seemingly not realising that many people feel it better to pay more tax and have schools and hospitals and public amenities.
I took the dogs to the woods. We got there to find the road from the A251 was closed and blocked up with road works. So we drove to the other end of the road only to find that too was blocked. I had an idea to walk round Godmersham Park; as I drove up the A28 some idiot in a black van was feet from my back bumper. Had I been in the boot with the hatch open I could have touched his car, he was that close. I pulled over and he stopped and shouted a load of abuse about why I was driving so slowly (two miles per hour less than the speed limit!) I pointed out the fallacy of behaving so aggressively when his company name and contact details were plastered all over the van he was driving. He suddenly changed his tune and was all sweetness and light. Such a shame I never actually made a note of his company’s name.
We drove down to Orlestone for a walk; starting walking just over an hour after we left home. Having had issues with Morgan and Bailey at Orlestone before, they stayed on the lead until we were well away from the roads. Other than Pogo screaming at the normal people the walk went rather well. It was only a shame it was so warm.
Once home I had a look in the garden but it was too hot to be out there for any length of time so I came in and did the monthly accounts. Not too shabby really. I did a spot of CPD and then completely forgot that it was too hot outside and went out anyway. I stripped ivy from the fences, strimmed the lawn edges, mowed the lawn and took the garden scissors to the stepping stones.
Daddy’s Little Angel TM and I then spent a rather frustrating hour or so trying to stop “Darcie Waa Waa TM flinging stones into the pond.
“er indoors TM boiled up pizza which me and “Daddy’s Little Angel TMscoffed whilst watching South Park on the Sky Q box whilst littlun scoffed choccy brekkie cereals. Perhaps not the best thing to eat, but she ate three bowlfuls.
The girls have gone up for an early night; I expect they will be down soon. If they do come down I might go up. I mentioned it was hot outside today; I might have overdone the being out in the sun today.

23 June 2024 (Sunday) - Family Day

I slept reasonable well, but was awake before anyone else. I made the most of what I thought might be the day’s only peace and quiet, made toast and scoffed it and my tablets as I peered into the Internet. It turned out my cousin had been up four hours earlier than I’d been, loaded up her car, set up a boot fair stall and had a set-to with some old biddy trying to steal from her all before I woke.
The internet was relatively peaceful this morning apart from a quarrel on one of Facebook’s Radio Four pages (there are two – one was a breakaway group after a nasty argument!) about the correct pronunciation of “sandwich”.
I put a load of washing in to scrub, then cracked on in the garden. With Pogo with us this weekend there was an epic load of dung to clear up, and with that done I put the new garden ornaments (that I’d bought on Friday) into place. Using tape measures and spirit levels they took far longer to sort than maybe they should have done.
I then rolled out the thick hose and cleaned out the pond’s filter. I’m still not convinced about this extra bog filter I built a couple of weeks ago. I may well be disassembling it, recycling what I can and binning what I can’t. We shall see.
And then I ran out the normal hose and topped up the pond before hacking back still more overgrowth pouring over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door. In between jobs I sawed up some old strips of wood and painted them up with a view to repairing the broken fence at the front of the house.
Let’s just say it didn’t look very good; the entire fence needs replacing.
Darcie Waa Waa TM emerged from her pit, and her mother wasn’t far behind. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” then sorted out bacon and egg bagels which were rather good. I had flashbacks of the breakfasts we had when camping: really good brekkie only four hours too late…
We then loaded ourselves and the dogs and set off to Dymchurch for ice creams. As we drove we found the road was closed. We followed the diversion. Sadly whichever idiot worked it out had no knowledge of local roads and hadn’t used a map. At the end of the diversion we were heading at right angles to the road to Dymchurch.
As we eventually drove into Dymchurch the first thing we saw was the ice cream parlour. Closed down and for sale.
We drove round desperately trying to find a parking space. The world and his wife had gone to Dymchurch today. Eventually we found a space, and once “Darcie Waa Waa TM had had a go on the centipede ride at the fun fair we found a back-up ice cream shop. It was rather apparent that everyone else had too. The fridge door must have been open pretty much all day. What looked like rather good ice cream was actually pretty much melted, and most of the twenty quid’s worth of ice cream just dripped on the pavement.
With dogs banned from the beach we walked along the prom. It was a rather good walk; littlun took Bailey’s lead, and Bailey wasn’t *that* bad for her.
We got a tin of fizz each and a little ball for littlun on the way back to the car. Interestingly the shops in Dymchurch have signs up saying they prefer payment in cash. I couldn’t help but think of the similar places in Hastings where they flatly refuse to take cash; card payments only.
We came home, and littlun spent an inordinate amount of time with the fish. “Daddy’s Little Angel TM” has long since trained the fish to suck fingers, and “Darcie Waa Waa TM was trying to pluck up the courage to have her fingers sucked.
“er indoors TM boiled up a rather good bit of dinner which we ate al-fresco. We scoffed it outside as well. It was only a shame that Pogo had to scream at every bird that came close. And in doing so he would wind up all the other dogs.
We’ve just had chocolate cake… I’m worn out.


22 June 2024 (Saturday) - Some Unpleasantness

With “er indoors TM, Darcie Waa Waa TM and all the dogs in the attic room I had a reasonable night’s sleep. I got up at seven o’clock and it wasn’t long before everyone was up and about.
I scoffed toast and tablets whilst littlun watched strange videos on her grandmother’s mobile whilst periodically haranguing the dogs. She seems to have taken to Bailey, and poor Bailey is finding ever-more ingenious hiding places.
We got ourselves organised and set off to Dog Club. Pogo was a tad reactive at the start. All dogs are. Sadly we had a minor incident at Dog Club this morning. Some family who came for the first time last week brought their smallish dog along again this morning. It was running about having rough and tumble like all the dogs do every week, but Morgan was getting a tad over-excited, so I caught him for a time-out. At no point was there any aggression between the dogs.
A few minutes later the same happened again, and the woman of the family got rather aggressive, slapped Morgan and got personally abusive with me about what a nasty dog I had and how he should be on the lead and her dog would never learn to socialize with his being so aggressive. She loudly announced that the combined experience of the people who bring their dogs along every week was nothing compared to her knowledge of dogs, and matters weren’t helped by her teenaged son trying to be mouthy. The regular attendees effectively told her the error of her ways and she and her family stormed off threatening to tell her story all over Facebook.
On reflection and on talking with everyone who watched what happened this morning between the dogs, what happened was pretty much run of the mill dog behaviour. The dogs were doing what dogs do every week. Pretty much the same thing happened at the end of the session when we stayed on until the 10 o’clock group arrived. Bailey was frightened by a Dalmatian and screamed in terror but kept going back for more. As dogs do.
It’s a shame this woman had to be so confrontational… There is rarely an issue with dogs; any issues are always with the people.
We came home. “er indoors TM took littlun up to the shop and came back with a croissant for me which I scoffed with a cuppa before setting off to the late shift..
As I drove up the motorway I didn't listen to the radio. Steve wasn't on this morning and his stand in was... to be fair the chap had the sort of voice which would have been wonderful for a radio show in the early hours of the morning; say between two and four o'clock. Quiet and restful and relaxing. But hardly the lively and raring-to-go that a Saturday morning needs. Instead I sang along with Ivor Biggun songs. As I drove I found myself behind a moped. The sort of thing the mods used to scoot about on back in the day. I didn't think those things were allowed on motorways?
I got to work and did my bit. Although I can see from the calendar that I'm not, it feels as though I've been doing quite a few Saturday late shifts over the last few months. Probably swapping out of all of my Saturday early shifts for dog club makes me think this?
I spent much of the shift thinking about the morning's episode at Dog Club. We've never had anyone carry on at Dog Club quite like that woman did, and the way the chap with her and her son reacted reminded me of some of the more aggressive mothers that used to bring their children to cubs. There are those that really do go through life shouting out the orders at everyone else, and for the most part everyone else goes along and doesn't argue. These people cannot cope with anyone who doesn't acquiesce to them.
What was I supposed to do? Just listen to her ranting and apologize for a dog doing what dogs do?? Part of the shrieking woman's rant was that Morgan was an obstacle to dog socialisation. Perhaps he is. But he too needs to be socialised.
And it has since been pointed out to me that last week this woman told one or two people  that her dog was coming into season. That wouldn't have helped, would it? And am I being mean in wondering if it was her who left a dog poo bag in a tree last week?
It strikes me that what the club needs above all else is someone to turn up every week to open the gate and provide a poo bag, and to pay the subs money into the bank, and to deal with whatever issues arise. And if that is to be me, then my dogs come with me. 
If this woman wants to socialise her dog, then she can start her own group.

21 June 2024 (Friday) - Late Shift

As part of the run-up to having my nose re-bored (again) next week I have to take steroids for a week leading up to it. I don’t sleep very well at the best of times, and these steroids don’t help. Having been wide awake for most of the night I finally nodded off only to hear a thud as Treacle jumped of the bed and was sick.
Dogs, eh?
I made toast, and scoffed it with more steroids and antibiotics as I peered into the Internet. Four Facebook friends were having a birthday today. I had no idea who one was, and another has made no effort to communicate in ten years. Another is a fellow hunter of Tupperware that I see from time to time, and the fourth was twenty-nine years old today. Twenty-nine… I remember walking up to the maternity unit to see him only hours after he’d been born.
Some friends were posting photos from the Solstice gatherings at Avebury and Stonehenge. Others were posting that they’d been taken ill at the Solstice gatherings.
And one was doing “Chase the Sun” – a bike ride from Rochester castle to the other side of Cheddar Gorge. Over two hundred miles in one day. They chose today to give them the maximum amount of daylight. What an adventure! Back in the day I would have been up for that.
I saw that two new geocaches had gone live overnight, and that someone else had left home at five o’clock this morning so as to be first to find them. One of them was a puzzle about… I won’t say what it was about, but I’m sure I’d figured out the theme… but I couldn’t get the checker to give me the thumbs-up.
I put the leads onto the dogs and not having time to go to the woods I gritted my teeth and took them round the park. Usually we meet one or two “plums” when we go there, and today was no exception.
As the dogs were running across the green minding their own business some Nepalese chap pointed at them and stared shouting “Bad! Bad! Bad!” This obviously attracted their attention and when they went up to him to see what he wanted he didn’t actually run in terror, but it wasn’t far off.
As we came to the end of the walk I called to the dogs to come back to get their leads on. I’d barely finished calling when some passing busybody asked with (in a rather patronizing way) if I was having trouble with my dogs. The pups then sprinted up and sat in front of him. He bustled off without a word as I put their leads on.
Why do I attract these idiots?
As we walked we went through the bit of the park which last year the council had spent thousands of pounds making into a rather nice woodland walk. Sadly they’ve let it fall into disrepair and it is now little more than a thicket overgrown with stinging nettles.
We came home, I made a cuppa for me and “er indoors TM, then as I walked out the door I had a stroke of genius about why I couldn’t solve that geo-puzzle.
I set off up the motorway. Having checked the traffic news it seemed that the A249 was open (for once) and so I went to Sheerness and Wheelans. I knew exactly what garden ornaments I wanted from Wheelans, and by heroic self-control I only came out with two more than I went to get.
Having yet again forgotten to make myself a sandwich I stopped off at the branch of Aldi on the Isle of Sheppey only to find it was still being built (whoops!) so I drove across the road to the Morrisons. The fat balls for the sparrows were fifty pence more in Morrisons than they are in Tesco, but I was in Morrisons, and an extra trip to Tesco wasn't worth the saving of fifty pence.
I then went in to work. I'm not keen on the late shifts but I've had worse ones. As I worked I had a message from “Daddy’s Little Angel TM”. “Stormageddon – Bringer of Destruction TM had disgraced himself at school. Oh dear... I suppose in the grand scheme of things it is nothing that his mother hadn't done in the past. Time and time again.
I came home to mayhem. Darcie Waa Waa TM has come for a sleepover and brought Pogo with her. After an hour’s chaos “er indoors TM and “Darcie Waa Waa TM went to bed and all the dogs followed.
I took the opportunity to try out my stroke of genius on that geo-puzzle. I got the right answer…

20 June 2024 (Thursday) - Dog Walk, Gardening...

Yesterday I ended by tempting fate and saying I thought I’d chirped up a bit. I slept very well, got up after nine hours in my pit, and suddenly felt like death warmed up.
I made toast and peered into the Internet. There was a lot of nastiness on one of the local Facebook groups about supposedly badly parked cars. Someone claimed he’d been unable to get in or out of his road because of badly parked cars. He’d posted photos of the car and his attempt to get past. With a foot clearance on either side I couldn’t see what the issue was. But some people do need miles. I can remember trying to pass some old biddy in a country lane once; the old biddy flatly refused to drive her car any closer than two feet from the kerb.
And someone else was posting photos of a dead lizard he had found locally and was in a panic.
I got the dogs into the car. As we drove there was some utter bollox on the radio in which Melvyn Bragg and a panel of so-called experts was explaining how the world’s religions try to make sense of the concept of Karma. As the show went on it was quite plain that the idea of a world in which the good suffer and the evil prosper has never been popular, and for thousands of years all sorts of people have tried to explain how good and bad actions in life are rewarded and punished in a later life. No two of these people have ever been in agreement, and none seemed to grasp the very simple concept that shit happens.
We went to Kings Wood; it was very busy today. We met loads of groups of dog walkers. One group was entertaining. About half a mile from the car park were a couple of smallish people with two dogs.. Each dog was about the size of the two people put together. Both dogs were on their leads, and the small people were clearly being dragged all over the place by these dogs over which they obviously had no control whatsoever.
We saw them long before they saw us. Treacle ignored them entirely. Morgan and Bailey actually sat and watched them with an incredibly superior and patronizing air. As one of the idiots saw us he broke of the sentence of “why the f… won’t you do as you are told” which he was shouting at his dog and started shouting “lead, lead, lead” at me. I lifted the leads from around my neck, and with a smile called over that I’d got some. I then whistled at the dogs and we went off leaving the idiots to their fight.
We again saw the signs about site traffic that we’d seen when we were last a mile deep into the woods. This time we also saw some huge piles of chalk stones and a digger sinking some rather thick plastic trunking. What’s that all about?
As we came back to the car park we saw a young couple sitting in their tent peering out at the view. The dogs ran up to say hello. I called the dogs back, and at that point I noticed the nice lady’s attire (or lack of it). I smiled sweetly and hurried off. I’m not sure what the correct etiquette is in situations like that, but I’m of the opinion that smiling sweetly and hurrying off is more acceptable than smiling sweetly and saying “nice tits!
With walk walked we drove into Challock for a quick spot of geo-nonsense. The hint for the cache I was looking for was the number of a telegraph pole. I’m used to looking at the base of those – someone had cable-tied the thing in place at head height and stuck a pen in the cable tie too. But I’m not complaining – I wish more people would do that sort of thing. I wish more people would put caches out.
What with today being the solstice, it you logged a find today you got an e-souvenir. That was nice.
We came home, and I sat down in front of the telly for a spot of lunch. Then on seeing that the garden waste bin had been emptied and I had space for more garden rubbish I hacked back still more of the overgrowth from not-so-nice-net-door’s jungle. I hacked for a couple of hours, hacking so vigorously that I managed to pogger my long-handled pruner. Not a serious pogger though; nothing I couldn’t mend with a cable tie.
And then I solved a mystery. My sundial keeps losing time. I caught Morgan knocking it as he leant against it as he piddled up it.
“er indoors TM sorted out an Asda Indian take-away which was rather good. As we scoffed it we watched more “Race Across the Worldin which the contestants had got to Jakarta. I was rather interested to see Jakarta; good friends lived there for quite some time and had good things to say about the place…
I don’t think the TV show did it justice.

19 June 2024 (Wednesday) - This n That

As I made toast this morning so my phone rang. A little while ago it suddenly occurred to me that I might not be able to fly off on holiday after next week’s surgery. How long a gap should there be before having holes drilled in my skull and flying to Uzbekistan?
It turned out that the answer is “two weeks” so that’s all right then. It’s just a shame that the local hospital took so log to get back to me.
I scoffed toast, steroids and antibiotics and rolled my eyes at the constant stream of squabbling that filled the Internet this morning. Peter Davidson appeared in the TV adaptation of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy forty years ago. What could anyone find to argue about in that plain statement of fact? And there was a seriously bitter argument about religion kicking off on Facebook’s “Dull Men’s Club” page. Atheists are never going to convince god-botherers of the futility of sucking up to that which is at best utterly indifferent. And god-botheres telling atheist that they will burn in hell fire just get laughed at.
I got the dogs onto their leads and we went up to the woods. We took a rather different route to any of our usual walks today; I had something of a preliminary recce on what might possibly be the “Bailey’s Bimble” series of geocaches in the New Year.
As we walked we met one of the normal people who was having an issue with his dog. My three ran up to get involved, but I called them back and they came back right away. The poor normal person watched my dogs turn and come back, and he then shouted at his dog about why it couldn’t do that.
And we met the school group that goes up to the woods most mornings. They seemed pleasant enough but it strikes me that the kids would be far better spending their time at school learning their lessons rather than following their teacher at a distance of a hundred yards, going as slow as possible and having a conversation with their mates about Dungeons and Dragons.
We only walked two and a half miles today (according to my watch) then came home where I loaded up some of the rubbish from the shed and set off to the tip. For all that you have to book an appointment with the tip, you can book it as little as only half an hour into the future.
I got to the tip and unloaded. As I went from this skip to that skip I was very conscious of some mad woman walking in circles in the car parking area. As I walked past her taking a poggered shovel to the metal recycling skip so one of the tip operatives called out to the mad woman telling her to follow me. As I walked past her she looked hopefully at me and muttered about how you have to go up six steps to be able to put things into the metal recycling skip. I had hands full already. The woman wandered away from me muttering about how she shouldn’t have to climb steps, and no one was going to make her do so.
Why do I attract these loonies?
I came home and mowed the lawn, then had a little pootle in the garden until “er indoors TM boiled up a cheese sandwich.
I then had a fiddle about on the Internet. It turned out we’ve never had a formal booking with the people who own the field we use for Dog Club, so I sorted that out.
I updated my GSAK map of Kings Wood.
And then the postman came with the latest copy of Viz.
“er indoors TM boiled up fish and chips and we watched a couple more episodes of “Race Across the World”.
I don’t want to tempt fate, but I felt grim this morning; I think I’m not feeling quite so grim now…

18 June 2024 (Tuesday) - Dull

I wasn’t feeling on top form when I went to my pit last night; I felt rather grim when I woke, but I got up in the hope I might perk up. I made toast, watched the second episode of “Tires” then had a look at the Internet.
People from Lydd were up in arms because CCTV cameras had appeared on the high street. And some silly woman on one of the 1980s-related Facebook pages was having a rant at anyone who had the same name as someone who is or was famous and was daring to use their name on social media. Clearly they were either pretending to be that famous person, or trying to confuse the public, or so this idiot maintained.
I got dressed, then popped to the back garden to have a look at the little pond. The filter pump was running just as it had been last night. Removing that foam seems to have improved the flow... but will it have poggered the water clarity? Time will tell - it always does.
As I drove to work the pundits on the radio were interviewing people who run hotels and pubs in Edinburgh. The hospitality sector there is dying on its arse. With all the eastern European workers having long since gone home after Brexit, it seems no one is prepared to work in Edinburgh's pubs and cafes and hotels for minimum wage. To try to raise money to entice locals to work the prices have had to go up. A portion of fish and chips there now costs over twenty-five quid, and a pint of beer is over seven quid. Consequently hardly anyone is eating out there any more. As the woman being interviewed said it wasn't as though we didn't see this coming...
Meanwhile world leaders are rather concerned that the Russian premiere Vladimir Putin is meeting up with the leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un. Having been bullied and ostracised by the rest of the world for so long, it's hardly surprising that these two would be looking at forming an alliance, is it? Western leaders are concerned that North Korea will supply Russia with weapons for its ongoing war in Ukraine. No one commented that the Russians are probably equally concerned that the Western world is supplying Ukraine with weapons for its war with Russia.
What goes around comes around.
Yesterday as I drove to work I realised I'd forgotten to make a sandwich. I forgot again today. Having been rather disappointed with what I got from M&S yesterday, this morning I went to Sainsburys this morning and got a far better meal deal for one pound fifty cheaper. It was a shame that Sainsburys comes with the miserable old bat glaring at you as you fight with the self-service tills, but you can't have everything.
Work was work. I had a good day I suppose, but I was glad when it was home time. It was a shame that the “road improvements” meant it took me half an hour longer to get home that it usually does. Once home we did “Feed The Fish” and I harvested a bumper crop of dog turds from the garden. How can three small dogs generate so much dung?
“er indoors TM boiled up a rather good pasta bake which we scoffed whilst watching a couple of episodes of “Race Across the World”. A couple of days ago I mentioned I’d taken an instant dislike to some of the teams… I’ve refined that dislike to one member of each of two teams.
Yesterday I said I was developing a sore throat…Having spent all day in the hope I might perk up I didn’t and I generally just feel “bleaugh” now… 


17 June 2024 (Monday) - Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew...

As I scoffed toast I watched the last episode of “Catastrophe”. It wasn’t a bad show really. I then sparked up my lap-top as I do most mornings.
Yesterday I’d posted on the Facebook pond pages asking if anyone might recommend a pond pump to replace my one that keeps blocking up. It seems that other people had the same issue with this pump; it was suggested I took out the thickest bit of filter foam around the cap.
Yesterday I’d posted on the local geocaching page that I intended replacing all my geocaches in Kings Wood in six months’ time. Someone asked when I would be replacing them, and which ones.
And this morning’s petty squabble was on one of the 1970s related Facebook pages in which people were arguing about the names of the firemen in Trumpton.
As I drove to work I listened to the news as I do. It would seem that fewer people do this these days than ever used to, with a quarter of people surveyed worldwide saying they actively avoid listening to the news as they find to too depressing. I can understand that.
Meanwhile in Ukraine it seems there are army squads actively conscripting anyone of military age just like the press gangs of the British navy used to a couple of hundred years ago.
For those wanting to avoid the draft, public transport, restaurants, supermarkets, and weekend trips to the park to play football are all no-go areas. And apparently there really are Facebook groups following and reporting the movements of the press gangs so's people can avoid them.
I got to work where I discovered I'd forgotten to make myself a sandwich this morning. I popped to the works branch of M&S where I got a ham sandwich, some strange bag of barbecue flavoured corn things and a bottle of poncey flavoured fizzy water for a fiver as some sort of meal-deal.
It certainly wasn't worth a fiver.
I came home and saw the pump that I’d cleaned out yesterday morning was already blocked, so I took out that foam around the cap and saw an immediate improvement. Let’s hope it stays improved.
And not-so-nice-next-door has hacked back some of the jungle flowing from her garden into ours. Here’s hoping she hacks back a lot more.
“er indoors TM boiled up pork chops, and despite having lost her voice set off to bowling. I settled in front of the telly and watched the first episode of Geek Girlon Netflix. I don’t know whether I like it or not.
Today was dull… and I’m developing a sore throat.

16 June 2024 (Sunday) - Father's Day

As I scoffed toast I had my usual peer into the Internet. There was an amazing display of unanimity on one of the Facebook groups I follow. Someone posted that they’d met one of the main actors in the 80s TV show “Auf Wiedersehn Pet” and found him to be a rather nasty opinionated person with no time at all for the fans, and loads of other people were positing their experiences with this actor. No one had a good word for the bloke.
But there was a squabble on one of the dog-related Facebook groups in which someone was trying to get people to sign an on-line petition campaigning for the RSPCA to only advocate vegetarian animal food.
Have you ever seen a cat eating a salad?
With “er indoors TM and the dogs fast asleep I put in a load of laundry, set the dishwasher going, and got on with gardening. First of all I cleaned out the small pond’s filter. I’m having to clean that at least twice a week. It’s doing a good job of keeping the small pond clear, but I need to replace it with one that needs a whole lot less maintenance.
I harvested a bumper crop of dog dung, and took a bucket of water to one dog’s outpourings.
And then I had a go at trimming back all the stuff pouring over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door. That took some doing.
As I trimmed so “My Boy TM” and Cheryl came with a Father’s Day card. They stayed for a while and we put the world to rights, and when they went on their way I got out the garden vacuum and hoovered up a load of dead leaves.
Then out came the Bionic Burner and I set about the weeds coming up through the patio, and then had a quick Bionic Burn around the front garden too. I zapped the front path of new-next-door too. Perhaps a tad too vigorously as one of her weeds actually caught fire. I stamped it out before anyone noticed, though.
“er indoors TM sorted us a bowl of soup, then went off to see her dad for Father’s Day. He’s got a cat, so turning up with three dogs in tow wouldn’t have been a good idea. And as time goes on I find myself less and less inclined to leave the dogs home alone. So as she went out so I ran out the hose and topped up both ponds, and then spent a little while watching our special fish. One of the fish has got scoliosis (a bent spine) and isn’t as agile as the other fish. But he holds his own at the feeding frenzy when we do “Feed The Fish”.
I then sat on the sofa and fiddled about with my plans for my geocaches in Kings Wood. At the moment I’ve got one huge walk round the woods and several much smaller ones. The huge walk is too long, and the smaller walks are guided by Wherigos which have a cult following. People either love them or hate them. Everyone who loves them has now done them, and those who are now registering finds on them are openly admitting to cheating.
So I’m hoping to revamp the lot into three long-ish walks of about five miles each, and I’ll write some new Wherigos that should be immune to the cheating that is going on.
“er indoors TM came home with KFC and we watched the first episode of the fourth season of “Race Across The Worldin which five teams were racing from north Japan to somewhere in Vietnam. I’ve already taken a dislike to two of the teams…

15 June 2024 (Saturday) - Dog Club, Geo Meet

I lay awake for a few minutes this morning just before I got up listening to the sound of silence. Peace and tranquility reigned as three dogs and “er indoors TMslumbered. I found myself comparing this to the fidgeting, snoring and farting which had filled most of the night.
I made toast and had a look at the Internet as I do. On one of the 1970s-related Facebook pages I follow I read a particularly vicious argument about the (frankly dreadful) TV show Metal Mickey.. “Metal Mickey” was a rather irritating robot from fifty years ago with the catchphrase "boogie, boogie" and was a spin-off from Bill Oddie’s TV show “Saturday Banana”. For those of my loyal readers who aren’t old enough to remember either shows, both were slightly more crap than a bucket of dire rear.
Harsh? – possibly.
Being Saturday we went to Dog Club where we had a rather good session. One or two new dogs came along, and Morgan had to have a couple of time-outs as he got rather over-excited. Fortunately the rain held off right until the end.
From there we didn’t come home. We headed east listening to Steve on the radio. I got the mystery year right - when was the heatwave in the 70s? 1976.
Pausing only briefly to fail to find a geocache we went to the Black Pig in Staple for the county geo-meet. The plan had been a bat and trap tournament, but the weather was against us. So we sat in the bar and chatted. It was rather good to catch up with old friends and meet new friends. The dogs were rather better behaved than they might have been, and we had cheesy chips too.
We didn’t go straight home. We drove up to the village hall where some other people from the geo-meet were parking up, and together we had a little wander along the lanes hunting out a couple of nearby geocaches before I suddenly realized I’d left the pub without settling my bill. We zoomed back to the pub where the people behind the bar were absolutely fine about it.
They too hadn’t realized I’d not paid up.
We stopped off at a church for geo-purposes on our way home. The church at Knowlton is one on the Parish Peregrination series of geocaches. We walked that series ten years ago but we missed this one out at the time. We came back today, and in retrospect I’m glad we missed it out ten years ago. When we walked round in 2014 we covered nearly seventeen miles and we were against the clock.
This cache was quite a mission today. It was some way down a lane on its own, and once we got to the church we had to find several bits of information. It turned out the information was actually in the church but the given location for this information was some way up the road from the church. And some of the stuff we had to find was rather misleading. Given a picture of a ship with three masts and a question about those masts, which mast is “amidships”? The middle one, or all three?
It was rather frustrating that having made the wrong interpretation and consequently having got to the wrong place, we were at a place which seemed quite a plausible place to hide a geocache. But on re-checking the puzzle solving, “er indoors TM misunderstood what “amidships” meant, and consequently saved the day.
I then slept all the way home.
I took a few photos as we went here and there today.
Once home the dogs settled and were all soon snoring. They were worn out after Dog Club; let alone all the rest of the day’s adventures.
“er indoors TM boiled up dinner which we scoffed whilst watching the last episode of the third season of Race Across the World”. I must admit that for all that Canada was rather pretty, the actual race wasn’t that good. With certain legs of the trip having set ferries and trains to catch, any leads teams made up were soon eroded. And there was an awful lot of hitch-hiking going on. I’d like to go on a road trip across Canada; I’ve no interest in hitch-hiking it.