Regular readers of this drivel will know that I suffer from chronic insomnia. To solve that problem I have downloaded a sleep management app to my SmartPhone. I'm still rather vague as to the specifics of how I can manage my sleep using a telephone. But if I can communicate, play games and go geocaching with the gadget, then having a bit of a kip surely can't be that difficult
I checked my emails - I'm in the money(!) Regular readers of this drivel may recall that in February I went for a walk round Shadoxhurst. I put the details of the route I'd taken onto happy wanderer dot com, and anyone who wanted to go on that walk could pay a modest fee to download the route. And from that modest fee I would get some commission.
Over the summer people did pay a fee and download that route several times. And now I've got my commission. Fourteen pence. I have this money as credit in my account, and I can trade the credit for hard cash when I get to having a balance which is over ten quid.
I can either publish one or two more routes to maximise the income, or I can give up on the idea as a silly waste of time. I think I might publish some of the geocaching walks I've recently done. After all I would like to get some money out of this scheme before I retire.
It's official. Winter has arrived. For the first time since last winter I found my car covered in frost and ice this morning. It was nothing that pouring a bottle of tepid water over it couldn't shift, but it still added five minutes to the morning's chores nonetheless. As always when it's frosty I met up with the neighbour who delights in standing over me tutting at my bottle of tepid water. He is convinced that it is not tepid; that it is hot. And he is also convinced that being hot it will shatter the windscreen. He doesn't seem to realise that we've had this conversation several times every week, every winter for the last ten or so years.
Every time that the cars are iced over, I find myself going through the same old routine. I come to my car, having found him already out in the cold, scratching ice from his car. I chuck cold water over my car and it is clear. He whinges on at me, and I drive away. Leaving him still scratching ice. I can only think that he must love standing in the cold scraping ice from his car.
As I shivered on the way to work I listened to the radio. Regular readers of this drivel will kow that I have often ranted about an uncontrolled media. It would seem that the Leveson enquiry is calling for regulation of the press. As well it might. The Prime Minister is apparently against the idea, but in a novel break with tradition the Dribbling Democraps are showing a bit of backbone and are standing up against him. The opposition are also against the Prime Minister, and are threatening to call for a vote on the matter. WIth the Dribblers in revolt, the opposition might win.
Personally I think they are right to call for such a vote, but a cynical part of myself wonders if they want a vote for the right reasons. Do they honestly want a properly regulated media, or do they just want to embarrass the Prime Minister?
Being the last Friday of the month I left work early and set off to astro club. That club goes from strength to strength. Stevey gave tonight's talk. Brilliant. Excellent talks, clear skies for viewing, good time with good friends. But I left a little early to come home for a shave.
And in closing, that's it for the face fur for another year. So far the sponsorship has passed the hundred quid mark. The thing has now been shaved off, but I believe it's still not too late to hand over dosh. Please feel free to sponsor it; and next year you might want to sponsor it again.....
I was laying in bed last night having a last minute check of my emails before going to sleep when I saw something that wound me up just a little bit. Regular readers of this drivel might recall a rant I made a week or so about locations of geocaches. The guidelines say that they shouldn't be near schools or youth clubs. Last week I found what I thought would be the ideal place to hide a cache, but I then realised that it was right on top of a children's farm. So I immediately rejected the place as a potential hide. At 11.30pm last night I read that a cache had been hidden in that very spot. I considered ranting on the geocaching forums, but decided not to bother. Instead I thought I'd take Fudge to find it in the morning.
But I couldn't sleep. I went onto the Kent Caching page where a fellow cacher was egging me on to go to find it. After an hour I realised that "er indoors TM" was still up and about, and was talking on-line to another cacher. And Fudge wanted a walk anyway. So three of us (and Fudge who doesn't like geocaching) set off to find this cache. My GPS took us almost exactly to the spot where I had been planning to hide the cache. And within five minutes I was feeling rather smug having found the cache. In true "Team ELF" style I carried on searching before standing back and being smug. Within another minute we were all feeling smug, Even more so when we opened the cache and saw we were the first ones there. At 1.08am. I'm not normally a fan of night-caching...
Mind you I am still rather miffed about this cache. It is on the footpath by a farm project aimed at children. In fact it is not two yards from the farmland. The cache I had turned down was ten times further away (and on the other side of a very busy road) from anywhere aimed at kiddies.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that I slept well. After a spot of brekkie I took furry face for a walk round Bowens Field, through the park and home. He seemed to like it. On the way home we met the first fruit of my loin who was on his way home too. He seemed well, for all that he was moaning about having a cold. A quick cuppa. and the Folkstonians arrived. One of them did her own thing whilst me and the Rear Admiral set off on a mission.
Being the end of November we thought there might be bargains to be had in Camping International. So we set off there. As it was quite a while since I’d been there, we used Sat-Nav. Woops. Now perhaps I made a boo-boo, but if you put “Camping International” into Google Maps the place comes up with the correct address and post code. However when you then use that same map to navigate to the shop, it takes you to somewhere just over ten miles closer to London. Bexleyheath to be precise. (Go on – try it out!) Oh, how we laughed.
By the time we eventually found Gillingham it was gone mid-day, so we popped into Gina’s café for a spot of lunch. Very tasty. And then on to Camping International. There were one or two tents that looked quite good; but still more expensive than on eBay. So we came home. And in another triumph of Sat-Nav we almost (but not quite) came home via Sheerness.
Once home we found the most recent fruit of my loins, and after a quick cuppa took the dogs for a walk, reprising the route we did this morning, but in reverse. Whilst out I managed to rip a hole in my fleece. I wasn’t happy about that; but I think I’ve managed to stitch a repair which will do to be getting on with.
And then we spent the evening scoffing curry and watching episodes of Star Trek. Good times...
Here's a sign of the times. The average Briton is walking eighty miles less each year. With inactivity now being seen as bad for the health as smoking, this rise in idleness is being taken to be yet another contributing factor to cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Perhaps the average Briton should take up geocaching. That would make them walk a bit more. Or that is the way that I do it would make them walk a bit more. I have no time for this drive-by nonsense (he lied)... I digress....
As I drove home this evening there was an interesting discussion about the subject on the radio. The crux of the debate was that a lot of illness which is currently being dealt with by over-worked hospitals is arguably directly attributable to the lifestyle choices made my those with said illnesses. The question asked was should those who smoke, fail to exercise, and/or regularly drink to excess expect to get free treatment for their self-induced maladies from the NHS? Obviously they shouldn't. Obviously they get all they deserve (!)
So how do we spot those who shouldn't benefit from free health care? Can you really tell a smoker from a non-smoker if the smoker is making an effort to hide his predilection for fags? Some people (like me) put on weight by merely glancing at a cream cake; others can dine on lard and remain svelte. Is discriminating against people like me really fair? And how about the super-fit health fanatic who slips on a dog turd and breaks his leg whilst out jogging. Why should the non-jogging community foot the bill? And is someone who plays football regularly deliberately increasing his chances of injury (and subsequent cost to the hospital)?
Initially I was of the opinion that (as a bit of a porker myself) we've all paid our bit and so are entitled to health care. But now I've thought about it I'm not so sure. Is the actual concept of deserving and un-deserving patients simply wrong? Or is it a choice that a health system which is strapped for cash needs to make? And how is such a choice to be made?
I don't know the answer. But I do know that I worry far less about my own healthcare provision (which is currently free) than I do about that of my dog's (which costs)
Meanwhile here's a much sadder sign of the times. Sir Cyril Smith was another celebrity who abused his position to take advantage of small children. Apparently. In a novel break with current practice, it seems that this case might actually have a nugget of truth in it. This morning's news had a statement from his family regretting the incidents, but commenting on the unfortunate "trial by media" which is taking place. The family have a point.
Over the last few weeks I've touched on this and other such cases. I've wondered how many other celebrities are worried. Some are worried that their crimes will be uncovered. As well they might worry. But it is my concern that a far greater number of innocent people are living in fear of baseless allegations made against them by those making money from selling these stories.
I for one am now worried about such baseless allegations being made against me. Over the years when I was a scout leader, at camps and sleep-overs children would from time to time foul themselves. When camping this would happen (on average) at a rate of about one child every night. Sometimes more; rarely less. It was every single night for three weeks when we took them to Canada for the first time. I lost count of the amount of such boys that I (and other scout leaders) cleaned up. And, to be blunt, you can't clean up such a shitted child without being rather intimate.
Admittedly in retrospect I may well have put myself into a compromising position in doing so, but what alternative was there? Should we have left these boys (unable to clean themselves) caked in their own poo?
Many of these boys are now in their twenties. They all now have bills to pay. Some have their own houses and families to support. And they are seeing these stories about alleged child abuse in the news. They are seeing the lucrative deals newspapers will offer to victims of such alleged crimes. I wonder how long it will be before an ex-cub points the finger at me for financial gain? When they do, I expect I will be stuffed. I've done no wrong, but as I've mentioned before several times, from bitter experience I have absolutely no confidence in the British judicial system.
Meanwhile in more mundane news I am reliably informed that a rat which is the size of Fudge has taken up residence in my back garden . I wonder what I'm supposed to do about that. I can't put down poison or Fudge will eat it. Similarly he'll stick his nose into any rat traps I might put down. If the rat were smaller, Fudge might have seen it off. This rat might see him off. I shall have a think...
Last week I laid out a series of geocaches around the Park Farm estate. This morning's haul of emails brought news that one of these caches was now waterlogged. Odd. When they went out they all had waterproof bags around them. So after a quick bit of brekkie I took Fudge for a walk so's we could put the cache right. Half an hour's walk to the cache, two minutes to sort the thing, and half an hour to walk back again. I would like to have gone to the park or some fields where Fudge could have had a run, but al the rain we've had meant that everywhere was waterlogged.
With more rain forecast we came home and I spent a rather dull day doing housework. Tidying up and sorting out. Mostly putting things into piles so that "er indoors TM" can (hopefully) deal with them later. I then did some hoovering. Or Dysoning to be more specific. And then I disassembled the Dyson, cleaned out all the dust, string and stuff clogged in its works, and Dysoned again properly. Next it was time for the laundry - washing, ironing, sorting out the smalls. Fudge took a liking to the smalls, and fell asleep on top of them. I lifted him off. He woke up, looked at me, and climbed back on.
Whilst I was busy the phone rang. "My Boy TM" was home with Lacey who'd been brought home from school with a temperature. She's got croup, and had been to the hospital with it over the weekend. No one tells me anything(!) And the insurance company phoned. The house building and contents is due for renewal. The agent wondered if I would like to renew, or go with another company on their books. This other company offered effectively the same policy for just over half the cost. That's a couple of hundred quid I could well do with.
With the day's chores done (dull!) the clans gathered at Somerset Road where we watched another episode of "Merlin"; which is really good. Matt had been cooking. Three varieties of fudge (with a small "f"). Very tasty...
I was rather tired after yesterday's thirteen mile hike. Little Fudge certainly was. I went to bed shortly after 11pm, was woken by my beloved's snoring at 2.30am, and then lay awake for the rest of the night; alternately listening to the sound of torrential rain against the window, and snoring.
I eventually gave up with the idea of sleeping and went downstairs to find a very sheepish looking dog. He'd not been sent out last thing last night, and he'd been taken short. Woops! That was the last thing I needed after such a bad night's sleep, but I couldn't be cross with him. After all it was "operator error" really.
And so to work. As I drove I listened to the news which was abuzz with the death of Larry Hagman who played JR in Dallas. I didn't realise that there was currently a series of "Dallas - The Next Generation" on the telly in which Larry Hagman featured. It's amazing what happens when you don't pay attention. There was also a lot of talk about the floods - large parts of the country are flooded. Hundreds of people are relying on their household insurance to help them out. Thousands of people are being told that from now on their houses won't be covered against flood damage in future. This could well make their houses un-sellable.
Mind you I can see the insurance companies' point of view. Especially as the Government won't contribute to help.
Something which boiled my piss was the latest brainwave from Cambridge University - the "Cambridge Project for Existential Risk". Concerned that mankind might get wiped out by plague, killer robots, asteroid strikes or other such far-fetched stuff, those in a position to do so have set themselves up on a nice little gravy train. They intend to play with ideas that science-fiction had tired of before I was born. And get paid for it as well. Nice work if you can get it.
After the news was a current affairs program about the re-unification of Germany. I listened intently to the program in the hope that I might learn something. Unfortunately after half an hour I still had no idea what they were talking about, other than that if they are having such trouble re-unifying Germany, what hope is there for a united Europe.
Meanwhile sponsorship for the mo is approaching the hundred quid mark. Please feel free to sponsor it; in four days it is coming off.
We were up with the lark this morning. Realistically today's planned walk would have been more suited to being a summertime one when the days are longer. But in my world idiot enthusiasm usually triumphs over common sense, and today saw another such victory. We were brekkied, dressed and out of the house by 8am. There was a minor delay when we had to drive back to Lisa's house to collect her phone, but we were at the starting point by 9am.
"The Alternates" is a series of over fifty geocaches in the Sevenoaks area. The series features some of every kind of geocache, open ones, premium member ones, multis, puzzles, even letterbox hybrids - and you rarely see those. It also includes the longest and shortest multis I've ever seen. It was a cold day, and windy at times. But it started brightly enough, and five of us soon solved the first puzzle and off we went.
We found the first half-dozen caches really easily; and then I had a minor worry. The seventh cache was a puzzle cache. The co-ordinates were given along the lines of Paris multiplied by Rome minus Munich. We'd seen this earlier in the week; I'd put out a message on Facebook asking for help. I'd been given some suggestions and I'd tried them and came up with a solution which was in the general vicinity of where it should have been. And (would you believe it) my solution was correct. The cache was where I thought it would be. Oh, I was so smug about that.
And on we went. Fudge made himself ill by eating horse poo. We got shouted at by some old harridan for being on a public footpath used by her horse. We had a snigger at "Pennis Lane" and "Pennis House". It was at Pennis House that we took a bit of a detour. The entire series of caches are arranged in a circle. If you run short of time you can cut out part of the circle by following five "link" caches. We thought that we'd just do the five link ones as well as all of the others. And we did. It was a lovely walk through some beautiful scenery. At a couple of points the route went through a golf course where golfers had to smack the ball over a lake to the holes. I would be stuffed there.
Cache 42 of the series was my eight hundredth geocache. Eight hundred since the first one on the last day of July. That's not bad going. Cache 42 was also where the weather turned. The rain started. Gentle at first, but more and more persistent. But walking in a circular route meant we had no choice but to push on. And we did. Despite the rain getting heavier and heavier, and the light failing, we carried on. The last hour was done in darkness in the torrential rain with me carrying a small dog who, after the twelfth mile, had refused to walk any further. But we did what we had set out to do; and more. Over the course of eight hours and thirteen miles we found sixty three geocaches:
- Fifty three in the series
- Five "link" caches
- The Final and the Bonus
- Three random ones that we were walking past anyway
So far this is my most prolific day's caching. Much gratitude is due to those who set the trail. As always there are photos of the event on-line.
Meanwhile my mo grows. There's no denying that I hate the thing, but it is raising some money for a good cause. please feel free to sponsor it; in five days it is coming off.
Am I being overly ambitious in wondering if I might take up running?
Whilst we were out I couldn't help but notice the amount of houses with Kleeneze catalogues on the doorsteps. I found that rather depressing. There's far too much competition locally to really make a go of flogging that stuff.
Home, where I did the monthly accounts. They weren't as bad as I was expecting; they weren't as good as I was hoping. There's no denying that I don't like this new order of austerity. I need to find something which will bring in more cash. Not lots; just some. More cash from little effort would be good. But more cash. If anyone wants any little jobs doing, I'm your man. I will do absolutely anything for hard cash(!)
Not that I'm bankrupt - far from it. It's just that when you are used to being able to afford to spend every Saturday afternoon in the pub, it's a bit of a pain when you can't any more. Having said that, you can get too much time in the pub. I prefer looking forward to being under thirteen stone than looking forward to being over nineteen stone.
Chippy called round with a barrel. I’d been waiting for that. I got the bucket of beer for that barrel up and onto a table, and left it to settle for a few hours. Whilst I was waiting for the beer to settle, Lisa called round, and we set off for the business of the day. There’s a local geocache called “Tuned In” which I’ve had my eye on for a while. This one isn’t like your average cache – having found the first part, it then leads you on to four other stages. Each part needs you to solve a music-related puzzle. Having done most of the other local caches I didn’t have many left in Ashford. So during last week I mentioned on the Kent caching Facebook group that I was going to try for this cache, and did anyone else fancy having a go at it with me. Ten hardy souls braved the weather. The first part took some finding. We very nearly fell at the first hurdle, but having eventually found it we needed to solve guitar chords. And then we had the co-ordinates for the next puzzle. And off we went. Using apps on our phones to identify all sorts of musical thingies we eventually completed the cache and got to sign the log despite the rain.
With my beloved out flogging candles I had something of an early night last night. And after twenty minutes I went downstairs to comfort Fudge who was crying pitifully. I must have not secured the dog-proofing as I am reliably informed that when my beloved came home Fudge was fast asleep on my bed. Can't think how that happened. It's odd that when she's home in the evenings he takes himself off to bed and doesn't make any fuss.
This morning I had a quick dose of Earth, Wind and Fire in Trap One, and then did the weekly weigh-in. The day on which I have my weekly weigh-in has become rather variable lately, but I do average a weigh-in once a week. And more weight has come off. At this rate being under thirteen stones is seeming more and more possible. Yesterday I had to drill yet another hole in my belt which is a good six inches tighter than once it was.
To work. I listened to the end of the morning's news program as I drove. Consumer groups are worried about energy costs as their experts have predicted that the government is doing something daft. Apparently government subsidies of green energy will add a hundred quid to our yearly fuel bills. The Energy Minister came on the program and was rather amazed because his experts are all of the impression that green energy will save us all a hundred quid every year. Personally I'm all for green energy; but I'm not all for increased bills.
There was also mention that there are moves afoot for Mexico to have a change of name. The country's president wants the name changed to just "Mexico" as opposed to "The United States of Mexico" which is it's real name, but is rarely (if ever) used. I suspect that Mexico only gets called The United States of Mexico by its mum when she is cross with it.
Then it was "Desert Island Discs", this time featuring the television producer John Lloyd. He's one of the brains behind much of successful telly including Spitting Image and Blackadder to name but two. Unlike many of the people on "Desert Island Discs", this bloke was witty, articulate and actually interesting. It was a shame I missed the end of the program really.
I did my bit at work and came home. Rather late. I listened to the news on the way home too. Rather worrying. With the Prime Minister not having secured as much as a rebate from the euro bill as he might have hoped,he's now playing to the crowd with teasing references to a euro-referendum. He's not daft. It will appeal to the jingoistic element. It's a vote winner. Britain will be out of the E.U. within ten years. And at war with it shortly after....
Meanwhile the mo grows apace. There's no denying that I hate the thing, but it is raising some money for a good cause. please feel free to sponsor it; in one week it is coming off.
Among my many and varied hobbies I fly kites. I no longer post on any kite-related internet forums as it is too easy to misunderstand what someone else has written and to have your own words misunderstood. It was the same when I kept snakes, and now it seems to be the same with geocaching. On Monday I mentioned that I hid a cache only to have it turned down because it was too close to a playpark. At the time I didn't realise there was even a playpark nearby. I've had other caches turned down for the same reason, whilst I know of (at least) four other caches which are closer to playparks than the one for which I got the thumbs down. Including one of my own. So I went through the official rules to get some guidance. The official rules were vague, so I asked on a geocaching forum for advice.
In retrospect I really wish that I hadn't. Perhaps I was being over sensitive, but some of the replies were (in part) quite nasty. Having been accused of having half a brain, other posts seemed to imply that placing a geocache in the general vicinity of a school implied paedophilia. Another took offence at perceived digs on my part (supposedly aimed at people I don't even know) that I simply hadn't made.
I got the answer to my question from an entirely different source. It turns out that candidate geocaches are all judged on their individual merits by the specific reviewers. Reviewers who live dozens (if not hundreds) of miles away and who have no local knowledge. Instead they use on-line maps, which are not always right - Google Maps has the position of Norton Knatchbull school wrong by some miles. Which clearly explains the variable way in which caches are allowed or rejected.
This was a pain in the bum. I'd taken the trouble to get council permission to hide some caches in the Ashford Green Corridor, but one of the places I had in mind is not very far (as the crow flies) from a football pitch. Personally I didn't see any problem with the hide... It was at this point that the doorbell rang.
The nice man had arrived to service our boiler. It wasn't cheap, but regular readers of this drivel may recall that the boiler went west a couple of years ago and that was rather expensive. I'd rather shell out a reasonable amount of cash yearly to keep the thing going rather than running this one into the ground like we did the last one. It didn't take long, but once the nice man had done I realised he's left the bottom cover off. I've left a message on his phone for him to come back to fix it.
I then took Fudge for a walk to Frog's Island to set that geocache. After all, I'd gone to the trouble of getting permission from the council, and if it was too near to a football pitch, then I'd decided I'd spit my dummy out and formally squeal up all the others that might be in place but break the rules anyway. As I scrubbled about hiding the cache Fudge scrubbled about rolling in fox poo. I am reliably informed that you can tell fox poo because when rubbed on a dog it smells of rancid fish. Foul dog! I abandoned any plans I had to go on more of a walk and we came straight home for bath time. With the dog scrubbed I did the on-line registering of the cache I'd hidden, and there were no quibbles. This one went live within ten minutes and was found for the first time an hour or so later. You can see the details of the cache by clicking here.
A quick spot of lunch, then round to collect the first fruit of my loin. We went to the driving range again. I quite like smacking golf balls into the middle distance. I didn't get on too well today - my back was playing up somewhat. Probably because I was laying awkwardly on the floor whilst playing "Doggie Doo" with Lacy a couple of days ago. But I enjoyed myself. I came home with loads of dog-related paraphenalia that my boy had got for me, including a new harness for the pup, and a dog Advent Calendar. Fudge sat on my lap whilst I pootled about on the Internet. As I pootled I realised I could smell something. Rancid fish. The poor pup got another bath - this one was somewhat more vigorous.
Meanwhile the mo grows apace. There's no denying that I hate the thing, but it is raising some money for a good cause. please feel free to sponsor it; in eight days it is coming off.
This morning as I checked what was happening on Facebook I was rather shocked to hear the news from an old friend. I've known Kev for over thirty years. We don't meet up anywhere near as much as I'd like, but we do catch up a few times each year. Most recently a month ago at the Hastings bonfire parade. By trade Kev is a tree surgeon, and earlier this week he had a very nasty accident with a chain saw. His left arm was severely lacerated with serious muscle and nerve damage done. He's had specialist surgery in Brighton and the prognosis for recovery is good. This news rather put my own worries into proportion.
Having said that I seem to have developed a really painful knuckle overnight. I wonder what that's all about.
The national news goes from ridiculous to farcical with allegations that the late Cyril Smith was also a kiddy fiddler. Stories of his alleged fiddling date from 1974. If anyone can give an honest detailed account of what they were doing thirty eight years ago I would be very surprised. There can hardly be a celebrity left who isn't absolutely terrified of such slanders. Being in the public eye seems to have given the media carte blanche to pursue such stories, and being dead serves their purpose even more.
I for one am certainly racking my brains trying to remember anyone remotely famous whom I encountered as a child. No one springs to mind at the moment, but if any of my loyal readers could name someone famous who was in the general vicinity of Hastings in the early 1970s, I am quite happy to go halves on whatever money I can get out of making up stories of having been fiddled by them. I can remember that the Wombles opened a supermarket near my mum's house at one point during those years. I wonder if I could make out that Orinoco put his hands where he shouldn't have?
I overheard an interesting conversation today. One person had apparently just come back from a holiday in Mexico. She'd been there for two weeks and spent the entire time in the hotel. When asked what tourist attractions she'd been to she thought for a bit, and then said that she'd been to the hotel's pool, and to the hotel's cabaret. She apparently had no interest in leaving the hotel at all. When asked what part of Mexico she'd been to she replied "Mexico - by the airport". And when asked the question of which airport she replied "Mexico airport". From her tone the "dur!!!" following the statement was very much implied.
Why do people travel half way round the world just to sit by a swimming pool.
Today I met up with one of my ex-students who had just come back from a holiday in India. Whilst away he'd thought of me, and had brought me a whole load of Indian fighting kites. I was rather choked up at his thinking of me - I'd not seen him in over a year.
And a chap I'd known vaguely for twenty years retired today. He was a good fellow. It's sad to see him go, and I can't help but wonder how long it will be before I get to retire myself. It can't come quickly enough. When I'm at work I rather miss my dog....
Just after I published last night's blog the caches I hid yesterday went live. Five of them had been found six times each by the time I had my brekkie this morning. Personally I don't like caching at night, but it seems that I'm in a vanishingly small minority in that respect.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived with Sid and we took both dogs for a walk. Yesterday I let Fudge off the lead in a field round the back of Asda, and today we went back there to investigate the area. We found a footpath that we never knew existed which led down to Herbert Road past the Swan young farmers club. We never knew that existed either. I'm not sure what goes on in a young farmers club, but they had some sheep and goats. Whilst out I found a footbridge which was just crying out to have a geocache hidden underneath it. I might go back and put one there at some point.
On the way back we saw a new bridge was being put across the river by Asda, and it looked like a tarmac path was being built from this bridge. I wonder where that will go to?
And so home again. Whilst "Daddies Little Angel TM" wrestled with her university work I ironed shirts. Dull, but a job which wouldn't do itself. Whilst we did our chores the dogs scrapped over the fragments of a toy puppet Fudge had destroyed some time ago. For all that Fudge isn't always good with other dogs, he does seem to play well with Sid. It's only a shame that they are the two most flatulent dogs I've ever met. Oh, their bums are rank!
I then spent a few minutes tidying up the front garden. It had become something of a mess. I had a look in the back garden and gathered up the dog dung. I couldn't be bothered to do anything else there today. In previous years I've taken a lot of pride in the back garden. Now I can't be bothered.
And so round to see "My Boy TM" and Cheryl. Lacey was six years old today, and family and friends gathered. She had a decent haul of pressies, and I lay on the floor and played "Doggie Doo" with her for a while. Interestingly "Doggie Doo" is something about which I ranted a year ago. Its actually quite good fun.
And then on to Folkestone for the weekly gathering. In between exchanging insults we watched another episode of "Firefly". Good times...
I spent a little while this morning trying to find a whistle. I have been blowing a whistle every time I give Fudge one of his treats, and I have this theory that he will associate the sound of the whistle with getting a treat. The idea being that when we are out and he is off the lead, if I’m having trouble getting him back again I can blow the whistle. He will think it is treat time and will come charging up to me. And so will be easy meat to be captured and put back on the lead.
However the entire plan hinges on having a whistle to blow. We’d lost it. Eventually we found one left over from last Christmas, so I took that with us and gave it a try when he was off the lead. It seemed to work. Well, there was no “seemed” about it. It worked. He was charging about fifty yards away. I blew the whistle. He came back to me, sat, and lifted his paw (which is the only trick he can do). We did this a few times, and even when he was on the lead I blew the whistle and then gave him a treat a few times. He does seem to have got the idea.
I took Fudge on a geocaching episode today. It is three days since I last did any, and withdrawal symptoms were setting in. But this wasn’t finding them. This was geocache maintenance time. One of my caches was waterlogged and needed a little bit of T.L.C. And another one had simply gone missing and needed replacing. That took half an hour, but Fudge needed more of a walk than that, so we took the scenic route to the southernmost parts of town where (until today) there have been precious few geocaches.
We spent a couple of hours setting the caches for the “Park Farm Pootle”, a series of six geocaches around the Park Farm estate. In doing so we quadrupled the geocaches on that estate. They are all relatively easy to find; aimed at beginners and families. A bit of light hearted fun. I hope that the punters have as much fun seeking them out as I did finding places to hide them. “Hide and Seek” isn’t an easy game to get just right. Some hides are just plain obvious, and some are just impossible.
It’s been asked why I chose the Park Farm estate for my third series of caches. There are quite a few reasons. Firstly the area didn’t have many, and that is a rarity in the Ashford area. Secondly they are all accessible without getting caked in mud, and that takes some doing at the moment. And thirdly (but possibly the main reason) it that it is a very transparent attempt to convert one of my loyal readers over to the dark side of geocaching. (You know who you are!)
Whilst out, I saw some old friends. They didn’t recognise me at first – it’s been some years. But they looked through the face fur and soon saw it was me. When "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "My Boy TM" were toddlers we struck up friendships with other young families. In the intervening years Debbie and Nigel moved to Maidstone, moved to America, moved all over the place. But we kept in touch through the wonders of the Internet. And it was good to catch up with them today
And also whilst out I read a very interesting notice. When I walk Fudge round and about I can never let him off the lead as much as I’d like because there are horses in lots of the fields. It seems that many of these fields belong to the local council, and the horses are there without council permission. One such notice was saying that if the horses in a particular field were still there in a few days’ time then the horses would be removed. The notice was rather vague about exactly where the horses would be removed to. Presumably to a field belonging to Folkestone or Maidstone council, and left to run riot there?
And so home where we had a spot of lunch and I then did all the logging of the caches I'd set. That took a little while. And then I watched a film I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box a few days ago. The Scouting Book for Boys looked as though it had promise, but turned out to be a disappointment.
"My Boy TM" came home and told me that Fudge looked worn out. And then I had a flurry of emails. THe series of caches I'd set had been given the thumbs-down. The reviewer thought that one was too close to a play park and had disqualified the lot. He said that if I moved the offending problem cache he'd reconsider the lot.
This reviewer boils my piss because he is inconsistent in his application of the rules. the cache I set today was quite a long way away from the play park. Certainly further away than three other caches the same chap has allowed near other play parks. So I zoomed back down to Park Farm and moved the cache. And re-submitted everything.
With "er indoors TM" out bowling for the evening I watched another film I'd recorded. Zebra Crossing was another disappointment. as was the non-publication of all the work I'd put into making the geocache trail today...