30 April 2013 (Tuesday) - Stuff

Last night I wondered how Sid would cope overnight without his mummy. I was listening out to hear him crying for much of the night. He didn't cry at all.
Thinking things had gone better than I was expecting I got up to a disappointment. As I came down the stairs at 5.15am Fudge started woofing. I opened the living room door and felt Sid in the way of the door on the other side. I also found the warm pool of tiddle and a couple of fresh dollops by that door. Fudge was at the far end of the room, ears right back, clearly knowing that wrong had been done. I chased both dogs into the garden where Fudge immediately produced the biggest pile of dung and the most tiddle you ever did see, all the time looking at me. Almost as if trying to prove his innocence. Sid on the other hand seemed oblivious to his indiscretions. He was bounding up at me, seemingly desperate for company.
I then spent a little while clearing the mess. It's amazing how long it takes to get pug tiddle out of a carpet. Sid sat with me whilst I had my brekkie and I watched my morning's DVD. Fudge sat on the sofa and glared his disapproval in a manner not unlike that of the first fruit of my loin when we brought his baby sister home for the first time.

And so to work. As I drove I listened to the radio. And I nearly had another urine-related incident as my piss boiled.
Apparently the government is planning to toughen the regime in prisons. The radio presenter interviewed a reformed convict who told about how bad things are already in prison, then the presenter laughed at him.
There is a public perception that things are really easy in prison which was reinforced by this morning's article on the radio. From my limited experience I know that this is far from the truth, but the general public don't know that. Most people have very little (if any) experience of prisons and the general perception of the places is nothing like the reality. I wonder if making this announcement two days before an election is the government's cheap way of grabbing a few more votes.

At the same time it would seem that many violent offenders are not going to court; instead having their crimes dealt with by a far more informal system of conflict resolution. I can't pretend to be an expert on this case, but I can't help but wonder if its popularity with the police is connected with its involving far less paperwork.

Here's something to make you think. As power companies struggle to keep up with demand, the household appliances of the future will be fitted with sensors which will allow them to recognise times of peak demand for electricity. Having recognised such a demand on the electrical infrastructure, your oven or fridge will (in a spirit of being helpful) turn itself off. Presumably just at the very instant you want to be using said device.
Utter genius(!)

Once at work I did my thing. Over a tea break my attention was caught by the day-time TV dross. Have you ever seen "Don't Get Done, Get Dom"? It features a bald do-gooder who tries to right wrongs suffered by the gullible public. Today baldy was dealing with a rather laughable tale of an incredibly fat woman who had bought a cheap sofa. Being incredibly fat her cheap sofa wasn't up to the job of supporting her gargantuan frame, and so she soon reduced the poor sofa to matchwood. Fat woman wasn't happy and took the fragments of the sofa back to the shop to ask for a refund. The main in the shop wasn't happy either, and he sent the fragments of the sofa back to the factory for a post-mortem.
The lab tests were soon back; it it was a proven scientific fact that a cheap sofa was no match for a fat ass. Consequently no refund was forthcoming; the shop took the line that Fat Woman should know that someone of her size needed a sofa which was more robust than the run of the mill sofa.
Fat Woman then contacted the telly's consumer rights people because she found it offensive to be told that she was too fat and that it was upsetting to think that her epic bulk might have broken the sofa. Baldy did his best for fat woman, but whichever way you look at it, if you are epic in the ass department you really shouldn't scrimp on anything you hope to support your massive weight.
It was as well that I was watching the program on a wide-screen telly...

With work done I set off for the Tuesday gathering. What with late shifts I'd not been for three weeks. I've missed going along. Today we were at Somerset Road where Matt clearly hadn't scrimped on his sofa. Watching telly with mates. A simple evening, but really good...

29 April 2013 (Monday) - Two Dogs

Six hours sleep ! That's not bad. I wonder if yesterday's walk had anything to do with it? Mind you I was surprisingly not aching as I scoffed my bran flakes at silly o'clock this morning. Fudge however did seem to be rather stiff. He's never particularly sprightly in the mornings; today he was sparked out and snoring on my lap as I watched my Babylon 5 DVD.

As I drove to work it was a dull overcast morning; quite a contrast to the weekend. I don't mind the weather being bad when I have to work. I felt it something of a shame when I looked out of the window and saw that the day had brightened up. Selfish of me; but there it is. The weather has been bright these last couple of days; I spent much of the morning conscious of my face glowing from where I'd caught the sun yesterday.

As I drove to work (as always) I listened to the radio. There would seem to be trouble ahead for nursing homes. Apparently they are closing down faster than ever before. One of the pundits being interviewed on the matter said the reason for the closures was quite straight-forward: the average nursing home isn't getting enough customers.
I can't say I'm surprised. The last I heard these places cost over five hundred pounds per week per resident. Who can afford that amount of money? Does it really cost over five hundred pounds a week to house someone? It don't cost that to house me at home.

I can remember many years ago a friend's father being very verbal on the entire concept of nursing homes; being convinced they were a way to make easy money. Eventually this chap scraped together enough money to buy himself a larger house with a couple of spare bedrooms, and he took on two elderly people. Within a few short years the chap was running a nursing home the size of a small mansion. He was always good to his ladies and his gentlemen, but made no secret that he was in it for the money.
There used to be lots of money to be made from nursing homes. Is there still? Another example of the credit crunch in action perhaps? Or is it something else? I have instructed both fruits of my loin that I don't want anyone throwing good money down the toilet to keep me in such a place should the time come.

So to work where I had a relatively good day. I try not to mention work much these days; some days are better than others. Today was one of the better ones. And having done my bit I came home again.

I had a message from one of my loyal readers. Regular readers of this drivel may recall some squabbling a few months ago about the politics of Teston kite festival. It may be that events overtake plans. There would seem to be serious development works going on at Teston Bridge picnic site with the lock being refurbished. For all that the work is due to be finished next month I wonder if we will be able to set up camp there this year?

Once home I found our house guest was already in residence. The most recent fruit of my loin is on holiday in foreign climes and the Rear Admiral is off potting black so Sid had come up for a sleepover with Fudge. Sid's a sweet little dog really. Quite the little softie. Rather tame in comparison with Fudge, but that's in no way a bad thing. So far Sid has spent much of the evening being my second shadow whist Fudge looks on from the sofa with something of a supercilious air.

I wonder how Sid will cope overnight without his mummy? He's already crapped on the carpet once...

28 April 2013 (Sunday) - Haywards Heath

An early start; it had been suggested that we went off to Haywards Heath for a walk. I was game, but being a little way away meant for an early start. Three of us and two small dogs were out of Ashford before 8.30am. I'd not been to Haywards Heath for some years - in fact the last time I was there was 29 May 2006 with the kite club when (after an unexpected gust) a huge Manta Ray kite broke its tether and flew off for nearly two miles before it was recaptured.
On the way this morning we drove through the village of Newick - I must admit to a snigger when I saw the posters for their am-drams. The abbreviation for Newick Amateur Dramatic Society (N.A.D.S.) which was emblazoned everywhere really hadn't been thought through.

We parked up shortly after 9.30am and set off. Had we actually planned our route we would have found a lot more caches than we did. Instead we rather made up our route as we went. But it was a good day to be out inn some rather beautiful scenery. As we walked we saw horned black rams, grey sheep, oxen, and even some deer. We had an iffy two minutes when Fudge slipped his lead in a field full of sheep. But he was really good. His natural reaction was to chase the sheep; which he did. My natural reaction was to bellow at him; which I did. And the little dog stopped dead and waited for me to come and get him.

We found total of fifty four geocaches (and couldn't find a further half-dozen) along a rather convoluted route off some fifteen miles. We were out for some nine hours and through the wonders of GPS technology we were rather amazed to find that we were only actually walking for six of those nine hours. One third of our time was spent not actually moving. Obviously we waste far too much time on secret geocacher rituals and fannying around. We shall have to work on our efficiency for next time.
And there will be a next time - there are loads of places to walk in the Hayward Heath area; Today barely scratched the surface of geocaching along the East/West Sussex border.
As always there are photos of our walk on-line.

We got home just before 9pm and once I'd hosed the mud off of Furry Face, er indoors TM" went up to the KFC to get tea; it was too late to be cooking. Chicken, chips and episodes of "Big Bang Theory". It don't get better than that...

27 April 2013 Saturday) - ... Without A Paddle

I was wide awake at 7am, and with little else to do so early on a Saturday I had a go at the astro club's accounts. The credit crunch is obviously hitting - refreshments takings are regularly twenty per cent down on what they were a year ago, and the raffle is only raking in just over half of what it once was. We still have just as many club members; it's just that no one seems to have any spare cash.

With er indoors TM" out of her pit we collected Lisa and set off to Worton's wood. On Monday afternoon I spent an hour and a half working out the location of a puzzle geocache, and then in the evening Lisa and I spent an hour and a half working out that it wasn't there. I revisited my calculations and with the application of graph paper I worked out a new solution to the puzzle and we thought we'd try again. The new solution wasn't that different too the old one, but this time we found the cache after only ten minutes searching. We'll gloss over the fact that it was in a place that we'd thoroughly searched on Monday evening.

From the we moved on to Cheeseman's Green. Still geocaching; this time hiding one. We'd spotted the ideal bridge under which we could hide a cache. The rubber dingy was soon inflated and ignored the faint hissing sound I could hear. The boat was very soon in the river. I chucked myself into the boat, and once aboard wondered about steering and propulsion. I realise that it is standard nautical practice to take oars, but the entire concept of oars didn't occur to me until I was on the high seas. I managed navigation of a sort by grabbing passing trees (there was a surprisingly fast current) and managed to bring "ELF-1" to where Lisa was waiting to board. She too was rather vague about steering boats, instead choosing (like me) to trust to pot luck and idiot enthusiasm. However a combination of pot luck and idiot enthusiasm soon found us aground right under the bridge where we bought the drill into play and secured the geocache.
It was at this point that we first started to think about the vague possibility of getting out of the river. And as we cast off so a submerged rock made its presence known by making a hole in the boat. I would have laughed if the river water hadn't been so cold as my bum got wetter and wetter.
Rather amazingly we emerged from the river with with only wet bums and wet feet, and we managed to salvage the boat. We shall need that when it's time to do maintenance.

Home, where I showered the river scum off of myself and the fox poo off of Fury Face, and we had a crafty spot of lunch before going back out for an afternoon's stroll round to Singleton. We explored places we've not been before; found some new footpaths, and generally wore the dog out. We were gong to go on for a bit more of a stroll round Coldblow, but time was against us. We'll do that another time.

After a rather good bit of scoff er indoors TM" set off to film night and I prepped my phone for tomorrow's planned extravaganza before settling down in front of the telly with my dog.
It can be a tough life sometimes...

26 April 2013 (Friday) - It Rained

Having had three days of glorious weather whilst I was working I had great plans for today. So you can imagine my reaction when I woke to torrential rain. The rain showed no signs of abating, so I settled down to laundry and dull homework. I also did the monthly accounts which didn't depress me quite as much as I thought it might.

By mid day the rain had abated somewhat so I finally got to take Furry Face for his walk. Whilst out I trued for a nearby geocache which had gone live two days ago. The watchword of geocaching is "stealth", so with Fudge noisily trying to pick a fight with every dog for miles around I gave up. We came home through Frog's Island where I left Furry Face off of his lead and he made a nuisance of himself with the nice people trying to train their dog.

As the rains started again we came home and I spent most of the afternoon ironing shirts whilst watching Babylon 5 DVDs. I left for astro club perhaps earlier than I might have done; there were a couple of geocaches on the way that weren't going to find themselves. Both were out of the ordinary; one being quite unique.
I had a shock when I pulled up at the car park in Woodchurch. Fudge was running across the field. I looked again; it was my dog. He had a very distinctive shape, and it looked just like him. Panic set in. It was only when I went across the field to him that I noticed the white patch on the dog's chest. It wasn't Fudge, but it could have been his brother. I got chatting with the dog's owner; he too had never encountered another Patagonian Tripe-Hound. His dog also had been a rescued one.

And so to astro club. With an excellent turn-out of over sixty people we had a really good talk about the Voyager missions. I learned loads; and after I hawked the raffle we had a stellarium show of the spring stars. Ironically the clouds parted just as we were going home and I drove home under a clear sky.

We then watched "Big Bang Theory" for an hour or so whilst scoffing prawn crackers. I wonder if the other Patagonian Tripe-Hound likes prawn crackers quite as much as my one seems to...

25 April 2013 (Thursday) - That n This

I was awoken by a little thud this morning. I think a certain small dog had mis-judged his attempt to jump on to the bed at 6.30am. Once he was eventually on the bed I wound him up by looking at him and then pretending to go back to sleep. I succeeded in aggravating him so much that his whining woke er indoors TM". I really shouldn't encourage Furry Face to come upstairs.

For want of anything better to do I checked the phone's 1571 message thingy. I wish people wouldn't leave messages on it; I rarely (if ever) check it. There was a message on it left by a health visitor some three days ago. I can only assume she had a wrong number as neither of us had any idea of what the message was about, despite her detailed witterings about who she wanted to visit and their apparent maladies and treatments.
So much for medical confidentiality. Perhaps I should have made an issue of it rather than just deleting the message; after all some people have been sacked for lesser mistakes (!)

And so to work. I'd left rather earlier than I needed to; but being on a late shift meant that (if I was quick) I'd have time to pop into the cheapo bargains shop. That was the plan...
I found traffic was queued for two miles out of Canterbury because of road works. Far from having time to go shopping, I was ten minutes late for work. I shall have to eke out my supply of armpit-squirt until I can get to Wilkos.

I did my bit at work and came home. On the corner of our street is a bench where various vagrants often congregate. This evening once I'd parked, as I walked home I was greeted by one of these. He was an ex-cub scout who was having a crafty tinny. I got chatting - I distinctly remember this chap when he was a cub fifteen years ago. His family had never had any luck back then, with a brother having died as a child, and his mother dying whilst he was young. His luck hadn't changed. I had heard he'd moved up north. He told me that he had; but it hadn't worked out. He was visiting Ashford trying to arrange visiting rights to his child. Apparently his ex- was being difficult about custody. He was enjoying a quick drink before taking a train to London where he was staying with a relative for a few days. He was vague about his plans after this sojourn would be over.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up with my own trivial problems that I forget that I am doing rather well compared with so many others.

Being on a 10pm finish meant that I couldn't get to see Maria for her birthday bash, nor could I get to the astro club committee meeting this evening; which was a a pain. We've not had a committee meeting for a few months, and it would have been good to have got along. Being the Treasurer I have a couple of cheques that need signing, and it's easier to collar other signatories at a committee meeting than anywhere else. It would also have been good to have had a chat. I sometimes wonder about the club's future direction. On the one hand it would be good to expand our remit; involve the membership more, put on observing evenings, organise imaging workshops. On the other hand we've tried expanding what the club does before, and had a minimal take-up. The punters seem to be happy with what we are doing.
I'm gripped by indecision. On the one hand the club might be doing more. On the other hand I have absolutely no interest in shivering whilst looking through a telescope at midnight.

Something else which needs a little thought is Canterbury beer festival, which is only three months away. It's been suggested that we go along mob-handed on the Friday afternoon like we have before. I've checked my shift pattern and I'm not working that day. But... getting there (train & taxi) is a tenner. Beer is (at least) twenty quid. A portion of goat curry and some flavoured olives is another tenner. And then there is a tombola to win and souvenirs to buy.
So that's fifty quid to be packed like sardines into a cowshed with the weirdie-beardies who frequent beer festivals.

I've been told that I brew a half-decent pint. Maybe I could rally the troops and we could put on a festival of our own. For far less that what someone would spend on a day at Canterbury beer festival, anyone could buy the barrel, bucket and ingredients for five gallons of ale. If I could get half a dozen takers we could do a beer festival of our own. I shall put out some feelers; the weekend of Canterbury beer festival would be a good time to stage such an event. If we go for that weekend people will need to get brewing within the month...

24 April 2013 (Wednesday) - This n That

Another early start. Fudge was fast asleep whan I came down. Late at night he takes himself off to his basket and we cover him over and tuck him in (!). I found him exactly as we'd left him last night. I gave him a stroke; he opened one eye, looked at me and closed it again. He doesn't seem to be a "morning dog"; it takes him a little while to get going in the morning. Mind you it takes most people a little while to get going at 5am.
This morning I had the last of the frootie-bix. I quite liked that stuff. It was a shame it came from Sainsbury's; I'm not rich enough to shop there regularly. I wonder if DLA has any other posh cereals she doesn't want (he speculated hopefully).

And so to work. It was a very foggy morning. Interestingly the radio's weather forecaster this morning started off with a summary of the current weather, and he said that the morning's fogs were restricted to a few patches in Devon. That bloke was on the case(!)

The morning's news was interesting. Apparently Britain is becoming a much less violent place, with violent crime and violence leading to hospital admission being on the decrease. That's good news in what can often be depressing times. So in order to redress the balance, one of NASA's rovers has drawn a rude picture on the Martian surface.
Meanwhile science is still at a loss to explain where all the anti-matter has gone, Perhaps whoever programmed the rover to draw pictures of willies might have had a hand in the matter (to coin a phrase).

Once at work I checked my emails. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I spent quite a bit of money recently on a new car battery. Today it turns out that had I used the works discount scheme I could have saved money on that battery. Oh well. Such is life. And what is money for if not to squander foolishly.

At tea break I had a disappointment. I have several e-books on my phone. Last year I found an iffy web site from which I downloaded hundreds of e-books. I was just getting to the good part in the novel 2010 when the story stopped. What I thought was a copy of 2010 was actually a copy of the first third of 2010; stopping mid sentence a little way into the eighth chapter.
I suppose there is a moral in there somewhere.

And so home. My beloved was off at arky-ologee club. I've not been there for over a year what with the vagaries of my shift pattern. Do I miss it? I don't know. Some of the talks are interesting; some rather dull.
It would be nice to get along to a meeting at some stage for old time's sake...

23 April 2013 (Tuesday) - Dull

Despite a late night I was still awake at 4.30am. I think I had about four hours sleep last night. I had a crafty bowl of frootie-bix for brekkie and watched an episode Babylon-5 with Fudge, and then set off off to work. The news got me going, as always.
Many years ago I can remember grumbling about why we learned history at school. After all, it's all dead and buried. But, as I was told at the time, if we don't learn from the mistakes of the past we will be doomed to repeat them in the future.
I've blogged before that I think Scottish independence is a bad idea; personally I think union is a good thing. Take the European Union for example. If we are all one big happy family then despite the odd squabble we won't waste years warring with each other (again). But if one lesson has been learned from the enitire Euro-zone concept, it is that having a common currency across twenty-odd countries means the most powerful ones give the orders, and the smaller ones do as they are told. When they are told. And say "Yes Sir!" whilst they are at it. So why does a potentially independent Scotland not want it's own currency, but would prefer to keep the pound? I thought the pro-independence nutters wanted to go their own way?

And so to work. I wasn't feeling particularly motivated today. I did my bit, but no more. And so home again.

For the third consecutive Tuesday I missed the weekly gathering. Not finishing work until 8pm made a timely arrival in Folkestone somewhat tricky.
As I came home the pundits on the radio were expounding on a crackpot theory that international corporations perpetrate tax avoidance schemes to their benefit and to the detriment of their host countries. Half an hour of pointing out the obvious was rather tedious.

And in closing, today is St George's day. I don't think anyone noticed the fact.

Dull, so dull...

22 April 2013 (Monday) - Rippers Cross

Once brekkied I got the laundry on the washing line and then me and Furry Face begged a lift from er indoors TM" to her work from where we went on a little stroll. Up through Kennington to Sandyhurst Lane. Down and across the A20 as far as Rippers Cross, then home via Great Chart and Viccy Park. To those that don't know the area we were walking for nearly four hours and covered about twelve miles. Whilst we were going I found two geocaches, and Fudge scoffed sheep poo and horse poo. Both us us were doubly successful at our chosen hobbies.

Once home we had a quick spot of lunch, then I lowed the lawn. I'm not sure the strimmer has survived the experience. I'm hoping it's salvageable. We then went round to Pets at Home - I'd had a text to say that Fudge's flea treatment was ready. They told me they were doing a special offer on microchipping dogs. I thought he's already been chipped; his records said not. To prove a point they scanned him and found a microchip. They gave me the reference number and a phone number which I phoned with a view to updating the records. Apparently the number they scanned out of him was missing a country code, and they suggested I got him re-scanned. I'll get that done later in the week.

I then spent an hour and a half solving a (relatively) local puzzle cache. And having come up with a solution it turned out that my answer wasn't a million miles from what Lisa had worked out. So with neither of us having anything better to do we then spent another hour and a half finding that we were both wrong.

Laundry off of the line; undercrackers washed, dog fed... and with er indoors TM" off bowling I watched a film I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. "East is East" was entertaining enough; even if I did struggle to hear it over a snoring dog....

21 April 2013 (Sunday) - Scotney Castle

It was all rather vague last night. That mild was good stuff. I slept like a log, and was eventually woken shortly after 8am by a small dog licking my nose. He'd got bored with waiting for me to get up and jumped the dog proofing.
er indoors TM" eventually emerged from her pit and after brekkie we went to the garage to reclaim the er indoors TM"-mobile. And the round to Singleton for the rest of our crew and off we went. We'd heard that there was free admission to Scotney Castle today. Something for nothing is always good. We stopped off at half a dozen seemingly random points along the way. Can't think why (!)

We got to Scotney Castle shortly after mid day with what seemed like most of the rest of the human race. A combination of free admission and glorious weather had got everyone out today. We found a secluded spot for a little picnic, and then thought we'd stroll the grounds. The woods were lovely. The grounds of Scotney Castle are somewhere I've not been for years. But they are really good. And (if you know where to look) there are four geocaches in those grounds. We found them - and we found other people looking for those caches. It was good to meet up with these people and put some faces to names.
Having walked several miles we realised we'd spent too long walking and that we'd left it too late to go round the castle itself. Oh well - we'll do that next time there's a freebie advertised.
As always I took photos of the day and put them on-line.
We came home a rather circuitous way (can't imagine why!) and once home Fudge had a bath. He wasn't quite as grubby as I'd thought he was, but a scrub never hurts him. And with er indoors TM" off bowling I watched my DVDs whilst a small dog snored.

er indoors TM" returned, and we watched yesterday's episode of "Doctor Who". I liked the Jon Pertwee era references; it was one of the better episodes that have come out recently. But I still fell asleep...

20 April 2013 (Saturday) - Cake and Mild

A rather restless night was spent mostly prodding er indoors TM" to stop her snoring. I eventually gave up the battle and had a slightly earlier brekkie than I might have done. And after spending an entertaining five minutes duffing up Furry Face I took him round the park for a walk. We met many of the usual dog walkers. The Irish chap was there and we had quite a chat. "Orangehead" was there (looking more like Ronald McDonald every day) with her chunky little friend. And their dogs. And Fudge was off the lead and (mostly) behaving himself; coming back (eventually) when called.
We carried on with our walk and a little later encountered "Orangehead" (without her chunky little friend) as we were walking across the co-op field. Fudge ran up to her dog, and "Orangehead" promptly started giving Fudge dog treats. I wish people wouldn't do that; it only makes him not want to come back to me.

I then drove round to the garage to collect er indoors TM" who had left her car to get fixed. And once changed we set off to the Hare and Hounds. Ashford was hosting the monthly gathering of geocachers. Once a month we all meet up and chat about the latest developments in hiding tupperware. It was really good to meet up with friends old and new. There was a new lady from Chartham who was introduced to me (because I have some caches in Canterbury). We got chatting - she was really new to the game, and she got a lot from chatting to the old hands. We had a couple of pints and a cheese ploughmans, and then my phone beeped. Twelve new caches had gone live in honour of the event, and so people set off in various directions in various groups. I walked along with people I've not walked with much before. But it's always good to walk with like-minded friends. We had a really good day on what must have been the finest afternoon so far this year. And Lisa had made cake too.

We walked for a couple of hours, and then came back to the pub where we chatted for a little before making our way home. A quick cuppa, a quick game of tug o' war with the dog, a change of shirt, and off out to a birthday party.
Loads of us gathered to celebrate Steve's birthday, and we tried my second attempt at making mild. It wasn't a bad drop. From what I can remember...

19 April 2013 (Friday) - Rolf?

With my beloved off on a jolly, Furry Face spent all night at the bottom of the bed. I wonder how he got there? Perhaps I forgot to secure the dog-proofing in the kitchen last night? Astute readers might notice that I said "spent all night" and not "slept" - he was rather restless and did fidget a few times. Fudge woke me shortly after 5am by having a woofing fit. I wonder what it was that upset him.
I got up to see what the problem was, and he seemed very keen to get into the back garden where he went straight to the pond and watched over it in much the same way that a hawk would study small mice.
Since I turned the pond pump back on a week or so ago he's been fascinated by the Koi. I let him watch them for as long as it took me to shave, then (strangely for him) he came back in of his own accord.

I watched another episode of Babylon 5 over a bowl of frootie-bix and then set off to work. There was little of note on the radio as I drove. That most volatile of bodily fluids didn't even simmer (for once).
I got to work and did my bit. And whilst listening to the radio on my way home I heard something which did set my piss bubbling.
Rolf Harris was a kiddie fiddler? Was he? Wasn't he? Not Rolf Harris!

Personally I can't help but wonder whether he's been accused on the strength of actual evidence against him, or because he is a public figure and has been a children's entertainer. It seems the "in thing" at the moment to accuse anyone who's ever been on the same planet as a child of having been a kiddie fiddler.
I feel rather strongly about this - as an ex cub scout leader I am sure that it is only a matter of time until some opportunistic ex cub realises they can make a name for themselves in the local press by bandying baseless allegations against me.

18 February 2013 (Thursday) - Which Direction ?

Yesterday evening me and Fudge set off to find two puzzle caches that I'd solved earlier in the day. Despite finding both of them we could open neither. Both required that I took along the print-outs that I'd used to locate the caches. I'd not printed out the vital bit that I'd needed for one, and the print quality was too faint for me to see what I needed for the other. So once home I copied a certain picture to my phone and consulted wikipedia some more. After a spot of brekkie this morning me and Fudge got a lift of off er indoors TM" (who was driving near to where we wanted to be) to try our luck again.

One cache opened easily. We felt very pleased with ourselves, did the secret geocaching ritual and went on to the other cache. If anyone is reading this blog entry in the hopes of getting a hint for this other cache.... sorry. Suffice it to say that finding the cache is easy, getting in not so. I thought that having a photo of the clue would help me. I needed to actually write down what I thought my solution to the puzzle was. I hadn't written it down.

We came home the long way. As we walked it was windy, but a lovely day. We saw blue tits in the hedgerows, a hawk was hovering not five yards over the footpath. Rabbits were in the fields, blossom was (finally) on the trees and Fudge behaved himself mostly. He even came off the lead a few times and was fine.
Once home I had a spot of cheese on crisps on toast for lunch and posted a "sulk note" on the cache's web page for the cache tat was giving me gyp. I spent an hour or so clearing thugs and ruffians out of NeverWinter and I theen had a message via Facebook. From the nice lady who had hidden the cache I was struggling with.
She said that when I next was going up to try to open the cache I might send her a message with my solution so as to save me a wasted journey if it was wrong. I thought that was a very kind gesture, and we got cyber-chatting. Whilst not angling for hints I wondered if I was on the right lines with my solution. It turned out I wasn't completely wrong, and after a bit of head scratching I sent her a solution. She sent back the thumbs up.

So at 4pm I put Fudge's lead on him and we walked the hour's walk to the cache. This time the thing opened up right away, and I was able to log my find. As I've said before caches are rated on difficulty and terrain. Both scales from one to five. The terrain on this one was 2.5, which takes a bit of effort. But the difficulty is rated at 5. I did feel very smug.
The walk home was spent exchanging cyber-messages with various people who had been watching the internet to follow my progress with this cache. On reflection it's a sign of Fudge's progress in that I can recall taking him for a walk over the summer. When my phone rang then I had to pass the lead to Steve to hold him whilst I took the call. Now he's that good that I can text whilst walking him. And whilst I was reflecting on what a good dog he was, he picked a fight with a passing vagrant.

We got home shortly after 6pm. With er indoors TM" off on a works overnight beano, me and Furry Face were left to our own devices. Fudge promptly fell asleep, and I went foraging for my tea in the general direction of the KFC. Expensive and calorie-ridden, but I thought I deserved it after the exertions of today.

17 April 2013 (Wednesday) - Solving Puzzles

What with not getting home till gone 10.30pm and having a rather late tea and one thing and another it was gone 1.30am before I went off to my pit last night. So it's not really surprising that I didn't emerge until 8am this morning.
I was half expecting "Daddies Little Angel TM" and Sid to visit today, but she was working. So Fudge and I went off for a walk on our own. Past the International train station, almost as far as Arden Drive, then round to Henwood, the Willesborough railway crossing, Frog's Island and home past Asda. Two hours exercise can't be bad.
Fudge was allowed off his lead at three different stages of the walk and he was as good as gold; coming back when called every time. Even when he saw a rabbit and gave chase he only chased for a little while before coming back.

We came home to find "My Boy TM" at home, and exchanged some insults before he set off on his way. I put washing on the line and then after a crafty spot of lunch I spent a couple of hours doing dull homework.
And then I spent a frustrating couple of hours solving two relatively local puzzle caches. Eventually I had their locations - all that remained was for me to go and to the secret geocaching thing with them.

With er indoors TM" off to a conglomeration of candlemongers this evening, me and Fudge were at a loose end. So we set off to find those two puzzle caches that I'd solved earlier. We found both. We could open neither.
Both required that I took along the print-outs that I'd used to locate the caches. I'd not printed out the vital bit that I'd needed for one, and the print quality was too faint for me to see what I needed for the other. And it was getting dark.
So once home I copied a certain picture to my phone and consulted wikipedia some more. I might just go back to those caches tomorrow. I wonder if Furry Face would like another walk. As I type this the poor dog is snoring. I think he's had walkies overload...

16 April 2013 (Tuesday) - Stuff

A good night's sleep, and with little of note in social media I set off to work. The news on the radio was all about the recent tragedy in Boston. Was it a terrorist attack? The pundits seem to be very cagey. So far no crackpot group has claimed responsibility.
For myself I can't help but wonder why anyone would target innocents like that. There's no denying there are some people to whom I would wish harm. Not many, but they exist. I suspect they know they are on my poop list too... But were I daft enough to drop a rock on them I would make sure that no innocent bystanders got hit by that rock.

There was also talk on the same radio show about why we haven't found any aliens. It seemed an odd topic to have on the morning's news program. The old chestnuts, the Fermi paradox and the Drake equation, were wheeled out again. As were the ideas that if were aliens going through the galaxy in years gone by then they would have already set up a colony on prehistoric Earth.
Interestingly today's experts seemed to be of the opinion that we haven't found aliens because we're not using the right technology to find them. They were rather vague about what technology one might use to find an alien, as one might expect them to be. Presumably they were loathe to mention illudium-Q space modulators in case the public thought the worst of them.

This reminded me of the astro-biology course I completed a few weeks ago. I got a distinction for that. It prompted me to have a look on the Coursera web site this evening to see what else I might learn. I've signed up for a course in psychology (of all things). It will either help me to be more understanding of the idiosyncrasies of my fellow man, or it will make me more astute in spotting loonies. I wonder which it will be. Time will tell - it always does.

I stopped off on my way to work at Morrisons to fill the car with petrol. Sixty quid's worth of the stuff. Ouch! And then (since it was in the area) I popped in to the cheapo bargains shop. The other day I whinged about the fat people in that shop who were getting in my way. As I pulled up there were a gaggle of porkers heading towards the door. Would you believe it - once at the door they all stopped (blocking it entirely) to have a gossip.

And so to work where I did my bit. In days gone by I used to do far more than just my bit. Not today though.
Over the weekend one of my colleagues had had a birthday so we got to scoff cakes. That's always good.
Being on a very late finish I wasn't at the weekly gathering of the clans. I've not been there for two consecutive weeks now. I'm missing my weekly fix of bandying insults and spotting the historical mistakes in Merlin...

15 April 2013 (Monday) - This n That

With no bread for my morning toast I popped over the road to the local shop to get some. Not only was it thirty pence more expensive than Tesco, their stuff wasn't at all fresh - verging almost onto being stale. And people wonder why the general public prefer supermarkets over smaller establishments.
But even stale bread can make good toast. Or it could given a good toaster. I think ours is on the way out. It has two settings. One slightly warms the bread, the other incinerates it.

I took Fudge for his morning constitutional. Last Thursday I'd taken him down to Park Farm to look for a recently hidden geocache. After half an hour's searching last week I'd given up. Today, after a silly episode in which I nearly fell in the river, I found the cache almost immediately. We then carried on with our walk. We found a discarded supermarket trolley about half a mile from Tesco's. Whoever had dumped it had carried it over a fence and across several hundred yards of field to leave it where it was. Whatever possesses people to do that? We carried on through Park Farm to a new estate that "Daddies Little Angel TM" has dubbed "Legoland". She's not wrong in her description. The estate is on it's own with nothing around it, and the houses (in all honesty) look as though they are made of Lego.

As we walked by the river I remembered Fudge's swimming episode of the other week, but nevertheless I let him off the lead. He made a bee-line to the river and I heard a plop. And another plop. The frogs seemed to be bothering him.
We eventually made our way home past "Pets at Home" where I popped in and asked about whether or not Furry Face should be having milk. Opinion was vague. She wouldn't advise it because some dogs are lactose intolerant and it might give them the two bob bits. I explained that he's been having it for some time and all has been fine. Their reply was non-committal. I've since done an Internet search and it seems that the best way to find out if your dog is lactose intolerant is to give him some and see if he gets the squits. I've done that experiment already.
I shall carry on giving him a small bowl of milk in the morning. The milky goodness is good for him, and I like to see him drink anything which isn't murky muddy water.

And so home. Finally with some fine weather I got into the garden and hung out Fudge's bedding which had been washing whilst we were walking. More laundry went into the washing machine whilst I mowed the lawn and mucked out the pond's fish poo filter. The pond has been reactivated after its winter sleep; a month later than it was last year. I also turned on all the water features to give them a run through. Fudge had quite a bit to say about my large fountain. I can't believe I've not used it to wind him up before.

More laundry onto the line, more laundry into the washing machine, and after a quick spot of lunch I went to the hospital to visit. There was someone with a kidney infection who needed cheering up. There was a minor mishap when I realised I'd left her get well card in the car, but she seemed in good spirits, if in a bit of pain. I stayed for a couple of hours, but really had to come home. Dull domestic chores don't finish themselves, you know. I eventually finished dull domestic trivia shortly after 6pm. Amazing how long it takes to just fiddle about.

Steve and Sarah called round to collect the barrel of mild for the weekend. I was rather pleased with how last week's mild turned out. I have high hopes for this next batch...