30 May 2013 (Thursday) - Operant Conditioning

I woke shortly after 4am this morning and lay awake listening to the sound of the rain on the window. After an hour or so I realised that I'd been stroking Fudge whilst laying in bed listening to the rain. When did he sneak upstairs?

I came downstairs to find the batch of beer I'd set off yesterday was bubbling nicely. Hopefully it will do the trick for Brighton Kite Festival. Over a spot of brekkie I watched one of my psychology lectures. Today we touched on operant conditioning . It sounds dull, but is actually quite interesting. There's an example of conditioned learning in action here which demonstrates the point quite nicely.

The radio made for interesting listening as I drove to work. It featured an article about how the government plans to combat childhood obesity by making it illegal for a fast food outlet to be open before 5pm if it is within four hundred yards of a school. An novel concept which should put more than a few people out of work.
Ironically the spokesman from the National Obesity Forum who was being interviewed rejoiced in the name of "Mr Fry".

I got to work and then realised I'd left my phone at home. I then felt rather lost for much of the day. Whilst I rarely use it to make calls or to send text messages, my phone is also my camera and my book. I didn't realise how much I use the Kindle app until I didn't have the phone with me. This made for dull tea breaks at work. But I made the most of it, did my bit and came home again. As I drove there was a program on the radio about how accident and emergency departments are in crisis. It always boils my piss that people in hospitals do the best that they can only to be taken as easy targets for a media looking to stir trouble...

29 May 2013 (Wednesday) - 2000

I had a reasonable night's sleep I suppose, and seeing that the weather was good I got some washing into the machine. Lisa arrived and I forgot all about the washing.
We went out to play geocache and I got my two thousandth find. Not bad in just under ten months. Mind you we completely failed on one that went live a day or so ago. To qualify for a find we had to spot a trig point near Ham Street. We had the co-ordinates of the trig point, but we couldn't find it. After twenty minutes searching we wondered if we had the instructions wrong so we gave up, collected her mum and Cassie and drove off to pick up a few caches as drive-bys. As we pootled about so the weather deteriorated, and as we came home so the heavens opened.

Shortly after coming home we checked out our geo-stuff-up on line and found that we had ben in the right place after all, but that the trig point was under thick stinging nettles. Woops (!) I spent a few minutes terrorising the dog, and then got a bucket of beer on the go in readiness for Brighton Kite Festival. It's still a little way off, but preparation is everything.
And with little else going on I watched more psychology lectures. Today we covered Pavlov's dogs in which Pavlov demonstrated how dogs learn. Conditioned reflexes are great - there's a good video of the concept here Give it a go - it'll raise a smile. Basically the theory is what I did with "Furry Face TM" and the whistle. Whenever I give Fudge a treat I blow a whistle. Whenever he hears the whistle he expects a treat and comes to find me. I say "whenever" - I blow the whistle when I give him a treat about ninety percent of the time. He comes when he hears the whistle about fifty per cent of the time. But it's a good theory.

The phone rang - it was Tina Poole from National Moneysavers asking if I would do a three minute survey for her. I was a bit bored so I agreed. I made out that I had everything she was selling and didn't want to change. After three minutes she thanked me and said that some Argos vouchers would be in the post. I wonder if they will be. We shall see.

And just as I'd had my evening's ablutions and settled down for the evening so the rain stopped. We could have gone looking under the stinging nettles near Ham Street, but they will keep. Instead we had a rather good chilli and a bottle of plonk. Hic... !

28 May 2013 (Tuesday) - This n That

Whilst fusing Furry Face this morning I noticed that his fur is looking rather grey around his muzzle. He's a little young to be going grey. Over a spot of brekkie I started on this week's psychology lectures. Today we were doing... well, on reflection I don't really know what we were doing. there was a lot of talk about natural selection and selective breeding of dogs. There was talk of eugenics and historical attempts at selective breeding of humans. The speaker touched on studies involving identical and fraternal twins. But I have no idea what point he was trying to make out of it all.

And so to work. After the glorious weather of the last few days today was wet. As I walked to my car another car sped through a puddle and I got wet. Only splashed, but it was enough to wind me up for the day.
With a few minutes to spare I did a spot of shopping. First in the pet shop to get a bulk load of dog food. I wonder if he might prefer the packet stuff rather than the tinned? And then I went into the cheapo bargains shop. This morning the door was open and there were no surly staff guarding the entrance. I bought a packet of Poppets to fuel me through the day and then set off to work. Which was the same as ever.

Being Tuesday I would like to have been at the gathering of the clans, but a 10pm finish made that somewhat impractical. So instead I came home and slept through all sorts of stuff on the telly...

27 May 2013 (Monday) - Bank Holiday

I've had a good few days off of work, and so it was with a heavy heart that I dragged my carcass out of bed shortly before 6am this morning. I'd woken over an hour before that, and had lain there trying to get some more sleep. It wasn't happening. I got up and vaguely speculated on taking Fudge for an early walk. He was still fast asleep and wasn't showing much interest in moving about.

I spent a few minutes pootling on the Internet and then set off to work. I put the radio on (expecting the worst) and was disappointed. There was very little of note going on in the world. Those who make money out of fomenting discontent were trying to stir up a furore about the Prime Minister taking a holiday.
His deciding to take a short break was (apparently) rather badly timed in view of the recent terror attack in South London. Whilst what happened was terrible, those that deal with the aftermath of such events are on the case. There is little that the Prime Minister can do himself that others could not do better. Without wishing to downplay what happened, there are always crises and catastrophes that could prevent a Prime Minister from taking a break. Is he supposed to go the entire five years of his tenure without a day off?

Whilst on the way to work I got some petrol. I had this theory that petrol stations wouldn't be busy at 8am on a Bank Holiday. The one I went to wasn't. It was very quiet. I brandished my Morrisons card at them (as I always do) and they told me that I had accrued enough points to get a voucher. Having been spending over sixty quid a month in the place for the last year they've given me a voucher worth five quid off stuff in their store. I shall buy a bottle of port.

And so to work. After the major hikes I've been on for these last four days I quite enjoyed the rest that I had today. For all that I was busy, it wasn't arduous physical effort which did come as welcome relief; even if I did spend some time looking out of the window at the glorious weather wishing that I was outside in the sunshine with my dog.
I wonder if he likes being out in the sunshine quite as much as he used to?

As I came home I was shocked to hear the news. Bill Pertwee has died. Famous for his part of Warden Hodges in Dad's Army, it's a shame that he's gone. However I must admit I thought he died years ago...

26 May 2013 (Sunday) - Chelmsford 123

We were up before the lark, breakfasted and out of the house before 7am this morning. Troops rallied and on to the motorway before 7.15am too. We were on a mission to Essex. I've been going somewhat excessively at this geocaching lark this last week in an attempt to complete the three hundred finds in one calendar month challenge. And if anyone seriously wants to achieve this, then a relatively (!) easy way to do so is to go for a walk in Essex. The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Series is a series of 112 geocaches laid out along seventeen miles of the The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation canal.

There is the minor problem that the walk is in a straight line and you end up seventeen miles from your car, but that is merely a piddling detail. The obvious fix is to find like-minded friends and take two cars, meeting up at one end, leaving one car there and then all driving to the other and walking back to where you started. And that's what we did. We arrived in Chemlsford shortly before 9am and found a cache whilst waiting for our partners in crime, then left our car behind and set off to the other end of the canal. We started our canal walk just before 9.30am, and finished just before 8pm. It was a glorious day to be out; following a canal meant that the going was very flat. The dogs were very well behaved; it had been suggested that the distance would be too far for the dogs. I seriously considered leaving Fudge behind, but I knew it would be a long day and that he would rather be with us than left at home. I watched him closely - if he showed any signs of flagging I was going to carry him, but he did better than I did.

Most of the caches were easy finds; as we walked we picked up a few extra ones along the way, including one in a multi storey car park.
As well as going for three hundred caches in a month there was another milestone I might hit. If we found one hundred and twenty three caches today that would take my total found up to two thousand caches. We ended the day on one hundred and twenty one caches; the last one of the day being the "300 caches in one month" challenge cache.

We'd left home shortly before 7am; we got home just after 10pm. I was rather tired, but came home with something of a sense of achievement. Today was my most caches in a day, longest cache walk (in distance and in time) and I found my furthest north cache.
I need a rest now.

25 May 2013 (Saturday) - Hawkinge

Yesterday we walked for about ten miles and came home early for astro club only to find I'd got the dates wrong. It was probably for the best. We spent the evening drying out my mobile phone and er indoors TM" 's undercrackers whilst listening to the rain, and realising that having cancelled the camping weekend had been the sensible thing to do.

I woke early again, and as I got out of my pit something happened that hasn't happened for ages. I had a nose bleed. I used to get them all the time. Now they are very rare. A nuisance though, as I scoffed by brekkie with toilet roll bunged up my nostril.

We then set off to collect the troops and four of us and two small dogs went for a walk around Hawkinge. Regular readers of this drivel might expect that there would be a geocache involved. There was. Twelve on this route. Some of them weren't the easiest to find, but that's not a bad thing. We messed about in a graveyard looking for a gravestone when we should have been looking for a tree; we picked up another geocacher on the way, we had a good walk. As we finished the walk at mid day we met up with Hosey and we all adjourned to the Cat and Custard Pot for a pint to wash down our sarnies.
And then with the weather being so much better than yesterday we cached on for the afternoon. We found the two hides that me and Hosey couldn't find the other day. We found one right at the bottom of the Downs (having walked down from the top). We all trod in cow poo. Suzy-pup got allowed off the lead and she seemed to enjoy running. We had a really good time out.

We ended up just north of Folkestone at the bottom of Sugar Loaf Hill looking up. For those of my loyal readers who don't know the area, Sugar Loaf Hill is where they got the idea for Mount Everest from. Understandably we decided against going up there. We came home for a really good bit of pizza, cake and custard for tea.
And with er indoors TM" off for an evening's bowling and "Furry Face TM" snoring, I settled down for more of my on-line psychology course. Self awareness.... fascinating!

24 May 2013 (Friday) - Raining

Yesterday we walked for about fourteen miles. We were out walking for about ten hours. I finally went to bed at 1am. So why on Earth was I wide awake at 5am? I tried to get back to sleep, but it wasn't happening. After an hour I gave up and got up, made some brekkie and watched more of my Introduction to Psychology lectures. Today we were learning about how the brain (usually) perceives where things are in the world. Or sometimes doesn't. And then with it still being far too early on a day off I did the monthly accounts. They aren't too bad really. They could be a whole lot worse.

I looked out of the window at 7.30am to see it was raining hard. I had mixed feelings about that. On the one hand it didn't bode well for the day off. On the other hand I smiled. The original plan for this weekend was camping. We would have set up the tents yesterday morning and would have been camping last night waking to a very wet and cold morning. Perhaps things have turned out for the best after all?

After a bit of mucking about we made sandwiches and put Fudge's lead on. the weather forecast was against us, but a day off is not to be wasted. We collected some partners in crime and drove up to Birling where three of us and two small dogs went for a geo-walk. We started well, but after a while found ourselves stymied on a golf course. We racked our brains, solved the puzzle and found the cache. We did struggle with some others though. One was supposedly in ivy; we couldn't find it. And the presence of a nest of baby birds made us give up a search. We didn't want to disturb them.
Having found twelve out of fourteen caches in the rain we found a sheltered spot under a tree by a river where we had picnic lunch. We had a dilemma. We had done one of the circuits of the walk. We were wet through. The car was nearby. Should we carry on with the walk or should we give up and goo home. I was keen to continue -- as I said before I am on a mission to get three hundred this month. You don't get a high score by giving up and going home. er indoors TM" and Hurksy were already wet through to their pants and both proudly boasted that they couldn't get any wetter. So we decided to carry on.

It is possible that (with the benefit of hindsight) we might have made the wrong decision. By the time we got as far from the car as we were going to get we were all rather cold and wet. "Furry Face TM" looked far more like a sea-lion than he looked like a dog, and er indoors TM"'s notebook had been reduced to mulch. I think it's fair to say that we reached a low point at cache 22. Fudge was whining and grumbling; his tail was between his legs. He *never* does that on a walk. And cache 22's description was all about a trig point in a field which simply wasn't there. Resisting the urge to cry for my mother I suggested that we left this cache and moved on to the next one. As we walked I checked the clue for cache 22. I won't say what the clue said, but it described a hidey-hole. I suggested that as we walked on to cache 23 we looked for trampled down undergrowth near anything matching the clue's description. Would you believe it - just as we found something matching the description the rain stopped. And as er indoors TM" pulled the cache from the hidey-hole so the sun came out.

I won't say that he weather was glorious from then on. It wasn't. We were wet, but we started to dry out. Both dogs' tails lifted up and started wagging. We DNF'ed one more cache along the way, but despite the dreadful weather we ended up having found thirty three out of thirty six caches. The descriptions of the route had told us that the route was one of six miles; our sat-navs registered a distance of ten miles. It had been a wet walk, but it had been a good walk for the dogs with good company.

I was a little concerned about how late we had finished the walk, so abandoning the plaans to go on to more caches we set off homewards. I sent off a message of apology to the astro club. I was going to be late. I got a message back. I wasn't going to be late. I was going to be a week early. Woops! We could have gone on to have done some more caching after all. But perhaps it was for the best that we'd set off homewards. Once home we got wet waterproofs drying, and bathed Fudge. He needed a bath.
Whilst we were out postie had been. He'd brought a letter from the council telling us about refuse collection arrangements. There's going to be far fewer rubbish collections, and we will be expected to recycle a lot moire stuff. I expect that will be a good thing once everyone gets used to the idea...

23 May 2013 (Thursday) - The Leigh Loop

I was up earlier than most people would normally have been on a day off, but we were on a mission. Once brekkie was scoffed Steve arrived and we all set off to Surrey for a day's geocaching. We'd found a series of caches to give us our furthest west caches and also (possibly) our highest daily total of caches found.

The Leigh Loop has sixty four caches, and as we went round we came across half a dozen others that we tried for. As we walked the weather was incredibly varied, ranging from glorious sunshine to hailstorms. We met all sorts of animals. As well as the usual cows, sheep and horses we saw alpacas and deer too.

Lunch was in the beer garden of the Three Horseshoes; a pub which is certainly doomed to closure in the near future if the attitude of the landlord we saw today is typical of how he conducts himself.
We'd started walking shortly before 10am, we finished just before 8pm having walked fourteen miles and having achieved our target of getting our best ever day's cache count - sixty eight caches found. We failed to find three. One really wasn't there, one was there (in a log) but we couldn't find it, and one was in ivy so wasn't worth the effort to find (!) One cache involved me climbing up into a tree, another had er indoors TM" being sent down a tunnel in her welllies.

I found a trackable coin in one of the caches and (quite frankly) I wish I hadn't. Within an hour of logging that I now had the coin I got an email saying "Thank you for picking up our geo coin from LL47....We look forward to seeing where the coin goes next." from the coin owner. I then "visited" it to the next dozen caches that I went to. I came home to find that the coin owner has deleted all the "visited" logs. What was that all about?

We got home shortly after 9am, and then in between a rather good tea and episodes of "Big Bang Theory" I attempted to get my phone's spare batteries charged up. Geocaching does eat the batteries...

22 May 2013 (Wednesday) - Monkdown

Yesterday I mentioned that I'd ricked my neck. It was still a tad painful at brekkie, but not as bad as it has been. Over that brekkie I checked out the Internet. It was much the same as it had ever been. I then put the ladder into the car, put Fudge's collar and lead on him and we set off to fetch Cassie.

Earlier in the week I'd mentioned on Facebook about the possibility of walking the Monkdown Meander; a series of nineteen geocaches about half an hour's drive away. A lot of people had already done this series, but Cassie hadn't and said she fancied a day out.

Only taking one wrong turn along the way we soon parked up at Bredhurst church and found the cache there. And then we were on to the Monkdown Meander. Bearing in mind that Chris was the cache owner of the series we had the option to "phone a friend" if we should need to. Having fallen at the first hurdle that was exactly what we did at thee first cache. But after something of a false start we saw off the rest of the walk without incident. Our GPS readings were a bit squafty at times, but that is to be expected under trees. We found all of the caches on the route,, and I picked up four trackables which was something of a personal best. A good walk with excellent company in beautiful surroundings. Can't be bad.

With the five mile walk done (pausing only briefly to nearly demolish a fence) we stopped off at a nearby playpark to find a cache attached to the play equipment (yes - I know that's against the rules) and at another one which was up a tree. Having found a total of twenty-three caches we decided to call it a day and we came home. Having had a little look at my numbers it's vaguely possible I might qualify for the three hundred finds in one calendar month challenge if I make something of a concerted effort. If I'm to do this I need to find another one hundred and sixty two caches in the next eight days. That's do-able.

I then rolled up my sleeve for the tattoo needle. It's been a while since I was last taattooed; you tend to forget how much it hurts....

21 May 2013 (Tuesday) - More Stuff

Yesterday whilst stopping off at the Cheapo Bargains shop I hid a geocache nearby. This morning over a spot of brekkie I saw that Jose had been the first person to find it. No one else has been near it today though.

I then had a quick look through the news and saw something I couldn't believe. Some woman claims she's a victim of harassment at work. Because she's so good looking (!) all the blokes at work are constantly sniffing round her, and all the women hate her. And so she's forced out of her job. Apparently. She's not worked for two years, and lives off of the charity of her parents who are giving her over fifty thousand pounds a year. Surely this story is a load of made-up rubbish. It can't be true, can it?

With washing on the line and smalls in the machine I then put Fudge's lead on him and took him for a walk. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I worked out the location of a multi-geocache last Friday. Today I went to find that cache. After a silly ten minutes spent up a tree (for no adequately explained reason) I soon had the cache in my hand. It is one of the better local caches with a fun start and a good hide. It richly deserved the favourite point I gave it.
Whilst out I heard a sound, turned suddenly and did something to my neck. I don't know what I did; I do know that I don't want to do it again. It really hurts.

Back home, where I spent an hour or so doing homework, and then I started on this week's psychology lectures. This week we're covering perception. Quite interesting really. I did a couple before going up the road for lunch. I'd thought that as a treat I'd have kebab and chips. It was a good idea, but the kebab shop was closed so I roughed it with a sandwich and a can of Dr Pepper.
With lunch scoffed I set about domestic trivia. House hoovered, dustbins dustbinned, and ironing done. Whilst I ironed I watched a favourite film of mile - Lindsey Anderson's "If...." It's a brilliant film. It starts off as "Jennings Goes to School" in a 1950s upper-class public school sort of way and ends up in a bloodbath.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered. Having bandied insults we watched the season finale of "Merlin". I didn't fall asleep at all which was good. Must do that more often...

20 May 2013 (Monday) - Stuff

I slept reasonably well last night, but there's no denying I would have slept better had I not sat on a stinging nettle yesterday. Over a spot of brekkie I checked my emails and saw that a new geocache had gone live the other side of Canterbury. I toyed with the idea of chasing after it and thought better of that idea. This game can become obsessive, you know(!)
Instead I consoled myself with hunting out a cache which was (sort of) on my way to work. It was named "Tranquil Valley View" which reminded me of something Bob Ross would have painted. However the view is probably far more tranquil when there's not low cloud and drizzle. Bearing in mind the glorious weather of the last couple of days,today was rather horrible.
As I drove on from "Tranquil Valley View" to Canterbury I had a twit driving his car not five yards behind me for most of the way. Having ignored all the opportunities to overtake along the A28 this fool nearly caused a multiple car pile up by flying past me and at oncoming traffic in Thanington. And it did him no good because I then caught up with him at every set of traffic lights.

As I drove the news was all about the fact that Parliament is debating whether or not to allow gay couples to be married. Surely if anyone wants to be married, be they heterosexual, gay, polyandrous, polygamous, fish, fowl or Martian, and all protagonists involved are happy with the arrangement then is up to the individuals concerned. Haven't our Lords and Masters anything better on which they might waste their time? Or the news commentators? A lot ot radio time was wasted on this topic today when something worthy of note; the first British astronaut funded by the UK Government warranted a few moments at best.

And so to work. It was probably for the best that I was at work today; whilst I was out a bus ran amok outside our house and trashed several parked cars. Apparently the "My Boy TM"-mobile missed this trashing by a matter of minutes.
On my way home I saw that rare sight these days - a hitch hiker. I stopped and gave her a lift to the station. I have been told that I was silly to have given a lift to a stranger. I disagree. If more people helped more complete strangers the world would be a much better place...

19 May 2013 (Sunday) - The Kent Mega Series

Yesterday's walk was really good, but it wasn't physically anywhere near as challenging as some walks I've done over the last few months. So I can't help but wonder why I was so tired yesterday. I fell asleep through every single thing I put on the telly last night and on going off to my pit I slept like a log.
"Furry Face TM" sneaked upstairs some time in the night and woke me with his fidgeting and scratching at 5.15am which was a shame. If not for that I may well have slept on through till morning.

Over a spot of brekkie I checked emails, did the secret e-preparation for the day (known only to initiated geocachers) and shouted at my grand-dog to shut him up; he was having a hysterical woofing fit because someone had dared walk up the other side of the road.

And so off on the day's mission. It would be on the only day that we get out early that everyone else thought we were on a 10am start (rather than 9am) but such is life. Soon we were all together in the right car park and after going to the toilet (for geocachical purposes) we set off on a walk. A series of thirty caches put out because of next year's Kent mega-geocaching event. A dozen of us set off and once I'd lead the team into a swamp (woops!) and redeemed myself by climbing up a tree the rest of our number arrived. In total sixteen of us (and two small dogs) followed on and completed the ten mile route. It was a warm day, but a good day to be out. Walking in the sunshine with good company and finding little plastic boxes too. Can't be bad. Whilst we were out I got my cache count to over 1700. Another mucker got his to over 1500, and a new friend who's only been playing this game for three weeks found her one hundredth cache. The only bad thing I could say about the day was that it was a shame that I had to sit on a stinging nettle.

We finished the route shortly after 4pm and said our goodbyes to our friends. But rather than coming home we drove a few miles further down the road and spent an hour doing a small loop of caches. A few months ago we'd spent a day caching round Malling and we'd not had time to do the series in Offham. We did those on our way home.

Once home I had a count-up. I'd done forty caches today. I was impressed. Fudge wasn't so much impressed as worn out. He had a bath as he'd been chest deep in a manky river and the mud was still peeling from his belly. And once he'd been scrubbed and he'd scoffed his tea he took himself off to his bed and was soon soundly snoring.
As always there are photos of the day on-line... I'm thinking of having an early night.

18 May 2013 (Saturday) - Caching in Stansted

A late finish at work last night made for a rather late night. But I was wide awake at 5am. With not a lot else going on I thought I'd have my morning shave and then see if I could get back to sleep again afterwards. Shaving was easy enough but in the meantime Fudge had sneaked upstairs. Fighting him for bed space took some doing.

I eventually got up shortly before 7am. As I opened the curtains I saw Martin going up the road. I wonder what he was up to so early in the morning. I had some brekkie and took Furry Face for a walk. Up the road to Bowens Field, round the park and home again. The walk was relatively uneventful. Fudge was allowed off his lead; he came back when called, and only once tried to roll in anything disgusting.
Whilst we were out we met "Orangehead" who iis looking more and more like Ronald McDonald's mother on a daily basis. Today she was without her chunky little friend but had another associate, which was probably nice for her.

With Fudge walked we collected the team and set off to Wrotham for the monthly county geocacher's get-together. On the way we found a cache we missed when we were last in the area (6th January), bet despite this stopping off we were soon at the meet. The meet was in a pub that we'd walked past back in January. With four ales on the hand pump I was settled for the day. Mind you the pub was rather odd. On the one hand there was us; poised ready to go up hill and down dale. On the other hand was a wedding party in their best finery. None of whom were especially quiet. I pitied the poor normal people who were stuck in the middle trying for a quiet meal.
We had a rather good plate of pie and mash and met up with people who I now regard as good friends even though I've known them for less than a year. We chatted for a while, and then set off for a gentle stroll around the local woods finding caches which had been set in honour of the day. Traditional sandwich box caches, tiny magnetic ones, rather larger ones, letterbox hybrids, we miscalculated the multi, and we even did the sums based on the Wacky Races, We walked for a couple of hours and came back to the pub for another crafty half before saying goodbye to everyone.

We came home via something unusual - an Earthcache. I'd not done one of these before. It was in many ways a geology lesson. But it gave us six different types of geocaches found in one day. My record for different types so far was four in one day.
And so home. As er indoors TM" set off to watch films I settled down with my dog. He'd been left alone quite long enough today. Not that he was bothered. He slept most of the time whilst I watched "Defiance" on the SkyPlus box. And there's no denying that I slept quite a bit too...

17 May 2013 (Friday) - This n That

Over a spot of brekkie an email pinged up - two new geocaches had gone live locally. I say "locally" - they were in Great Chart; which is only an average dog walk away. Or, to qualify that statement, it's an average walk for me and Fudge. I'm told that some might baulk at the idea of walking that far.
But seeing how I was due to leave for work within the hour I wouldn't walk it today. I hopped into the car and off I went. The first cache I tried for was a multi-one. It was a work of genius, but I think I stuffed the sums up as the location seemed a long way off. As time was short I didn't hang about but set off to the second one. With a difficulty setting of three (rather hard) and a pile of ivy (never good) my hopes weren't high but I found it after a few minutes. First to Find; and I drove off to work feeling rather smug.

As I drove I listened to the radio. The leader of the UK Independence Party was being interviewed. And was talking patent rubbish. From what I could work out the chap was totally against the UK being in the European Union, but entirely against Scottish independence. How does that work? How is Scotland being free of the UK any different in priciple from the UK being free of Europe?

Being on a late start I popped into the Cheapo Bargains shop. I pulled up outside to find three unshaven thugs in Cheapo Bargains uniforms smoking cigarettes on the doorstep. I soon realised they were shouting at me so I got out of the car to see what they wanted. They were very vociferous about the fact that the shop wasn't yet open. So I smiled politely, but they weren't happy. They insisted that I told them what the time was, and added the proviso that it wasn't nine o'clock yet. I checked the time - it was 8:57am. They were very pleased about that, and crowed that the shop wasn't open until 9am in a rather confrontational way. Just as their manager was coming out to see what all the commotion was about I politely asked them if I might be allowed to wait the two and a half minutes, or should I go over the road to Morrisons.
With the door having been opened by the manager I went in and left them to their richly deserved arse-kicking.

Mind you, I do like the Cheapo Bargains shop. As well as the entertainment provided by the lowlife, they have some bargains. I got five curlywurlies for a quid. Perhaps that's why my weight loss has stopped?
However not everything is as cheapo as you might think. One hundred and fifty of their dog-dung bags cost eighty nine pence. Exactly the same as two hundred and fifty of their nappy sacks. And double the price of three hundred nappy sacks in Asda. It pays to shop around.

And then on to work. As it was now (demonstrably) after 9am the news show had finished on the radio. They were now playing "Desert Island Discs" in which some celebrity was choosing his eight favourite records. In my humble (!) opinion he'd chosen some right old rubbish. But it made me think. What eight records would I choose if I were on that show. I don't know. I spent a little while today pondering, but came to no real decision.

And so home. er indoors TM" was out bit I found a bag of parsnip crisps on the table. They'll do...

16 May 2013 (Thurday) - A Day's Geocaching

By the time we got home last night and had some tea we had rather a late night. I slept well, and over a leisurely brekkie I got a message from the Hose Beast. He was at a loose and and if I was free did I fancy going for a walk with him around the Hawkinge area. My plans for the day were rather fluid, so I scoffed brekkie, got Fudge's lead on him and we set off for Folkestone. We were only ten minutes later than I expected; having set my own mental sat-nav for the Admiralty rather than the Hoseyarium. I realised this as I drove past the motorway junction at which I should have turned off. Woops.

But we soon met up with Jose and not long after that we were in Reinden Wood. Being a wood I didn't let Furry Face off of his lead. He doesn't run away so much as he doesn't come back. But we had a good stroll, and found a few geocaches on our way. And after the wood was walked we went looking for one or two other local caches. They were all good caches; they were for the most part rather imaginative hides. One in particular warranted special mention. There was one cache in Mackie Lane. From the clue we knew it was randomly in a hedge somewhere. Our sat-nav couldn't narrow down to more accurately than ten metres. We were on the point of giving up when I just shoved my hand deep into a bush and there it was. A total triumph of pot luck. To celebrate we had a crafty pint of shandy in the nearest pub - "The Cat and Custard Pot".

And so home to find that another geocache had gone live minutes after I'd left home this morning and had only just been found. Had I not gone out with Jose I would have been First to Find. Several people commented on the fact today and asked me if I felt at all miffed. In all honesty I don't. I had a really good morning out in the sunshine. I can go looking for that local cache at any time.

After a quick spot of lunch I got on with the day's chores. The lawn got mowed, I finished the week's psychology lectures, I did some homework, and then with er indoors TM" hone from work we waited for the arrival of Jose before going out for an evening's caching round Charing and Hothfield. Some good caches including one on an island. The instructions did say not to use the rope swing. Telling me not to use the rope swing was akin to waving a red rag at a bull....

15 May 2013 (Wednesday) - History, Ping Pong

As I scoffed my brekkie I read something on the Internet that made me think. I have often said that we don't actually have a very balanced view of history because all the first hand eye-witness evidence we have from days gone by is from people who could be bothered to write it down. And people who can be bothered to write it down will colour what they write down according to their personal prejudices. I certainly have done this over the last few years.
Mind you, without eye-witness reports we can infer from historical evidence. Over the last century TV and radio and newspapers provide a lot of the historical record. Much of it has disappeared (like a lot of Doctor Who episodes) but archaeologists are used to piercing together from the scraps that they find. But now the historical record is being edited. The BBC has decided to expunge "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" from history. It was a rather dire comedy. It was bigoted and racist. But it was very much a show of its time. The show speaks volumes about social attitudes of the time that the show was made far more than it does about the time in which the show was set. To remove it and to make it not available too future generations will not allow our children and grandchildren to get a better view of where they came from. Do we have the right to edit our history in this way?

With brekkie scoffed and some of the laundry on the line and some more in the tumble drier I took Fudge for a walk. I had a letter to post for the astro club and since the post box up the road went missing some time ago we went to the town's post office where I knew there was a post box. Whilst in town I looked for a new geocache which had gone live yesterday, My beloved had looked for it last night and had given up. I found it in a matter of seconds. Sometimes these things are glaringly obvious; sometimes they are not.

We continued our walk exploring some paths round the back of Godinton Road and followed down Chart Road, past Matalan and into the back of the park where we met "Orangehead" and her chunky little friend. We exchanged pleasantries; the chunky little commented that Fudge is well known in local dog walking circles because (apparently) he is the one which is "one dog high and two dogs long". That made me snigger.
We then saw some strange woman being dragged along by an evil animal which I can only describe as a set of snapping jaws on a lead. She hysterically screamed that we should get away from her dog because it was wild and she couldn't stop it. We went the other way where I warned other dog walkers about the vicious thing. A couple of chaps told that they'd been savaged by it previously; but that it responded favourably to being kicked in the balls. Perhaps those balls should have been removed years ago.
As we came across the park I saw that someone has installed an outdoor table tennis table in the park. That's nice. I shall get a ping-pong bat and an opponent and have a go.

And so home, where I found some geocachers in my front garden looking for the cache. They found it and after we'd chatted for a bit I made myself a cuppa and did some homework before embarking on more of my psychology course. I'm a little bit unimpressed with the course so far. Last week was a *lot* of on-line lectures that didn't actually say anything. This week there are a *lot* of lectures which are all about biology and physiology rather than psychology. And the on-line laboratory experiments that we are supposed to play with don't work because the server keeps crashing because too many students are using it.

I then got the underwear sorted and my shirts ironed. And I then got the laundry off of the line and put in into the spin drier. Whilst I'd been fiddling about the rain had started and it was quite torrential. A pain as I had plans for the late afternoon which rather depended on it not raining. So I watched more drivel which I had recorded onto the SkyPlus box whilst Fudge sat on my lap and farted continually.

By the time er indoors TM" got home the weather had chirped up quite a bit, so we went out for a walk for the evening. To Larry's Wood and then on to Challock. As the evening wore on it got rather nippy, but it was good to be out.

14 May 2013 (Tuesday) - Defiance

Over the last few weeks the Sy-Fy channel has been advertising it's new series "Defiance". I'd set the SkyPlus box to record this and last night I watched the double-length first episode. Admittedly I slept through the exciting battle scene, but what I saw wasn't too sad.
I watched another episode over a spot of brekkie this morning. The program shows promise, even if I am getting vibes of "Harry Potter" from one of the leading protagonists. Mind you the leading hero of the piece is a policeman (of sorts). I do hope that this doesn't end up as being yet another cop drama. There are quite enough of those on the telly already.

And so to work. On Sunday I mentioned that half an hour after I'd arrived at work a new geocache had gone live; one I'd actually driven past on my way in to work that morning. Had the reviewer got out of bed just a little earlier I might have had a First to Find. As I drove home on Sunday night it was dark so I wasn't going to mess about. But this morning I set off five minutes earlier that I needed to so I could pick this one up on my way.
It was a nice enough little cache - actually not that little really. It was in a place where I'd been contemplating putting a cache for some time. Not ten yards from the cache is a bridge under which would be a very good place to hight a higher difficulty cache. I can't use that place now. If nothing else this should prompt me to get my ass in gear and not leave things in future.

To work where I did my bit and came home again. As I drove both ways the talk was about the promised referendum as to whether Britain should stay in the European Union. Obviously having seen how well UKIP did in recent elections the Government have seen that narrow-minded jingoism is a vote winner.
I do hope that someone in a position to do so can educate the masses. A vote to leave the European Union is the thin edge of the wedge. Look at the lessons of history. If the U.K. leaves the E.U. there will be war within ten years...

13 May 2013 (Monday) - Walk, Muzzle, Lego

I slept well last night, and after a spot of brekkie I was disappointed to find that the most recent fruit of my loin wasn't visiting today. So once I'd got the washing on the line it was only me and Furry Face that went for a walk. But it was a good walk nonetheless. From home we went up past the International station, along the footpaths into Hythe Road and over the motorway where I took today's photo. From here we came across the fields to the Quest factories where we followed the paths through Little Burton Farm past the rugby club down to the Stour Centre and home again. About five to six miles; a good way to spend a couple of hours.
Whilst we were out Fudge made a friend. He charged up to another small dog and they instantly started playing. I got chatting with the people with the dog who told me that he was a rescue dog. He'd been found wandering the roads in Charing, emaciated with a lot of fur missing and covered in scars. He was wearing a muzzle today because when found he used to lash out at anything that scared him. And a lot did scare him. Poor pup. He seems OK now, and only wears the muzzle on the advice of the rescue home.
We all walked together for a few minutes towards the motorway bridge. As we were walking some random twit stopped us all and asked us what we were playing at. Apparently it was people like us who give decent dog owners a bad name when we take obviously feral and dangerous animals out of our homes. I had no idea what he was talking about as Fudge and his mate were happily playing and rolling in fox poo. "Prat" was happy to elaborate; apparently decent people wouldn't have a dog that needed to be muzzled. The fellow with the muzzled dog asked "Prat" if he would like the muzzle shoved up his arse, and as I shook this chap's hand, "Prat" scuttled off.

I came home and ran round with the hoover and then unpacked my parcel. My belated birthday pressie had arrived - a 1970s lego train set. I've been after one for ages. It didn't take long to put together, and I had a fun five minutes running it round the track. Fudge seemed fairly interested in it, and I put a video of the thing on Facebook. I've been looking on eBay and have got some ideas. If I can find some table space in the house I might just make a train layout. Neither fruits of my loin use their rooms that much any more...

I then sat down for a spot of lunch and as I finished my sandwich I remembered with a bit of a shock that I had a dentist appointment in fifteen minutes. Woops. I got there in time though; and with my mouth having had it's six-monthly service (and my chipped tooth fixed) I came back home again and spent much of the afternoon doing more of my on-line psychology course. This week we're doing about how the brain works. Or doesn't...
Apparently over ten thousand people have signed up to do this course.
And here's something to make you think. The local elections were a week or so ago. In our area there are over twelve thousand people registered to vote. Only three and a half thousand of those turned out.
The chap who won got some twenty eight per cent of the votes cast. With an electorate of twelve thousand seven hundred and seventy nine, the winning candidate had amassed nine hundred and seventy two votes. Do the sums. Only seven point six per cent of his constituents voted for him but he got elected.
People wonder why I don't believe in our so-called democracy.