31 January 2014 (Friday) - Being Evasive...

I didn’t sleep a wink last night. That would be stress. And after a brekkie I didn’t want (stress again) I set off to the train station. For once the price of a ticket to London as charged at the ticket office agreed with the price quoted by the web site. As the train went through the Kent countryside I soon lost interest in my Kindle app and stared out of the window. So much flooding. I know we’ve had a lot of rain recently, but I had no idea how flooded so much of the county was.

Once at Waterloo East I walked (via three geocaches) to Kennington where… One day I will blog at great length about why I went to Kennington today and why I now work in Canterbury, and why I am so skint these days, but not today. However I will say that after an ordeal which I would not wish on my worst enemy a blot has been expunged from my escutcheon.
I made my way back to Waterloo via another geocache. The rain started so I thought I might take a bus. I didn’t though. I tried. The surly git driving the bus grunted that the fare was £2.40. I offered him a fiver. He refused to take it as he wouldn’t give me any change. He claimed that it was company policy only to accept correct money and not to offer change. What rubbish! So I walked up Kennington Lane in the rain, and shall make a formal complaint about the driver of bus DW279 when I get a minute.

I got on the rush hour train, and got back to Ashford to find torrential rain. But time was pressing so I pushed on to astro club. Bearing in mind the success of “Stargazing Live” a couple of weeks ago the turn-out tonight was disappointing. I expect the weather was to blame. But we had a good meeting; it was only a shame I had to leave early. I couldn’t stay as late as I would have liked; I’ve got to work this weekend…

30 January 2014 (Thursday) - Dull

Another good night’s sleep. I went to bed shortly before midnight and was licked awake by my Tripe Hound at 7.30am.
After a swift bit of brekkie I got washing on the go (laundry and crockery) and took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. I thought I’d take a firm line. Every time any kind of vehicle came close I firmly told him “No!” and he didn’t bark at anything. Until I forgot as a lorry came close and he went mental at the lorry. I then went mental at him. He *really* doesn’t need to bark at anything on the roads. I wish he wouldn’t.

I had this idea to pop to the market stall that is always in the town centre. He sells cheap clothes, and I fancied a new pair of “scrat-about” trousers. Today that stall wasn’t there. We then carried our walk along Godinton Road. I had a plan to walk round to the ford and come back through the park, but a phone call meant I had to cut our walk short and we came home. Unnecessarily as it turned out.

I spent much of the remainder of the morning in domestic drudgery vacuuming and cleaning. I even got a mop and bucket and washed much of the muck off of my car.
I had a text message; did I want some bread rolls? Cheryl had acquired far too many of the things, and came round with some. I now have a freezer full of the things.

As Cheryl set off on the school run I fell asleep in front if the telly; waking just in time for a committee meeting of the astro club. Plans for the future; speculation on the recent UFO sighting (!), and home via Tescos for curry.
Yesterday seemed a far more productive day; I didn't really acheive anything today.

29 January 2014 (Wednesday) - Busy, Busy...

Over brekkie I got cross with my lap-top. From time to time the thing becomes unusable because of warnings about a problem with the cooling system. Last night I got as much of the back off of it as I could to blow out any dust. I gave all the vents a good puff as well.
I’ve looked up the problem on the Internet. Apparently these warnings are a known glitch in this make of lap-top. Or, to be more precise, known to everyone but the manufacturer. It would seem that there is some software fault which makes this alert come up randomly, but the manufacturer ignores all reports about it. Presumably because they can’t fix the problem. If any of my loyal readers are thinking about buying a new lap-top, look at my one and buy one made by a different company.

An early start today; I’d arranged to have my car serviced at 8am. I took “Furry Face TM “ with me for the drive. The idea was we could then go on for a walk. Maybe geocache maintenance out Sevington way; maybe a mooch round Willesborough.
Seeing the pouring rain we just came straight back home again. As we walked “Furry Face TM “ took the opportunity to bark at nearly every car that drove past us as well as two buses, a white van and two trains. Some mornings he just gets on with his walk; sniffing as he goes. Other mornings he feels the need to bark at the universe and every single one of its contents. I often wonder why.

I saw something on line that made me think. Bearing in mind the utter fiasco that was made by the badger culls last year, perhaps I might get my loyal readers to have a look at this petition and see if we can’t stop any possible culls in Kent.
Following on from that I found myself reading a lot of the politics of the local Green party. It’s no secret that I honestly believe that voting Conservative is a fundamentally evil thing to do. (Sorry!) It’s also no secret that I have no time for the Dribbling Democraps. And despite being a life-long leftie, I can’t help but feel that the Labour party are not as good in practice as they are in theory.
Is voting Green purely because you fancy the local candidate a sound political decision?

It wasn’t long before the garage phoned to say my car was ready – and they even sent someone out to drive me to collect the car. I was billed one hundred and fifty quid; and that was including the discount because the garage had sent us a Christmas card with a fifteen quid off voucher. I was the teensiest bit miffed at the price because they’d given me an estimated cost of one hundred and thirty quid. Still; I shouldn’t grumble really.
I then drove down to Stanhope to collect a table, and came home to load up with all sorts of other bits and bobs and drove them down to Folkestone to deliver them to “Daddy’s Little Angel TM. She seemed chuffed with her haul.
Home via a crafty geocache in Sandgate (that I couldn’t find) and a petrol station. I then did the monthly accounts. No money was taken last month for Fudge’s service plan since Christmas. Apparently I get a month free in January. That’s a result.

I then put the lead onto “Furry Face TMand we walked up to the sorting office; the postman had been whilst we were out and had left a parcel that by rights I should have received about a month ago.
‘er indoors TM set off to arky-ologee club. I could have gone. I suppose. But I’ve not been for over two years; whenever I went I used to sleep through it. And she was having a committee meeting afterwards so I would have had to hang around. So I stayed home and watched more “Jeeves and Wooster”. I wonder where I can get a Jeeves…

28 January 2014 (Tuesday) - Have a Banana

I set my alarm for 7am this morning, and woke only two minutes before it was due to go off. That was good. I watched Family Guy over toast. It turns out that Brian the dog has a gay cousin, and he married his boyfriend in today's episode,which was nice for all concerned.

As I walked to my car this morning I had a wry smile at a large black and white cat which was walking up the middle of the street, seemingly oblivious of the traffic going up and down past it. I wonder whose cat it wasl and whether the cat survived the day.
The morning's radio was entertaining; as ever. There was an article on ear worms; that annoying thing when you get a song or tune stuck in your head. Apparently advertising firms are looking at the possibility of pushing their messages more actively via earworms. I would have thought that they would have done that years ago.
Also on a musical theme Pete Seeger (who?) died today. He was the chap who wrote a lot of the archetypal hippie songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Whilst I can't say I'm a fan of his music I did chuckle when the pundits played a snippet of what they called "the unmistakeable voice of Pete Seeger" only to apologise five minutes later that they'd actually played something by Peter Paul and Mary.

I popped into the cheapo-bargains shop on my way to work, and as I did I had something of a shock. A good friend was walking out out the place. I looked again; what was Tracey doing fifty-odd miles from home? I was about to ask her when I realised it wasn't her; it was a look-alike. But a very close look-alike. It was only her not recognising me that really gave it away.
I've heard tell that everyone has a double somewhere; I wonder if there is another me...?

And so to work. I did my bit, and we heard mention of our old friend science. It would seem that there is a new scientific unit in regular use; the banana equivalent dose
which is a measure of radiation. Specifically that amount of radiation equivalent to the exposure one would get from eating a banana. Apparently bananas are more radioactive that you might think.
That is unless you think they are extremely radioactive...

27 January 2014 (Monday) - Pigs, Scotland...

Having slept in front of the telly for most of yesterday evening I wasn't expecting a good night's sleep. However it was going better than usual until I had a particularly vivid dream in which we had been given a large pig as a pet. In my subconscious it would seem that large pigs are the companion animal of choice for Patagonian Tripe-Hounds; the only reason we had this pig was to be company for my dog.
In my dream pigs did not do well on leads; nor did they respond to whistles. And we won't even mention toilet training. I was having a rather traumatic time with said pig when I found myself almost leaping from the bed in panic. After such a rude awakening I didn't get back to sleep again.
Consequently I was watching Family Guy shortly after 5am this morning. On my own. My dog didn't stir from his bed at all. I think yesterday's walk had worn him out somewhat.

I scraped the ice from the car and set off to work. As I drove there was talk on the radio of Burns Night which took place over the weekend. Some of my colleagues had been to Burns Night events this weekend; many of them claiming some vague Scottish connection.
This is something which perennially boils my piss. Whilst I can see a place for mention of Burns Night on national radio, why do people born and bred in Kent try to claim some sort of Scottish heritage. And come to that why are there so many fiercely patriotic Scots living in Kent. I've never been to the place; mainly because from where I am it's the furthest place to which I can get without crossing the sea. But if it is as wonderful as it is billed to be, why do all its advocates choose to live as far away from the place as is physically possible?
Co-incidentally (or not) as I drove home there was an article on the radio exploring the possibility of an independent Scotland aligning itself politically with the Scandinavian countries. An interesting concept. Amazingly those who want a Scotland independent from the rest of the UK want to be subservient to Norway and Sweden. And ironically the Scandinavian countries don't much fancy taking Scotland on.

I had a message from "My Boy TM" . After Saturday's fun with the marble track he's now put it away. I wonder if the thing will ever see the light of day again? I hope so.

Once home I boiled up the scran that er indoors TM" had left me, and with er indoors TM" out at bowling I settled down in front of the telly and slept through an episode of Jeeves and Wooster; which was a shame. I quite like the antics of Bertie...

26 January 2014 (Sunday) - Bekesbourne in the Rain

Having anaesthetised myself with a gutful of ale last night I was hoping for a good night’s sleep. I would probably have managed it if a small dog hadn’t decided to fetch his bone up to my bed last night, sit on my legs and start chewing it.
It wasn’t his bone-gnawing that woke me; it was ‘er indoors TM sending him packing that did.

The weather forecast for today had progressively got worse all week; and today looked as though it was going to be a wet one. So we had a dilemma. Do we stay in and sulk that we hadn’t gone for a walk, or do we go out and sulk that we were wet.
We decided to go out.
Three of us and two small dogs drove out to Bekesbourne to do the “Bug Hunt” series of geocaches. Most were there, some need a little bit of maintenance. One was completely missing. The walk was a good one; it took us right through the middle of Howletts Zoo. We saw river hogs and elephants. It was a shame that the weather was against us; we might have seen tigers given better weather.
It was muddy in parts; very muddy. The first part of our walk featured a footpath which had been formally closed by the council because of the floods (we walked it anyway). And the day was cold and wet. We started off with two small dogs; by the end of the walk they looked like sea-lions. We were finished within three hours; normally we would have found somewhere else to carry on walking; today we just came home to get warm and dry.
I took a few photos whilst we were out.

Once home I realised a mistake I’d made. A couple of weeks ago we’d had “Stargazing Live” with the astro club. Today I was told I’d not paid the hall hire costs. Woops. I’d written out the cheque and had it signed. The cheque was dated from over two weeks ago. I just forgot all about it.

And with ‘er indoors TM off out with her mates I sat with my dog in front of the telly and dozed. I wish I could sleep when I am supposed to do so…

25 January 2014 (Saturday) - Tracked Things

Another grotty night; having seen every hour of the night until 5am I finally dozed off only to be licked awake by an excitable small dog at 7am. I had some brekkie and was a bit miffed as I read my morning emails. A new geocache had gone live not far from Canterbury. Had I been working today the opportunity for a crafty First to Find would have presented itself. But I do that journey often enough; I didn’t want to do it again. And petrol’s not cheap.
As ‘er indoors TM  set off to an extraordinary meeting of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Candlemongers I was left home alone. I’ve known that this was coming for some time. I could have gone out on the beer; but money is tight; especially with a few other sessions on the lash looming over the next few weeks and months. So I had what was intended to be a rather dull day at home.

I took “Furry Face TM for a walk. The recent floods haven’t abated so getting to Frogs Island is problematical so we went round the park. I forgot that on Saturday mornings the park is monopolised by the runners.
It has been said that my urine is a very volatile fluid; my piss boiled this morning. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject of running but I do have very firm views on the subject. It is an activity which should only be used in one (or both) of two very specific circumstances. Either one is running after a bus, or one is running away from a dangerous wild animal. I can see no other reason why one should run.
But if anyone should run, you would think they might learn how to do it before having a go in public. Today’s runners were running in much the same way that the fruits of my loin first took to bicycles (when four years old). They were all staggering and swaying from side to side of every path, pouring with sweat and gasping for air. As I walked through the park I could see a constant stream of breathless joggers (all on the point of collapse) falling over all the other dogs in the park.
We turned round and came home.

I did a little housework. Washing up (which is now automated) and laundry. In a fit of boredom I stripped out the glassware cupboard and put all the household glasses through the dishwasher (it does bring them up a treat!). I’ve often wondered why I can never get that cupboard to close; it’s got twenty five pint glasses inside. Including one from the 14th Luton beer festival (where did that come from?). And that’s not counting the two shelves of commemorative beer glasses from beer festivals in the living room.
If any of my loyal reader need a pint glass, I’m your man.

I then spent a little while playing with my ongoing Lego train set project. The extra bits of track I ordered arrived some time ago. So I laid the track out, and it is now complete. All I now need is a better connection between batteries and motor and a table big enough to have it all set up. And then I start looking for 1970s Lego buildings to go round it. If any of my loyal readers have any old lego buildings in their attics, or a rather large table, think of me.
After a quick spot of lunch I popped round to see  “My Boy TM ”. I’d acquired a marble track and took it round for Lacey. She lost interest in building it after about three minutes (certainly less than five), but the two biggest kids had fun making it and playing with it.
It seemed to have been a day for tracked toys.

A new geocache went live late in the afternoon. I ran for a First to Find; I got to where the sat-nav said to park. I got within twenty yards of the cache and the worst rain I have ever seen hit. I was soaked to the skin in the twenty yards run back to the car. The winds were incredible, and there was lightning too. I’d driven down without problem; driving back involved doing slaloms round branches and trees that had just come down in the wind.

And so on to Sevenoaks. CA had her belated birthday bash, and it was good to catch up with friends of whom we see far too little. A few beers went down very nicely.
And on the way home we found a geocache or two…