I woke to find my left arm was cold. It was out of the bed and holding my dog's paw. I suppose the only good thing about his is that the dog is still outside the bed. He needs to spend the nights in his basket.
I got up and checked the Internet; not much had happened, so I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. We did our usual circuit of Bowens Field, Viccie Park and the Co-op field. As we went he bullied a chihuahua and attempted fornication on a nondescript fluffy brown dog. I tried playing "Fetch"; It wasn't a success. It rarely is. Today's variation in the theme involved woofing at the ball when I threw it, then letting me fetch it..
I came home to find "My Boy TM" poised like a coiled spring. I'd co-opted him to help with the heavy lifting. Or not so much "help" as "do it all". With his help we got the job done in less than an hour; on my own I would have taken all morning to fetch and carry.
I then had a visit from some chap canvassing for the Conservative party. He was canvassing for the candidate in the local election rather than the general election. I didn't even know we were having local elections.
I must admit that his main reason for voting for his candidatre was rather weak; apparently she's lived locally for longer than the Labour candidate. He was surprisingly likeable; and we had a good discussion for fifteen minutes. At the end we both agreed that it made a change to be able to seriously disagree without falling out, and we shook hands before he went on his way.
If more people could do that the world would be a better place. Even if they did vote Conservative.
I then went up the road to the corner shop to get a sandwich for lunch. There were several people in the shop chatting about the news that the local church is going to close. The news came from the chap who's uncle is the bell ringer so it is from an unimpeachable source (!)
With lunch scoffed I set about washing and ironing; it is traditional for my days off to do laundry. As I worked I watched Stephen King's "The Stand" which I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box some time ago. And I then spent a few minutes seriously getting to grips with my new geo-app. I've been getting cross with its shortcomings over the last couple of weeks. Desperate times called for desperate measures so I bit the bullet and read the instructions. I can now do pretty much all that I could (legally) on the old app. Or (to be precise) I know the theory. I shall have to test that theory...
I woke to find I was still aching after a rather physically exerting weekend. Mind you it didn't stop me speculating about another ambitious walk.
There is a series of geocaches in Essex which covers eighty-one miles. With some six hundred caches on the way it would be a serious undertaking. Over the last few months I have idly speculated on the possibility of doing these over a week. I'm not alone in these idle speculations. A little preparation needs to be done, but its (just) possible that this mission might go ahead. Five days of sixteen miles with four overnight stays in guest houses, hostels or even under canvas... could be done. If any of my loyal readers are up for this I'm provisionally looking at the end of July.
I took my dog for a quick walk. As always he didn't really look where he was going. Dogs don't understand cyclepaths, and he managed to crash two cyclists. Each time the poor cyclist was really good about it. Were it me coming off the bike because of a dog wandering amlessly I don't think I would have been so calm.
My dog only had mild altercaions with two other dogs today, which is an improvement on his usual average. And he's made another variation on the game of "Fetch"; in which he races the ball as I throw it. Invariably he wins the race, and keeps going.
I then drove down to Folkestone where I got lost delivering a birthday card to an address where I've been going to on a regular basis for at least ten years. Next I stopped off to spend a bit of time with my grandson. Despite having arranged to be calling, everyone was fast asleep when I arrived.
Littlun's growing; he can now crawl. I say "crawl" - he shimmies along on his tummy. And he farts on his old grandad too.
Just as I was leaving I checked my emails; a new geocache had gone live half way between where I was in Folkestone and where I was going to work. I thought I'd chase the First to Find (even though I've said I don't do that any more), but didn't get it. I arrived at the cache at the same time as another cacher. I got talking with him. He apologised that he'd not found many caches. Why do people apologise for that? How many caches people have found is a matter of the utmost triviality.... all the time I've found more (!)
Still it was a good trial for my new app. I think it's fair to say the new app on the tablet is a no-no purely because the tablet's GPS leaves a lot to be desired. But on the phone it's not too shabby at all.
And then to work....
What with an afternoon spent building fences on Saturday and a twelve mile hike yesterday I suppose it's hardly surprising that I ached (just a little) when I woke this morning.
My dog must have been aching too; he didn't stir from his basket as I scoffed my brekkie. As I scoffed I watched a vintage episode of Dad's Army in which our heroes were given the job of guarding telephone lines. It strck me as a rather made-up scenario; did the army *really* guard miles of phone lines during the war?
In the end Private Pike saved the day with his porridge. As one does.
As I drove to work I had the radio on. I heard the news that another classic is returning. (Sort of). The cinema at the Bluewater shopping centre is having an evening of Laurel and Hardy films in June to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Stan Laurel's birth. I'd be tempted to go up to it if I didn't have all their films on DVD.
I've always said that Oliver Hardy was the greatest comedian who ever lived.
I also heard that the Prime Minister is ecstatic that five thousand small businesses have signed a letter saying how wonderful the coalition government has been.
The pundits presenting this news then pointed out that in fact some five point two million small businesses were actually eligible to sign that letter. Five thousand signatures sounds really good; an uptake of one tenth of one per cent isn't quite so impressive.
I got to work and did some. At lunchtime I saxed. "Yesterday" seems to be going quite well. However I do seem to get out of breath towards the final tum-te-tum bits. I shall persevere.
And with work done I did a little shopping. Firstly to the vastly overpriced "Go Outdoors" for waterproofing for my walking shoes. And then to Argos for new hair trimmers.
A week or so ago I mentioned that Babylis hair trimmers don't cut; they just pull the hair out. Today I got a set of Wahl clippers. Reduced from forty quid to a tenner they did the job perfectly..
As I drove home there was a bunch of UKIP supporters waving at cars as they drove through Kennington. They all smiled sweetly at me; I gave them all (collectively, and individually) the two fingers.
If they are ardent UKIP supporters they are either incredibly stupid, or incredibly nasty. By their looks I think these ones were stupid ones.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park. The second pink tennis ball has lasted to its third day. And other than that there was really not a lot of note on our walk this evening; probably for the best.
With "er indoors TM" off bowling I settled myself in fromt of the telly for my Monday fix. "Gotham" and then "Game of Thrones". Apparently the actress who plays Nudey Dragon-Girl has become so famous she's now refusing to get her kit off any more.
There's no denying the show has suddenly lost a lot of its attraction... but what are hashtags for if not to bandy. #getyourkitoffdaenerystargaryen
I slept like a log last night and woke a little while before the alarm went off. I really ached; I can't imagine why. I then wasted a few minutes trying to find what I'd done with a coat, then watched Bill Oddie presenting a documentary on velociraptors. Mr Oddie was surprised that pretty much everything that everyone knows about dinosaurs was actually made up in the imagination of the people who made "Jurassic Park".
I thought that was well known.
Being Sunday we did our usual Sunday geo-thing. We collected "Gordon Tracy" and set off; this time for Green Street Green. Green Street Green is a village in North Kent in the general area of Bromley. We arrived, and soon met Mr Moonstone (it's a geo-thing). Before finding our first geocache we failed on two others; not an auspicious start. But the rain eventually stopped and we had a really good walk.
We started off walking the GSG geo-series; mostly straight-forward geo-easy. About half way round we saw there was another little geo-loop. Since we were passing we thought we'd do that loop; it would only add half an hour to our day.
I should have done my homework better; that little geo-loop only had half a dozen caches but there were some really fiendish hides; some tree-climbing, and it took us to a HUGE redwood tree.
With our little geo-diversion done we got back onto the planned route. As we walked through the golf course we joked about how funny it would be if the dogs ran off with a golf ball. Suzy-pup then did just that. The golfers were really nice about it; but then with good reason. I am assured that the rules of golf allow for dogs; if a dog moves the ball it has to be played from where the dog drops it. Suzy-pup had carried the ball thirty yards from the rough onto the green.
As we walked on we had spectacular views of Canary Wharf, Crystal Palace and The Shard; and there's no denying I was starting to ache when we got back to the car after twelve miles of walking.
We'd set out hoping to find as many geocaches as we could; we found forty-three. There were three that eluded us; one for which we couldn't solve the puzzle, and one we could see but couldn't climb the slippery tree up which it had been put.
As always I took a few photos whilst we were out.
Once home we had a rather good but of curry for dinner and caught up with stuff recorded onto the SkyPlus box. Whilst my dog snored...
I woke far too early and having watched all of my pre-recorded rubbish on the SkyPlus box I watched a little "Toddlers and Tiaras" on the TLC channel. "Toddlers and Tiaras" is always fun; most of the children clearly don't want to be there; most of the parents are horrible people. One mother was forcing a fifteen month old child into beauty pageants; claiming the only reason she had a child was so she could force the child into beauty pageants.
Mind you I can't help but wonder how much of this is really "reality TV" and how much is scripted like any other soap opera.
I then walked up to the Stour Centre. The astro club was helping out with the British Astronomical Association's one day event they were holding in Ashford. I arrived a little early and met the woman from the B.A.A. I must admit I didn't really warm to her; and I can't help but feel that a roped-off half of a sports hall wasn't perhaps the best of venues. I wasn't impressed with the hand-torn half a sheet of A4 programmes for the day. And I did feel that as we were the club which was providing all the kit for the day, they could at the very least have got the name of our club right.
I helped set up, and when others arrived I said my goodbyes and went to the Gorge with Steve and Sarah for a spot of brekkie.
As I walked home I had a pleasant surprise. The lady walking toward me looked just like my aunt Jenny. And the people with her looked just like my aunt Sylv and my aunt Jean and cousin Helen. I've not seen them for ages. They were having a day out; it was good to catch up.
I then went to Chatham. Following a mix-up with dates for a geo-event I needed to speak with the organisers of the upcoming mega-event. I knew they would be at a CITO event so I popped up to have a word.
I hadn't planned on going to the CITO event. CITO stands for "Cache in Trash Out" and is supposed to be time spent tidying up an area of land. Fields, parks, woodlands.... I've been to two in the past and wasn't impressed with either. I had made a decision not to waste my time on any more CITO events; but as I was going to be there I thought I'd give it an hour of my time; it would have been rude not to have done so.
We were helping to tidy up Fort Luton today. It's the sort of place where I've been known to trespass in the past. An old Victorian fort. having been left to decay; it's currently in private ownership and is being slowly renovated. Thirty or so of us got stuck in today. Hedge trimming, paint stripping, pressure washing, painting general tidying all needed doing. I explained to the organisers that seeing how I was one of the older ones it was be nice if I could have one of the less physically demanding jobs. So I ended up on the gang that was putting in the fence posts; the most physically demanding job of the lot.
Mind you I'm not complaining; we had a great laugh. Especially when we realised four of the posts needed to be dug out and done again properly. As I said I only intended to make a flying visit; I was there for the duration of the event. There's talk of a return visit; I would be up for that.
I came home and walked my dog round the park. We took a pink tennis ball; he played nicely with it. And once home I played with a gpx file for my new geo-app. What was an hour's fight last week took five minutes today. And with "er indoors TM" off to film night I set about the monthly accounts. Could be better. I ironed shirts, then fell asleep whilst watching James Bond on ITV.
Today had looked set to be rather dull. It certainly wasn't...
With the vagaries of my shift system this week involves working shorter shifts this week, but more of them. Most people work a five day week; I did it myself for years. I find it rather hard going; I much prefer working longer (but fewer) shifts. Unusually for me it was had work to get out of my pit this morning.
Over brekkie I watched the last episode of "Are You Being Served" that was on the SkyPlus box. Just lately I've mentioned this show several times and mentioned how it wouldn't get made nowadays. This morning I found myself comparing it to contemporary comedy. Last night we watched "Ballot Monkeys". Billed as a political comedy set on the campaign buses of the main parties as they battle their way through the chaos of the election campaign each show is still being written on the day of broadcast so that it is topical and on the cutting edge. However it is lacking one vital element from "Are You Being Served"; back in the1970s they made comedy shows which were actually funny.
As I drove to work I listened to the news. The news of the impeachment and dismissal of the mayor of Tower Hamlets made me think. It's been proved that as well as election rigging, corrupt and illegal methods ensured the chap's election to power.
There was an interview with one of the people who brought the case to court. Apparently all the local officials and relevant authorities knew the entire election had been rigged but no one was brave enough to speak out. The whole sorry mess was only brought to light by a brave few souls. The chap interviewed said he was glad to have proven the allegations in court; otherwise he would have been liable for court fees of about a million quid.
It makes me wonder how many other corrupt practices are going on in public life purely because decent people can't afford to put them right. Surely the fact that we have to pay for justice in the first place means we live in a corrupt society?
The news also carried the announcement that Chinese scientists have made the world's first genetically modified human embryos. They have apparently successfully replaced the gene which causes the horrible disease beta thalassaemia with one which does not. What they have done isn't technically that amazing; it's effectively been done before. The amazing thing in the story is that it's been done to humans.
Those who don't understand what has been done feel we shouldn't meddle in things that they don't understand. But realistically curing thalassaemia bet getting rid of the causative mutation is no different in principle to curing an infection by getting rid of the infecting microbe. Are antibiotics meddling with nature?
In a hundred years time will the Western world still be putting up with cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, Downs Syndrome and the like whilst the Chinese are not?
I got to work, went to put my sandwiches in the fridge and realised I'd left them at home. Woops! So part of my lunchtime was spent getting replacement sarnies before having a sax practice. I now have new homework. "Yesterday" is coming on nicely (apart from a tricky G-flat), but "A Whiter Shade of Pale" has a lot way to go before it skips a light fandango; let alone turning cartwheels.
With work done I set sail for McDonalds. The last Friday of the month is astro club, and prior to astro club is McScoff. The official food of astronomy (in some circles).
Astro club itself was good; as always. Good talks, good fun. We had an AGM; I was again elected treasurer for another year. We had cake and hot dogs.
And did you know the Hubble Space Telescope has now been in orbit for twenty five years?
I had a rather late night last night, and after only three and a half hours I was wide awake. That's not as common as once it was, but when it does happen it's a nuisance.
Over a very early brekkie I caught up with some of the stuff on the SkyPlus box. I started off with "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" in which Billie Piper flopped them out. It was quite entertaining if you like that sort of thing. I can't say I'm averse to it.
I then watched "Are You Being Served". In this episode Grace Brothers were having a German-themed week. More and more I find myself watching this show as a social commentary on the times in which it was made rather than for the show itself. Today's episode was rife with glorifying sexual harrassment which today would put the actors into prison. And the show gloried in xenophobia. How times have changed.
I set off to work early; I was on the early shift. As I drove I had a wry smile at the radio. Experts have announced that exercise is no way to lose weight. Apparently they have discovered that no matter how many miles you walk, no matter how many hours you spend in the gym, exercise is no substitute for not eating pies. The cake-hole remains far bigger than the arse-hole.
I've been saying that for years. The only way to successfully lose weight is to be constantly hungry. Thin peple are lucky that for them hunger doesn't hurt.
I got to work; I did my bit. I spent quite a bit of time in a reflective sort of mood. My job's not a bad one; but sometimes I wonder "what if".
I fell into my line of work having abandoned "A" levels half way through after a disastrous set of end of year exams. The reason they were disastrous was not that I was too thick; the reason was that as a lad my every waking hour was spent wrapped up with the Boys Brigade. Sometimes six days a week I'd be doing BB things.
Had I not put quite so much effort into what turned out to be a frankly dangerous religious trap (that I only narrowly escaped) I might have been the company director of bank manager that my best friends at the time ended up being.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not unhappy with my lot. But sometimes I wonder "what if".
At lunchtime I saxed; being somewhat sick of "Moon River" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" I only gave them a cursory once through in readiness for this evening's lesson. I then had a go at "Mull of Kintyre" and "Yesterday". They were in the song book, and neither seemed to involve too much fannying around with sharps.
I was quite pleased at my first attempts. It's a shame that "Mull of Kintyre" is in my top ten worst songs of all time; but you can't have everything. On the plus side at tonight's sax lsson teacher has assigned me "Yesterday" as part of this week's homework.
I'd gone to the music school via the pet shop to get some new tennis balls for my dog. After the lesson on tonight's dog walk we took a new ball with us; a pink one. My theory that he couldn't see the green balls very well seems to be a good theory. It was obvious he could see the pink ball better. It was only a shame that the pink ball lasted for four minutes before it was ripped open.
As we walked we went past a young family. The father pointed out my dog as being a sausage dog. I had to look away when father was corrected by his small child. The little boy patted my dog on his head and announced "No daddy. He's not a sausage dog. His name is Fudge and he's a Patagonian Tripe-Hound".
I don't remember that child but he clearly remembers me. Or (to be precise) he remembers my dog.
Yesterday I asked my loyal readers to have a look at a magic eye picture. I had this idea that I might get the co-ordinates for a geocache that way. Many thanks to everyon who went cross-eyed on my behalf... It was a good idea with only one drawback... I now have several sets of co-ordinates; all different. I wonder which set is correct...
Yesterday's unbunging of the dishwasher's outlet left me with a leaking dishwasher. Overnight I had a stroke of genius about how I might fix it, and when I got up I spent a little while putting that idea into action. I then set the dishawsher onto last night's mess to see how I'd done.
Over brekkie I saw I'd been invited to an event; all the local candidates for the upcoming election were taking part in an evening's arguing just up the road from home. I was rather surprised to see that it was happening this evening. I would like to have gone to that. However I do need time to organise shifts.
I then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk round the park where we played "Fetch Doubles". In the past "Fetch" first started as me throwning the ball and my dog eating it. It then became me throwing and fetching the ball myself. The game has now evolved into one in which we both participate. In "Fetch Doubles" I throw the ball and "Furry Face TM" woofs loudly and chases after it. He then picks up the ball and runs off with it in any direction other than the one in which we are walking. After a hundred yards he then drops the ball and I go fetch it. We played this for over half an hour this morning, and he got quite vociferous when I stopped.
We came home to find my repairs (bodges) to the dishwasher seemed to have been successful so I set a second load to wash whilst I backed up some old blog entries and then failed to solve geo-puzzles. If any of my loyal readers can do "magic eye" pictures perhaps they might care to glance at this one here and tell me what they can see.
When I say " tell me what they can see" I'm hoping it starts with "N", then a string of digits, an "E" and then more digits. Please don't tell me you can see pink and grey splodges; I can see those for myself.
I set my PC doing a virus scan, and whilst it did its thing I watched more vintage comedy from Grace Brothers. "Are You Being Served" is a classic (or so I'm told). In today's episode Mr Lucas tried for sick leave having had an encounter with Mrs Plunkett from the cleaning department. Captain Peacock tried to get Miss Brahms to pull his cracker in the fitting room, and Mr Granger had the two bob bits. For no reason I could fathom Mrs Slocombe then threatened to have Mr Lucas in front of Mr Rumbold after a mishap in ladies underwear.
Mind you in all seriousness I was rather amazed when Mr Lucas was rather frisky with Mrs Fox (out of "Dads Army"). What was portrayed as family entertainment and comedy thirty years ago is today being punished as criminal behaviour...
And so to work. The initial plan for the day involved calling in to visit the baby in Folkestone but a complicated combination of circumstances conspired against that.
As I drove to work there was a tedious play about soldiers on the radio. So tedious that I turned it off and put on my Ivor Biggun album instead. I drove to Canterbury singing along to rude songs as I went.
I stopped off at the cheapo-bargains shop on the way. I've noticed that when I play variations of "Fetch" with my dog he doesn't always seem to see the ball very well. He seems to see the ball better when it's moving than when it is stationary. I've often wondered if he's colour-blind? With that in mind I thought I'd get a variety of coloured balls with which we might play. He might see different colours easier
The balls in the cheapo-bargains shop all smelled very strongly of dangerous chemicals; I didn't get any. Instead I got a packet of dark chocolate Rolos (which I'd never seen before), scoffed the lot in five minutes and gave myself a guts ache which lasted for the rest of the day...
I again woke just before the alarm to find I was cuddling my dog as though he were a teddy bear. This is becoming something of a habit. It's not very macho, is it?
Overnight the bathroom plughole seemed to have unblocked itself. This is one small mercy for which I shall be grateful. On the flip side the drain of the dishwasher has bunged up. God gives with one hand and slaps with the other.
I then had brekkie. As I scoffed it I watched the last episode of "Raised by Wolves"; it's a shame this has come to an end. Today's episode featured music by Sparks which made it especially good.
I then watched an episode of "Are You Being Served" in which Mr Granger had a cob-on because Captain Peacock had been awarded the key to the executive washroom. Quality stuff.
I drove to work; I listened to the radio. There was more news of the terrible loss of life when the boat load of refugees sank in the Mediterranean. Nearly a thousand people died. But I can't help but feel that the Italian government has a point when they say that sending out naval patrols to rescue the refugees just encourages them to make the dangerous journey in the first place. If the political climate is against taking in endless amounts of refugees, the obvious answer is to put a naval blockade on the coast of Libya. Arrest any ships full of migrants; take them back to the coast of Libya and offload the refugees then scuttle the ships.
Or sort out why they are fleeing in the first place.... but that has been tried before.
Former Prime Minister John Major was talking sense. It looks like the upcoming General Election will end up with the Labour party trying to form a minority government. And in order to do so they will be beholden to the Scottish Nationalists which can't be a good thing for anyone but Scottish Nationalists.
People wonder why I am against democracy.... we have a (effectively) minority interest party which represents about five per cent of the UK electorate which realistically has only one policy. There was a referendum about that policy only a few months ago in which the electorate comprehensively rejected it.
So how on Earth are the Scottish Nationalists currently looking set to effectively rule the UK?
I had a wry smile about the revelation that "Which" magazine is issuing a super-complaint to the advertising watchdogs. Its no secret that every supermarket has deals and bargains. Only yesterday the washing powder I bought was at half price. That offer was straight-forward. Other stuff was up for sale at buy-one-get-one-free rates, or three-for-the-price-of-two. I had to exert two seconds of thought to work out whether the offered bargain was actually a saving over other brands. However it is very easy to overlook the fact that I am actually a genius.
"Which" magazine has found that the average shopper is too stupid to work out just how much of a saving is being made in these deals and feels the supermarkets are using these deals to bamboozle the public.
How about rather than banning these deals, why not educate the public?
Bear in mind that in only a few short weeks these same stupid people who can't understand the economics of buy-one-get-one-free get to vote....
I got to work; I did my bit. The day was relatively uneventful; even the sax practicing passed off without incident. Mind you I did see several people having their lunch in their cars as I saxed. I suppose I ruined their lunch breaks.
Being on an early start I had an early finish and so we started our evening walk a little sooner than usual. Those few minutes made all the difference; we didn't see another dog at all on this evening's walk. Tonight I took a ball along and as we walked we played "Fetch" - the game where I throw the ball, my dog barks and runs off in a random direction and I then go and fetch the ball.
Being Tuesday the clans gathered at our house. We played ChromeCast and then I slept through "The Flash". It's a show which started well enough, but doesn't seem to be going anywhere...
I wasn't feeling quite one hundred per cent on Saturday and following that with a rather strenuous walk yesterday I slept like a log last night; finally waking just before the alarm. I woke to find I was cuddling my dog as though he were a teddy bear. He really should spend the night in his basket.
He actually took himself to his basket as I had my brekkie, and he snored whilst I watched "Dad's Army". Today's episode was lamer than usual; and that took some doing.
As I drove to work one of the leading lights in the Scottish Nationalist party was being interviewed. It was amazing how he flatly refused to answer a straight question despite having been repeatedly asked that question. I suppose it's what politicians do. And we keep electing them.
I stopped off at Morrisons for some shopping. There was one manned till open and there were half a dozen people queuing up the aisles to be served to be served. The self-service checkouts were deserted. I went to the self-service checkouts and on the third attempt found one that worked. I got myself a couple of shopping bags ready to fill, and the sour-faced harridan charged with overseeing the self-service area promptly tidied them away from me. I made the observation that it speaks volumes the people would rather queue for fifteen minutes than use the self-service machines that don't work. Sour-faced harridan launched a bitter tirade at me. I'm tempted to put in another formal complaint to the store's head office. It might get me another money-off voucher.
As I drove away I realised I'd not got the drain unblocking juice I went in to get.
I got to work a few minutes early, and sat in the rest room for a bit. Breakfast TV was playing an article about low self esteem in women. Having comprehensively attacked the cosmetics industry they then had a commercial break filled with adverts for every form of make-up known to science.
The weather was particularly good today; very warm as I had my lunchtime sax practice. As I made a noise two rather fierce-looking car park attendants came over and glared at my parking permit for ten minutes. Neither actually said anything but I could see they were itching to find some fault. Eventually they wandered off to bother someone else and I carried on making my noises.
Once home I took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. As we walked so many other dog walkers greeted my dog by name. How does everyone else know his name? He then ran up to a group of young girls who were cooing about how sweet he was. He got to within two feet of them, stopped, squatted, and poured out a generous quantity of dire-rear. Charming. Who'd have a dog?
After tea "er indoors TM" set off bowling and I firstly sorted my undercrackers then ironed shirts. This was rather dull, but with dull domesticity done I watched telly. Gotham and Game of Thrones - and I stayed awake for the lot.
I had a frankly awful night's sleep last night, wide awake with the guts ache at 3am. I blame far too much Chinese last night. I finally dozed off only to be woken by the alarm and a wet nose in my armpit. I got up feeling really ill with the world's worst hangover. A worse hangover from Doctor Pepper than from stout? Something odd here.
I spent a little while playing (fighting) with the CacheSense app on my tablet. What it does on my phone (without any problem) it won't do on the tablet. What is acheived by pressing a button doesn't happen the next time the same button is pressed. There is no sense to it; and cannot ask for help as the CacheSense forum has identified my email address as a malicious source and has rejected it. After an hour's frustration I got it working by pressing the same buttons I'd pressed in the first place. Very frustrating...
The original plan for the day had been a quiet one doing the family thing. But mid-week the option for a walk presented itself, and as time went on so I fancied a walk more and more.
We set off a little later than expected, but were soon at Trottiscliffe (pronounced Trosley!) country park car park which was the meeting point for today. We arrived to find a minor disaster; one of the tyres on the Moonstone2001mobile was flat. Fortunately it was only flat on the bottom and the problem was soon resolved.
Before long everyone was together and we all set off. We'd gone to Trosley where there were three geo-walks which (supposedly) could be combined into one big walk. Most of our number went along only intending to do one loop, but five of us (and two of the dogs) thought we might do all three walks.
In retrospect it was a rather ambitious plan; and bearing in mind that the car park would be locked at 8pm put a definate time scale on the day. It was when we realised that we'd only done twenty of the one hundred (and more) targetted geocaches in one third of the available time that we admitted we'd have to re-think the plan.
We had a rather good picnic lunch eaten sat on the steps to Trosley church. As we scoffed we chatted first with the vicar and then with the churchwarden; neither of whom seemed at all bothered about half a dozen of us (and two small dogs) picnicing on their steps.
Dave had a phone call; he'd not realised he was supposed to be at kite club committee. Woops.
We looked at the maps and revised our plans. By judiciously revising our route we could leave little series of geocaches which we could find in future walks. So we did that; and made our way back to the car park by a rather circuitous route. On the way we bumped into those who had started with us earlier in the day. We also found Coldrum Longbarrow; and spent a few moments having a look-see before making our very own shortbarrow.
We were right to have cut our route short; by the time we got back to the car we'd done over thirteen miles and it was past 5pm. It had been a good walk; and having only (!) found fifty-one geocaches we've plenty of scope for a return visit.
I think it's fair to say I'd given my new geo-app a serious workout today. It seems to do the trick, but off-line mapping and waypointing still need to be refined. In order to get the maps working I had to piggyback my tablet off of my mobile phone's wifi hotspot, which is all very well if you can do that sort of thing. Luckily I seem to be able to do so.
As I so often do, I took a few photos whilst we were out.
Once home "Furry Face TM" had his tea, took himself to his basket and slept like a log. I set the washing machine onto my smalls and watched some telly. I say "watched some telly"; the telly was churning out drivel. I didn't really take much notice; I was busy solving geo-puzzles for next weekend's geo-expedition until Poldark came on.
I do like Poldark. In tonight's episode Jud got the heave-ho for being pissed-up, and Miss Verity ran off with a sailor. Mr Francis got knobbled and spilled the beans on Captain Ross. Meanwhile wanton bosoms heaved in the general direction of Doctor Ennis, but things turned nasty when Karen's sordid secret was uncovered..
Some people have all the luck.
I felt a little rough when I woke this morning. Can't imagine why. As I checked out the Internet over brekkie I saw that the New Horizons space probe has got the first colour photos of the planet Pluto. Quite impressive; if you are impressed by that sort of thing.
The phone rang. Andy and Kim had changed plans and would be coming with us today. We got ready, picked them up and set off to Herne where we met Mountie, Phoenix and the scouts for a little geo-session.
We didn't cache for long; only an hour. But it was fun. The scouts were real characters; Chloe had a proper scream when she thought a fake snail was a real one. And she wasn't impressed when a rather muddy "Furry Face TM" jumped up at her. The rest of the scouts were wonderful kids; fun and chatty. One was telling me all about his GPS unit; I told him about my phone.
I found half a dozen caches using my new app; it seemed to work reaonably well.
We then drove into Herne Bay where we met up with the rest of the geo-brigade. We had planned to meet up in the local Wetherspoons, but three days ago they cancelled our booking for no reason. if any of my loyal readers are in the Herne Bay area might I ask that you *don't* spend any money in a pub calleed the Saxon Shore; instead go in there and tell they why you are taking your money elsewhere.
But fifty or so of us met up on the beach. The Fruitcakes stood us some chips, Nick organised a barby, my dog ate too many scraps and was sick. Personally I love meeting up with like-minded people. The Followers of one of our friends made great fuss of our dog; I got soaked by a crashing wave. And I think I caught the sun just a little too.
After a couple of hours we wandered off to catch up with Kim and Andy and we set off home. Annoyingly I slept of most (all) of the way home. I hate that...
Once home I did the final part of the geo-farting-about with my new app and it again seemed fine. Mind you the thing had taken a lot of power and data out of the phone today so I spent two minutes setting it to off-line mode for tomorrow. Or that was the intention. Two minutes became two hours due to the inability of geocaching dot com to provide me with a .GPX file. "er indoors TM" and I did *exactly* the same things; she got a file; I did not.
I *think* the thing is rigged for off-line action toomorrow; we shall see... This could be a deal-breaker for CacheSense.
We then went round to Steve and Sarah's for a birthday Chinese. Very tasty. But you know you are getting old when most of the conversation is discussing mutual ailments and medications...
After nearly a year on the CPAP machine there's no denying I sleep a lot better than I used to, but I stil sometimes have bad nights. I suppose most people do. Last night was a bad one. despite being rather late to bed I was still wide awake shortly after 4am, and (for want of anything better to do) up and solving geo-puzzles at 5am.
I then watched a little telly. "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" is always entertaining. Despite Billie Piper running round in the nip, today's installment was most memorable for the mobile phones. It's only when you see them on the telly that you realise how fast the technology moves on. The show was quite dated by the old Nokia phone.
And then seeing how it was still only 6.30am I put on an episode of "Are You Being Served" in which Mr Granger was lax with his timekeeping, and Captain Peacock squealed him up to Mr Rumbold.
As I drove to work I listened to the news. There was talk of the latest Star Wars film and even rumours of a new blockbuster Hollywood Doctor Who film. It rather saddened me that as a life-long sci-fi geek neither really enthused me. Star Wars was always lame, and Doctor Who has been done to death over the last few years.
There is so little sci-fi that is original; it's all re-makes.
I got petrol for the car; it was getting low. Co-incidentally there had been a discussion on the radio only a few minutes previously about how the falling international oil prices hadn't actually been reflected at the petrol pumps. Market forces go out the window where falling profits are concerned.
Work was work; and at lunchtime I had a disappointingly dull sax practice. No one called me an inspiration. No one cried. No one danced. I just make a noise and then went back to work for the afternoon.
I came home, got changed and went off for a night on the beer in Folkestone. Whilst waiting for Jason at the railway station I (quite literally) nearly bumped into who I am sure was Nigel Farage who arrogantly marched out of the station, surveyed the scene and drove off in a taxi.
By chance we mett Matt on the train, and bandied insults as we went to Folkestone Central. From there Jason found his first geocache and we wentt on to the Firkin for beer and cheese. Usually a really good place to drink; tonight it was heaving with the masses. We didn't stay long; we went on to Chambers where we met up with Stevey. Chambers bar is usually a good place for a drink; since when have they had door staff?
Our thhird port of call was the Guildhall. For years it has been on the Folkestone list; on our last visit the landlord told us he was retiring and new people were coming in March. As I was having a tiddle in their facilities a Dutch chap was whinging about how he didn't like the new owners. They seemed friendly enough to me.
Another pint and a pickled egg in Kipps, and then on for a kebab. There were soldiers of dubious gender in the kebab shop. Jimbo didn't want to mess with them; personally i would have been up for it.
As luck would have it we got the last train home with only a minute to spare.