29 February 2016 (Monday) - Leap Day

Last night as I worked I tuned in to Radio Four Extra. I've been doing that on the night shifts lately. Maggie Aderin-Pocock was on Desert Island Discs. I found myself wondering if I owed this lady an apology. I've often said that she is a very good reason for not watching "The Sky at Night" as she has always put me off the show. She has (to me) always come over as something of an excitable twit. But listening to her on the radio last night was an eye-opener. She seemed to be a very interesting person, and was one of a very small minority of people who when on Desert Island Discs didn't pretend to like all sorts of pretentious classic and operatic crap.
And her book choice was "Star Maker" by Olaf Stapledon. Whilst not a favourite of mine, it s certainly one to which I keep returning. I shall try watching "The Sky at Night" again and give her another chance.
Mind you I was rather disappointed by much of the rest of the output of Radio Four Extra. Much of it was a repeat of what they had broadcast on the previous night, and last night's 10pm show was re-run at 5.30am. You would think they could space the repeats out a little more than that.

From work I took my car to the garage and left it there for its MOT. It was a short walk from there to find "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". We walked to home to collect "Furry Face TM" and then went for a little stroll. Or, to be more precise, we went for what we call a little stroll. Most people would call iit something of a route march.
"Daddies Little Angel TM" wanted to go to Tesco; Asda have stopped selling burritos. "Daddies Little Angel TM" is up in arms about this and can get no sensible explanation as to why Asda have stopped selling burritos. I have a theory it is in some way connected with the UFO she thinks she's seen.
From Tesco we went to the playpark in Park Farm. There was some sign about no dogs, but there was no one else about...

We made our ways home, and over lunch I watched this week's episode of "Mrs Biggs" and then fell asleep in front of the telly. After a couple of hours I had a phone call to say the car was ready. A few light bulbs needed replacing but that was all. So I put the lead on my dog and we went to fetch the car.
Immediately on fetching it the old parking brake fault had returned. I *told* them not to fiddle with it!

There was an evening geo-meet planned for the evening in honour of the leap day. We spent a rather good evening in the pub talking tupperware with friends old and new.
Perhaps the fourth pint was a mistake...

28 February 2016 (Sunday) - Between The Night Shifts

At 5am I had a five-minute break from work and had a look-see on-line. One of my friends was preparing to go on a fifteen mile long run and was saying he didn't much fancy it; it was too cold. Someone else had commented about how he could look forward to a hot shower after the run.
I've never understood the attraction of running. It is in a field of its own when evading tigers or getting to departing buses. But it speaks volumes that those who advocate running as a pastime all say how good it is when you stop. There is *never* anything else to be said about the activity other than the enjoyment of when it is all over.
Each to their own I suppose.

As I drove home I had the Sunday morning church service playing on the radio. There was talk of some monk who had spent forty years continually talking to God whilst working all hours in a monastery kitchen. Apparently such constant communion with tthe Almighty had enabled him to acheive a state of near-perfect serenity.
There's no denying that I could do with acheiving a state of near-perfect serenity. However I just get cross when I argue with the voices in my head.

Once home "er indoors TM" leapt into action. We popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and took him for a little walk up and down Appledore High Street. Perhaps not the first place which springs to mind when taking a Patagonian Tripe-Hound for a walk. But it was a geo-calendar day for both of us, and there was a geo-target not too far from there. And logging a geocache this weekend gave up both an e-souvenir too.

And with e-souvenir obtained we came home where I had a quite bit of brekkie and took myself off to bed for most of the day. I slept soundly and wokke shortly after 5pm to the clanging of next door's piano.
A brief bit of scoff whilst watching "Dad's Army" on the SkyPlus box, and I'm off to the night shift now...

27 February 2016 (Saturday) - Before the Night Shift

I had a rather restless night plagued with vivid dreams about how in an post-apocalyptic world I had somehow adopted an incredibly ticklish gorilla. I'm sure this probably reflects something deep-seated in my psyche. I'm not sure if I want to know what.

Over brekkie I had a look-see on line. Just lately Facebook has been bombarding me with adverts for a particular local computer company. The verbals about this company sounded really interesting, but on closer inspection it turns out that the whole thing is run by the father of one of my ex-cubs who until relatively recently sold kitchen tiles. His website claims he offers virus/spyware removal, system clean up, PC/Laptop repair and upgrade, network setup, broadband setup... in short not really very much more that I don't already do myself. Do people *really* pay good money to other people to do this stuff for them? Perhaps I should set up in business?
Mind you in the same feed I read an arrticle claiming that my mother, me, and my daughter are all aliens, and that aliens transmitted strange music at Apollo 10.
Perhaps I shouldn't beleive all that I read?

I did something to my right leg yesterday; the muscle down my shin hurt all day. This morning it was still painful, but my Patagonian Tripe-Hound wanted his walk. We took him down to Brockhill Paark where we had a rather good wander. "Furry Face TM" got into a race with a greyhound. Each of the greyhound's legs were longer than my dog. He didn't have a chance of keeping up. Mind you he would have done betteer if he'd saved his puff for running rather than for barking.
We then drove on to Folkestone where we had cake with the Rear Admiral and with Terry who was visiting. I would have liked to have stayed, but being on the night shift meant that I had an afternoon asleep ahead of me.

So I took myself off to bed for the afternoon. I woke to find the living room in uproar; "er indoors TM" was having somethinig of a spring clean.
We then scoffed a rather good bit of tea, and I'm off to work now. I must admit that I would rather not be working tonight. I had an invite to go down to the Cheriton Festival of Lights andf have a pint or two. And I had an invite to go off night-caching in Surrey.
Having just had a week off work when no one was doing anything, things always happen when I can't do them. Oh well... such is life. After all is said and done I'm not complaining. I much prefer not working the 9-5 routine so I shall take the rough with the smooth.

26 February 2016 (Friday) - Geo-Challenge, Astro Club

I didn't sleep as well as I might. I was expecting a phone call from "Daddies Little Angel TM". Her staffie Buster is not well. He's not moved since he got rather over-excited on his walk yesterday. I was half expecting to be driving his remains to a dog cemetary this morning. but it turns out he's probably just pulled a muscle or something. After all he's a big dog and he'd a bit old to be chasing round like a puppy.
This is probably not unlike what "Furry Face TM" did a couple of years ago. Very nasty at the time but nothing that enforced rest didn't resolve.

I scoffed some toast for brekkie and had a look-see on-line. Little had happened overnight. So I popped the lead onto "Furry Face TM" and we went for our morning walk. Today we had a little drive to get to our walk. Having finally qualified for a geo-puzzle last Tuesday we went out to collect it today. And having a little dog who needed a walk we made a little adventure out of it.
I'd looked at the suggested parking spots on Google street view and (in all honesty) didn't like the look of either. So I parked up at the nearest church and we waalked down through the woods and fields finding not only the target geo-puzzle but three others as well. As we walked there were horses and wookpeckers doing their thing. "Furry Face TM" had a near-miss episode with a pheasant and a very near-miss episode with a pile of fox poo.

I made a bit of a hash of getting home; having spent far too long in a seemingly endless maze of country lanes I eventually found myself gong the wrong way up the M20. But we got home, and over a quick sandwich I watched this week's episode of "Killjoys". The show is quite good, but doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
I then uploaded some photos I'd taken on our morning's walk. They went up very quickly on the new fibre-optic wotsit.

The phone rang. a heavily accented voice told me that he had good news if I could answer one simple question: his question was unintelligible. I asked him to repeat it four times. I *think* his question was "what was the best washing machine that you is preferring now?" I asked him what that meant, but he couldn't ask his question in any other way. I suggested he might like to phone back once he had got his script translated into English and hung up on him.

I had a plan to spend the afternoon in the garden trimming back the overgrowth that I was whinging about yesterday. But I ached a bit, it was cold outside, and I couldn't be bothered. Instead I spent the afternoon working on week four of my Coursera course. The first lecture was on the expansion of the early universe; I got full marks in the test for that, the second was on the future of the universe; I got sixty six per cent for that.
Overall I pased the course with a mark of eighty two per cent. Not too shabby.

I thenn drove round to McDonalds where I met up with "er indoors TM", Jimbo and Stevey and we had a rather good McScoff prior to astro club. I had a rather good evening there; much better than I have had over the last few months. There are still those who refuse to speak to me, but on closer observation they don't seem to speak to anyone other than a select few.
I'm probably just being a little over-sensitive...

25 February 2016 (Thursday) - Gardening

I slept well but woke with something of a back ache. I've been feeling rather physically rough for a couple of days now; perhaps I overdid the walk on Tuesday.
As I scoffed my brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Despite an incredibly slow connection I saw that Tony Blackburn (the famous disc jockey) has been sacked by the BBC following allegations of child molestation centred on an incident which supposedly happened in 1971. Mr Blackburn has denied the allegations and (from what I can glean from the news stories) there isn't any actual evidence against him. But even *if* he is as guilty as hell, why has it taken forty five years for these allegations to be made? Innocent? Guilty? How can there be a fair hearing from this distance in time?

The washing machine finished doing its thing so I put the wet stuff to dry (by the radiator) and took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. It was a cold morning; the weather forecast had been for sunny intervals. We had rain, hail and snow alternating at regular intervals.
As we walked I lost count of the amount opf people on bicycles who nearly ran us down. I was always under the impression that bikes should not be on the pavements.

As we walked we met a small dog that looked vaguely like my pup. The nice lady with the dog remarked on the simularity and asked how old Fudge was. When I told her she said her dog was a puppy and she hoped he wouldn't grow up huge like some dogs do. To illustrate her concern she pointed at a passing Alsation. I asked her if her dog was a Jack Russell. She said that was what she'd been told. After a little confusion it turned out she had no idea about breeds of dogs. She seemeed to think that all dogs grew to random sizes.

Just as I got home I received a text message saying that the fibre-optic broadband was live. So I plugged in the new router only to find it didn't work. I phoned the Internet company who told me it would go live at some point today. I pointed out to them (several times) that I had received a text saying it was live *now* and each time they ignored what I was saying. Eventually I got them to test the line and (sure enough) it wasn't ready yet.

I went out to the back garden and mowed the lawn. In years gone by garden work never started before Easter. Realistically I could have been mowing the lawn all winter long this year. It didn't take that long to do. Mind you I didn't really do a thorough job; just a scalping. I then scraped up the cuttings.
My plan was then to cleen out the fish pond filter but when I opened it it was pristine. I must have already done that job. So with a little time I made a start at cutting back the clematis which overhangs from our troublesome neighbour's garden.
The last time I spoke with this chap he was trying to enlist my help in getting a tree cut down. There is a tree in a garden several doors down the road. Apparently it blocks his light and some of the leaves from it fall on his lawn. As he told me about this he was becoming visibly angrier and angrier about the matter. His face was getting very red and the veins on his head were standing out. A few leaves from one tree thirty yards away is a *serious* issue to him. But he doesn't see anything wrong with having his clematis and roses and vines all down the garden fence overflowing into my garden by three feet.
I didn't like to touch his clematis, but it had become so bad that I couldn't actually get to my pond.
This bloke is something of a worry. I wouldn't say that he is clinically insane but he scares me. I would also say that when he finally does run amok and appears in the local papers and everyone appears shocked, bear in mind that I formally warned the police about him over over ten years ago.

With three dustbins full of garden rubbish I then drove up to the tip to get rid of it all. I treated myself to KFC for lunch, then watched a film I'd recorded. "This is 40" was something of a disappointment but it gave me something to watch whilst I did the ironing.
With ironing done (three hours later) I sparked up the lap-top again to see if the fibre-optic broadband was live. It was. Mind you for all that the speed test says it is running over twice the speed at which it used to run it isn't actually any noticeably faster.

Fish and chips for dinner, and then I fell asleep during "Benidorm"...

24 February 2016 (Wednesday) - Another Day's Holiday

In contrast to the previous rather restless night I slept like a log last night. I finally woke shortly after 7am with a cold wet nose in my left armpit. For some reason I ached. As I got up I looked outside; all the cars were covered in ice. Just as well I had my early start yesterday and not today.
As I scoffed my toast I had a look-see on-line. An email from LinkedIn told me that I should know the critical things that successful people do before 8am. In my blacker moments I realise I've not been quite the financial wonder that the younger me had been hoping for so I clicked on the link and I read the article. It started off with a whole load of motivational platitudes and then said that everyone who is anyone spends money in a certain high street coffee shop before they go to work. Not just any coffe shop, but one particular brand.
Well, that was two minutes wasted. And LinkedIn then had the cheek to email me to ask why I hadn't taken up their offer to upgrade my membership so that I would pay them for that sort of rubbish.

Cheryl texted; consternation reigns at the local primary school. Apparently yesterday one of the more dislikable nine-year-old bullies pulled a knife on one of its victims. The head teacher has blathered a few platitudes and is now trying to carry on as though nothing has happened.
I can't help but feel that if the kids were faced with the cane for so much as farting on a Tuesday (like I was) then this sort of thing would *never* happen. When I was a lad we were terrified of our teachers. If anyone put a foot out of line they got the cane. Consequently no one put a foot out of line. One boy (incredibly rarely) had a sore arse for a day; a thousand boys behaved themselves for two years. I think that was rather reasonable.

I walked round to Newtown with "Furry Face TM" where we met "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". We walked through Willesborough and back via Hythe Road and the path by the railway station. "Daddies Little Angel TM" thinks she's seen a UFO. She is somewhat vague on the specifics, but then most UFO sightis are somewhat vague on the specifics. I am hoping for updates.

Once home I had a look at the household accounts bearing in mind that today is pay-day. If I hadn’t recently spent out on replacing much of the garden fence I would be reasonably set for the month. As it is I’ve been effectively financially wiped out. Again. But on reflection the new fence has probably cost me the price of three or four serious booze-ups.
And I have a new fence as opposed to three or four headaches and a simular number of bouts of diarrhoea.

Postie visited with a letter from the hospital. Apparently the experts had agreed that I (probably) don’t have cancer; instead I have sialadenitis which is posh talk for a blocked salivary gland and which is also what I thought it was all along.
I’ve now got an appointment to have the lump in my neck injected with an x-ray opaque dye and then have x-rays of it done with a possible view to having the thing cut out. Can’t say I’m looking forward to either of those options.

I was feeling a tad tired so I spent the afternoon slobbing in fronnt of the telly catching up on all the stuff I'd recorded onto the SkyPlus box. Alan Partridge, Extant, Jericho and Sorry! filled in the time whilst the washing machine did its thing.

I finally could cope with no more telly so I organised a geo-stroll for a a couple of week's time. If any of my loyal readers fancy stomping about Kent. Surrey and both East and West Sussex please drop me a line. And if you know the GPS co-ordinates of where those four counties meet I'd *really* find that useful....

23 February 2016 (Tuesday) - A Multi-Mission

I didn't sleep well, seeing pretty much every hour of the night. I finally got some decent sleep only to be plagued by nightmares about the difficulty of finding a child's garden slide in a post-apocalyptic disaster when the alarm went.
I got up and over brekkie checked my emails. I had one from the nice people at Coursera congratulating me on getting to the end of the first week of my course. I've actually done up to week three of the course material. You would think they might pay attention.

And then I set off (on my own) at 6am. I've been working on a particular geo-challenge for some time. It involves finding different numbers of different sorts of geocaches in a single day. I qualified for this challenge in all respects but one, so today I thought I'd rectify that.
I was lacking in not having found (at least) twenty one multi-caches in one day so today was to be a multi-day.

For those of my loyal readers who have better things to do with their lives than scrubbling in the undergrowth looking for plastic pots whilst raising the suspicions of the normal people, a multi-cache is effectively a puzzle you solve when you are out and about. The GPS unit takes to you a physical object such as a church notice board, a war memorial, a gravestone, commercial business... it could be anything. But once there there is a puzzle to solve involving what you see at that location. You get instructions of how to convert what you've found into a set of GPS co-ordinates. You then program your GPS unit and go for a short walk (about a couple of hundred yards from your initial target) to find the actual geocache.
Doing a multi is a bit of fun. That is.. doing *one* multi is a bit of fun. Doing two is something of a faff. Doing three is into the realms of seriously farting about. And very few hunters of tupperware would bother with a forth. I know several geocachers who ignore every multi they encounter because they are too much mucking about. Deliberately going out for twenty-one would be considered incredibly daft (and when hunting tupperware, standards of daftness are rather high)

But I wanted to get this challenge. Bearing in mind that not many people would want to go for multis, together with the fact that the route I had planned involved a *lot* of walking about, and I didn't really know the area, I went on my own. I arrived in Bexleyheath just as dawn broke and I had a little wander about. In two hours I got six of my seven geo-targets.
The next phase of my plan originally involved a lot of driving to and fro. But on discovering that pretty much everywhere in Welling was resident-only parking I managed to find somewhere to park and left the car and went on a five mile stomp. I found the seventh of my eight targets on this stretch at mid-day, and pausing only briefly to find a pub called "Fanny on the Hill" I ended up a mile and a half away from the car. Woops.

I then relocated to Belvedere and walked from another three or four miles; all the time sniggering about the place's name. Hugh Dennis once did a rather amusing sketch involving a fictitious child called " Belvedere". With nine geo-targets on this stretch I got the lot. I endded up with a total of twenty-two. I only needed twenty-one. Mind you I again ended up over a mile away from the car.
I had located a fourth target zone which wold come into play if I'd not been able to find enough but I didn't need to go there. I was pleased about that. I'd found my first multi at 7.36am this morning and I got back to the car for the last time at 3pm. You can get too much of a good thing.

I came home and took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. I had thought about taking him with me today, but I decided against it. I needed to be jotting and scribbling notes as I went; taking him would have slowed an already tedious adventure.
We went round the park where we saw a couple of young ladies who seemed to be in love. With each other. We then met a small child who told me my dog looked just like her friend Lacey's dog. I explained that I was Lacey's grandad, but I don't think she believed me.
And then I nearly got run over by a cyclist who doesn't understand the concept of "roads and pavements". What with these excitements added to a day's walking here there and thither I was glad to get home.

After a rather good scoff we weent round to Chippy's. A little chat, and then I slept through an episode of "The Flash".. I could do with a rest.

22 February 2016 (Monday) - More Fence-Work

A rather good night's sleep. For some reason "Furry Face TM" didn't spend the night on the bed; instead he laid in the hallway all night long guarding the front door. Something there has been bothering him. "er indoors TM" thinks it was a spider.

Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. Yesterday one hundred and forty seven people wished me a happy birthday via Facebook. One hundred and forty seven!! I was rather impressed with that total. Going through the list were work colleagues, ex-work colleagues, friends I see all the time, friends I see rarely, friends I've not seen for years, old pals from kiting days, old pals from snake-herding days... so many people; so many memories.

I had a text message; on Friday I'd ordered the ingredients for building our new fence and arranged to have them delivered today. The nice delivery man was on his way. And just as he dropped off all the bits so "My Boy TM" arrived to help. Bearing in mind it was pouring hard this morning I wasn't really keen to do the fencing today, so I suggested we popped round to B&Q to get the brackets to fix the fence panels to the posts. As it was on the way we also stopped off at The Works cafe for a bit of second brekkie.
"My Boy TM" was keen to crack on with the fence as the rain wasn't *that* heavy. (or so he said)
So.... we removed four old fence panels. They took some moving. There was something of a major disaster as we found another of the fence posts had snapped at its base. Replacing this one would involve moving next door's shed so after a bit of thought we decided to bodge it and buttress it with an old scaffold board. We struggled a little in putting a new post into the hole that we'd dug out last week, but we got it so it seemed to be OK; as I said at the time if it collapses again we'll just do it again properly.
The first fruit of my loin is convinced the fence isn't completely straight. He's probably right, but I told him that only dull and unimaginative people don't have a fence which carries an aura of rustic charm.

Three hours concerted effort had six new fence panels in place. But the rain hadn't let up and by the early afternoon we were soaked to the skin. There are still two more panels to replace, but those are ones which might need a little digging out and landscaping. We'd made enough of a swamp of the garden already, we didn't fancy stirring mud any more so we've decided to do that next Tuesday.

I drove "My Boy TM" home, then took "Furry Face TM" for a walk. He gets fractious if not walked. As we went round the park we met a gaggle of schoolgirls under the supervision of a rather harried looking teacher. One of the schoolgirls asked me if she could take a photograph of my dog for her homework. As we got "Furry Face TM" into a pose this schoolgirl happily told me her homework was all about hazards.
I've never really considered Patagonian Tripe-Hounds to be hazardous. One lives and learns.

With a little time on my hands I did more of my current Coursera course. Particle physics has nver been my strong suit; and theoretical stuff about dark matter and anti-matter is quite heavy stuff. But it was rather interesting. And there were two tests as well. I got seventy-five per cent in one and sixty six per cent in the other. I may well have done better had I not fallen asleep.

"er indoors TM" came home from work, boiled up a rather good bit of scoff then went off bowling. I spent the evening slobbing with my dog in front of the telly. Alan Partridge, Ronnie Corbett, a documentary about sailors, and Gotham's on later...

21 February 2016 (Sunday) - Happy Birthday to Me !!

Despite having drunk rather a lot yesterday (by today's abstemious standards) I was surprised how chipper I felt this morning. I had something of a lie-in, and was woken at 9am by a succession of text messages wishing me a happy birthday.
Over brekkie I had a look on Facebook and saw another sixty birthday messages. I was really pleased to see so many people had thought about me.

We popped round to see "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". The littlun has learned a new trick; when I shout out "Hands up who loves Grandad" he puts his hand up. Good lad !
A quick coffee and cake, and we then walked a rather circuitous walk to the New Chinmeys. I had no idea where we were going, and the route we took kept me guessing right to the end.
We arrived, had a quick pint, and then to my surprise many of the very people I would usually be walking with on an average Sunday arrived. I wasn't expecting that; it was a wonderful surprise.

We then spent a really good afternoon with chat interspersed with ale and a rather good carvery dinner. I'd not been to the Chimneys for a while; I'd certainly go back.

Pausing only briefly to play pooh-sticks we said our good byes, and we came home and walked "Furry Face TM" round the park. It was getting cold by now, but he seemed to enjoy himself as he terrorised the other dogs.

Being rather full from excessive carvery we gave tea a miss. But we had a rather good evening slobbing about in front of the telly watching "Benidorm".

Quite a good birthday really...

20 February 2016 (Saturday) - Geo-Meet

I slept like a log last night. hardly surprising bearing in mind what a busy day I'd had. On reflection yesterday was one of those wonderful days. It started off not looking all that special; a bit of gardening after a night shift, but ended up being great fun.

I got up to frustration this morning. There were three geo-puzzles I really wanted to solve before going out. I neeed to look up one or two facts, but (again) the Internet was slow to the point of being unusable. I took forty minutes to do what realistically I could have done in five minutes.
The sooner the fibre-optic thing goes live the better.
With the Internet finally hobbling along I had a little look on Facebook. A chap of my acquiantance had posted a little picture comparing the relative wages of train drivers and doctors; the gist of his posting being a rather good socialist rant that train drivers get an *incredibly* good deal by their being able to go on strike and stand up for themselves. Whereas hospital doctors get shafted by *not* going on strike. What particularly boiled my piss is the fact that this chap is actually a staunch and vocal Conservative supporter. Why on Earth do people vote for a certain political party (of any persuasion) when they clearly believe in the philosphy of another.
Have I ever mentioned that I don't beleive in democracy?

"er indoors TM" popped the lead on to "Furry Face TM" and we went out to Staplehurst for the monthly geo-meet. We met many old friends, and made several new ones. The ale was good, the food was also scoff-worthy. We did debate about leaving "Furry Face TM" at home; it was a shame he decided to disgrace himself by trying to pick a fight with a rather large Alsatian.
After a few hours we said our goodbyes and drove home; stopping off in Headcorn to try for (and find) the recently published Wherigo.

Being unable to find anywhere to park near home we drove round to see "Daddies Little Angel TM" and drop off Charlie's Christmas pressies. Better late than never! "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was looking rather sorry for himself; yesterday he'd managed to tip his buggy onto himself and he'd cut his cheek and given himself a black eye. Silly boy !

We had a rather good bit of scoff for tea, and we cracked open a bottle of plonk. Wine is odd stuff; that which is expensive and comes highly recommended is often disappointing. That which is cheap is often far better. Tonight's bottle which we'd been saving was something of a let-down. But with that guzzled I had a bottle of stout which made up for the disappointment.

I quite like a bottle of stout...

19 February 2016 (Friday) - Surprisingly Busy

I had a rather tiring night. Perhaps if I'd been a bit busier the time might have passed quicker? Mind you in my line of work quiet is usually good.
Rather than going straight home I went round to collect the first fruit of my loin. It was good to have brekkie with "My Boy TM" and Lacey. Much as I like the night work, it is a lonely pursuit. "er indoors TM" went off to work at 8.30am on Wednesday morning. Since then (other than professional handovers at work and pleasantries at the till in Morrisons) I saw "er indoors TM" fleetingly yesterday morning and I've not actually spoken to anyone for two days.
Together with "My Boy TM" and Lacey I went to the American Diner and despite having to wait for a while we had a rather good brekkie. I had the traditional fry-up; Lacey had pancakes with bubble-gum milk shake. "My Boy TM" only had a brekkie roll as he'd had seventeen chicken nuggets last night. And the whole lot cost eight quid. Bargain.

Pausing onliy briefly to buy a half-price tree in Bybrook Barn Garden Centre we went on to B&Q where I spent nearly two hundred quid on the ingredients for a new back fence, then we went home to crack on with phase two of "Operation Back Fence". Regular readers of this drivel may recall that a week ago "My Boy TM" and I were faced with a huge lump of concrete that we needed to get out of a hole in the back garden. At the time I wrote "...But after two hours we have exposed a lump of concrete which is about a foot square by about two foot deep. We can rock it, but we can't lift it.
... "Daddies Little Angel TM" currently has my drill. I've told her I shall need it back on Monday so's we can use it to drill the concrete. "My Boy TM" says that if we drill it to b*ggery we can then twat it to destruction with my sexy new hammer. I'm lucky in having a son who understands all the technical jargon".

It was a good plan in theory. In practice drilling the lump of concrete to b*ggery was easier said than done. IN fact it didn't get done. We didn't actually burn the drill out, but smoke was coming from the drill's insides and the lump of concrete was utterly unscathed. Simularly, repeated vigourous twatting with both my sexy new hammer and my more substantial cooking hammer didn't make the slightest impression.
Faced with such an intransigent boulder we dug and dug and dug. Eventually we had the boulder loose enough to rock it so we slipped an old belt around its base and managed to forcibly hoik the thing out.
It is so easy to type that; the sense of acheivement of actually doing so was indescribable. If either of of had been physically able to do so we would have done the happy dance. Instead we both collapsed.

I drove my assistants home, then took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a walk. By this point I was beginning to flag somewhat; being up all night combined with shifting the boulder had taken its toll. It was as well that he behaved himself on the walk.
Once walked I had a cold cross bun lunch and took myself off to bed only to be woken a couple of hours later by "er indoors TM" saying that Cheryl had invited us round for dinner.

I leapt into action... or that is I tried to leap into action. Leaping hurt somewhat. Oh how I ached. But we went round to see Dan and Cheryl. We had a wonderful tea, and then watched a film. "The Martian" has been on my list of films to see for a while. Apart from some glaring inaccuracies about the Martian atmospheric pressure (for dramatic effect) the film was very good.

Today has been a rather good day...

18 February 2016 (Thursday) - Mostly Asleep

I've always said that I like the night work. Perhaps I'm getting too old for it, but the night work does seem to be getting busier and busier these days.
As I worked I had the radio on. The pundits were all a-twitter about the Prime Minister's meeting with the other heads of the EU countries. It strikes me as rather strange that Boris Johnson doesn't agree with him but Angela Merkel does. As do the French and Irish Premiers.
I don't envy the Prime Minister. His party made the European Union a scapegoat for all the ills of the world. And having done so they now have a mountain to climb to convince the general public that (for all its failings) we are *far* better off being a part of the EU than we are being out of it.

I got rather fed up with hearing about the euro-situation, so I turned off the news and listened to musicals on You-Tube during the small hours. "Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" was followed by "Little Shop of Horrors", and eventually the day shift came in and I went home.

Last night I'd popped into "Go Outdoors" and bought a small whistle. A long time ago "Furry Face TM" would come to the sound of a whistle. But I kept forgetting to take a whistle out. This one hangs on my key ring so I will always have it with me. I tried whistle training today as we walked. "Furry Face TM" has completley forgotten about whistle training. We shall have to work on it.
I had a bit of toast whilst watching more new Alan Partridge, then took myself off to bed.

Seven hours later I woke up again. A pizza, more Alan Partridge, and I'm off to another night shift. The days between the night shifts can be rather dull...

17 February 2016 (Wednesday) - Before the Night Shift

I woke in some pain this morning. My elbow plays up from time to time; I think I might have strained it hoiking a chair about at the tip yesterday. This morning it was *very* painful.
I had a quick look-see on-line over brekkie. A new Wherigo had gone live near Headcorn. I thought about chasing the First to Find but on reading the description I thought I might leave it until I had a little more time. Other than that, not a lot of note had happened overnight really.

"Furry Face TM" was rather excited as I put his lead on him. We had a little drive out to Great Chart. Regular readers of this drivel may recall I put out a series of geocaches round there for the New Year's Day geo-event I ran. Two of those caches would seem to have had issues recently. From the reports I received one had simply gone walkabout, and one had been buried.
Me and my dog had a rather good walk through a bright but cold morning. The walk was muddy, but not as muddy as it had been when I first put those geocaches out. Perhaps the mud's having frozen in the meantime had something to do with that. As we walked we saw the farmer muck-spreading. Or attempting to muckspread. His trailer was stuck in a quagmire of mud and cow poo. We smiled politely and didn't get involved.
Sure enough both caches reported missing had gone. I replaced one with a simularly sized cache; the other one I replaced with a smaller trickier hide. Some of my caches stay put for years without any problems. One of today's is on its third replacement in two months. Some caches are like that.

We weren't out for that long; probably about forty minutes. But it was long enough for my dog to get plastered in mud. So once home he had a bath.
In many ways a dog is like a toddler. Once they've had their bath they snuggle down and go to sleep. As my dog snored I put my own mud-encrusted trousers in to wash and I did the geo-admin to tell the world what I'd done. And then the boiler made a noise. It shouldn't have. And then I noticed the radiators were on. At 10.30am.
I then spent a few minutes re-programming the central heating timer. Rather than showing 10.30am on a Wednesday it was showing the time as 10.30pm on Monday. So the thing had been on when we aren't home, and I *thought* I'd been pressing the button for an extra hour's heat when I shouldn't have been doing so. Perhaps the next bill might be a bit cheaper now?

I had a couple of cold hot cross buns for lunch. I scoffed them whilst watching the new "Alan Partridge" show. It is available as a download on the SkyPlus box. A lot of people can't stand the character; I quite like him.
I then took myself off to bed for the afternoon and slept reasonable well (despite nightmares of the apocalypse); finally waking tangled in the CPAP hose.

I had a spot of tea, now I'm off to the night shift. I usually quite like the night work. I'm not feeling it today...
And my elbow still hurts.

16 February 2016 (Tuesday) - This n That

For all that I slept for over seven hours last night I still woke feeling like death warmed up. Perhaps I'm sickening for something?
Over brekkie I had a look-see on-line. A new geocache had gone live locally. But after yesterday's debacle I didn't go chasing the FTF. One went live yesterday afternoon and appeared to have been found within minutes. A couple of hours later I received a message from the supposed finder asking if I'd got the First to Find. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing it appeared that the thing hadn't been found at all, and I never did figure out why it had been claimed as found when it hadn't. It later transpired that it had actually gone missing before it was ever found.
I've left both of these two new ones. They will come in handy as calender-fillers.

I then drove over to the hospital for yet another out-patient appointment. I'd had another aspiration of my neck a few weeks ago. The one they did several months ago biopsied part of my neck with which I never had a problem but supposedly couldn't rule out anything nasty and so for the last eight months we've been messing about with a problem that (realistically) never existed. Today I saw a new chap that I'd not seen before. He gave me the all-clear, so having had the all-clear I politely suggested they might now examine the lump that *was* giving me grief. The specialist immediately found the lump. His immediate comment was that this was nowhere near where they've been biopsying.
I sighed, and explained that I've been saying that for months.
This chap sent me for an X-ray of said lump. The feeling is that his lump is a blocked salivary gland; not entirely unlike gall stones or kidney stones. I've got to go back for a dye injection and more X-rays. But at least the right lump is being investigated now.

I then drove round to see "Daddies Little Angel TM" and "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM". My mum and dad were visiting; we bandied insults and when they wet off homewards I took a car load of their rubbish to the tip (including a broken chair). When we got to the tip the "helpful" tip staff watched me struggle to get the broken chair into the skip. They *could* have got off their arses and help. They chose not to. Whilst I struggled I managed to gash my hand on a broken protruberance on the chair. there wasn't *that* much blood.

I came home and took "Furry Face TM" round the park for a walk. As we walked I checked up on one of "er indoors TM"'s geocaches (we usually walk past it). It wasn't there. Mind you I soon located it. The previous finder had clearly thought it would be better hidden a little way away. I wish people wouldn't do that.
Other than that that the walk passed off without fuss. With our walk done I filled the washing machine and then scoffed a sandwich whilst watching this week's episode of "Mrs Biggs". I do like that show; Sheridan Smith is *very* good in it.
I hung out the washing then spent the afternoon on week two of my Coursera course. The lectures on creation of elements were quite familiar, but the ones oh the Higgs boson were not. The professor seemed to go from very familiar ground to stark nonsense very quickly indeed. But I passed the tests (which is the main thing).

I then spent a little while struggling with a geo-puzzle. I have a plan for a walk in a couple of weekend's time. There is a puzzle cache icon right in the middle of where I am planning to walk. After an hour or so I solved the puzzle only to find that we won't be walking within two miles of the actual final position.

Pausing only briefly to put salt on my pancake we had a quick bit of scoff before the clans gathered for the Tuesday thing. I've missed that quite a bit recently...