31 July 2017 (Monday) - Five Years Later...

I slept reasonably well; waking shortly after 6am. Over brekkie I watched the episode of “Game of Thrones” which had been broadcast at 2am. I could have got up and watched it at 2am, but leaving it for a bit meant I could fast-forward through the adverts. The show was good but I’m still rather confused with who is who and what is going on.
I then sparked up my lap-top. There was something of a hiccup as the Firefox browser refused to open. After a little farting about it got going again but seemed to have lost all the personalisation I’d put into it. I wonder what had gone wrong. I suspect it has had an automatic upgrade. It’s an IT thing; i wish they wouldn’t mess about like that.

I eventually got on-line to see not much had happened overnight. I read that Peter Capaldi was hoping to star as “Blakey” in a re-make of “On The Buses”. It might be interesting; I doubt it would work. When “On The Buses  first aired, people used buses. I can’t remember the last time I took a bus anywhere.

I took the dogs for an early walk round the park. As always Treacle ran in panic from pretty much every dog we met. She actually screamed in terror twice and jumped (in a single bound) from floor to my shoulder purely because bigger dogs came near. Silly puppy. This is just another reason why walking the dogs isn't the pleasure it used to be. One is constantly charging off in front and then terrified of its own shadow; the other straggles twenty yards behind alternately fighting and humping all comers.  I was glad to get home after today's debacle.
Once home I gave the hounds their breakfasts. They promptly swapped and ate each other's. I wish they wouldn't do that. We fart about getting "senior" food for one and specialist puppy food for the other, but they would both happily eat anything (including dead mice and fox poo) but their intended meals.

I then drove round to deliver "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM"  's car seat which had been left in my car since Saturday.  As I drove the radio was playing some documentary about partition in India (?) but the show's Bollywood howling was just so dire that I turned it off and I howled along to music of my own choosing.
I got to Newtown to find "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" was running round in the nip, and Sam had the arse as Pogo had just eaten his shoes. I thought about relating the anecdote of when Fudge was a baby and he ate his own bed, but thought better of doing so. For all that Pogo probably needed an ally, I decided it was prudent not to hang about, and I set off on a little geo-mission instead.

Today is something of an anniversary. Five years ago I found my first geocache which was hidden in the graveyard at Kingsnorth church. It is still there now. It seemed like fun at the time, and since then I’ve found eight thousand three hundred and eighty-six more. In that time I’ve travelled over twenty thousand miles travelling from cache to cache. The silly game was had me camping in Cornwall on a Bank Holiday and seen me waving at webcams at Warwick university and at Banbury Cross. It has had me organising virtual ghost hunts around London and rescuing bats at Dover’s Western Heights. It has had me canoeing and climbing trees. I’ve been to eighty-seven formal organised events and met no end of new friends. Here’s to the next five years…
Some months ago I'd solved a few geo-puzzles vaguely on the way to Maidstone, so this morning I went to find them. Some were easy finds, one rather tricky. I did have a wry smile when I saw that in some cases the names on the paper log in the caches bore no relation to the names on the logs on-line. I shall watch and wait for the self-appointed geo-police to get involved. They usually do. You would never believe just how much bad feeling gets stirred up if someone has forgotten to write their name on a bit of paper.
As I was driving past it anyway I even fitted in a field puzzle which had me stomping round a rather scenic church (in some village I never knew existed) trying to count gargoyles. In years gone by I would never have thought I would be counting gargoyles as a prerequisite to rummaging in a bush. It was certainly never on any life-plan I might have made.
Life never quite turns out as you expect it might, does it?

With five caches found (one for each year I've done in this hobby) I drove up to Sainsburys for a spot of shopping. I was glad I did; they were giving away free bottles of milk shake. I guzzled my freebie, then went on to McDonalds for McLunch where I made a McPig of myself, and had McGutsache for the rest of the day.
My McDonalds before the late shift has been noticed; colleagues now all ask what I had for McLunch when I come in at mid-day. Some are rather jealous; one even mentioned she likes McDinner but wouldn't dare go into the place on her own.
I wondered why, I didn't like to ask though. I would suggest that she comes with me, but she might get the wrong idea. Perhaps *that* is why she don't go into McDonalds on her own.

Mind you if I was planning to "try it on" I'd suggest somewhere a bit more upmarket than Aylesford's McDonalds.... or would I? Probably not...

30 July 2017 (Sunday) - The Day After

There’s no denying that I wasn’t feeling the full one hundred per cent this morning. Perhaps it was in some way connected with my having done each of the ale pumps three times over last night. Mind you I did have a better than usual sleep; having house guests overnight gave the puppy someone else to bother in the small hours.

Over coffee we played the “Baby Shark” (doo doo doo doo doo doo) video ad nauseum until it was time for brekkie. Knowing that there would be a few of us who would be up for a Full English I’d checked with Brookfield Café on Friday. They were under new management, and they assured me they opened at 8.30am on Sundays. I was just a tad pissed off to get there at 10am to find the place closed and the shutters down. But the town centre was only a few minutes away.
In Vicarage Lane car park we were harangued by a local tramp. This local tramp is famous on the local Facebook pages as she is often seen stealing bicycles. She gave me a sob story; I explained that everyone in the town knows she is a thief, and I suggested she might try another town where she isn’t known. (I’m mean like that). She muttered something about “bloody Facebook” and started begging from another passer-by.

We had planned to go to the Gorge for brekkie; we found ourselves in Café Express. A happy accident. They had set breakfasts, or you could have an “eat all you can of what you can” so being greedy most of us went for that. Perhaps that was a mistake; “all I can eat” is effectively one plate of the stuff, and the set breakfast came with a cup of coffee whereas on the “all you can eat” the coffee was extra.
As I shovelled fry-up into my face I had words to say about chips. Chips with breakfast? No! There are a lot of things you can have with brekkie, but chips? And bubble and squeak – should it have curry powder in it? And tomatoes – tinned (no!) or fried (yes!). And what sort of weirdoes do or don’t eat black pudding?
It was good to bandy insults with Terry and Irene and Mark and Sam and Jimbo; we don’t see them anywhere near as often as we might.

We said our goodbyes, then went round to the Windmill to collect my car. A cup of coffee, then we took the dogs for a walk on the Romney Marsh. We set off for a few geocaches as they marked out a route (if nothing else). Our first target would seem to have been long gone; we got to within ten yards of our second target before discovering we were on the wrong side of a drainage ditch. But we eventually found some Tupperware for which I was pleased, even if I did rick my back at one point.
There was a minor episode when the puppy was obviously chewing something. After a minor tussle we extracted a small dead rodent from her mouth. "er indoors TM" was of the opinion that it was a shrew; it might have been. I don’t know. I wasn’t keen on getting too involved, so we threw the corpse of whatever it was into one of the thickets. There was then another altercation as the puppy tried to go retrieve it. Disgusting creature !! (both the puppy and the dead rodent).
I took a few photos as we walked. You can see them here.

Once home "er indoors TM" set about hand-washing the duvet the puppy had tiddled on yesterday whilst I mowed the lawn. There was a minor hiccup when the handle of the lawn mower broke. I’ve not so much fixed it as bodged it back together again. And with the lawn given a serious hacking I then trimmed back the jungle coming over the fence from not-so-nice-next-door. I would have words with her about it if we were on speaking terms.

"er indoors TM" boiled up a very good but of dinner, and I then ironed shirts and trousers whilst watching last week’s “Dark Matter”.
Poldark” is on in a moment. I hope I can stay awake; I’ve had a rather busy weekend…

29 July 2017 (Saturday) - PARTY!!!

I started the day with an argument. Yesterday I went looking for a geocache in Ditton. In this case the location was in a seriously stupid place – you have to go up a drive marked “Private” then walk along a strip of land six feet wide between the scout hut and the fence marking off the scout hut. It is not possible to avoid looking suspicious. The hide is clearly described (albeit 17 metres awry), and the cache isn’t there. The GPS takes you to a mess of stinging nettles and brambles.
I had a whinge about it on the “Geocaching in Kent” Facebook page last night and some bloke from Suffolk had a pop at me this morning saying how I should offer the scouts who hid it help rather than criticism. He might have had a point when the thing went live eighteen months ago, but I did thirteen years as a scout leader. Time for someone else to give up their life. Perhaps this bloke in Suffolk might get off his arse and help the Ditton Scouts (I typed sarcastically).
But isn’t this entirely the problem with social media. From one or two throwaway comments we all make major judgements about each other. For all I know this chap might be really involved in local scouting where he lives. He might be a pillar of his local community. He might even be the leader of the Ditton scouts and hasn’t updated his social media profile. I just see some new name appearing on the Internet and after a few key strokes make all sorts of assumptions about him.

The phone rang; someone with an incredibly thick Indian accent claiming to be “Brian” gibbered on at me whilst conducting a survey about my new Hotpoint washing machine. I agreed to everything he asked about my new Hotpoint washing machine, all the time being fully aware that I had a rather old Hoover one. Bearing in mind I always talk rubbish to these surveys, you have to wonder just what value any of them have,

I then scrubbed out the food waste bin. Whilst recycling is a good idea in theory, in practice keeping food waste about for a week over the summer is a daft idea. If anyone can come up with a way of doing it that *doesn’t* need a bin full of maggots needing bleaching out every week, I’m all ears.

Knowing full well that the park run people would be monopolising the park this morning we walked the dogs round the co-op field instead. The walk passed off without incident; for which we were both grateful.
I then drove us out to Linton for the monthly geo-meet. It was good to meet up with friends and talk Tupperware. The dogs behaved themselves too (well, Fudge did). We came home, settled the dogs and went to Tesco for cupcakes, and having dropped them off at the Windmill for later we came home. I ran round with the Hoover; Treacle pissed on my bed in protest. Nice one (!)

Eventually we were ready; I drove us round to collect "Daddy’s Little Angel TM", "Stormageddon - Bringer of Destruction TM" and Sam, and soon we were at the Windmill. For some years I’ve been wondering about what we should do for "er indoors TM" big birthday. Anne and Chip had suggested a party at the Windmill, and it was an idea which worked beyond my wildest hopes. In retrospect we probably invited three quarters of the people we should have done. And there’s no denying that I was getting disheartened by the amount of people sending apologies. But we had a whale of a time. There was well over fifty family and friends along; we couldn’t have fitted more people in. "Daddy’s Little Angel TM" and Cheryl had made a really good job of preparing the room and Anne and Chip had done a wonderful spread for us. And the ale selection was not too shabby at all.
It all got rather vague towards the end… did we really do the “Baby Shark” dance?