Archive for May, 2004

Creative Day

Monday, May 31st, 2004

A couple of weeks ago, I referred to a “geocaching related activity”, but went a bit shy on detail, the reason being that I wasn’t sure if it was going to work. Well, I can now go public, although I’m not sure how long my efforts will resist the effects of weathering.

Y’know how four-wheel drives often have a logo on the spare wheel cover? Take a look at this:

Non-geocachers may not recognise the logo as the international logo of geocaching. Some geocachers may take issue with the precise accuracy of that statement, but it’s near enough for a blog.

Sunday, May 30th, 2004

This morning I was on Minibus duty at church: I drive this rattly old minibus around Totton, picking up those parishioners who are too old and feeble to get to church any other way, and take them home again afterwards. It’s a nice thing to do, although I’d be happier with a less worn-out bus!

After lunch I grabbed my geocaching kit and headed for A Stake In The Grass. This one was set by the same people as “Bury Your Head” and “Planes Trains and Automobiles”, about which I’ve blogged before, so I was expecting something special. I wasn’t disappointed – a good walk with some cunningly set clues, and good scenery. Shame about the weather – I was dodging showers all the way – but the setters can’t be blamed for that!

Then I went and collected a puzzle disc for McToy, a two part cache involving finding a floppy disk, solving the puzzles on it, and then following the informtion given by the quiz to find the final cache…watch this space! The last part of my caching afternoon out was to go and have a look at the next section of Little Toe’s Trilogy Part 2 – this is a giant multi-cache wandering all over Hampshire: I’ll finish it eventually!

Putting the “X” in Four X

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

I was reminded today that there are elections rapidly approaching. In part I was reminded by reading Carol’s blog where she blogged about it, but the main nudge was when my ballot papers dropped through the letter box. For some reason which I can’t now remember, I registered for a postal vote and now I have to come to grips with a whole new area of technology.

I take elections pretty seriously, and with one exception, always vote. Since, at one time, anyone whose first name wasn’t “Lord” wasn’t allowed to vote*, it seems only fair that I should take advantage of the opportunity now I’ve got it. Also, in spite of having successfully survived forty summers**, voting is about the only thing I do that makes me feel grown up.

At the last General Election, the Hospital Radio station I belong to asked me to go along to the local Guildhall to report on the count. It was incredibly serious – the two technicians and I all had to sign a pile of forms, agreeing that if we breathed a word of what we saw while we were in there, the Returning Officer could rip our insides out and throw them on a brazier***. Then when I arrived, I couldn’t park within half a mile of the Guildhall as a precaution against car bombs. Odd that they then let me walk in carrying half a ton of broadcasting equipment without giving any of it a second glance.

It was pretty interesting really, and I got some nice human interest interviews out of most of the candidates (I’d decided to go for the lightweight approach, asking them what they did for relaxation during a busy election campaign, that sort of thing). The exception was one candidate – I think he was from the Real Labour Left Wing Alliance Who Want To be Just Labour But Hate Tony Blair Party – who managed to include the fact that he was a taxi driver in the answer to every question.

I thought it was odd that I appeared to be the nearest thing to a real journalist covering the event, until I found the “Press Reception Room” (which I had a pass to get into, but my two techies didn’t…heh heh), where I found two reporters from the local rag, a couple of TV crews, and a table which had once been a laden buffet, and was now a table with a couple of sausage rolls on it.

For some strange reason I’ve not been invited to elections since.

*And even Lords could only vote for the King, anyway.

**I first typed “forty winters”. You’d be amazed how hard I found it to calculate that I’ve actually survived forty-one winters, but only (so far) forty summers.

***May not be 100% accurate

That Friday Feeling

Friday, May 28th, 2004

Yes, it’s Friday again…and not just any Friday, but the Friday before a Bank Holiday weekend. This of course is the worst day to have to go to Byfleet, or at least the worst day to have to come back from Byfleet, sharing the M3 with twenty million caravans heading for the coast. I suppose as a caravanner myself I can’t really complain, but I was glad that I know a back road that means I only have to use the M3 for half the trip.

I’d decided in advance that after work I was going to go geocaching, and the fact that the weather forecast wasn’t that good didn’t put me off. Nor did the fact that I forgot to take my GPS with me, luckily a quick check of the details for the cache I’d decided to do showed that it was in a fairly easily identifiable location, and the clue removed any doubt. So after work I went and found Betty Mundy’s Finest Asset, a cache planted by my fellow Pompey-supporting caching buddies Paul and Judith.

Then on the way home I called into Bishopstoke: My mate Adrian, who lives in Nottingham, has bought a UPS on eBay from someone in Bishopstoke: it would cost a fortune to send by carrier, so I collected it for him: Jenny, who also lives in Nottingham, is passing through Southampton tomorrow, so she’s going to pick it up from me and deliver it back*. And then I came home.

Have a nice weekend.

*You’re probably wondering why Jenny couldn’t collect it from Bishopstoke herself. She’d have spent the whole weekend driving around Bishop’s Waltham, Bishopsgate Insurance, and the Bishop Blaize pub.

And before you leave a sarky comment, Jenny…remember Northampton…


Thursday, May 27th, 2004

I wish to publicly apologise to those nice people at DVLC in Swansea.

You may remember last week I blogged: “The outstanding caravan issue at the moment is that the bone idle scumbags at DVLC in Swansea (hello to Chris, if you’re reading!) still haven’t sent me the V5 for the Gruntmobile, without which I can’t get a number plate made???. Well, today I discovered that the V5 is at the sales place where I bought the car. You’d have thought after ten weeks he’d have phoned to ask why I hadn’t yet come and collected it, wouldn’t you?

In more cheerful news, the new geocache has been approved. New caches have to be submitted for approval before they go live: The approver checks that it isn’t too close to an existing cache, and that the description doesn’t say things like “The cache is on private land, but don’t worry about that???*, or “take your life in your hands and cross the motorway…???. Anyway, UK approvers are generally pretty quick but this time they’ve excelled themselves, I submitted the cache at 11 last night, it had been approved at 8 this morning, and by lunchtime it had been found twice!

If you carry on past the cache, you’ll come to this view

The Gruntmobile at the recommended parking for the cache

And in other news, today I had agreed to show two visitors around my workplace: Normally when we get visitors, they know nothing about food manufacture and aren’t really interested, and their comments are either “Ooh, isn’t it hot in here??? (yes, it is); “Ooh, isn’t it noisy in here??? (yes, it is), or “Why do we have to wear these silly hats???? (does the term “food hygiene??? mean anything to you?). For this reason, the news that visitors are due is generally the cue for people to hide under tables, in the loo, or even in meetings (yes, we get that desperate). Today’s visitors were different: She works for a confectionery manufacturer, he’s a baker; they both knew what they were talking about, and asked some interesting, intelligent questions, and it was a pleasure to look after them.

Needless to say, the fact that she’d brought along a party pack of her company’s product sample played no part in my agreeing to be their guide.

*Of course, it’s OK if the description says something like “the cache is on private property but I own it, and cachers are welcome to visit???, like, for example, this one.

A New One

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004


Ooh, pardon me…but I’ve just had a really nice and rather filling meal. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Today I went to work, and that’s quite enough said about that, except that with twenty minutes to go to knocking-off time*, I realised that I had to go to the photocopier. The photocopier is only about thirty yards from my office, but because I have to walk through the production area to get there, I have to get all my protective clothing on.

How sexy is that?

After work I went round to Nursling and planted my new geocache, “Test Way 1″ – I’ll post a link to it once the approvers have approved it and it’s available for finding. The path that it’s on is one where Mr and Mrs Gottlegog brought the infant Gottlegog on Sunday afternoons years ago – and really it hasn’t changed that much. I’m sure that it was those Sunday afternoon walks that made me the lover of things rural that I am now.

And then I headed for the New Forest, where our church group was having our evening walk: Another two miles, followed by a meal in the “Sir Walter Tyrell”. The Hunter’s Chicken was lovely.

Night night one and all.

*For the benefit of our American readers, I should point out that “knocking off” means something different over here


Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

Well, as I suspected (see yesterday), today we did the “Early start, work through lunch, finish early” thing. Although this meant I missed lunch, it did mean I had a spare hour after we finished, and if you need me to tell you what I did with the time, you haven’t been following the story so far.

Just up the road from out Byfleet factory, Henry the Thirst has planted the geocache Weyside Wander 2, and although I didn’t have my GPS or any of my caching kit with me, the cache description was detailed enough for me to get the find. It was a lovely walk alongside the canal, and on the way I saw a swan with some cygnets, some ducks with ducklings, and some grebes with…um…grebelets? Isn’t it funny how these things happen when you haven’t got a camera?

Then I drove back, dumped the company car and collected the Gruntmobile, and went to church group. And now I’m at home, and it’s time for a shower and bed. Night night.

PS…thanks to Henry and Trouty for a lovely cache!

Under the Spotlight

Monday, May 24th, 2004

So, today was day one of our ISO 9001 Surveillance visit: We have these every six months, a man comes in from our certifying body and checks out our systems to see if we’re still up to scratch. Today he was looking at the Eastleigh site, tomorrow is Byfleet and I was hoping to take him for lunch in the World’s Sweariest Pub and maybe bump into Henry the Thirst, but it looks like we’re going to be doing the “early start, work right through, early finish??? thing – fair play, the assessor has to get home to Birmingham afterwards, but we all have to eat (and drink – and swear). Speaking of which, he’s unique among assessors as far as I can tell…he’s certainly the only one I’ve ever met who can last a whole day on one cup of coffee.

I’ve been reminded that it’s been a while since we had a cat story, so this one is about Moses; not the biblical prophet, but next door’s black cat. Like most cats he loves warm places, and he can often be seen sprawled asleep on top of my caravan, which is one of the best places to catch the sun, and in the winter is warmed by the anti-frost heater inside. He does, however, have another favourite warm spot: It was ages before I caught him there, but the paw prints across my car bonnet every morning gave him away. I guess when I came home at night the engine and bonnet were still warm, and eventually he became bold enough that he’d be looking in through the windscreen before I’d turned the engine off.

He hasn’t been so keen since I bought the Gruntmobile…must be because he’d need a stepladder to get up there. Mind you, he’s not shy about sneaking into the house for a kip in the armchair.

Night night dear friends.


Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

I’ve just had a shower and put clean clothes on, so now I feel all fresh and squeaky clean, folks. I’m sitting at my PeeCee, clean and sweet smelling and eating birthday cake*…what better end could there be to a Sunday?

I got to church this morning and discovered it was my turn on the coffee rota: I normally get out of these duties by forgetting them and not being in church on the appropriate day, but today I was caught out. Then after church I went and collected my Mum and took her out for lunch, because it was her birthday yesterday**, after which she wanted to go shopping, so while she browsed Sainsbo’s, I had a look round “World of Quid” to see if they were selling anything useful for cache goodies.

Then home to see if it was possible to watch the Test Match on TV and simultaneously do some of the outstanding jobs on the caravan***. After which I logged into the chatroom, and helped**** Sarah log Stu on a webcam cache in the states…and we all watched a ‘Merkin try to steal a bike.

I must mention my current listening…it’s an album loaned to me by my mate Do-Ron-Ron, called “Gary Moore: Best of the Blues”. If you like guitar rock, go out and buy it straight away…unless you already have, of course.

Since I promised I wouldn’t go geocaching today, that’s about it…although I did almost finish getting “Test Way 1″ ready to go. And now peope are starting to appear in the chatroom, and it’s nearly time for The Archers…see you later!

*Not my Mum’s, although it WAS her birthday yesterday. It was also the birthday of the little boy over the road.

**Told you.

***It was

****For a given definition of “help”

Clever Sod

Saturday, May 22nd, 2004

Test the Nation has just finished…it breaks my heart to see the way the statistics are manipulated as if they meant anything. Overall the men beat the women by one IQ point…OK, technically the men won, but the difference is insignificant, as were the differences between cities (although well done to Cardiff Carol, for living in the UK’s brainiest capital city!).

Anyway, I got 131, which is within a whisker of what I got last time, so that’s OK!

Related Activity

Saturday, May 22nd, 2004

Well, I promised you I wasn’t going geocaching today, and that was sort-of true: However, it’s been a day of geocaching related activity.

After I got up this morning and checked my emails, I spent a couple of hours painting the ammo box that is due to become the geocache known as “Test Way 1???. Then I spent the rest of the morning cleaning Hammerite off my fingers (thing I learned today: I’ve run out of Swarfega), followed by a few minutes of another caching-related activity, which I’m keeping quiet about – I’ll share some photos with you when it’s complete. After lunch I went into the city centre to change the log book in my cache A Walk In The Park, and also to check the co-ordinates of one of the waypoints, which a couple of the finders had said were wrong.

The caravanning-related jobs I was going to do today were at least started: One of the problems is that since my Mum disposed of her caravan, all the contents that were too good to throw away have been stored in mine, meaning that there isn’t actually room to get in there and do anything. My cousins are going to have some of it, and we donated the telly to the people who live over the road for the kids’ bedroom, so I have at least made a start. The outstanding caravan issue at the moment is that the bone idle scumbags at DVLC in Swansea (hello to Chris, if you’re reading!) still haven’t sent me the V5 for the Gruntmobile, without which I can’t get a number plate made. And it’s only about three weeks before I need it, so I’m getting a bit edgy.

Oh yes, and I changed my internet service provider today*. The old one sent me an e-mail survey saying things like “It would help us improve our service if you told us why you’ve left us???, offering a load of tick boxes with options like “I was looking for a cheaper service???, or “Your access numbers are often engaged???. Unfortunately there wasn’t an option for “Your service is the biggest pile of pooh since the complete works of A A Milne???, so at the moment I’ve not done anything about that.

And tonight it’s “Test The Nation??? on logical thinking. I may post my score here tomorrow.

*Don’t worry – anyone using the e-mail address that’s got my surname in (which should be everyone) won’t notice the difference.

Moany Moany

Friday, May 21st, 2004

I’ve had a complaint – in fact, I’ve had two. Not about last night’s blog, which I thought would at least stir someone up, but about previous blogs: Both Rob and Bel (Happy Birthday for yesterday, Bel, by the way) have complained that all I ever seem to do is go geocaching. Ermmm, yes…hey guys, don’t read the “what I did after work” section of today’s offering.

However, you may be pleased to know that tomorrow and Sunday have been declared official geocache-free days. Tomorrow I have a number of caravan-related tasks to do at home (I was going to do them last weekend, but I went geocaching instead), and on Sunday I’m taking my Mum out for lunch because tomorrow is her birthday, and previous experience suggests that when that’s over I’ll be too bloated to do much other than flop in a chair in front of the telly.

Today I went to work: Tim the Engineer complained that I haven’t filled up the Engineering department’s First Aid box for ages. No Tim, in fact I’ve never filled it up. It isn’t my job. It’s your department’s first aiders’ job. Whinge at them.

Then Vinny, the Short Spanish Safety Rep, came and had a go. As I’m the Health and Safety Officer you’d think he was on safer ground.
“Heya, Pauly: Desa guys in Despatch say they’ve-a got loads-a hazards which ain’t-a been sorted…innit?” (I’m not perpetuating stereotypes here, he really does speak like that. I don’t think he’s Spanish at all: I reckon he’s a Martian, and he learned to act like a Spaniard by watching the intergalactic repeats of Fawlty Towers)
“Oh. Funny, I’ve not seen any hazard reports”
“They’va not made-a out-a any hazard reports…innit?”
“Go away”
“Si Señor, gracias…have a good weekend, innit?”

Anyway, after work I went geocaching…hooray! I’d been debating with myself which ones to do today, and in the end chose two fairly close together and both set by caching chums: Firstly I went and did Up and Down Again, by the Blitzy’s, a really nice walk around some downland: Then I did the Bramblers’ cache Dodge City – Where Time Stood Still.

Finally I went to a social pub meet of my Raynet group, then I went home. Night night.

Bare Faced Blog

Thursday, May 20th, 2004

Since I’ve just got out of the shower, I’m typing this blog without my glasses on. So if my typing is even worse than usual…well, tough, basically.

The big news at the moment,of course, is that yesterday someone threw some purple powder at the Prime Munster*, and it made me realise – among other things – how this sad prat is almost universally despised. The only people who like him are the Tories, since with Bliar** at the head of the Labour party, the Tories are almost guaranteed to win the next General Election. One person in our group even said recently in his blog “Mr Bliar, I hope you get {insert name of horrible disease}”. Personally I don’t – my Dad died of that same disease, so I know from his experience that sufferers get the very best care the NHS has to offer, and the Patronising Prat doesn’t deserve that. My preference would be to see him ousted from power in some way that also deals with his lardassed, vacuous, bovine deputy and dumps them in a dole queue where they belong.

Of course that’ll never happen: Boosh would never stand by and watch his underling ousted, since if anything happened to Bliar, Boosh would have to polish his own shoes. I can just imagine it:
Boosh: Boys, Britain is in anarchy…send in the National Guard

Flunkey: Erm, sorry Mr President, Britain doesn’t have a National Guard

Boosh: WHAT? Everywhere else in the USA does!

Flunkey: Actually Mr President, most people over there don’t realise Britain is one of the states of the USA

Actually, Mr Flunkey Person, more and more of us are realising it.

Normal blogging service resumes tomorrow with a bit of luck.

*That one ISN’T a typo
**Nor is that

Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

Today, my dear reader, I tidied my desk.

In case you were wondering, that’s the “after” picture. The sad thing is, it took an hour’s effort to make it look like that.

Of more importance is the astonishing fact that I’m going to be even more famous than I am already! Yes, that great movie impresario SimonG has given me a role in his forthcoming film. I’d originally put in for the part of “Newsreader’s Voice on the Radio”, but that went to a much better qualified candidate, so now I’m actually going to appear on-screen in the key pivotal role of “Pleb Number One”. Apparently Brad Pitt wanted it, but Simon said it had to be me, as the part calls for a short fat bald bloke. I think it’s because I have to stand next to him at one point, and he wants someone to make him look good.

And after work it was another nice evening, so I dug out my geocaching kit and found Hursley Alphabet Soup, the first geocache I’ve done where it was actually useful having a four-wheel drive gruntmobile! Then I went to church group, then I went home.

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004

So, today I went to work, went to a meeting, swore a lot, and went home.

Actually, that last bit wasn’t true, between work and home I went geocaching, but I’ll come to that in a minute. Y’see, one of the places where I work is just round the corner from Henry’s gaff, and we have this arrangement that sometime when I’m up there, he and I will meet up in The World’s Sweariest Pub: Trouble is, whenever I’m there these days, it’s either really short notice, so Henners isn’t expecting me, or I’m not allowed out at lunchtime. Oh well, one day…

So yes, I went geocaching, and tonight I found Wind in the Willows. I’d tried for this just after it was planted, and on that occasion failed to find the car park, so to actually get the cache this evening was a bonus. Oh, and I took this picture nearby.

Pretty, innit?

Then I went and did some more research on my own forthcoming cache, which will either be called Twin Churches or Test Way 1. I found a cracking hiding place, so all i’ve got to do now is assemble the darned cache! Oh, and I spotted this nearby.

I think we get the message.

Monday, Ostrich Monday

Monday, May 17th, 2004

It occurred to me that some of my readers may not be understanding the constant “wombat??? and “ostrich??? references in my blog. Many of us in the blogring are regulars in the SimonG chatroom (but not during working hours, obviously), and Simon being the kind of guy he is, he wrote the software for the chatroom himself. As part of the challenge, he wrote a profanity filter, so that whenever a chatroom guest types a rude word, it comes out as the name of an animal. So if one of us told Simon to ostrich off*, he wouldn’t give a wombat, and in turn he can call us a bunch of shetland ponies** and no-one is offended.

So now you know.

I ought to mention that as a result of all my weekend caching activity, I’ve now overtaken those lovely people of Team Tate, in terms of number of caches done***. I’m not really into the numbers thing of caching, but this does represent a considerable milestone as it was the Tates who introduced me to caching, and they’ve been doing it for rather longer than I have. I’ve been snapping at their heels for a while, but Bob’s a bit competitive and whenever I got close, he went off somewhere wild and did a couple to keep the gap open. Luckily for me, Sarah locked him in a half-finished kitchen until it was half-finished no more, then distracted him by letting him buy a motorbike. Still, that gap of four is a bit vulnerable and I need to stretch it out a bit more before I can feel safe****.

OK, a quick Garfield story before I finish. Garfield used to sleep on my bed*****, and in the Summer I have a habit of sleeping with the curtains open to let the air from the open window circulate. In the early hours (well, seven o’clock, anyway) of one morning I was woken by the sound of a cat fight outside. Garfield, of course, wanted to know what was going on and who was involved, so he marched up the bed, ending up with his front legs on the headboard and his back feet on my forehead – which meant that on opening my bleary eyes I was greeted by possibly the most unattractive view possible.

Well, maybe not the most unattractive…I mean, it wasn’t Jade Goody in the nude or anything. But you know what I mean.

*We wouldn’t of course…he’s too nice for that.
**Rhymes with “Merchant Bankers???
***137 to 133
****Fnaar fnaar, sounds a bit smutty!
*****In fact, he’d sleep anywhere…

Cache and Curry

Sunday, May 16th, 2004

Can you believe that I really wanted a Chinese takeaway this evening, but I had an Indian so the pun in the headline would work?

Anyway, today was the day of a regional Hospital Radio meeting in Basingstoke, so after church I hit the M3 heading north-east-ish. It was a really nice day and I’d noted the details of a couple of local geocaches, so since I arrived in Basingstoke with time to spare, I went and found Lime Pickle, a nice walk until the last few yards through the nettles-my own fault I suppose, for wearing shorts. I’d just got back to the car when Gary phoned to ask if I wanted to meet for a pub lunch. Hmm, pub lunch or geocache? Even I’m not that obsessed with geocaching.

The meeting didn’t take too long, and I still seem to be regional Treasurer (it was the region AGM as well as the standard meeting), then once it was over I headed off and found the other cache I’d noted, Crystal Gem of a Cache. This was quite a scramble through some woods, with some sharp brambly things near the cache. Also, the cache itself isn’t in that good condition, I think the container has been out in the weather rather too long.

Then home via the Indian takeaway for a curry. Oh, and can I briefly mention football? Jenny, referred in previous blogs, is a Brighton supporter. Chris, her chap, supports Swindon. The football-aware among you will know that today, the playoffs took place between these two teams to determine who gets promoted, and Brighton won. The last I heard, Jenny was expecting to be sleeping in the shed.

A Clean Blog

Saturday, May 15th, 2004

This morning I went caching in glorious sunshine, and found Baywatch Revisited, a nice walk around a local marina village picking up clues, followed by an amble out into the greenery to find the actual cache. Here’s a pic I took near the cache:

Can you believe, Associated British Ports paid £45 million for all that greenery and wanted to turn it into an extension to the container terminal. There was huge public opposition and a public enquiry, which for once went the right way and ABP are now stuck with goodness knows how many acres of overpriced farmland. Anyway, after doing the cache I had my first ice cream of the year* at the marina shop, and went home via Tesco**.

Then after lunch I dragged the pressure washer round to the front of the house and gave the Gruntmobile a bath. Tonight, of course, is Eurovision, so I’m blogging early so I can spend the evening in bed with the pillows over me ‘ead. Of course this particular crime against music won’t be on in this house, but the walls are a bit thin and the neighbours might have it on…better not take the risk.

Today’s cat blog is about cat flaps. As I’ve mentioned previously, Titch is as barmy as they come, and when he had his first cat flap, it was transparent, so he could have a quick peek through, check the coast was clear and dive through. When he first moved into a house with patio doors, the thought process was a bit beyond him: He could see through them, therefore they were some kind of giant cat flap, and for a while there was this regular “donk…donk…donk??? noise as the cat head butted the glass trying to make it hinge open.

Garfield, on the other hand, was too big for a cat flap, and we had to buy him a “small dog flap???, which at least had the advantage of being lockable. One night I wanted him to stay in…I think I had to give him a pill, and wanted to have a few drinks to build my courage first. Anyway, whatever the reason, Garfield was in, and the cat flap locked, when I head a loud crash from the kitchen. There were bits of cat flap everywhere – Garfield had let himself out the hard way.

Ooh, and before I forget, mega-congrats to our mate Treez, who had her baby on Wednesday.

*A white chocolate Magnum, if you’re interested
**They’d sold out of Orange and Passion Fruit J2O, so I left without buying anything.

Ostrich and Garlic

Friday, May 14th, 2004

A day of contrasts today…so much has happened there will be no cat blog I’m afraid. But to keep you cat lovers interested, here’s a recent picture of Titch, to contrast with the kitten one I posted the other day:

Tubby little chap isn’t he?

The bad bit of today was that the departing boss (see yesterday) decided to make his parting shot, the news that the company isn’t going to pay for me to do part two of my diploma (despite the fact that having the qualification is part of my job description). If I blog any more about that I’ll get bitter and twisted, so lets move on…oh OSTRICH

The good bit was that it was a lovely day and I did two cracking geocaches today! I zipped out at lunchtime and did First of the Few, commemorating a famous local man. An interesting walk, made more interesting by my unofficial short cut back to the car! Then after work, I went and did Trains, Planes and Automobiles, a fantastic 2 mile walk through the countryside. I can probably do no better than quote my cache log:

134th find
All geocaches should be like this!
The recommended parking looked more like a passing place to me, so I went to the secondary recommendation where I had no qualms at all! A stunningly beautiful evening walk, with some cunningly hidden micros along the way and a good final location (but watch the stinging nettles!). Took nothing, left a glow stick and a toy car, and of course signed the log. Thanks for a great evening out, SpottySpaniels.

Mind you, I was mightily pleased that I’d waypointed the car, something I don’t usually bother with.

Ooh, forgot to mention the smell of wild garlic near the cache…I think they’d been chopping nettles alongside the path and the garlic got caught up. Anyway, then I drove home, stopping at the White Swan for a J2O on the way.

Edit: Just walked back into the bedroom after having a shower and I can confirm there is a really strong garlic smell coming from my trousers. Goodness knows what my boots will smell like…probably no worse than usual.

Happy Dance

Thursday, May 13th, 2004

Today I have mostly been outmorting Mort, as I Happy Dance around the place. OK, so it’s only been since mid afternoon, but it still counts.

Several years ago, I confided to a work colleague that “if person XXX ever became my boss, I’d leave”. Not long after that there was a reorganisation, I was moved sideways (while keeping the same job) and XXX became my boss. However, there were rumours of imminent redundancies, so it seemed silly to go straight away.

Then those rumours faded away, but almost immediately the company wanted to send me on a very expensive course leading to a nationally recognised qualification. Well, it would be stupid to leave then, wouldn’t it? So I stayed and completed the qualification, by which time they were talking about sending me on an even more expensive course (the now-in-doubt course I blogged about the other day).

And now XXX has been promoted to another site, and it’s possible that after tomorrow I won’t see him any more..and I certainly won’t be working for him. Suddenly the prospect of staying seems rather bright, with or without the new course.

Whaddya mean, you’d rather have a cat story? OK, this is a Garfield story, from his days at Hospital Radio. As I said, the studio in those days was in the grounds of a mainly disused hospital, with lots of greenery, lawns and bushes about, an ideal haven for wildlife. One evening I was leaving the site, when in the glare of the headlights I saw a fox. Then I saw Garfield. Trotetty trotetty trot, went the fox, much in the manner of Ethel the Aardvark*. “Hello”, he anthropomorphised to the much smaller Garfield. “BIFF” went Garfield. Exit fox, stage left, rather wiser than he had been.

He wasn’t a violent ct, but he knew how to defend his territory.

*Read some old Monty Python** scripts if this one escapes you
**I think

Blowout and other Things

Wednesday, May 12th, 2004

I’m not going to blog about what happened at work today…it’s too horrible. Just consider the consequences of a blowback in the Ladies’ Loo, on the office next door. My office is now out-of-bounds until the carpet tiles have been ripped up, the floor sanitised, and new tiles laid.

Oh, and when I rang the Training Dept to hassle them about my course (i.e. whether it’s going to happen or not), I was told that the Head of Training, together with my immediate boss, “Have to talk to me about that???. Doesn’t sound too hopeful, but as Immediate Boss isn’t here today (indeed, I’m working at his desk since I was evicted from my office), it’ll be at least tomorrow before I find out.

Yesterday I wrote briefly about Thinging, and hopefully today I’ll make the link work. It all started when Hizonner SimonG, Lord of the Blogring and King of Thing, posted an online challenge that if people submitted their favourite things, activities etc, he’d try them and report back on the experience. At first people submitted things to try, then they started doing the challenges along with Simon, and now Thinging is an international pastime to rival geocaching – which is itself a Thing, first posted by Carol and being done by most Thingers.

Go and have a look for yourself, but to give you an idea of the kind of Things people post, there’s:
Most pointless website:
Hobby: Geocaching
Self-Therapy: Blogging (yes, that’s how most of the Blogring started)

And so, to today’s cat story, and to end this entry the same way it started…Titch was, for a while, quite ill a couple of years ago. Jenny could tell he wasn’t well because he stopped attacking everyone for no apparent reason and became quite a nice, peaceable cat. Anyway, the vet decided he was probably diabetic (he was), leaving Jenny with a rather unpleasant daily task.

Apparently the way you take urine samples from a cat is to fill the litter tray with fishtank gravel, which is non-absorbent. The tray can then be strained to produce the sample for testing.

Oh yes, he had to have daily injections too. Luckily, as I said yesterday, diabetes in cats can go away by itself, and did in his case. Now he’s just barmy.