Archive for March, 2006

Miss Diane

Friday, March 31st, 2006

I’ve mentioned before now, some of the colleagues I work with. Today I thought I’d tell you about Diane.

Di and Cheryl inhabit the office which is the other half of the portacabin that Graham, Mike and I live in. Diane’s task is to complain about people, to put right mistakes that other people have made while keying stuff into the computer, and to rule the tea kitty with an iron hand. I ask you…a pound a month! Daylight robbery.

Anyway, one of Diane’s other tasks is to photocopy the puzzle pages of the newspapers so there’s always a Sudoku there when we need one, and the other day she was doing the crossword when she called on my assistance:
Di: “Horseman’s spear: L-something-N-something-E. Any ideas?”
Me:“Well…it’s a word you’ve heard of…”
Di: “Oh, I know – like jousting!”
Me:“Yeeeeees.”
Di: “Ah, but hang on – ‘joust’ doesn’t start with an ‘L’ “
Me:“Gnnnnnnn…”
Di: “It’s like, umm, you know…Sir Lancelot and all that”
Me:“Sir Whom?” 1
Di: “Sir Lancelot?”
Me:“Sir Whom?”
Di: “Sir Lancelot?”
Me:“Tchoh!”
Di: “Ooh, I see, it’s ‘Lance’, isn’t it?”.

Phooey.

Still, I’m in sunny Blackpool at the moment, nearly as far north as Simon and Jess’s lovely farm, but not quite. The weather’s been lovely all afternoon, while I’ve been charging round in the minibus doing collections from the railway station, taking people on trips etc: This evening, because I’m going geocaching, it’s just started raining.

1 I actually said “Sir Who?”, but I don’t want you all thinking I’m ungrammatical

Eh???

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Hmm…no idea what happened in yesterday’s blog, I seem to have been taken over by some yokel :-) . Anyway, by coincidence I too spent the day in London, and did a little caching to stop the day being a total waste.

Needless to say, most of the central London caches that haven’t gone missing are virtuals, where you visit a location and answer a question about it. First was MMMonument, near the end of the Millenium Bridge1. After that I tried without success for A Fleeting Glimpse on the way to the meeting, but found it afterwards instead.

The London Rainbow Quest no. 1: Red, another virtual, was harder than it need have been because of loads of building work going on nearby. I tried for one more virtual on the way to the station, but if it’s where I think it is, the plaque withe the information you need to answer the question has gone missing :-( . Other seekers have reported the same thing, so it isn’t just me…

I was hoping for more, but due to rubbishness on my part I somehow ended up booked on a train an hour earlier than I’d intended. Ah well…anyway, that’s it for now, I shall shortly be departing to head off on my way “Oop t’north”. Hopefully there will be bloggage while I’m gone – I’m hoping to be able to ponce some of Jenny’s wireless bandwidth while I’m at her house – but in case I don’t, play nicely while I’m gone, and I’ll see you after my fabby weekend :-) .

1 Known locally, so I’m told, as the Wibbly Wobbly Walk, because of some “teething troubles” when it first opened.

Oooo-Arrrrr

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

Today I went to the Big City – it was very exciting! First I went on the train, and guess what – they’re not powered by steam any more! I spent the whole trip with my nose pressed against the window – not to watch the scenery going past, although I haven’t travelled that fast since I drove McClafferty’s tractor off the old quarry edge – but because once I started there wasn’t room to move. One of the people on the train tried to pick my pocket – he got a real surprise when he got the mouse nest I’d taken from old Jacob’s scarecrow!

Once I got to the Big City – or “The Smoke”, as us regulars call it – I walked around for AAAGES looking at busses, taxis, cars and all the people: I haven’t seen so many people in one place since free cider night at the Rat and Ferret. Nearly everyone was much more smartly dressed than me, even though I’d put clean trousers on for the occasion, although I did find some men sitting on the pavement under one of the bridges who looked more normal. Ooh yes, pavement – they have them on every road! On both sides! I tried to talk to them, but they swore at me very loudly in a strange accent, so I ran away.

Then I spent all day in a meeting at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. That’s a big name isn’t it, children?

Before catching the train home, I had a horrible meal in a snack bar on the station. Still, now I’ve been to the Big City once, I don’t need to go again…
OOOOH ARRRRH!!

Bleurgh

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

I’m boggled.

I’m in one of those situations where I’ve got loads to do, but everything I need to do needs one of the other things done first. The thing is, I’m off to London for the day tomorrow, and I need to make sure I’m ready. PDA – both for geocaching before and after the meeting, and for use as an MP3 player on the train. Headphones. GeePeeEss. Oh, and stuff for the meeting as well!

Then, of course, I need to sort my stuff out for Thursday: Once I leave here to go to work on Thurday morning, I shan’t be home till after the weekend so I’ve got to leave all my stuff ready for that as well. But stuff for the weekend includes the lappytoppy on which I’m typing this.

I think I’ll switch off now and go and try to do something productive.

More Exams

Monday, March 27th, 2006

Well, I did promise you more about exams :-) .

In common with most degree-level qualifications, the pass mark in the exams is 50% – but lest that sound a bit easy, the marks are pretty hard to get: For a ten-mark question, an average answer worth seven or eight marks will be about three pages long, and if you take more than fifteen minutes – from first looking at the question, to finishing the answer – you’re eating into the time that you should be spending on the next question. That doesn’t allow much thinking time, so it has to be pretty much “stream of consciousness” stuff.

Following each examination, an examiners’ report is published, highlighting what was answered well and what wasn’t: Sometimes they produce a digest of answers to questions, showing what kind of answer was wanted and where the marks were picked up. On one of last July’s, the answer that’s shown as a good answer to one of the twenty markers only got fourteen – and that’s probably the best answer that was given to that question!

Exam technique is important – “Read the Question” is an important one of course, making sure that what you’re writing is the answer to the question that was asked: The marking schemes don’t allow any marks for an excellent answer to the wrong question! It’s also good to read through the questions before you start and if there’s a “banker” there – a question that you’re so confident on that you can get full marks – do that first, then work through them in descending order of confidence, leaving the one you don’t really know much about until last. Sometimes – if you’ve got fifteen minutes left, and one question that, at best, you can get two or three marks on – it’s better to abandon that one, and read back through what you’ve written and see if you can pick up any more marks on those questions.

Of course, even with the best exam technique in the world, you still need to know the stuff…I suspect that’s where I might fall down… :-(

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

British Summer Time started in the early hours of this morning.

As happens every year, the lunatic elements of the British press – i.e. the Daily Mail – have been banging on about it all week. Apparently, having gone forward to BST, we should stay there come the Autumn and not go back to Greenwich Mean Time. Next Spring we should go forward another hour – putting us two hours ahead of GMT – and stay there. This is what was done during the second world war, apparently to increase morale.

This time round, the right-wing reactionaries want to do it to increase public safety: Apparently most accidents in the winter happen on dark evenings, so by extending the daylight available, you make things safer for everyone. Of course – and I’m precis-ing what the Mail said here, but not much – it kaes things more dangerous for people who work early mornings, likefarmers and milkmen, but hey – who cares about them anyway?

Leaving aside the fact that it’s a barking mad idea, which overall won’t improve safety for anyone1, have they no idea of history? GMT – that is, “Real” British time – is based on being Noon when the Sun is overhead at Greenwich, and most of the techy world works to a system called UTC, which is locked to GMT. Greenwich Mean Time is the only remnant we’ve got left of the time when half the world was coloured red on the map, and to change it now – when there’s no overall benefit – would be bonkers.

The difference this year is that the plan has the backing of the House of Lords, who are processing a bill to make it really happen. Luckily, the Mail is whinging that those communist plebs in the Commons will chuck it out. For once the Boy Tony and his Cast of Idiots seem to be likely to do something right.

1 I’m not prepared to put the effort in to proving that tonight, you’ll just have to take my word for it. I AM “Safety Boy” after all.

Wet

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

Today’s debate was: stay at home and revise, or go geocaching? I really need the revision, and the rubbish weather forecast militated against caching. On the other hand, I haven’t done much – by my standards – lately, and you know what they say about “all work and no play”, so after my haircut I headed for the New Forest.

First was Ringwood – It’s All White!, which you won’t be surprised to hear is a multi-cache around Ringwood. The cache was easy enough – my mistake was in not going to Lois’s fabby pub for lunch, as I’d intended: Instead, I found a nice-looking little tea shop near where I was parked, whereas Lois is right over the other side of the town.

Note to self: Next time, go to Lois’s.

Remember I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’d decided to save the three caches around Fordingbridge for a day out? Well, they were the ones I chose for this afternoon. First, Birthday Box, a multi-cache starting with a walk around town picking up clues, then out on footpaths and the delightfully-named “Puddleslosh Lane” to the cache location. Back through Fordingbridge bypassing the car park and on to Matthew and Rory’s Cache, a simple little traditional cache, before returning to the car via a tea shop in the town for hot chocklit :-)

Last for the day was Ogdens View, another multi with clues around a little village, and a wet muddy walk (in the rain) on to the cache location.

I haven’t been walking in the rain for ages, and I’d forgotten how much fun it is: The New Forest has a lovely fresh smell in the rain, and there are rarely many other people about. So, I’ve walked over five miles, found four caches, and had some excellent fresh air. I feel revitalised for my revision efforts.

Exams

Friday, March 24th, 2006

…or at least, revision.

Regular readers will know that I’m in the middle of doing the National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety, and on the grounds that if I’ve got to suffer, someone else is going to as well, I thought I’d tell you a bit more about it.

The syllabus is divided into three parts:

  • Module A: “Organisational” – law, statistics, measurement and organisation.
  • Module B: “Agents” – anything that can hurt you: Noise, heat and cold, chemical and biological agents, stress, radiation and so on.
  • Module C: “Machinery and Workplace Safety” – Buildings, machinery, electricity, fire etc.

Each module is examined by one assignment and one three-hour exam, both of which have to be passed to pass the overall module – although a borderline fail in the exam is allowed to be redeemed by a stunningly good assignment. Each exam consists of six compulsory “short” questions, worth ten marks each, and five “long” questions of which you have to choose three, each of which is worth twenty.

So far, I’ve taken the Module B and C exams – results due in the next two weeks – and passed the “A” assignment. I’ve also…umm…”not passed” the “B” assignment, and been gently encouraged to try again :-) . I’ve completed my next go at it, although it doesn’t have to be in for another five weeks, so I’m hanging on to it and I’ll have another look just before I submit it, in case I think of any last-minute improvements.

The “C” assignment is the fire one I’ve mentioned in previous blogs: I can either do that one and submit it, or wait to see what the next one published is about: To be honest it’s unlikely to be a subject I know less about than fire loading :-D . And the “A” exam is the one I’m currently revising for – the exam itself is in July, so be ready for a load more blogs on that subject to come…

Anyway, after work tonight I had the choice of caching or the gym: I went and did Luttrell’s Tower, a new local cache placed by my good chums Team Tate. A good walk along the beach and back, and a very sneaky hiding place!

And then I went to the gym afterwards: Best of both worlds :-)

What’s In a Name?

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Well, I’ve done it…

In response to comments from Jenny, the Lovely Miche, and others, I’ve changed my blog header. I hope you all like the new look. I’ll give it a few days before I decide whether I want to leave it as it is, or fiddle a bit more…

It feels a bit odd – I’ve been “The Short Fat Bald Bloke” for so long that it’s stuck almost as well as my real name…whatever that is. Although I adopted “Gottle” more or less by accident anyway – for those of you who don’t know, my chatroom and geocaching name is “Paul G0TLG”, and “Gottle” is some peoples’ attempt to pronounce it.

And something else I forgot to mention – which the use of my ham radio callsign has reminded me of – is that I did something last weekend that I haven’t done for ages: Many of you will know that this time last year, I had an operation on my wrist, which had been giving me trouble for a couple of years up to then: All through the time the wrist was problematic, I was unable to indulge in my favourite sort of ham radio playing, that of communicating by morse code.

Anyway, last Saturday I was scanning around the frequencies to see what was going on, and discovered a morse code contest happening. Contests are pretty easy, you normally just exchange callsign and serial number with the other station and move on: Whoever makes the most contacts in the contest period wins. They are, therefore, ideal for people who haven’t played morse for a while – you can keep listening to a station having contacts with other people until you’re sure you’ve got his callsign right, and spotted the sequence of serial numbers he’s sending, then make a quick contact and you’re away.

Although I was a bit upset to discover just how much receiving speed I’ve lost – in other words, how out-of-practice I am – I had contacts with stations in Wales, Italy, Russia, Bulgaria and Greece before deciding that was enough for one day. I just need more practice now :-)

I may have another go this weekend. Or I might go caching.

Fnaar Fnaar

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

It’s late, I’m tired. And I’ve only switched the PeeCee on because there’s something on it that I need for tomorrow’s meeting. And I used my emergency pre-written blog a couple of days ago.

So – at the risk of sounding like something the actress might have said to the bishop – you’re going to have to put up with me dashing a quick one off before bedtime.

And speaking of actresses, have you noticed that these days they’re calling themselves “actors”? I know that in olden times, “actress” was a euphemism for “tart”, but things are a bit more enlightened these days. I can see the point in de-sexing terms like “manager” – after all, it doesn’t matter if the “Technical Manager” is a man or a woman, or at least it shouldn’t. But in jobs like actressing, it must still matter – you wouldn’t ask a man to play “Charlie’s Aunt”, would y…ah, hang on, I think I might be on dodgy ground here…

I don’t have anything equally insightful to say about bishops, except that “Stinking Bishop” is actually a jolly nice cheese.

Fire

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

Regular readers – or at least, those who pay an unusually close amount of attention – will know that for my final diploma assignment, I have to do a fire loading survey of a workplace of my choice.

“Fire loading” is nothing to do with fire exits, number of people, or how many fire extinguishers you’ve got: Rather it look at the materials the building is made of, together with fixtures and fitting, decoration and furniture, to see how they behave in a fire. For example, unprotected structural steel weakens dramatically in a fire1, and of course we all know that some furnshing materials give off poisonous fumes when they burn – these are a couple of the factors considered in a fire loading survey.

Previous assignments – the two I’ve done for this diploma, and the five for Diploma One – have all been based on my own workplace: It’s convenient, I’ve got almost unrestricted access, and the assignments are useful once they’ve been marked. But our factories are basically big brick boxes with some machinery in, and it’s a bit difficult to get 3500 words on fire loading out of that. You’ll remember that I considered using the office portacabin, but there’s not much to that either.

I thought about using the Hospital Radio studio: I was on the committee when the building was going up, so I’ve got the construction plans somewhere, and a load of photos taken during the building. 10% of the assignment mark is for presentation and depth of research, so that would look good. But it’s a modern building, constructed to current building regulations, and while a certain amount of embellishment is tolerated in an assignment, it’s asking for trouble to go off on one about unprotected steel supports when you’ve got photographs proving the building is brick and breezeblock.

Next, I asked permission to use the gym, but someone quickly realised that I was just after an excuse to wander round the ladies’ changing room with a camera.

On Sunday morning, I was in church2 when I realised that I was sitting in a 1940s grade II listed building made mostly of wood and tissue paper, with some stone here and there where necessary. It’s got wooden stairways and furniture, and all sorts of bits and bobs that would go up a treat with a bit of provocation. I bet I’ll find some unprotected steel somewhere as well.

The vicar hasn’t confirmed permission to use the church yet, but while waiting I’ve sketched together a plan of what the assignment will look like, and sent it off to the course tutor to see what he thinks. The finished version needs to be in the post in five weeks, so I need to crack on a bit.

1 Which is one of the reasons why the World Trade Centre collapsed the way it did.
2 And perhaps not paying as much attention as I should have been.

Window Dressing

Monday, March 20th, 2006

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs my work colleagues Graham and Mike, and the Portacabin in which our office lives.

Recently – in an attempt to make the place look more like an office occupied by professionals, and less like a squat – we squandered a few quid of the company’s money on some venetian blinds1. Originally our windows were covered by some tacky vinyl material in a tasteful striped pattern, held up at the window by drawing pins – great for stopping the draughts coming in through the window which wouldn’t shut (it does now, we’ve fixed that as well), but a bit rubbish where natural light is concerned.

Since we’ve had our blinds, I’ve taken to having the one next to my desk open a few inches. Not too much, the view’s rubbish anyway, but enough to let some daylight in. The other day, I noticed that some juvenile (I suspect2 Graham) had pinned up a notice outside:

Huh!

1 Typical. You go for ages without a “q” appearing, then along come three in the same sentence.
2 Where “suspect” = “know damned well it was…”

Run

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

Today’s principal event was another Raynet: The Eastleigh 10k road race. It was much warmer than last week’s event, thank goodness, although still cold enough. As you can see, it involved much posing around looking good, and in my location on the finishing line I was working with some old chums from my days in Public Address: Rather sickeningly David, the strapping young lad who was one of the PA presenters was someone I first met when he was about four :-( .

I must remember to buy the local paper tomorrow – I made sure I was standing right on the finishing line – in view of the press photographers – when the winner came through. OK, it’s only the Southern Daily Echo (aka “The Scummers Gazette” ), but it still counts.

We had a little play with some new technology, which was fun, and afterwards I went to the gym. Stupid steam room – which was working yesterday – is broken again.

Wedding Bells

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Congratulations to Claire and Adam on their nuptials today!

Weddings must be in the air or something – on the same day as Mr and Miss Sixty tied the knot, my invitation arrived for Jenny and Chris’s wedding. For those of you who’ve not seen one, it has a cartoon by SimonG on it, which is rather nice, as well as the wedding details, needless to say. Best of all, the wedding isn’t until four in the afternoon, so there’ll be time for a couple of caches beforehand :-) .

I’d been going to wash the Gruntmobile this morning, but it was too darned cold for that: Instead, I just hosed off the worst of the crud that had gathered during last weekend’s off-roading, and left it at that. Of course I then had to hose down the driveway and the pavement, in the course of which I broke the yard broom :-(

This afternoon was gym time – my best session ever so far, with 1550 calories burned :-) . Then it was home for some lovely revision.

Farming

Friday, March 17th, 2006

We were discussing in the chatroom this morning, the subject of toy farms.

Now I don’t entertain many romantic notions about farming: I had a Saturday job on a farm, and I’ve walked across plenty of them (on public footpaths, natch), so I know that nature is red in tooth and claw, and farms smell of poo and stick to your boots, but when I was a kid, my Dad gave me a toy farm one Christmas that he’d made himself. It had a farmhouse, with brick-effect wallpaper: It had a barn, and a pigsty, and a little duckpond made of silver paper. It even had fences made of panel pins and wire, and a little sign saying “Red Bash Farm: Prop. P Duell”. My Dad’s woodwork was practical in nature, rather then precision, and today’s kids wouldn’t think anything of it, but my Dad put loads of thought and effort and care into his work.

Now it’s too late, I’m often getting the feeling that I didn’t appreciate my Dad enough.

Anyway, back to the chatroom discussion, and Elly spoilt the atmos a bit by telling us his Dad had made him a guillotine when he was a kid :-(

After work I failed to find one cache (that I’d failed on once before anyway), but more importantly succeeded at the webcam cache Keep Your Hat On (be insanely jealous, Rockin’ Rob :-) ). Then I went home.

Camel

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

A while ago, in comments on this blog, some of you commented that you’d never heard of the fabbo prog rock band Camel.

Well, if you’ve heard the trailer on Radio 4 at the moment for Lenny Henry’s new series, the flute playing at the beginning is Camel. I can’t immediately remember the track title – I’ll have to have a look when I get home tonight – but it’s from the album “Music Inspired by ‘The Snow Goose’ “, and also appears on “Camel – A Live Recording” and “Camel – A Compact Compilation”.
Edit: It’s the Latimer/Bardens composition “Rhayader”. Andy Latimer – now if you think Gary Moore gurns a lot, you should watch Latimer play!

In other news, you’ll remember recently that I threw out a GPS that had broken down, thereby lowering my status to that of “the man with four GPSs”. Well, I’ve taken some action to rectify that – sadly the new ones aren’t mine, I’ve bought them on behalf of the Raynet group. But for a short while, from the time they arrive until the treasurer arranges reimbursement, I’ll be proud to be “the man with eight GPSs”

Hottle Gottle

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

Thanks to those of you who offered support, following yesterday’s blog – it’s nice to know it isn’t only me that thinks this guy needs a good kicking :-) . If I get round to organising the “Give John a good slap” party, I’ll post details here – donations will be sought in aid of a suitable charity.

And talking of organising things, I was lucky to get advance notice of the accommodation arrangements for the Wedding of the Century: Jenny and Chris have found a place that’s offering massive discounts, so I rang them this morning and got myself booked in. It’s right opposite the reception venue, there’s a geocache just a short walk away, and best of all, there’s wireless internet access!

Actually, I must admit to being a bit worried about how excited I was to read about the wireless internet…

And finally – since you all agreed with me about the Muppet yesterday – I thought you might enjoy this little workplace exchange of emails: “Dave”1 is the manager of our distribution site two miles up the road from where I’m based.

From: Dave. To: Paul
Hi Paul
We had an accident this morning, when we looked in the first aid box there were no cleaning wipes. Could you come up and check it out for any other missing items, and restock it?

From: Paul. To: Dave
Dave, of course I’ll come up there a couple of times a week to check your blokes haven’t pilfered any of the first aid supplies.
On another subject, could you do me a favour? Could you ask your guys to give me at least ten minutes notice of when they’re going to the toilet, so I can make sure I’m there in plenty of time to wipe their backside and pull the chain for them?

He hasn’t replied yet.

1 Names have been left unchanged, to incriminate the guilty.

Is It Me?

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

We have this tradition, where I work…

Every year, a dinner is organised by the company. Everyone who, in the past year, has reached their 25th or 35th anniversary with the company is invited, along with their partner: Managers of the people attending also go. The company foots the bill, and lays on taxis so no-one has to drive, flowers for the ladies etc etc. It isn’t a right – it isn’t in anyone’s contract that this’ll happen – it’s just a nice thing that the company chooses to do for people.

A lot of people who work there – rather more than half of the total workforce – are Muslims or Sikhs, with the attendant dietary restrictions that they observe. This year, one of the Sikhs who has been invited, recommended an Indian restaurant where he had found the staff to be understanding of these faith-based diets, and able to accomodate them. The people arranging the thing agreed that it would be a nice idea, and made the arrangements.

Needless to say, someone is now whinging that he can’t go because he doesn’t like curry: The fact that Indian restaurants also serve western-style food has been pointed out to him, and has made no impression. He’s taken the matter to his union rep, who is now whining about “discrimination” – what really annoys me is that this particular union rep is a Christian, whom I would have expected to be understanding of people’s need to observe the rules of their faith. Bear in mind that, as stated, this isn’t anyone’s entitlement: Also, each of the invitees will have received a gift of their choosing to a value of 250. Is it me, or does someone round here need a damned good slap?

I just hope that all this childishness doesn’t mean the company stop doing these dinners: On the day I started with the firm, my then boss told me “If you ever get the chance of free food and drink at the company’s expense, take it!”, and I’ve only got seven years to go for my 25-year dinner :-) .

As Promised

Monday, March 13th, 2006

I told you on Saturday that I’d soon blog about what I did on Friday, after I’d been caching. I had a meeting to go to just up the road from where the cache was, so it wasn’t worth going home to eat. Years ago my friend Lisa recommended a pub not far away, so I decided to call in there for a meal.

I may go back there one day – everyone deserves a second chance – but I have to say I wasn’t impressed. If I’d noticed before I ordered that every table had an ashtray I’d have moved on straight away, but I didn’t. I chose the Hunter’s Chicken thing – advertised as a succulent chicken piece with cheese and bacon and “our own tasty smoky sauce”. While ordering, I noticed a selection of real ales, so I ordered a half of Henry’s.

The beer was…umm…well, not exactly flat, but definitely dull. There was nothing identifiably wrong about it – it wasn’t flat, or off, or sour – it was just bland.

The food, when it came, turned out to be a Happy Shopper-style breaded chicken cutlet, with what may have been bacon, and what was definitely some second-rate cheese melted over it. I suspect the tasty smoky sauce came from the same store as the chicken – there wasn’t really enough to tell. There WERE vegetables with it, but whoever cooked them had no truck with the notion of “al dente”. The jacket spud was burned as well, and slathered in butter.

While I was eating, the pub filled up with teenagers who were just at that age where they think it’s cool to act like an arse in public. I wasn’t sorry when it was time to leave and go to the meeting.

Cold

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

Today’s main activity was being a Raynet person at the Rockbourne Horse Ride – an 8:30 start right over on the far side of the New Forest. It was cold when I left home, but I was still surprised to see snow in the Forest…

It was cold on the event too, but at least I had a nice warm Gruntmobile to sit in. The temperature didn’t get above 1C all day, and there was a biting wind to add to the chill. Nothing went wrong, our people all seemed to enjoy themselves, and the organisers were pleased with our contribution.

My original plan had been to do a couple of caches in Fordingbridge on the way back, but I decided that Fordingbridge is near enough to home to make an interesting afternoon out once the weather gets warmer: Instead I looked around for a cache the other side of Rockbourne, which would be a bit too far from home to do normally, if I wasn’t already in the area, and was lucky to spot Stop and Smell the Roses (2), placed by my good chum Nobby Nobbs.

It was a nice walk high up on the edges of Salisbury Plain, and as you can see, I wrapped up warm! In spite of the cold, I spotted a sign of Spring being just round the corner:

And now I’ve eaten and showered, and I’m sitting in front of the fire :-) . Early night tonight!

Moving Goalposts

Saturday, March 11th, 2006

Those of you who keep a close eye on my progress – via the two stats thingies at the top – well, what are you, a bunch of freaky weirdo stalkers? Probably, but that isn’t the reason I mention them. Close watchers, whether freaky etc or not, will have noticed that the “Gym Calories” line has slipped back a bit, having been almost off the right hand edge of the box. This is partly because of not-much-going-to-the-gym-ness this week, but mainly because I’ve changed the way the stats are measured.

When I first worked out the week-by-week targets, I simply took my target for the year (100,000), and divided it by 52, to make a weekly target of 1923. I know before I start that there are three weeks when there won’t be any gymness – two in Summer when I’m at New Wine, and one in September during the Great Yorkshire Cachepedition. So I’ve changed the weekly target to 2041 with three weeks of nothing. Hence why progress against target has fallen back.

In other news, last night I did the geocache Can’t C The Wood 4 The Trees. I’ll tell you what else I did last night in a future blog.