<<Return to My Diary
31 - Up just after 9am. 20C in, 18C out, grey and misty. Major trouble with the PC?!!! It would appear the mouse HAS now given up the ghost completely and stopped working. Hellish difficult to do anything without one these days - especially since I've largely forgotten how. Damn, damn damn!!! That's the second Intellimouse I've had fail on me now! Doesn't seem like 'that' long ago the last one 'started' to become iffy, and I swapped it with the other I had! That's BOTH now fit for the bin! WHAT a pain. . . walked FGn real late and then carried on down town. I'd seen a small 7.5" diameter brass wallplate in the RSPCA charity shop the other day, with an embossed sailing ship type design on it, which I figured I could maybe find a small bit of wall space for in either the living room or diner (above the french doors?) to compliment all the other 'meaningful' brass bits and pieces I have - and to kinda reprisent the nautical aspect of where I now find myself living. I'd managed to resist wasting money on such a thing, but then of course regretted not having bought it. It'd been a couple of days so I assumed it'd be gone by now. Suprisingly it was still there - so I bagged it - for a mere £2. :o) (Actually as it turns out, I think it's sadly only brass plated.) . . dabbled with the idea of going to look to see if the little local computer shop was open, with a view to seeing what mice he may have, but eventually decided not to bother - because I'm pretty sure I have an old cheapo basic mouse in a box at home somewhere . . . straight back home and onto the PC. Managed to find the old basic cheapo mouse I thought I still had, and quickly confirmed it WAS just a dodgy mouse issue. It's awful cheap, nasty and basic, but at least that mouse will see me get back up and running and enable me to get on the web and search for a replacement mouse . . . PCd surfing mice. Eventually took a chance and 'threw away' £7.50 inc postage on an order for a Daffodil WMS328B Wireless Optical Mouse! My first foray into the world of wireless mice. Cheap enough to give it a go, in the full expectation that it'll be junk/last five minutes, and I'll be buying another more expensive and wired one like I've been used to. Shame though. Given how most of the world has gone laptop/tablet and wireless etc these days, I bet there's hardly a home in the country that doesn't have a decent optical multi button wired mouse laying around surplus and unused in the back of a drawer somewhere - and here's me having to spend money on one! Hummmph. . . chatted on the local repeater for a bit when someone visiting the area was asking where to find a beach to take their dog. I just HAD to recommend BGdns and the two adjoining local coves didn't I. lol . . . ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps, banana and a square of chocolate . . napped until the 6:30pm alarm . . . walked up Mums to say goodbye to Sis2 (spending the night travelling by taxi and bus up to Heathrow to get her late morning flight home to the states!) and then carried on to BGdns. Played ball, monitored radios, drank coffee. The local radio club net which I'd intended to listen-in to, appeared not to happen? . A couple of old American 'Willis' jeeps parked up near the gardens for a while, in full WWII type military livery. I'm guessing they 'may' have been involved in a carnival parade which had apparantly taken place in Paignton earlier. . back home around 10pm. . . TVd/guitarred just a little . . .ate a tin of sausages in baked beans, microwaved with some grated cheese followed by some chocolate. . . to bed around 2am.
30 - Up around 7am. 20C in, 15C out. Heavy rain as forecast. .Bella was not in her bed and had taken herself off downstairs again during the night. That filled me with dread. My first waking thought was 'Oh no'! . . WHAT a relief to nervously go downstairs to find everything was in order. I think she just needed a lot of drinking water from her bowl (almost all of it!) , perhaps because of the high salt content in the burger grease? . . checked the online rain radar and then PCd just a bit of this, happy to waste some time and walk a little later, because it looks as though the bulk of the big band of heavy rain is liable to mostly pass through pretty soon. . . walked FGn in raincoat and leggings in what turned into just a bit of light drizzle. Back via the store for a few supplies . . BB called to touch base! . . . PCd this . . chatted on the local repeater for a bit . . .PCd more of this at length, totally wasting away yet another day. :o( . . . ate two ham and mayo finger rolls, crisps and a little chocolate . . napped until the 6:30pm alarm but difficulty waiting . .TVd a bit . . walked BGdns with Sis2. Apparantly still no reoccurence of the intermitant 'fault' with Mums old speakerphone, so maybe it WAS just the batteries. :o) . sat around for ages (saw 'the' dobermans pass by again!), sat around some more on the higher seat drinking my coffee, then all headed home as darkness fell. Back home around 10:15pm . . .TVd . . PCd this until early - struggling a bit!? Something weird going on with the PC!!? I've a horrible feeling, my old Microsoft Intellimouse is on the blink! . . . TVd and ate bowls of rice krispies before to bed around 3am.
29 - Up around 7:35am. 20C in, 16C out. Sunny intervals, showers and a stiff gusty wind . .walked FGn . . showered and got clean before leaving Bella home-alone and setting off for my blood-test appointment at the doctors surgery. Exchanged a few words with the old woman from the house opposite in passing, who confirmed there was only one baby seagull left on her garage roof now, with no sign anywhere of the other. Tragic. :o( . . . the briefest of waits in the doctors waiting room and then in to see the 'nurse' woman, who quickly took a couple of tiny bottles of blood from my right arm. Can't have been in there more than ten minutes in total. . made the most of not having Bella with me for once, and toured the charity shops - ALL of them, including the couple I can't go in with Bella. Found a wired indoor/outdoor digital thermometer in the back of a box of junk in one shop. At first it appeared to be not working, but then after poking and prodding at a couple of buttons, it suddenly appeared to be working ok. It wasn't marked with a price, and when I asked how much it was, the old (out of touch?) woman behind the counter almost apologetically suggested £2. Couldn't say no for that much really could I - although given it isn't a wireless one, and needs the wire to be taken through a wall to the outside somehow, I can't for the life of me think where I can actually use it! lol I'd love to have it up in the PC room, but it just doesn't make sense drilling holes through walls and suchlike. Even if I DID drill through the wall up there, I'd still have a bit of a headache figuring out where to actually position the outdoor sensor. It can't be anywhere where it'll have the sun fall directly on it, so I'd have to start trying to construct some sort of cover on the front of the house!! All FAR too much hassle (especially for something that may well end up not working real soon). . a heavy shower arrived just after I'd bought the thermometer. It appeared to be passing, so I ended up sheltering under a shop front smoking a cigarette for a while before being able to eventually carry on my way and home . . .for most of the rest of the day, the heavy showers just passed on by to fall elsewhere, and we had some good long sunny spells . . TVd a bit, with the sensor from the new thermometer just hanging out of the living room window, trying to get a feel for its accuracy by comparing it to the other(s) I have. Every thermometer I have shows different temps around the place!?? . . . ended up in the radio room for a bit, starting to carefully remove the cheap and nasty plastic silver off the front of the extension speaker I recently got, so it is more just plain black and matching its identical twin (apart from one bearing the 'Tandy' 'Radio Shack' brand, the other 'Realistic'). . chatted locally with E a bit on the radio when I heard him calling, to - um- congratulate him on not being dead! lol Turns out the 'silent key' entry on qrz.com had allegedly come about as a result of a 'computer/system glitch' at the website end, and was nothing at all to do with any actual 'malicious' activity by anyone!? Bizarre. .Ended up inviting E (who HAS popped in once before) and his wife in for a coffee, since they were parked up fairly close and had quite a long drive back home . E&D arrived with a packet of biscuits and jaffa-cakes! . Chats and coffee until around 4:15pm . . finished off de-silvering the speaker and briefly ended up chatting on the radio/local repeater a little more whilst E&D drove home . . ended up too late to nap - which I sorely needed! . . .TVd . . ate a small piece of Mum donated gala pie, crisps and a banana . . . touched base with Sis2 and shortly after, met her at the top of the road and all walked BGdns. They'd returned the hire car during the day - AND the speakerphone bought to replace Mum's old one - which she'd (predictably!) eventually decided she really didn't like!??! A couple of brief light showers passed through whilst we were sat in BGdns. All of a sudden, Sis2 was sat on the seat next to me with a 'sign' cellotaped across her chest!!!????? In big black lettering on the white piece of paper it read, 'I'M HIS SISTER' together with an arrow pointing towards me!! lolololol It was of course for a (much thought through and meticulously prepared in advance!) joke. The reason for the joke was my 'strange behavior' every time I walk the dog with her. For some reason, I always end up feeling 'uncomfortable' when walking with her, lest anyone we bump into (like the regular dog walkers I usually speak to) should think she is a 'girlfriend' or we are 'a couple'!! I always seem to need to go out of my way to tell people she is my SISTER. I AM the VERY single guy with a dog - I just don't want anyone to mistakenly think otherwise, kinda! I've thought about this a lot. I guess I HAVE to admit, that at 'some' pathetic subconscious level, I'm not yet able to mentally fully close the door on the absurdly remote 'possibility' that I theoretically 'could' still yet engage in a 'relationship' with someone, if such a situation were to present itself!!???!!! Utterly ridiculous of course, since I'm UTTERLY beyond ANY such desire or ability. BB WAS my last failed attempt. If any such opportunity was to, or who knows, maybe even has presented itself, I am filled with SUCH dread at the agonising prospect, I have no choice but to VERY quickly put an end to ANY such notion. :o( Sad man. A whole f***ing lifetime! The ultimate failure. . . While still sat on the seat playing ball, 'the' dobermans appeared. Stressful as ever, but they eventually passed by without incident. I think Sis2 (having heard the story of 'the attack') was more uptight than even I was. lol . . sat on the higher seat to drink my coffee after Sis2 had headed back home alone, to get back in time to see a TV show she wanted to catch. . . fed Bella her evening meal mixed with the burger grease from the frying pan, as is my habit soon after whenever I've cooked burgers. She WOOFS that down - and makes eventually cleaning the pan easier for me (especially after I've also let her lick the pan out whenever I'm about to wash it - which isn't 'too' often!). lol :o) . . TVd/guitarred briefly . . . ate just a bag of mum donated jam doughnuts and then a whole pack of E donated jaffa cakes - all dunked and swilled down with coffee, because my mouth was sore and hurting pretty bad again/still/as ever!!!:o( . .TVd . . 'suddenly' to bed, perhaps somewhere around midnight, as I began to fall asleep in my chair in front the TV.
28 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 10am. 22C in, 20C out. Sunny and windy. . .Bella was NOT in her bed in the bay window alcove as has become usual? Uhoh. Oh NO!! She'd pooped on the carpet tiles ALL around the table on the floor of the kitchen!! Well - I guess given the outrageous amount of food she was eventually given throughout yesterday, it shouldn't have been a surprise. I was NOT happy nonetheless! :o( . . 'woke' in the garden, hosing down just short of a dozen carpet tiles, before leaving them spread around the top of the garden in the sun to dry . . PCd a bit of this, recovering with a coffee, leaving Bella shut out in the garden. I needed the space for a bit! In a pretty foul mood. . .walked ChnCove for Bella to swim after her thrown ball (amongst the bathers in the hot sun) before soon heading up into the woods for the long circular walk back. 'Role players' were all dressed up in strange outfits and facepaint etc in the woods, enacting whatever strange battles it is they do. One appeared to be dressed as some sort of 'monster', with huge hairy clawed hands (almost like Edward Scissorhands!). There were a couple of kids with them, but most were 'adults'! Weird - but pleasant and courteous enough, halting their games to allow us to safely pass. Bizarre how Bella didn't in any way seem to register their bizarre behavior and appearance - not the guy who remained laying 'dead' on the ground as we passed, nor the furry/painted clawed 'monster'. lol People are just people to her I guess - weird and crazy always. Hmmm - same to me too I guess. .out of the woods and eventually back down into BGdns for a sit and some more ball play. Bella ended up in a bit of a mutual altercation with another dog also down there playing ball! No harm done, but that didn't do anything to improve my bad mood (with her!). .sat on the higher seat for just a bit to recover from the climb up, but the weather had deteriorated and some light rain fell as we eventually headed back home. Rushed back as fast as I could to retrieve the kitchen carpet tiles which were still out in the back garden (and WOULD have been nicely dry in the sun by now - but for the rain!). . .managed to get the carpet tiles back in and back down on the floor of the kitchen before they got too damp. . drank a glass of red wine. . cooked and ate four quarter pound burgers in buttered bread rolls with barbeque sauce. . slept, without setting the alarm, until around 8:30pm!!! . . more heavy rain showers. Skipped the evening walk again . . TVd . . PCd a little before back to bed around 2am.
27 - Up around 8am. 20C in, 15C out. Cloudy. . .a bit stiff and achey from yesterdays gardening exertions! . . walked FGn while the local coastguard teams were called out to successfully rescue a dog over St Mary's bay way . . . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden briefly, before a couple of drops of passing rain saw me retreat back inside. . PCd a bit of this. I can see tents and marquees all set up in St Mary's park across town, all ready for the Cowtown festivities which are taking place today. What a shame for them that the weather seems to be deteriorating, with more rain forecast for later - and plenty worse for tomorrow. . .Sis2 called to touch base . . around 11:30am the postman delivered the SMA patch lead and extension speaker I'd won on e-bay. Phew - both appear to be ok and what I'd expected. . . Sis2 called in soon after wanting to use the PC to check on her departure bookings and arrangements etc, calling a halt to me trying to get this up to date! . . Mum called in with food donations etc a little while later - complete with Bella's usual pork pie treat. . Chats. The conversation soon centered on Mums phones and a new speakerphone they'd bought the other day, to replace her old 'faulty' one. It'd allegedly started intermitantly not hanging up after a call like it should!? I'd never seen it exhibit the fault, but given that it was in danger of unknowingly running up a big phone bill, I'd simply suggested it was probably broken and in need of replacing. The replacement they'd bought and brought down for me to see (made in China of course), looked cheap(er), but 'good enough' in my opinion. Carefully took it out of its box to have a look at it, assemble all the leads and read through the manual. Turned out it needed a couple of AAA batteries which were NOT included! . at length it was agreed I'd pop back up to Mums with them both, buy some batteries in the local store on the way, and then help set it all up and get it plugged-in and working, etc, etc. . . .walked on ahead with Bella and called in the store to buy a couple of batteries. Turned out the store would not split their packs of batteries, which meant I had absolutely no choice but to buy a pack (<£4) of EIGHT for goodness sake! Infuriating to be forced to buy so many when you only want a couple - in the full knowledge that the remainder will quite likely all be beyond their use-by-date by the time you have a use for them! . . messed around getting the new speakerphone plugged in, in place of her old one. It was pretty quickly obvious that it wasn't 'quite' gonna do the job - mostly because of the absurdly short plug-in lead, which could only 'just' reach the socket behind her hallway telephone table! Tried swapping leads from another phone, but suprisingly it appeared to be wired slightly differently, and simply wouldn't work. With things not working out too well, I turned my attention to her old 'faulty' one. It quickly became apparant, it too had a battery compartment - and Mum confirmed she'd never changed the batteries. Ooooh - could it be it isn't actually faulty and just needs the batteries replacing? Surely not? Opened up the battery compartment and found little tiny labels affixed to the two AA batteries. That was a trick that Dad used to do - attach labels to batteries so you knew when they'd been installed and new when you needed to think about replacing them. Sure enough - in Dads handwriting, they were both dated 2001! Good grief - I'm amazed they were't all leaking. Seemed worth a go at replacing them and seeing if that was the reason for the 'fault'. . Mum found a couple of suitable batteries in her spare batteries collection in the back of a cupboard. It was extremely irritating to also find a couple of AAAs in that collection too - so I'd just gone and bought eight more for nothing. Humph! (I actually bagged three for myself, to replace the ones in my LED torch, which I remembered DO need replacing.). . carefully removed the new phone which Mum was clearly regreting having purchased, and plugged her old one back in, and told her to thoroughly test it over time, to see if the intermitant fault had disappeared. I wasn't optimistic, but you never know, so fingers crossed. . breifly messed around with Mums garden hosepipe (YET again! THAT all needs replacing!) and cut off a worn section before successfully refitting the hoselock connector. During all this nonsense whilst going in and out of her garage, the subject of the long piece of 4"x2" timber left over from doing her fence cropped up. I'd totally forgotten about that long post being in there. It was very much in the way, and was certainly liable to have Mum trip over it, so I said I'd take it home and dump it in my garage, just to get it out of her way. It'll come in useful for something some time maybe. . . it was eventually agreed that Mum and Sis2 would head out in the hire car and go buy fish and chips for us all, and then bring them back to eat at my place (because I didn't want to have to go 'out' to eat). . . headed home with Bella and with the long length of timber over my shoulder. Poked the timber into the rear garden from the back access lane before going back round to let myself in through the front and then back out to manouver the timber into the cover of the garage. . waited around for Mum and Sis2 to arrive with the fish and chips. Like we used to always have when we were kids, I suddenly figured Mum would be happier having some hot plates to put the chips on (to help combat them cooling down on the drive back), so for the first time ever, I put some plates in the oven to be heated up. The prospect of unusualy having multiple hot plates to deal with (rather than just one for me on a tray in front the TV) then prompted me to get all serious with putting an old mum donated table cloth on the dining table, complete with place mats, knives and forks, ketchup, salt, vinegar etc, etc!!! (I NEVER normally 'lay' or use the table like that! lol) It was such a shock to see the table all set up like that - like a 'real' dining table - that I ended up popping out in to the back garden and cutting off one of the red garden roses, and adding that in a glass tumbler as a finishing touch centrepiece to the 'display'. lololololololol . . drank a glass of red wine. Mum and Sis2 soon arrived with the food and seemed suitably impressed with the table. All sat 'up' and ate - lots - me especially. Ate my fish and chips, a good portion of Mums which was too much for her, and even a handful of the extra lot of chips they'd inexplicably bought! Bella ended up eating the huge amount of leftover chips, a token bit of fish, AND a whole jumbo sausage which they'd got for HER!!!! . .TVd and chats for a while. Fitted the trio of new batteries to my LED torch. Wow - good job I did - the old batteries had started to leak already, but luckily not enough to do any damage! How extraordinary that after only a year (or is it maybe nearer three?) they should be leaking like that, whilst those twelve year OLD ones in Mums phone weren't??? Eventually Mum and Sis2 returned home. . .skipped the evening walk. I was just far too tired, FULL of food, and made 'tipsy' by the one glass of wine! . TVd struggling to stay awake lots. . plenty of phone calls back and forth with Mum, trying to test her old phone a bit. So far so good, with no reoccurence of the fault - as yet. . .at some point during the early evening, some local 'idiot' was letting off fireworks for some reason. At THIS time of year! How bloody selfishly thoughtless!!! The two baby seagulls on the garage roof opposite went a bit frantic in fear! On Friday when D was here, the more advanced of those two babies appeared to have taken its first faltering flight, doing barely controlled multiple circuits above the garage roof, round the two big fir trees in their garden, and between all the lethal spaghetti of phone wires spreading out from the nearby telegraph pole, before doing a controlled crash landing back on the garage roof - with the parents and other nearby gulls all loudly calling obvious encouragement. After weeks of watching the parents caring for and feeding those helpless babies, it was a nerve wracking but joyful priveledge to see. As the nearby fireworks started up, it was THAT baby gull who in its panic, had the ability to flutter up onto and across the main roof of the adjoining bungalow, before falling and fluttering down off the other side, disappearing down behind a low hedge next to the road!!!!!!!!!!! That was the last I saw of THAT baby gull. :o( . . .TVd more, monitoring the living room scanner as usual. All of a sudden, someone on 2mtrs called me! Almost fell out of my chair with shock, being called by someone being SUCH a rare event. Ended up feeling obliged to head up onto the radios for a bit (despite feeling 'tipsy' and incapable!). The person who'd called me had done so, to see if I knew anything about another local amateur, E , who I've spoken to on many occasions. Inexplicably some of the personal details on his QRZ.COM webpage had been greyed out, and he was now listed as a 'Silent Key'!!!!!! (An amateur radio term for dead!) . That was a bit of a shock and troubling. I'd only heard him on the air a day or so ago, so it seemed HIGHLY unlikely he actually was dead. The opinion of others in the conversation which followed, was that it was more likely someone had hacked into his account and changed the entry for more malicious reasons, or perhaps for just an in VERY poor taste 'joke'! . Whilst we were talking about it, someone listening who had his phone number, thankfully called him and was ultimately able to confirm that he was all ok, and it was just something he was going to sort out and get to the bottom of in due course. Thank goodness for that. 'Unsettling' nonetheless. . . aimlessly PCd whilst monitoring radios. Somewhere around midnight, the coastguard response teams were called out to look for someone who 'may' have gone over a cliff somewhere. Turned out it was a real local shout - just down in Churston cove! A group of partying people were apparantly camping on the beach, and somewhere around 10:30pm as darkness fell, a 33 year old male had gone off somewhere to get their torches. He didn't return, and it would appear a worried call was eventually made to the police! A police dog handler and the coastguard teams started searching the woods and cliffs of the surrounding area. At length, after an hour or two, the missing guy was located - at his home in Paignton!!! ANOTHER waste of everyones time and money. IDIOTS!!. . . TVd/PCd until well past 4am before eventually to bed.
26 - Up around 8am. 20C in, 16C out. Bright but cloudy to start. . . walked FGn . . mowed both lawns and then used the hedge trimmer to trim all along next doors hedge where it grows through my fence in the front garden. Also cut back up both sides of the garden path which had begun to be largely obstructed by growth. Oh for goodness sake! I cut through the hedge trimmer cable - AGAIN!!?!! It's reached the point that I seem to end up cutting through that cable EVERY time I use the damn thing! Definitely going senile! But for the safety breaker on the fuse box tripping, I really should have died - again! The cut through the cable wasn't far from the connecting block botch I did the last time I cut through it, and as luck would have it, it was on the plug side of the connecting block, so it was a relatively simple job of just transferring the connecting block onto the cut end and throwing away another foot of the cable. It may be that once I get used to the idea of the broken strimmer being unrepairable and fit for the bin, the slightly longer cable from that 'may' be useable as a replacement for the hedgecutter? . .could have done plenty more work on the garden out front, but the heat and full sun soon saw me cave-in and call it quits. Soaked with sweat!! . . dragged a ladder down from atop the pergola and popped up to finally-at last get round to removing the 'short' bit of polyweave wire I've had hanging out of the soffit for ages, which I once temporarily had attached to the PCR1000 for receiving HF before improving things. . trimmed a bit of the remaining hedge above and behind the pergola and then propped the ladder up against the big cherry-blossom tree in a couple of different places, and after tying it to the tree, climbed up and managed to precariously reach out with the secateurs and remove some of the long, newly-grown branches which have started to threaten to come in contact with my wire antennas stretching down the garden . . laboriously cut everything into bag sized chunks . filled a handful of old plastic carrier bags and 'secreted' them in the bottom of the wheelie bin for smuggling out in the next collection. . ended up oh SO hot and dehydrated . . sat around recovering for quite a while, drinking a couple of bottles of water . . ate pilchard sandwiches, crisps and a banana . . napped very poorly for little more than an hour . . D called in with his guitar for chats etc. until gone 10:30pm . . . TVd. The local BBC TV red button text news 'finally' (!) included a report about the guy who died on the hill the other day. 'Brixham father dies from horsefly bite'. . ate just a few biscuits and some chocolate . . to bed around 2am.
25 - Poor broken sleep then up around 8am! 21C in, 18C out. Sunny. Damn - almost forgot - it's Mum's birthday today! . . .walked FGn and then carried on down around the harbor into town for a brief poke around. Bought a card for Mum and a couple of boxes of fudge as just a token gesture. When buying the fudge, the guy in the store was reading this week's local, once a week Herald Express newspaper which had just come out. Oh wow - the headline story was about the guy who died on the hill on Sunday. . . walked straight back up to Mums, stopping to buy the local newspaper along the way. . said happy birthday and all that and then sat in the garden with a coffee having a look at the newspaper article. ( A link to the story on the local newspaper website.) So - he was up there with his daughter and her horses and got bitten by a fly and , just like that, he was gone!!! Good grief. The bizarre details of all that seems to make it all the more tragic. :o( . So it was a good half an hour he was 'down' before the helicopter even arrived (and I became aware of the incident etc). His poor family - the daughter especially! :o( . . . eventually returned home feeling pretty down for no apparant reason. . Ended up just sitting around for ages in front the TV feeling down, fit for nothing and unable to muster the energy to do anything . . . ate corned beef sandwichs with crisps . . napped until 6:30pm . . walked BGdns with coffee and sat around for ages. . . .TVd/guitarred . . ate chocolate and biscuits . . to bed around 2am.
24 - Woken earlier by seagull noise, snoozed on then up around 8:45am! 22C in, 16C out. Low cloud sat atop the hills, and misty damp. Slow getting going. PCd a bit and actually had a quick look at the website for the RNAS Culdrose airday which is on down in Cornwall today. Oh wow - one of the aircraft listed to be on display both in the air and on the ground was a Catalina - so that probably WAS what I saw flying past yesterday. Wish it'd been closer - beautiful old aircraft. . .walked FGn and then back via the store for supplies . . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden . . .did dish washing chores . . monitored radios/PCd, wasting away the day until SH was presumably going to arrive as per his last text/e-mail. . Finally got round to ordering a couple of six pin Mini Din plugs for £2.36 inc postage off e-bay, to enable me to hopefully knock up a fixed level audio-out lead for the FT-897 and get it hooked up to the PC for playing around with receiving/decoding data modes, etc. Also put a bid on a SMA to SMA patch lead listed on e-bay. It wasn't cheap, but it's fairly long, so I figured was worth the money assuming I could cut it in half and make up TWO leads, with a PL259 on the other end of each. One way or another, given all the radios and scanners I have which are SMA female sockets, I could make good use of a couple of such patch leads to enable me to dispense with a few of the adapters and connectors I'm currently having to use in all my spaghetti of aerial connections. Just small £s of 'tweaks' to my setup. Put a bid on for the auction ending later, and left fate to take its course. . .boy - my upper plate is hurting my top right gum like hell again today!! :o( . .somewhere mid afternoon I touched base with SH who STILL hadn't turned up, to find out exactly what his plans were. Damn - I'd been waiting in all day for nothing. Not sure why but I'd somehow got the wrong end of the stick, and he wasn't popping down today after all! Damn - that was a waste of a day then. . toyed with the idea of going out and doing 'something' at least, but the weather appeared to be on the decline and likely to rain, so it was easy not to bother again! . . . ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps and biscuits . . napped . . rain showers so skipped the walk again . . PCd while just listening-in to the local club net. . called someone briefly when their net ended and then somehow ended up chatting locally on the radio on 2mtrs to a couple of different people for hours! . . I'd been umming and ahhing about bidding on an extension speaker I'd spotted earlier on e-bay, and during the conversations the auction was due to end, so I had to make a difficult rushed decision. It was a 'Realistic' one, more or less identical to the other 'Radio Shack' one I recently got (with the morse tutor etc) which has turned out to be SO much better for my dodgy ears than the internal speakers on my radios. Having two 'almost' identical would enable me to have one for the FT-897 and one for the FT-8800. They ARE cheap and plasticy, but the audio they give is SUCH an improvemnt for my ears - I couldn't resist, and despite the rather high price, I figured it was worth it to have a almost matching pair. I put a bid on it, fully expecting to win it, because it WAS quite a bit for what it was. The auctions eventually ended and I'd won both - the SMA ended patch lead for £6.80 inc postage, the extension speaker for £9 inc postage. Like I say - both NOT 'cheap', but I'm content with that because I WANTED them. . some heavy rain . . TVd . . ate bowls of rice krispies before finally to bed around 2am.
23 - Up around 9:45am! 22C in, 20C out. Cloudy . . walked BGdns real late around 10:30am, as the cloud broke and it turned to sunny and uncomfortably hot and humid again. .eventually carried on down around the busy harbour to a particular shop, in search of a replacement black webbing belt for my combat trousers. They only had green, so I didn't bother - although the guy in the store suggested he would get some black ones in, 'sometime'. . stopped in at the doctors surgery and made an appointment for blood to be taken early next week for a blood test . . . eventually back home around midday, overheating and dripping with sweat! . . .recovered from the walk and TVd the news a bit. Still saturation coverage of the birth of the new prince. The union jack is flying on the church tower across town. . . PCd a bit of this. .Oh wow - at 13:35hrs I became aware of an 'unusual' aircraft noise. A large, slow (twin engined I think) propeller driven aircraft passed by in the distance heading south west. Too far off to be sure, but it sure looked a 'bit' like an old catalina flying boat of all things!! Surely not? . . on the news later they had an article about there being an airshow at Culdrose tomorrow, so that probably accounts for 'out of the ordinary' aircraft passing by . . bugger! In the middle of a whole bunch of unsaved typing, at 13:50 the power went off!! It was back on only around five minutes later, but all my typing was of course lost. WHAT a waste of time! . . . PCd this - over again (but with less) - with frequent saves! . . . ate a pack of four tiny faggots, with a large pile of chips while watching the live news channel as Prince William, The Duchess Of Cambridge and their new baby finally left hospital. . . tired and couldn't face walking. Shame, because much babbling on the scanner suggested I'd missed 'something' with the ferries, going on out in the bay, which could have been worthy of a photo or two. Not sure - but I 'think' they may have been bizarrely parading 'gorillas' in a flotilla!!!! A later check of the web found a news article to confirm it:- "The event, to celebrate the 90th birthday of Paignton Zoo, saw nine boats with 26 life-size painted model gorillas on board sailing across Tor Bay. All 12 Greenway Ferry vessels were involved in today's spectacular event. The Greenway Ferry craft plied their normal routes, complete with gorillas on board, during the day before gathering for a mass sailing in the evening.". . . just TVd the night away eating a large amount of chocolate, struggling to stay awake until bed around 1:30am.
22 - Up around 8:45am. 21C in, 19C out. Bright but overcast grey again . . VERY slow getting going! Ended up sat for ages looking at the images I put on here from yesterday, mulling things over lots. Witnessing the end of that incident really REALLY got to me. . . touched base with Sis2 at Mums to see if she wanted to accompany me on the morning walk . . . eventually got out of the house long after 10am with a rucsack, met up with Sis2 up the road and then all headed for FGn in what turned into the sunny, hot and humid. Sat and played ball for a bit before eventually carrying on down town for a look in a couple of charity shops, prior to intending to get a new pair of cheap training shoes. The ones I've repaired on several occasions really have just about had it, with a hole having opened up on one side, constantly letting stones and bits of gravel in to walk on! . Scored a black zip-up hoodless fleece from a charity shop for £4. . . popped into the cheap shoe store and in very quick order, bought myself a pair of black 'five minute' trainers. 'Five minute' trainers, because that's probably about how long they'll last me before breaking! They were only £9.99. . sat around a bit for a couple of smokes and some people watching in the high street while Sis2 went in a shop, before then scoring a little USB webcam and flexi desk-mounted microphone for the PC from another charity shop for £3 the pair! Absurd thing to buy because I really have no particular use for them, but they were just SO small and neat (and tasteful black and chrome) compared to some of the old, OLD, grey plastic stuff I have, I couldn't resist. I suspect they were made for use with a laptop? The actual webcam no bigger than my thumb, is mounted on a miniature ball-mount, and then onto a sort of adjustable plastic clip. SO much smaller and neater than my old one (I never use! lol). Seemingly in a spending mood, I also impulse bought a clip of three new plectrums for the guitar from the same charity shop for 99p. I already have a few plectrums, but they are SO old, they've actually worn away quite a bit and are nowhere near the teardrop shape they should be. Sis2 suggested going for an icecream where she'd apparantly been with Mum the other day, but the store was REALLY crowded and there were lots of people around generally, and I'd had my fill of it, was getting increasingly uptight and just wanted away from the irritatingly 'dawdling' crowds. .took another couple of 'one of you together?' photos on their camera, for a couple of old holidaymakers on the harborside by the Golden Hind. They seemed pleased - which pleased me. :o) I DO feel as though I have spent an entire lifetime being fundamentaly - um - well - 'useless' - and will inevitably now end my days of a similar mind. On occasions it IS nice to feel as though I have been of some little use to someone for something - even if for only that!! . . back via a sit on the grass of FGn to recover from the hot climb up . . eventually back home for coffee and chats with Sis2 for a bit . . . ate a whole pack of Mum donated corned beef slices in two finger rolls with some barbeque sauce, crisps, mini cheddars, banana and a square of chocolate . . napped until 7pm . . shortly after waking, the police helicopter was briefly circling over Berry Head, apparantly engaged with the coastguard in a missing person search I think. (The troops and ILB were soon stood down when the person was found by the police elsewhere) . . . walked BGdns. The Torbay lifeboat had apparantly been out on a shout whilst I slept. It returned across the bay to its mooring from Torquay as I sat playing ball, after having apparantly towed a vessel safely back in. . From the pile of ashes which was all that remained (apart from multiple metal bottle tops littering the grass), it would appear the group of guys from yesterday HAD unwisely had their fire - on the bare concrete roof of the urinal gun emplacement!! Needless to say, that gun emplacement is no longer 'waterproof'. . Played ball and sat around until after sunset before moving to the higher seat for more sitting while drinking my coffee and even having a brief local chat on the handheld VX-7 radio - until all of a sudden I wasn't, when the battery suddenly just died on me. During that chat, I was informed that the royal baby had been delivered - a boy apparantly. Told a couple of people passing by, who seemed all excited and pleased . I'm not particularly interested of course, but I WAS glad to hear that the birth had all turned out well for them all. I know it doesn't really make sense, but I guess I AM probably something of 'royalist' , in terms of appreciating the historical lineage and how the monarchy exists today, etc. In this strange realm which I have been lucky enough to call home, I will likely breath my last - in 'the age of kings'. . . returned home and TVd the news for a bit (as much as I could stomach!) before heading back up onto the radios to hook up with who I'd been talking with earlier, to explain why I'd suddenly disappeared on them mid conversation. Ended up chatting (nonsense) locally for a good few hours until early. . messed around with the little webcam I'd bought earlier. Hmmm. I 'think' it's got a couple of pixels out on the sensor or some such? Looks like a tiny swirl of ballpoint pen on the lense (which won't come off). It irritates ME, but I guess in reality it is actually barely noticeable. The clarity and quality of the image is WAY better than my ancient one - so - definitely worth hanging onto, and easily worth the couple of quid. . . sat in the warm back garden for a bit with a coffee around 2am or later, as VERY distant lightning and barely audible thunder rolled around. . . TVd . . ate a banana and the other half of the almond and cherry cake . . TVd mostly the news until bed at getting on for 4am.
21 - Up around 8:20am. 21C in, 17C out. Bright but overcast grey to start with . .woke at the PC and was sadly exposed to an idiot for breakfast. A 'Gary Warden' character had left TWO comments on the 'A Slow Agonising Death' (Seagull eating a plastic bag) video I have on youtube. "You filmed it.. why didn't you go chase the bird away and clear up the bag?" and a couple of minutes later "I know where you filmed this from.. hardly a million miles away from your comfy car!" As ever, I seem to be emotionally 'wide open' to such comments, and it got me all wound-up and upset to start the day! :o( . . .walked FGn as the sun started to burn through and the temperature began to rise to hot again. . carried on down to the harbor on the return, just to see whatever may have been going on. Nothing much as it turned out, other than plenty of holidaymakers milling around. . Heading home along the main road into town, way off in the distance I saw a baby seagull come flapping down from somewhere and land right in the road. Oh no - OH NO - PLEASE, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't bear it!!!!!!! The seagull just stood there, in the middle of the side of the road up which I was walking. I was far too far away - there was absolutely NOTHING I could do. A coach was heading down the main road towards it. It 'appeared' to be going faster than the speed limit, as everything does down that bit of the main road. It 'may' have slowed a 'little', but if it did at all, it wasn't much. Quite frankly, the coach driver appeared to make absolutely no effort whatsoever to avoid it. At the very last minute, the baby seagull started flapping it's wings to move - but it was too late - and with its wings all spread, in the most sickening way imaginable, in an instant, it was 'folded up', destroyed and disappeared under the front of the coach. I can't tell you how upset I was to have to powerlessly witness such a sickening thing right in front of me like that. Sickened - and angry, angry, ANGRY! (I HAVE become aware of having 'anger management' issues of late!???) I'm not proud to admit it, but as that coach drew near, such was my anger, I tried my best to make eye contact with the driver, and with a 'threatening' unpleasant expression on my face (and possibly some silently mouthed obsenities), I raised my left hand out towards him, and very firmly 'gave him the finger' as he passed!!! :o( I was concentrating on the driver so fixedly, I have no idea if the coach was full of passengers being treated to my outrageous 'welcome to Brixham'!!!!!!!!! . as we carried on and ultimately reached the scene of the 'crime', with just a stomach churning glance, the baby seagul was obviously thankfully VERY definitely VERY dead. . . trudged home, VERY upset. . sat in the garden with a coffee for a bit, increasingly upset and dwelling on - well - the whole morning so far! . whatever I 'may' have done with today, IS cancelled! :o( . . . ended up on the computer monitoring radios and PCing a bit of this . . . somewhere around 1300hrs I became aware of the sound of a not 'too' distant helicopter. Oh wow - in the distance above the hill behind St Marys across town, where both D and I had sat admiring the view last weekend, what appeared to be the 'Helimed' helicopter was circling real low. As I watched, it sank down out of sight behind the ridgeline and obviously landed (strangely seemingly putting up a bunch of black smoke as it did so?). It THEN became apparant that the dots in the distance in the field RIGHT near where we'd sat, were in fact a small group of people. Curiosity got the better of me, and I eventually raced downstairs, grabbed my video camera, and then had a go at zooming-in to try to see what was going on.
-/unfinished/- Even with the camera zoom it was difficult to see what was going on - but there WAS a small number of people up there, with some movement from some, back and forth from the ridgeline. Oh dear - it really did look as though someone was collapsed on the ground!! At some point the helicopter appeared back in the air from the other side of the ridgeline (with black smoke again? Just marker smoke for the LZ? Didn't look like it.) and then moved and carefully landed again, 'just' behind where D and I had sat last week - closer to the 'casualty'. Shortly thereafter, it became apparant that things were VERY serious - and I really probably should have just closed my blind and gone about my business, instead of continuing to watch - but I couldn't. It appeared they were doing CPR on someone layed on the ground! Agonising thing to sit here and watch. The little distant group of figures seemed to be all 'busy' and giving it their best shot for a while, but time dragged on (and who knows how long it took to get a helicopter up there in the first place), and ultimately, everything seemed to slow down and end up being people just stood around a blanket!!! . . ultimately someone (female I believe) appeared to be escorted away from the scene over the ridgeline. Oh my god! Were they just going for a walk up the hill to see the view with their loved one - and then this? And walking home alone!! Oh MYYYYY god!!!!!. . . at length at 14:15hrs the Helicopter (Helimed 'Echo 1 Echo'(?) with three persons on board) took to the air, leaving 'the blanket' behind with a couple of sombre looking figures (one I 'think' was a policeman) standing in attendance!?? . . . . seemed like a long LONG wait with everything pretty much just staying like that. Terrible sad. . . around 15:14hrs an 'estate' car appeared in the field on the ridgeline and slowly drove down to the blanket. The deceased was loaded up into the undertakers car and driven away at 15:20hrs. :o( . . The guy in the shorts and the light shirt who'd appeared very much involved throughout, who appeared to have been making a couple of phone calls on a mobile phone, and who'd stood vigil over the body with the policeman for an hour before helping the undertakers lift it, ultimately 'appeared' to actually be unconnected to the people involved! Once the deceased, undertakers and policeman had left the scene, he went back to his wheelbarrow parked up nearby, and with the help of a red shirted guy who'd (re)joined him, went back to collecting up what appeared to be horse dung from all around the field - as though it was all in a days work!!!!??? . . .Is it wrong to have included what I have here? I think I feel it is. Other than enormous sorrow for the friends and family, and particularly for whoever was up there with the deceased - I'm not sure what I'm feeling right now. :o( -/unfinished/- . . . I need THIS day overwith!!!! . . witnessing all that, REALLY 'got to me' - lots . . sat around for ages, very unsettled and trying to get a handle on things - and continually involuntarily imagining peoples experiences as a result of it. :o( MY relationship with that field and the amazing view up there has been changed forever. In the fullness of time perhaps, for the friends and family of the deceased, it could be THE most amazing place to pilgramage to, to sit in fond rememberance? . . . eventually touched base with Sis2 and then met her up the road with Bella and walked BGdns. A group of drinking young men on the roof of the gun emplacement directly in front of my usual, lower, ball-playing seat, spoiled our sit. Sis2 now seems to get potentially more annoyed than me, by the selfish indifference of such people. Over time, several took it in turns to get up and walk the short distance into the gun emplacement, before re-emerging shortly after. Their own personal public toilet!! Grrrr. :o( If that wasn't bad enough, they had also amassed a huge pile of firewood next to them!!!! Were they really intending to light a fire right there?? How idiotic is THAT! After weeks of hot sun, the entire area was a tinderbox of dry grass! Idiotic MADNESS! . Sis2 seemed well-up for going over and 'having a word' (!!!?!!!), but no way was I prepared to do so. We HAD to soon leave and climb up to one of the higher seats away from them. . . whilst engaging in a hello and a little conversation with a passing dog walker, they commented on how they'd seen a helicopter up on the hill across town earlier, and how their son had taken photos with his mobile phone etc. I guess half of Brixham must have been able to see the distant helicopter - but not the tragic drama 'I' witnessed through my 70x zoom lens. I let them know what the ultimate outcome had been. :o( . . eventually headed home, with threatening clouds massing on the horizon. Detoured back along the way, to knock on someones door (the person who once gave me the spare room bedside cabinet - and whom I frequently chat with in passing) to tell them they'd left the drivers side window on their car open. Aside from the security issue, the forecast WAS for the 'possibilty' of a local thundery shower later. . walked Sis2 to Mums and then just carried on towards home. Just down the road there was a BIG flash of sheet lightening right across the sky towards the south around 9:40pm. The thunder took AGES to arrive, so the storm was probably still over France. . . PCd and touched base with D briefly . . oh wow - the sound of rain on the window cill. Touched base with Mum - and then again, to share the thought that this was the first rain we've had in such a long time, it would be the first rain experienced by most of the new seagull chicks on all the baking hot, dry rooftops. . another flash of lightning later - MUCH closer!!! Perhaps only two seconds between it and the thunder? (A real concern given all my aerials and radio gear - which I did NOT bother to disconnect. I am inclined to perhaps unwisely risk it - because I am SO low down in the valley, with SO many aerials and phone masts and the like all MUCH higher up close by.). . a brief heavy rain shower passed through. Soon became apparant, the local coastguard aerial on Berry Head was out of action for a couple of hours! . . .oh myyyy word - WHAT a day, for the relatives of the deceased on the hill!!! :o( . . . TVd/guitarred . . ate a small slice of gala pie, crisps, mini cheddars, banana and half a cherry and almond cake . TVd/PCd until early before bed.
20 - Woke earlier with seagul noise then up around 7:30am. The two baby seagulls on the garage roof opposite, have now grown enough to be able to precariously and all a flapping, climb up onto the main bungalow roof in pursuit of their parents. 23C in, 19C out and rapidly climbing. Sunny with some breeze again . . . walked FGn. Blimey - that's more than a breeze. Blowing pretty strong. Sat in the shade of the tree on the green it actually felt a bit cold, and I ended up moving back into the sun. The coastguard MSI broadcast suggested the winds were liable to reach gale force 7 on headlands, specifically in Lyme Bay. . . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden . . used a dustpan and brush and carefully swept up the multiple little mounds of soil that the ants had excavated in the garden, mostly from under the paving slabs on the top tier. Amazing that SO much of that fine soil that had been washed in there from the lane by all the winter's rain, had been meticulously dug back out by those little guys. Filled half a bucket with the finest particles of soil!! Gonna hang onto that for a while for when I need to spread some more grass seed around. . did dish washing chores . . vacuumed . . sat around not really able to do anything, not sure if Mum (and Sis2) were going to call in like usual . . ended up having a serious eye watering prod with my fingernails at my top right outer gum, searching for and trying to get hold of the bit of bone that is stuck in there somewhere. Made it all bloody! I got a fingernail onto it, but eventually only managed to get a tiny bit of bone out of my sore gum. A really TINY bit of bone. I'm pretty sure all I managed to do was break off the tip of something larger, which IS still stuck in there! Sadly as a result, I can't even feel whatever is left - it's well submerged in the flesh of the gum - which is now of course VERY sore. :o( . . Mum and Sis2 called in with food donations for chats, etc. All PCd for a bit (looking up favourite old bits of music for Mum/Sis2 on youtube) before then sitting out in the garden chatting with a coffee etc. In the shade of the garden in the strong breeze, we all ended up actually feeling a bit chilly for goodness sake! Sis2s lips actually literally turned blue!?!. . .walked a little early as soon as Mum and Sis2 had left, just to get it over and done with so I had time to get back and get some much needed food inside me . . sat in BGdns playing ball for ages. I was just finishing up, intending to have my coffee on the higher seat when all of a sudden someone vaguely familiar walked up nearby, looked over and asked if I was Terry! Although we've never met, we have spoken on several occasions on teh radio, and I've actually seen photos of him on the local radio amateur club website, so I was able to immediately reply with his name. lol Sat and chatted to DM for a bit, before, as best I could, giving him a bit of a guided tour of the gardens, views of the local coves and then showed him where the Battery Museum was located. . eventually gave him directions towards my house and then briskly walked back, meeting him along the way for the final few directions . . coffee and chats and a quick look at all my radios etc. . . drank a glass of red wine from a new box soon after he'd gone around 10pm ish. Needed food BAD! . Finally cooked and ate two cheeseburgers and chips, long after 11pm . . TVd until to bed around 12:45am.
19 - Up around 8:20am again, with neighbor noise I think. 24C in, 22C out. Sunny, with a LOT more breeze . . . walked FGn late and sat around on the grass in the shade of the tree again. Quite a bit of chop on the waters of the bay from the wind, and it sure made it feel cooler. . . not long returned home when Mum called to say Sis1, her daughter K and her daughter I had driven down early, and were currently down on Churston beach for a bit, and would be all calling in it at Mums later. Damn - if I'd known, I could have just walked that way and met up with them. . ummd and ahhd a bit before deciding to head straight back out with Bella (despite the sun and heat), and head on down to the cove to see if they were all still there. Along the way, the seagul corpse from yesterday was already gone. Blimey - someone nearby had presumably called the council (plenty of playing young kids around where it was) and they'd come and removed it already? That's pretty quick off the mark of the council if that IS what happened. .walked all the way down to the cove and found Sis1 and family WERE still sunbathing on the beach. Breifly stopped to throw Bellas ball into the water for a bit. They'd apparantly already been swimming, and K even went out for another dip whilst we were there. Little I was all off being breathtakingly sociable again, playing with some other children, rockpooling and the like. Amazing to me how she SO easily seems to make friends and do that every time I see her! . didn't hang around in the heat and soon left them to it, and headed back up through the woods with Bella and then the HOT walk back to Mums. .sat around and chatted with Sis2 and mum in the garden for a bit. Mum said the 'seagulls eating the flying ants' thing had actually featured on the local radio station phone-in and local news!! A (later) local newspaper article on the net read thus:- 'Devon drivers have been warned of drunk seagulls after birds have been killed by vehicles in the region. The seagulls are left feeling drunk after eating large amount of flying ants which have arrived early in the county because of the current heatwave, and because of the reaction, will not move out of the way of oncoming vehicles. Dead sea birds have been reported in a number of places, including Paignton, Plymouth, Teignmouth and Ilfracombe. The ants produce formic acid which can "stupefy" the gulls, a biologist has said. Dr Rebecca Nesbit, an entomologist with the Society of Biology told the BBC "That isn't so good for the birds - it could leave them a bit drunk," "Although formic acid can be toxic to birds it is more likely that they are just too hot and full." Across Devon residents have seen the birds acting strangely on the roads. They are reported to have been seen pecking on the tarmac and not moving when cars approached them. Dr Nesbit said if the gulls had consumed sufficient levels of formic acid, it could explain why they were not flying off as vehicles approach. Devon has been described as hot spot for flying ants who have emerged two weeks early because of the heat. Tony Whitehead, spokesman for the RSPB in the South West, said: "I'm not an entomologist, but what I do know is that gulls just love flying ants and as they come out of the ground the birds will feast on them early in the morning and late in the evening." I don't think I believe the 'intoxicated' thing. Far more likely they are just fighting to survive and get a decent meal and full stomach for once. What horror! How many I wonder? What suffering! HORROR! And not a word of criticisism of some of the drivers, who couldn't possibly just slow down or - heaven forbid, actually STOP to avoid them if necessary! :o( . .eventually Sis1 and co. all joined us in the garden, AFTER first having phoned up for 'orders' and then driven down to the harbor to buy fish and chips . . despite the difficulty and pain with my teeth, I managed to eat my cod and chips and a large amount of chips the others didn't want. Biggest feed I've had in a while - and much enjoyed. Bella had LOTS of leftovers - including almost an entire sausage and chips lot!! lol . . . plenty of chats but I inevitably soon became overwhelmed with the need to sleep, and ultimately HAD to head home to immediately nap for a couple of hours. . . walked BGdns. The breeze from earlier had largely disappeared. A warm pleasant evening, late out again. . . TVd . .drank the last almost full glass of wine from the 'not so nice' box . . ate two bananas and some biscuits before taking my false teeth back out. That final sore bit of top right gum is particularly painful and inflamed right now. Daren't attempt to go anywhere near it with probing fingernails looking for the embedded bits of bone! :o( . . .to bed around 1:30am.
18 - Up around 8:20am with the noise from the bin men. 23C in, 22C out. Sunny. . slow getting going. . walked FCove for Bella to swim, and then BGdns for more ball play and sitting in the shade. . back via the local store for bread and milk supplies. Home shortly after 11am with the outside temperature already up over 27C . .headachey. Annadin tablets. . . PCd a bit of this and then ended up chatting locally on the radio until - blimey - mid afternoon already!!! . . . ate a tin of soup with four crusts of buttered bread . . .napped . . .upon waking it appeared that it was something of a 'flying ant day'. Big flocks of seagulls were all noisily circling and swooping in the sky, gorging themselves on the brief bounty. From the little piles of earth you can see ALL over the place (and very much so at the top of my garden), I suspect it's been a good summer for the ants. . . walked BGdns. Almost everywhere you looked along the way, seagulls were waddling around on the ground picking off the ants, often in the middle of the roads. In their desperate fight for survival, eager to make the most of the emerging meal, they were taking much greater chances than they normally do, and were dangerously lingering in the roads as traffic approached, only reluctantly waddling 'just' to one side at the VERY last moment! Agonising to keep on witnessing the near misses. . only a little way along the roads after setting off, a mature seagull was laying in the middle of the road after having obviously been hit. All the traffic coming down the narrow street from both directions kept on suddenly braking and dangerously veering across the road, so as to straddle with their wheels the pile of waving-in-the-breeze wing and feathers! Actually pretty dangerous, so in a bit of a break in the traffic I reluctantly detoured into the middle of the road (with Bella in tow) and quickly picked up the seagull by its neck and rushed it over to lay it on the nearby grass verge. It actually looked 'intact' and in pretty good shape, and was amazingly soft and warm, but it's eye was open and unmoving, so it looked pretty much dead. :o( Wonder if it has young somewhere? If a single parent, they would now be starving to death on some sun baked rooftop! All very upsetting to me. . carried on our way to BGdns, agonising over more seagulls chasing ants and diceing with death all along the way!! Inexplicable to me how many repulsive people simply WILL NOT slow down or make ANY attempt to avoid them!! . . played ball. A couple walking along, stopped atop one of the gun emplacements in front of where we were sat, and the woman took a 'sillouette' picture of her guy with the amazing orange sunset behind him. She then handed him the camera for him to do the same of her. I just can't resist it when I see such things. I sauntered over and offered to take a picture of them both - together. I've done similar for various people quite a bit recently. lol It tickles me that there is a very select little group of people from around the country, who in amongst all the holiday snaps they never look at stored on their hard drive, is one or two taken by me. lolol This couple seemed pleased with the suggestion (some DO refuse) and I took one of them together in front the sun, and then got all arty farty and set up another shot so they were holding hands with the sun and orange light on the sea visible directly between them. Once I'd returned to my seat and they'd reviewed the result they seemed pleased and waved back at me. They then carried on with their walk all a kinda hugging. Slushy. :o) Made me feel all pleased to be useful. .Sat around with coffee etc until after sundown and the bats were circling before eventually heading back. The dead seagull was still laying on the grass verge. I'd found myself hoping it would be gone after having miraculously recovered from just being knocked out!!?! So - it definitely WAS dead. :o( . . .TVd the evening away . . . ate dunked biscuits and a couple of bowls of rice krispies before to bed around 2am.
17 - Up around 7am. 21C in, 16C out. Sunny. The morning outside temperatures I've been recording here are a bit misleading - because of course the temperature has risen every day of late to 'at least' 25C+ during the day, and hasn't been getting back below 20C until well after sundown . . . slow getting going . . walked FGn and sat on the grass in the shade of a tree drinking my coffee. With a bit of a breeze blowing off the bay, it was actually quite pleasantly less than hot sitting there . . recovered from the walk back with another coffee in some shade in the back garden whilst listening to the scanner on the pergola mounted homemade slimjim antenna again. That half finished antenna really does do a suprisingly good job in that location. (Arguably better performance than the tri-band colinear on the front of the house!!???) More than adequate for a bit of monitoring in the garden like that. Briefly popped up onto the radios when overhearing a couple of guys doing some HF signal comparisons via the local repeater. Incredibly hot in the PC room with all the equipment running, so put the fan on again, because that really did work VERY nicely at cooling everything down yesterday with the windows open. Would you believe it - the damned fan promptly broke down and stopped working!!! :o( . . did a couple of loads of laundry and then laboriously dismantled the fan to see if I could find the cause of the breakdown. I'd rather expected to find worn brushes on the motor or some such, but it turned out to be a brushless motor - which I must confess, I'm totally unfamiliar with, and I'm not even sure I understand how such motors work! Messed around with it for ages before eventually mostly reassembling it and plugging it back in. No joy. It intermittantly 'tried' to spin, but mostly didn't - and it started making an unhealthy noise and smelling like it was getting dangerously warm. Damn. After all these years of hanging onto it hardly ever having occasion to use it - JUST when it WOULD be really useful, it gives up on me. :o( Pointless spending any more time messing around with it in my ignorance. 'Harvested' all the washers and nuts and bolts and just dumped all the bits straight in the wheelie bin for landfill - like a typical modern day 'consumer' (outrageous!!!). WHAT a shame. Oh well - one less thing cluttering up the place. Sure could have used it right now though. :o( . . . .ate corned beef sandwiches, crisps, and mini cheddars followed by a square or two of chocolate . . the outside temperature reached a good 27C+ again today. Can't recall the last time the weather was like this for so long. The front lawn especially is pretty much just a parched brown mess already! So much for all that grass seed I put down? . . napped for maybe a couple of hours . . . Sis2 called to touch base and see if I was walking . walked BGdns with Sis2, played ball with Bella and sat around until sundown, before climbing up and sitting for a while longer on the higher seat. That higher seat seemed to be in a bit of a sudden breeze, and it really felt MUCH cooler up there. Even enough to roll my sleeves back down on my shirt. Sis2 used to her North Carolina heat, was actually uncomfortably cold! Back via the clifftop road and FGn, and home just after 10pm. Even with all the doors and windows open (letting in all the moths and small flies!), the temperature inside the house stubbornly remained up around 23C+ all evening! . . TVd . . popped the last antibiotic from the latest, four a day, two week long course. The 'leakage' from the infection on the back of the top of my neck, HAS long since been remedied by those tablets, and I don't think there is anything visible remaining. Nevertheless, 'I' can feel, there is definitely still some itchy irritation in the area, together with a VERY slight 'sensation' of some subcutaneous 'swelling' or 'hardness'. This is very much exactly the same sort of sensation I had after having had the previous course of antibiotics - which ultimately over time of course developed into a re-emergence of the same infection again - albeit in a slightly different location! Suffice it to say, I am NOT hopefull that I have seen the last of this problem!! :o( Whatever the hell is going on there, it sure does seem anti-biotic resistant. Time will tell. Now I'm done with the antibiotics, I guess I 'should' start thinking about booking up that blood test the doctor had suggested - although I'm already absolutely convinced, such a test WON'T reveal anything. . . ate just a tin of sausages in baked beans with a sprinkle of grated cheese and a pack of mini cheddars dumped into the bowl, followed by a banana. . . took my false teeth out and then ended up poking at the outside of my ever-sore top right gum with finger nails and pretty much confirmed I think there IS a bit of bone sticking in (out of!) it somewhere. Try as I did, I could NOT move or dislodge it, and just succeeded in making the whole area more sore and inflamed, and even maybe a bit bloody!! Yep - I'm convinced that's what the problem is. How the hell to resolve it is whole nother matter! On the plus side, the previously sore areas adjacent to the BOTTOM plate, have both rapidly become MUCH less painful since the bits of tooth emerged. Both ulcer sites have rapidly now begun to heal. . . to bed around 1:30am, to sleep (with difficulty) under just a light cotton sheet again.
16 - Up around 7am, woken by seagull noise and then a bout of sneezing! 22C in, 16C out. Sunny. . .PCd a bit of this . . Mum called to touch base and say the local radio station had reported that Prince Charles and Camilla were gonna be in town today! That wasn't publicised much? Had a quick poke at the net and stumbled into someones twitter comment suggesting they'd be in town, down by the Prince William pub alongside the harbour at around 10am. About to get out and walk Bella anyway, I figured I may as well have a bit of a peek in that direction, so pretty soon after, walked FGn. .had a brief sit in the shade under a tree and threw Bellas ball just a bit before continuing on down to the harbor. . given the sun and sweltering heat again, I really didn't want to get all involved with standing in a big crowd of onlookers, so after a bit of a scout about to get a feel for where things were happening, I ended up hanging around near the new ferry pontoon, on completely the opposite side of the harbor, relying on the zoom of my video camera to hopefully be able to get at least a capturable snap for here. Harbourmaster and police launches were busying about the harbor doing 'security' keeping all the boats at a distance, and the ferries had been instructed to turn around in the INNER harbor, so as not to make waves for the boats moored alongside the town pontoon (a day boat and beam trawler along one side, one of the heritage sailing trawlers on the other), which was where the royals were going to be heading. At some point the Torbay lifeboat cruised around from its usual mooring, and also berthed alongside the pontoon behind the heritage trawler. "I hope you've polished your medals" joked the coastguard on the radio. . turned out to be a long hot wait in the full sun (with panting Bella tied to a nearby seat) because it turned out they were arriving at 10:30am. Only minutes before that time, a helicopter appeared in the sky to the west and flew over with its undercarriage already down, presumably heading for a landing site up on Berry Head. . all of a sudden, remarkably soon after, there were a subdued couple of cheers from the throng of people across the harbor, and Prince Charles and Camilla were suddenly walking down the ramp onto the pontoon in the distance. The Prince gentlemanly stopped and waited to help Camilla (carrying a parasol) step off the end of the ramp onto the pontoon. It was a 'stretch' even for the high zoom on my videocamera, and I was shooting directly towards the full sun, but I 'just' managed to get my couple of 'for the record' low resolution screencap. shots for here, before they disappeared behind the moored boats, meeting the crews and assembled whoevers. Soon after that, I was asked to move by a good natured workman, because I was actually standing in an area undergoing more new pontoon railing works. I'd sneeked into the area through a gap in the fence, and the workmen had now re-sealed the gap, so they had to get me out through the gate they were about to close. Ended up having to walk back through the 'working' harbor, where we shouldn't have been at all, and let myself out of the enormous new electrically operated security gate!! That felt 'awkward' and a bit nerveracking. . I'd love to have been able to race up to Berry Head to get some footage of the helicopter taking off, but someone had suggested on the radio they were only here for an hour, so that was pretty much out of the question, and the sun and heat made it doubly so. Didn't bother hanging around any further, and retreated back up to FGn - a brief sit in the shade of a tree to recover from the climb up, and then headed straight home. . breifly touched base with Mum and then PCd a bit of this whilst monitoring radios - concentrating on the air band. Around 11:48am I picked up an aircraft reporting it was overhead Berry Head, talking to Exeter airport radar requesting deconfliction service etc, using the callsign 'Rainbow 1 Romeo'. A quick poke of the net confirmed that WAS Charles and Camilla on their way. 'Rainbow 1 Romeo' is apparantly allegedly the usual callsign of the Royal Household Helicopter Flight - the 'Romeo' part being added when they actually have a member of the royal family on board. . . PCd more of this after having dug out my enormous (ex post office) electric fan, and turned it on max to cool the room, equipment and me down just a bit. . Blimey - I'm getting SO behind with this! For someone who never actually 'does' anything, I seem to have an awful lot of typing to catch up on right now!! WHAT a funny and extraordinary little place this town is. Always 'something' of 'interest' going on, right on your doorstep! . . PCd this at length for ages. As usual, I've ended up leaving a bunch of other stuff out which I had intended to type up, just because I can't be bothered to do all the damned typing. As with all, of no consequence and soon forgotten . . .ate corned beef and mayo sandwiches, crisps mini cheddars and some chocolate . . .napped until around 6:30pm . . . popped up the store for milk and then stopped by Mum's to see Sis2 who had not long arrived. All sat in the garden for coffee and chats. . . TVd/guitarred . . cooked and ate two burgers in buttered bread rolls, followed by half a mum donated golden syrup cake, cut into slices and buttered. That sticky cake was hellish to eat with my dentures! It just continually stuck to them and had them both completely come away in my mouth all the time! Something else I can't really eat any more. :o(. . . TVd until to bed around 1:30am.
15 - Up around 9am. 23C in, 22C out. Sunny. . . walked late, Fishcombe Cove and BGdns for more ball play/swimming and sitting around. Still very warm, but maybe just a little cooler than yesterday, with plenty of haze in the air. . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden, once I'd shed clothes and changed into just shorts. (I NEVER go 'out' wearing shorts. No matter how hot, I just can't feel 'comfortable' going out and about in them.) . . PCd a bit of this monitoring radios. Around 12:30pm a shout was made to the coastguards from the lifeguards on the beach at Dawlish. An elderly woman had fallen unconscious on the beach - but still breathing. An ambulance was tasked to attend, together with the local lifeboat in case they could assist. The 'Heli-med' helicopter was en-route by 12:40pm and landed somewhere near soon after. The casualty was evacuated by 13:10. . . ate a couple of corned beef and garlic-mayo rolls, crisps and a square of chocolate. .left my false teeth out for a bit after having had to take them out anyway to remove all the bits of food that had collected all around and under them as usual. Poked around in my mouth with my tongue quite a bit after I'd done so. I swear that ulcer site on the lower inner left gum of my mouth HAS improved since I found those pieces of 'bone' in it yesterday. It's definitely NOT 'quite' so painfuly sore. I began to increasingly come to the conclusion, that the pieces of bone were NOT from the gala pie, and WERE indeed fragments of the extracted tooth, which had finally made their way out of my gum!! Increasingly convinced of that, my tongue attempted to probe the site of the VERY sore ulcer on the OTHER side. Well I'll be damned! It's hard to be sure just probing with my tongue like that, but it really does feel as though there may be the tip of something hard, protruding from the very middle of THAT ulcer?!!!! . . napped for almost a couple of hours, depite being woken by door to door (broadband) sales people ringing the doorbell but being gone by the time I opened it! Got up around 6pm when woken by them calling AGAIN! Grrrrr. .ended up delaying putting my teeth back in, and had another feel around my mouth with my tongue. It's SO hard to really feel what's going on in there with a tongue. Ended up steeling myself against the pain, and managed to hook my little finger with its long finger nail into my mouth and into the offending ulcerated gum area beneath my tongue on the lower right. Carefully poked and scratched at the sore spot with my finger nail and YES - I eventually concluded there WAS a piece of 'something' hard in the middle of that ulcer!!!!! Recovered from the pain of that examination a bit before getting my fingernail back in there and having a damned good poke and scratch away at the gum flesh as best I could. It took a couple of goes before I finally seemed to locate whatever was actually going on in there, and after some more digging and scratching with my nail, I finally managed to somehow 'hook' the offending article and ultimately drag it out of the flesh of my gum!!!!!! Owwwwwww!! Good greif! I'd pulled a big nasty sharp lump of fragmented tooth, incredibly around 4mm in length, out of the flesh of my gum! Good grief! NO WONDER I'd been in such pain, having that stuck in there all this time, with presumably the plastic plate from the false teeth constantly pressing on and rubbing against the protruding tip of it! With so many people (D) saying I'd just get used to the soreness of the false ones and things would get better, I'd really begun to worry that I WAS just being a pathetic wimp about how much pain I was in all the time. Well - I think that proves that I'm not quite such a wimp about the pain after all doesn't it? Pulling that bit of bone out of there like that, was very much a bit of a eurika moment. Finally I have a better understanding of what may be going on in my mouth. I am now optimisitic that both of those lower plate ulcer sites, may well now gradualy improve and heal - although I have a sneaking suspicion there 'may' well be another MUCH smaller fragment still in the gum on the left. It VERY much does also raise the question as to whether or not I have a similar fragment deeply buried in my top right gum, where I've always had the most pain, and where the dentist ground away a large amount of the plate (too much!!) in an attempt to alleviate it. There's nothing protruding through the flesh in that area, but it sure does feel as though my gum is 'misshapen' in that area, suggestive of a deeply buried fragment distorting the gum. That would really explain why the plate has never seemed to fit in that area, and why it hurts so much whenever I put pressure on it when biting down on stuff. Nothing much I can really do about it, but soldier on with the pain, and wait and see if something comes to the surface over time I guess?!!??? :o( . Anyway - enough of all that. Suffice it to say, I ended up feeling just a little more optimistic about such things. Hopefully MUCH less pain from the bottom plate at least. Time will tell. . touched base with Mum and told her about the teeth revelation . . walked with a coffee after 8pm. Headed down through town for a change, and then sat and listened very breifly to the town band playing under the old fish market roof. I hate to say it, but they really did sound as though they needed - um - a lot more practice! I don't recall them having sounded so off key and embarassingly iffy. . threw Bellas ball into the outer harbor, for her to swim for from one of the slipways along the way to BGdns. .more sitting and ball play until sundown around 9pm, before then heading to the higher seat to drink my coffee and chat a bit with another dog walker. Felt pleasantly just slightly cooler this evening. . . back home after 10pm. Opressively warm in the house still - around 24C, 19+C out. . TVd/guitarred . . . ate a pile of biscuits and bowls of rice krispies before to bed just after 3am.
14 - Woke earlier then up around 7:30am. 22C in, 21C out already. Sunny.Walked BGdns. Threw Bella's ball out in the cove a few times for her to get wet and cool down, before assuming our usual seat (thankfully in the shade at this time of day). Just sat around for ages watching all the boats playing in the bay. A triangular course had been set up marked with big orange marker buoys between Brixham and Paignton, for waterski races later in the day. The marker buoy for the Brixham end of the course was laying directly off Battery Gardens, so it seemed like a shame not to be around to watch some of the spectacle. For some reason from something I'd read somewhere, I'd gotten it in my mind that things were kicking off at around 10am or soon after. That turned out to be wildly innacurate. A couple of guys appeared carrying fold up chairs and what turned out to be a big marquee style fold-up tented roof which they set up, and I got to ask them what time the 'show' was starting. Turned out it was somewhere around midday, so either I returned home and missed it, or settled down for a LONG hot wait!!! What the hell - figured I'd hang around and wait. . ended up returning to the by now VERY crowded little beach on Fishcombe Cove, to dip Bella in the cooling water a few times again before ultimately ending up sat on top of the roof of my favourite lower gun-emplacement vantage point for ages more. LOTS of shoals of fish all jumping out of the waters below. Plenty of sailing yachts moored at the mouth of Fishcombe cove with a grandstand view of the racing course . . as time passed, more and more high powered speed boats began appearing out of the harbor, and more and more people began to arrive to eventually fill the areas of grass and rocks in front of us. All of a sudden, it was a little bit like 'the circus' had come to town. The majority of the crowd seemed to know each other, had non-local (mostly south east?) accents, and were all obviously part of the boat/water-ski racing fraternity and their families. You could almost 'smell' the money!! . . most of the assembling motor boats had enormous outboard engines, but a handful had MUCH louder inboard engines, which really were more the sort of engines you'd find in cars on a dragstrip and the like!! Big, BIG motors. LOUD! A couple of them seemed to make a bit of a show of gunning their engines as they almost dug a hole in the water with their sterns, lifted their bows RIGHT up into the air, and then shot off towards the start across near Paignton. Breathtaking amounts of power - and for towing some daredevil behind on a ski for goodness sake! . . all the boats assembled at the start over by Paignton before putting their skiers in and ultimately ROARING at breakneck speeds back across the bay towards us, after the start. It WAS a spectacle - and the outrageous engine noise and smell of petrol and deisel in the air, WAS rather delicious for anyone watching with a slight tendancy towards being a bit of a 'petrol head'. . busied myself with the camcorder, trying to get the odd few snips of the distant action worthy of a still for here to convey something of the scene. .round and round and back and forth they went at incredible speeds, and then all of a sudden after what 'seemed' like a very short period of time, the assembled crowd of onlookers were all clapping, and that was apparantly that! I've NO idea where the finish was, or how they determined who'd won! lol At length, all the boats and watching people disappeared back into the harbor. . . eventually climbed back up through the trees and headed to sit on my usual high seat for a bit, listening to the radio some more. A 'Pan Pan' call went out from the coastguard. A vessel somewhere over near Mansands/Longsands was in trouble and taking on water!! The occupants were attempting to beach it to save it from sinking!! Nearby vessels apparantly responded to the pan pan and went to attempt to assist. Soon after, the Torbay lifeboat was mobilized for the shout, and exited the harbor right in front of us, and spectacularly raced off across the sunny blue in the direction of Berry Head, putting up something of a 'rooster tail' as it did. . headed home soon after, listening to the scanner along the way. Always poor reception from that direction, but I 'think' the vessel WAS succcessfully beached, passengers from the vessel were taken off by the lifeboat, and ultimately it was hoped the vesssel would be able to be recovered and towed back in somewhere on the next high tide. .didn't get back home from the 'morning walk' until getting on for 3pm! . . TVd . . drank a glass of red wine and ate a small slice of mum donated gala pie, crisps, mini cheddars and then some melting chocolate biscuits . . napped late for a couple of hours AFTER having taken my painful false teeth OUT! . Woke feeling aching, headachey and pretty awful. . D and then Mum called to touch base. I was NOT in the mood to be talking with anyone - despite the (belated?) news from Sis1 that my nephew's partner had given birth to a baby girl a little prematurely a couple of weeks ago! Sis1 had forgotten to let us know! . . . TVd/PCd and just sat around feeling uncomfortably hot - and 'treating myself' to NOT having my false teeth in my ever sore mouth!! . . BB called to touch base around midnight. During the conversation, my tongue became aware of something sticking in my sore ulcerated gum on the inner lower left. Whilst BB was talking, I actually managed to dislodge whatever it was from the centre of the ulcer with my tongue, and then get it out onto the tip of a finger for examination! Turned out to be a couple of small fragments of bone! Huh??? Surely that can't be residue from the gala pie I ate earlier can it? That pie doesn't normally have bits of bone in it? Oh wow - more exploring of that part of my mouth with my tongue began to suggest that those were actually tooth fragments! The sore ulcerated area of gum was feeling immediately just slightly less painful. Oh wow - is that what's been going on in there? Have I been having SO much pain from those plates, because I've got bits of broken tooth 'floating' around in the flesh of the gums trying to get out? Oh wow - is it possible maybe THAT area of soreness will now improve? Who'd have imagined it? Oh wow - I do SO hope so - or WAS it just a bit of gala pie? Time will tell. . . just PCd/TVd the rest of the night away until to bed around dawn again.
13 - Up around 7:15am overheating. 20C in, 17C out and rapidly rising. Sunny, matching the forecast of a VERY hot weekend. What fantasticly perfect weather for 'the Hapnin' for a change. I bet it'll be heaving with people there later. :o( . . walked FGn. Wow - feels real hot out already. Sat in the shade from a tree for just a while before heading back to recover in some shade in the garden. 20C out already, and definitely uncomfortably hotter in the sun . . . PCd a bit of this whilst monitoring busy radios - including a medical evacuation from over Dartmouth way late morning. A 'medivac' helicopter attended from somewhere, but I think wasn't needed in the end. . Definitely a busy weekend for the coastguards from the sound of it! Lots of stuff happening all over the place. .dolphin sighted in the bay again apparantly. .Boy is it hot! Enough of sitting here sweltering doing this! . . . Mum called in for chats with papers and food donations . . . cooked and ate two burgers in buttered rolls with grated cheese, mayo and barbeque sauce . . TVd as the outside temperature reached at least 28C to my knowledge!!!! . . . napped breifly until around 5:30pm . . D soon arrived with his dog, and we all walked straight across town to St Marys park in the stifling heat, and joined the sweltering field of partying families, just as the 'Jefferson Archive' band started playing. Just generally walked around the place for a bit (stressful for me, because I was pretty sure Bella was about to have a poop at any moment - which could have been REAL embarassing if she'd suddenly decided to go amongst all the people sitting on the grass etc!!!) before ending up seeking relief from the heat and noise in some shade on the grass beneath the trees near my 'usual' seat, some little distance away from the main throng of people. D had brought his camera and seemed pretty keen on climbing back up the lanes behind, to the top of the hill with the baywide views, to get a couple of shots. I was less than entirely enthusiastic because of the sweltering heat and arduous climb (and the fact that the band were playing some pretty damned-good, old rock numbers), but we eventually all went for it. Thankfully Bella had a poop along the way, so from then on, it was easier for me to relax. . recovered from the climb up the hill by just sitting on the grass admiring the view for quite a while. Thankfully the horses (probably seeking shelter from the sun near the tree line higher up) left us alone for quite a while. There was a bit of a gentle breeze blowing, and quite a bit of haze in the air, and once we'd recovered from the climb up, it actually didn't feel 'too' hot up there. Gave the dogs a drink of water and even dared to let Bella off her lead briefly for a few short throws of her ball down the slope of the hill. It 'may' have been because there was a bit of a breeze carrying the sound away, but it rather more looked as though the volume from the speaker stacks next to the stage in the distance down below us, had been GREATLY reduced from what it was last night. At times it was even difficult to tell if the band were still playing! Shame from my perspective, because that band seemed to suit my taste in music more than the others which eventually came and went. . . with the horses starting to show an interest in us again, we eventually headed on back down the hill. (Collected up a carrier bag of litter from the lane along the way, and eventually dumped it one of the big skips they had in the park for the event.) . . sat in the shade on my 'usual' seat again with both Bella and 'Trigger' whilst D went off to get us a cup of coffee from one of the food stalls. Funny thing about that seat was, it appeared to have ended up behind where all the emergency services vehicles were mostly parked. For such a small good natured family orientated event (albeit with obviously HUGE levels of alcohol consumption), there appeared to be a remarkably high police presence. Not only were there at least four police cars all parked in front of us there (mostly manned by pairs of PCSOs), but ALSO the big transit van of the police response team was parked not far away - with policemen 'chilling out' in the back of it!! . As they have done before, both the dogs seemed to just mostly ignore each other and seperately go about their own style of doggie business. Given all the crowds of people, running children and deafening noise, it must be said that they were both very well behaved - even Bella (almost)!! . . drank our coffee and whiled away a fair bit of time as a couple more bands did their short sets on stage, before eventually going for another wander around the place, to see the sights there were to see. .One woman in particular was a 'sight to see' worthy of mention! She was not the youngest of women, she was not the prettiest, she was definately not the slimmest(!), but she sure had 'attitude'! In that field full of families and all manner of audience, she was right near the front of the stage dressed in a small frilly bikini, dancing around like I can't describe! She even ended up at one point, layed on her back with her backside high in the air, waving her legs around to the music. God only knows what sights the people sitting on the grass next to her would have been treated to! (I will resist including a photo of her here - of which D seemed to happen to take several! lol) All I can say is - I am in awe of such people. To be SO un self conscious and self confident and have the nerve to dress and act like that in such an environment. Just amazing to me. . Sat around on the grass (just a 'little' off to one side, where it was easier to manage the dogs - and roll cigarettes!) for ages some more, and whiled away the time listening to the music - but also from MY point of view, mostly 'people-watching' (in confusion and wonder!). D occasionally wandered up nearer the stage to take a photo or two, and at one point went off to buy a burger (I sadly dared NOT put any such a thing in MY particularly sore, dry mouth, in public! :o( ), leaving me dog-sitting both dogs! . I could VERY happily have headed home by now, but felt obliged to stay at least late enough to have sight of the final band of the event (Queen II - a Queen tribute band), due on after sundown around 9:30pm or some time thereafter. . as the evening wore on, the crowds increased - and very noticeably became increasingly drunk - but still 'good natured'! The temperature lowered - just slightly as the sun set. As the Queen tribute band started setting up on stage, we ended up stood in front of the stage adjacent to the fences surrounding the sound system mixing desk for a better view. That put us all very much in amongst the increasingly drunken crowd. .all of a sudden, on the grass directly behind where I was coopied down with Bella, there appeared a wallet-like billfold or purse type thing - full of credit cards, a photo or two and who knows what. The last thing I wanted to get involved with there and then, was someones lost property!! I actually just turned my back on it and left it laying there with passing people kinda stepping over it! I left it a while before looking back round, but it was STILL laying there, so I eventually dragged it away from passing peoples feet and just left it laying on the ground near the comparative safety of the mixing desk railing. I pointed it out to D, who shortly after picked it up and walked it over to a group of very drunken dancing women not far off. Turned out it WAS one of theirs, and she seemed VERY drunkenly grateful to D. . with darkness starting to fall, eventually the Queen tribute band appeared on stage. They were probably quite good, and the guy certainly appeared to look like a short Freddy Mercury from a distance, but for ME, they just didn't quite 'work' for some reason. Like them or not, Queen and Freddie Mercury in particular WERE something rather special. This tribute guy could sing, was doing all the moves and all that, but frankly, he didn't quite have the voice to be able to justify all that strutting around and basking in Freddie Mercury's glory. After a couple of their numbers, with the drunken crowd really starting to get into the spirit of the thing and a bit boisterous, I was VERY relieved when D agreed we'd had enough and should start heading back. . . back by around 10:15pm with the outside temperature still up around 21C . . coffee and chats until D left . . . TVd with all the windows and back door open . . ate a little bit of pork pie, crisps, banana - and a whole bar of Mum donated chocolate. It was a special edition strawberries and cream, cream centred chocolate bar or some such. VERY nice. I just couldn't stop eating it until it was all gone in one go!! . . to bed, VERY tired around 1:30am.
12 - Up at almost 9:30am. 19C in, 14C out. Cloudy grey. . slow getting going. Strange conditions on the VHF radio again, with plenty of French stations 'just' audible. One good thing about having slightly improved my morse code receiving skills is being able to de-code repeater morse-code idents under such 'lift' conditions. I was finally able to identify the 'noise' I'd been hearing on the local repeater output frequency of 145.650mhz, was indeed a French repeater. Barely even audible, and only really noticeable because of the increased background noise. . . walked FGn VERY late after having dismantled my watch to take the battery out! . The cloudy sky was rapidly clearing to sunny again. .carried on down town and bought a replacement battery for my watch in the jewellers for £3 . . . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden listening to the scanner before messing around with the watch for ages, fitting the new battery and going through the absurdly laborious 'boot up' type process (once I'd found the instructions of how). . a 'v' formation and one other alongside, of small propeller driven aircraft flew over whilst I was messing around. Intriguing. . after the watch had been hung on the bathroom window handle for quite a while, it finally picked up the radio time signal and set itself up for the correct time and date. Yayy. Maybe there's some use left in the thing yet. Messed around with it for a while more, trying to do a repair to the metal strap (again) using a cut off part of a sewing pin. The last time I did that, the superglue idea didn't really work and the pin pretty soon fell out and disappeared, and I've just been managing to carry on using it without. This time I had a go at trying to solder the pin in place. It didn't really work because the solder predictably wouldn't adhere to the stainless steel of the strap, but somehow, perhaps because of just a slight build up of melted flux where it needed to stick, the pin seemed to end up pretty secure, so maybe it'll do. Anyway, I'm now wearing a watch and know what the time is again for the timebeing. . . washed and hosed down some of the white plastic garden furniture, and then had a go at supergluing the two broken fold up adjustable high backed chairs. Such a shame both of those chairs appear to have become brittle with age and fractured. Their high backs make them SO much more comfortable to sit in than anything else I have in the garden. Spent ages washing and gluing them both before leaving them in the sun to set. A long time later I tried sitting in one and the glued repair immediately gave way, so sadly I think it's time to just accept that they are both fit for the bin. :o( . . . ate a couple of corned beef finger rolls, crisps, banana and chocolate . . . napped until the 6:30pm alarm . . .plenty of distant loud music had me race to the PC to see what may have been going on over St Mary park in the visible distance - 'just' before D arrived with his guitar. Oh wow - turns out it's the 'Brixham Hapnin' this weekend. . . D seemed up for the experience, so we ended up all walking across town to see what there was to see. Very warm! . 'Donated' £2 into a bucket on the park entrance gate, and got a rubber wrist band to allow access (tonight AND tomorrow if desired). Considering the fantastic weather, there weren't a 'huge' number of people there, but it WAS pretty busy with plenty of people all drinking and sitting around the place on the grass etc. . had a brief look at whatever band was currently playing on the stage (just finishing), wandered around a little and then headed to the seat I usually sit on when I go up there. Pretty much the highest seat in the place, and on this occasion, just a welcome little way off from the deafening noise of the stage speaker stacks. Mentioned the neat view from the top of the hill behind us in conversation, and D said he was game to give it a go. . walked and climbed the hill (with a couple of 'breather' stops along the way) and then sat on the grass in the first field near the top of the hill, to enjoy the amazing all encompassing view. It was actually just a little too hazy to be at its best, but D seemed suitably impressed nonetheless. Amazing echos of the LOUD amplified music from the park below were coming back at us from the distant hills, a good few seconds later. Whole sentences from whatever song it was they were singing on stage, would come drifting back from the distant hills during the following music only bit. Hard to describe - extraordinary to experience. .very briefly played with the handheld radio, because it seemed like an obligatory thing to do whilst up there. . despite the pleasantness of sitting up there like that, 'I' remained a bit uptight - because of the big horse, loose just up behind us. I remember being 'mobbed' by a herd of them the last time I went up there with Bella. All of a sudden another horse appeared in the field, and it wasn't long before they both ended up inquisitively making their way over to where we were sat!!! Bella actually didn't go 'too' crazy at all, and hanging onto her lead, I nervously let her have a sniff at the horses. The smaller of the two seemed the calmest and bravest, and it and Bella came nose to nose for some mutual sniffing. . seemed best to get gone while the going was good, so we withdrew from the horses and headed back down the lanes and road to the park . . bought a couple of cups of coffee from one of the many food sellers, and ended up sat on a 'quiet' bit of grass in front of a bunch of police vehicles, a short distance to one side of the stage. Quiet in terms of not so many people nearby - still deafening in terms of the music volume. Easy to get a sore throat just trying to have a conversation. . the next band on stage was MIU, who I'd seen and filmed several times a couple of years ago, when they were just schoolkids. Funny how in only the last couple of years, they now looked almost all growd up. lol With the temperature rapidly dropping as the sun disappeared, it seemed like a good time to leave. .walked straight back home for coffee and chocolate biscuits, occasionaly putting an ear out of the window to see how the final band of the evening which we'd missed sounded. Turned out to be ('The Nightporters') some sort of rockabilly type stuff as far as I could tell, which isn't my scene at all, so content to have missed them. . PCd (https://www.facebook.com/BrixhamHapnin) looked at the scheduled lineup, and briefly poked at the net trying to see what type of bands were on tomorrow. One or two looked promising, with 'The Jefferson Archive' due on around 6:30pm, looking very much more like my cup of tea, with some classic rock etc. D suggested we do it again, so it was agreed he'd pop over again tomorrow with his dog! . . . guitarred just a touch before D left around 10:30pm . . . TVd . . . cooked and ate four sausage sandwiches and some biscuits . . to bed around 1:30am.
11 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 8:30am. 20C in, 12C out. Cloudy and 14mph ENE breezy. A VERY different day! . Bella was eager to use the garden, first thing - big time! As much as she enjoys them, I really don't think she has much of a stomach for bones! She seems to suffer various degrees of 'upset', every time she has one. . . walked FGn in the cool. Back quick, to sit in-wait for my shopping delivery. Returned home around 10:30am to find an ansaphone message from the shopping delivery driver asking if I was in and if he could deliver earlier than my between 11 and 12 delivery slot. Tried ringing him back but only succeeded in getting an ansaphone. Within a minute or two he was parked up outside! . helped unload everything and then spent ages ticking it all off and checking it was all there. All was in order apart from one packet of chocolate biscuits being slightly smaller than what I'd ordered. Irritating but not worth ringing up and quibbling over four biscuits. . touched base with Mum to make sure she was in and then walked up with Bella and the box of soap powder I'd ordered for her . . looked at all the stuff Sis2 had sent and unwrapped the few things she included for me. Sadly, predictably, 'I' would NOT have bought any of it! Certainly wasn't worth all the postage etc! . Bella left on her own out in the by now sunny garden, had been scratching while my back was turned, and had scratched her ear all raw and bloody! :o( . .one of the things Sis2 had included in the box, apparantly bought in a clearance or closing down sale or some such, was a pair of slippers which mum 'may' have been able to use. Trouble was, they still had what appeared to be a substantial electronic store security tag in place! Mum had been trying to remove it but had been unable, and asked if I would have a go. I gave it my best shot with some tools from her garage, but ended up ruining one of the slippers!!! Damn, damn, damn! So - how exactly DO shop lifters so easily get those damned things off? I seem to recall that stores have a special tool. Oh well - it beat me. . . soon returned home in what had rapidly turned into a pretty filthy, short-tempered and angry mood! :o( . . .made myself a cup of coffee intending to just chill out in the garden for a bit, only to find the milk in my fridge had all unexpectedly gone off, three days earlier than the use-by date! Grrr . . . mowed the lawns and de-weeded the garden a little in the heat for a few hours . . left Bella at home and walked to the store with a rucsack for milk potatoes and hot dog rolls . . cooked cumberland sausages and ate four buttered hot dogs with a generous squirt of barbeque sauce on each, followed by a banana. . . napped until the alarm at 6:30pm. Difficulty waking. . . walked BGdns under the blue sky, but with the temperature only around 14C in the shade. .sat around for ages again, but very glad of having worn my hoody as soon as the sun had set. Felt really quite chilly. . Spotted a substantial fire in the trees over by Torquay as we finished playing ball and headed to the top seat for more sitting. Blue flashing lights and a brief mention of it by the coastguard comfirmed the fire brigade were attending. It was soon extinguished. . a boat having lost power several miles from Berry Head, was eventually towed back into the bay (much later) by a landing craft responding to the 'pan pan' . . eventually returned home in the dark, with my bodywarmer all zipped right up and even wearing my fingerless gloves, it was so chilly!! . . did a bit of vacuuming. A bit late for making such noise! . . TVd . .PCd/monitored radios. Bit of a lift on 2mtrs again, with plenty of distant repeaters audible. Very weird conditions actually, with normally strong signals also occasionaly dropping down to almost nothing, and conditions seemingly in a constant state of unpredictable change. . PCd and bumped into an interesting local news article."EMERGENCY services are considering further action after an 'attention seeking' man sparked a full scale cliff rescue involving the helicopter and specialist rope teams. The man, aged in his 30s, called 999 himself to alert emergency services on Tuesday that he had fallen down a cliff at Petitor Point and had suspected spinal injuries. The coastguard helicopter from Portland, two specialist coastguard rope teams, an ambulance, ambulance supervisor, four hazardous response teams from Exeter, police and the Torbay and Teignmouth lifeboat crews were involved in the rescue at 4.30pm on Tuesday. It is believed to have cost thousands in public money with coastguard costs alone topping £2,500. He was also rescued in a cliff fall incident from Petitor last Thursday. Police say they have been talking to mental health crisis services, but could pursue other action." (I think I heard early snippets of that rescue on the radio before I napped). Well - all I can say is - it WASN'T ME!!! lolol Interesting to finally see a £ figure applied to the coastguard costs for such shouts - although I strongly suspect it's wildly innacurate (on the low side?) . . . couldn't face trying to eat anything through my sore mouth, and eventually to bed in the early hours with light in the sky again.
10 - Woken after little more than three hours around 8:15am by neighbour noise. 22C in, 21C out. Sunny. . . walked Fishcombe Cove for Bella to have some swims and then BGdns to sit in the shade for a while. Bit of a north easterly force 4 ish breeze putting some waves on the bay. Much better for the sale boats. . . . Mum called to touch base and say the parcel from Sis2 had been delivered. . . defrosted a bone from the freezer and treated Bella . . PCd and polished off a Sainsburys grocery order. Actually ordered less than usual because I DO seem to be shopping a bit more locally for day to day stuff, and since everything seems to be quite a bit more expensive these days, I don't need to order in such bulk to still acheive the >£100 free delivery amount. Because of the buying stuff locally thing, I also seem to be doing a 'big' shop absurdly infrequently, and run the risk of stuff going out of date etc. The last time I did a 'big' shop ('mostly' all about having the heavy dog-food delivered of course) would appear to be back in December for goodness sake!!!!! Took the risk of NOT phoning up to warn of a 'bulk order' this time - because the last couple of times I have, they seemed to react as though there was no need for the amount I was ordering. I figure if they don't have in stock all I want/need, I'll just do another order pretty quick - and if I have trouble reaching the £100, bump it up with expensive wine supplies and the like (which I AM aware I'm getting through quite a bit of, of late!!!!!). Anyway - order placed - fingers crossed. . . PCd a bit of this. Boy, do I feel a bit woozy from lack of sleep. . . listened-in as the international space station orbited over, around 13.36 BST, in conversation with Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesu, Rome, State of Vatican City!! Not particularly good reception on this occasion, and only caught a brief bit of it . .chatted locally on the repeater for a bit thereafter, before PCing a bit more of this . . ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps, mini cheddars, a banana and a square of chocolate . . napped for a couple of hours . . walked FGn. Sat around drinking my coffee for a bit, but didn't hang around for 'too' long because I wanted to get back for the Horizon show on TV at 9pm. . oh wow - next door has a 'Sale Agreed' sign up already! That was quick!! I wasn't aware of many people looking. Ooooo I wonder who, and what affect it'll have on me (re noise mostly)?!!! . . .Mum called to touch base and say Sis2 is gonna be flying-in to visit for a couple of weeks, next week!!!!!! . . TVd a stack of programs all evening starting with the Horizon show 'The Truth About Personality'. "Michael Mosley travels to the frontiers of genetics and neuroscience to find out about the forces that shape all our personalities - and whether they can be changed."It was somewhat 'satisfying' to me to find that there really was absolutely nothing presented in the program which in ANY way challenged as inaccurate or wrong, the understanding and conclusions etc I have reached over the years. . Followed that up with the reality fly on the wall '24 Hrs in A and E', and the similar 'Life savers', etc. . the news included a report on how the government are setting about privatising the Royal Mail! Well - there we go then. They've been hankering after doing so for decades - they're finally probably gonna succeed in doing so, after having so shamelessly manipulated the prices etc. Just another nail in the country's coffin I reckon. :o( . . . ate bowls of rice krispies . . to bed around 2:30am.
9 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up after 9am! 23C in, 22C out. Sunny. . . walked FGn real late. I succumbed to the heat, and ended up sat on the grass with Bella in the shade of one of the few small trees up there. . . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden . . Mum called to touch base and say she'd been collared for outrageous import duty and handling fees (£18 ish) on some parcel or other Sis2 had apparantly sent. Why oh why oh why does Sis2 keep doing stuff like that?!!! As always, although well meaning, it WILL be mostly a bunch of 'junk' that no one really actually needs or wants. She certainly can't afford the postage it costs, and to then have import fees and the like added on top, it makes not one single bit of sense AT ALL! Crazy crazy crazy. . after a couple of phone calls back and forth, Mum went ahead and phoned up and reluctantly paid the fees (no choice really), and arranged to have it delivered tomorrow . . . PCd and balanced my accounts before starting to think about some online shopping. Didn't finish the task and left it for another time with my 'basket saved'. It IS amazing being able to do all that sort of stuff these days isn't it. I presume people with clever smartphones could do their shopping on them anywhere, anytime - out and about - on the bus/train/ferry/commute home, etc, etc. Amazing. . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate two quarter pound burgers with grated cheese and mayo in buttered rolls followed by a little chocolate . . . napped until 6:30pm . . woke feeling a bit iffy! :o( Skipped the walk. . TVd/guitarred a little . . ate a biscuit and some chocolate . .had a gentle prod at my lower denture with a file and abrasive paper (again!), on the right where it's making one of the two permanent ulcers on the inside of my gums either side of my mouth next to my tongue. I'm still in permanent pain from the damn things, and the upper one slops around and becomes fully dislodged whenever I eat anything, and needs to be constantly held in place with my tongue when trying to do so. Then there's the huge amount of 'debris' that litters my mouth after eating. EVERY time I eat anything, I have to pull the damn things out and rinse them etc! I've never known anyone with false teeth to have all THIS to contend with! It IS 'life changing' miserable. :o( . . TVd until early and then aimlessly PCd much of the night away. . finally to bed after daylight.
8 - Up at 8am. 22C in, 20C out. Sunny. . . walked FGn in the increasing heat, although unlike the last couple of days, there is something of a breeze today putting a bit of a 'chop' and some waves on the waters of the bay . . . did laundry chores . . breifly messed around in the 25C+ PC room doing paperwork and the like. Having all manner of windows open didn't seem to help with cooling the place down at all! This weather IS a bit warmer than I am comfortable with. Bella too for sure . . PCd this for ages . . .ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese rolls and a small pack of mini cheddars . . napped . . brought the VERY dry laundry back in from the line. lol . . the bit of breeze from earlier seems to have died away again. Walked FGn with a coffee around 8pm. Carried on down around the bustling harbour (with the Brixham town band playing under the old covered fish market - all the nearby seats were occupied, so we just carried on) and headed on out towards the breakwater. Bumped into auntie B, her sons wife K and someone else sat with them along the way. Aunti B I recognised immediately of course, but I actually didn't really have a clue who K was - even after she'd cheerily said hello and done the kissy huggy thing. Isn't that awful. Trouble is, true to form, unless I have very regular contact with someone over time, my mind just IMMEDIATELY forgets who they are. VERY embarassing for me. . . threw Bellas ball into the water by the main slipway near the all-weather lifeboat a few times before heading up onto the busy breakwater. . walked to the end of the breakwater past all the many people fishing and walking, before coming back a short distance and sitting on a seat for a while. Watched the sun impressively go down behind the hills behind Paignton. .sat around for quite a while longer (despite Bella's irritating impatience to be on the move) before walking the half mile back to the mainland. There weren't 'that' many people fishing from the breakwater by then, but I still saw easily around 100 mackeral being landed by people! I actually had to turn my head away as I walked past after a while, because I just couldn't stand to witness any more of their suffering. How long before there won't be any left? Awful. :o( . . more ball throwing and swimming for Bella by the lifeboat as we passed. Back around the harbour and then on out alongside the outer harbour and up into BGdns for some more sitting on the higher seat as darkness fell. Sat around for ages, sipping my coffee and watching the view, the circling bats, Bella occasionaly running after rabbits, etc. It was real quiet and absolutely no one else was around. A fantastic evening for me. VERY lucky to have it all - and 'all to myself'. I guess it doesn't get much better than this. If only I could more fully 'really' grasp that and 'feel' it, kinda. . eventually back home at 11pm . . TVd . . . ate a big bowl of the last of the stew followed by some chocolate. . TVd a late and lengthy Channel 4 show all about the Qur'an. 'A groundbreaking documentary by filmmaker Antony Thomas. What does Islam's holiest book actually say about issues such as equality, punishment, peace, other faiths and suicide bombing?' Predictably disturbing - most especially, the apparant 'groundswell' of ever greater intolerant extremism which seems to have increased all over the world during just the last thirty or so years!!!? :o( SO many people heading headlong into mankind's precarious future, facing backwards!?! . . . to bed around 2:30am.
7 - Up at 8:30am. 21C in, 20C out. Sunny. . walked BGdns in the heat, and headed down onto the beach at Fishcombe cove for Bella to cool off and swim out for her thrown ball. Sat on our usual lower seat in the welcome morning shade from the trees. Another absolutely stunning day. Loads of yachts, motorboats, jet skies, canoes/kayaks and ferries all busying around the almost windless bay. Torbay absolutely at its best. . As we sat there, the scanner confirmed that the Coastguard 106 helicopter out of Portland was out on a training flight and was routing around the coast somewhere, and as is their habit when it enters the local area, it passed it's watch off from Portland coastguard to Brixham. Sure enough, I eventually spotted the small dot five miles distant, as it appeared to be flying pretty low following the coastline past Torquay and on around the bay over Paignton and towards us. It disappeared from sight for a while as it closely followed the contor of the coast, but then reappeared coming straight along towards us. Being the latent 'planespotter' geek I am, that seemed like a particularly nice way to start the day - a bit of icing on the cake, having such a 'show' layed on for 'me'. They were VERY low as they continued on, and the winchman was sat at the open side door merrily waving at all the people on the ground as they passed close by (with another crewmember - the winch operator? - sat to his right looking out). As it went overhead and disappeared behind the trees heading straight into the harbor, the staff in the coastguard station obviously spotted them through their windows, coming straight at them, and said 'Coastguard 106, good morning' on the radio. 'Good morning Brixham, nice to see you' was the reply from the helicopter as it passed directly over them. :o) Very cool. I'm guessing it may have tracked up to Dartmouth before eventually circuiting back and reappearing over Goodrington and Paignton and thence all the way back the way it had come, down low and in real close. Everyone all along the coastline for many miles must have had a similar impressive experience to what we had. If nothing else, it struck me as being some good 'PR'. Kinda made you feel - um - 'safe', having them 'watching over' like that. . Relocated to the top of the gun emplacement for a bit more sitting before eventually trudging home in what felt like stifling heat once we were away from the slightly cooler and fresher coast. . .recovered from the walk in the garden for a bit before deciding to have another look at the solar car battery charger business. Managed to poke my finger into the lighter socket and gently very slightly bend the contacts within, and miraculously got the actual cigarette lighter to lock in, heat up and then pop out again like it should. It WAS however wired up in such a way that the key needs to be in the ignition and turned to the accessories position. Damn - that is NO use for connecting the solar panel charger! Because that panel is not waterproof it HAS to live inside the car. To cut a long story short, I had little choice but to cut the cigarette lighter plug off the end of the long cable, feed the cable though the engine bulkhead to the battery, unsolder the crocodile clips from the ends of the uselessly short alternative lead, and solder them back onto the cut ends of the long lead!! I was then able to use the crocodile clips to attach it directly (no in line fuse!!?!!) to the car battery. Potentially a bit iffy - but as long as it does the job and I'm careful, it will hopefully do, and is 'relatively' easily disconnected, undone and removed when I need to. I have NO intention of spending hours more doing a better job of it - especially in this sort of blazing sun and heat! . . . sat in the garden and played guitar just a little before retreating in to just sit around in the less than comfortable heat . .oh ffs - at 12:40 my watch had suddenly stopped working (again)!! So I'm currently without a watch - again! I need to be looking to buy a different one I think. :o( . . . PCd/monitored radios and just wasted away the day, hiding from the sun. . . eventually walked BGdns real late, trying to do so when things were cooler. Didn't leave the house until around 9pm. Even then, the outside thermometer was indicating it was still >20C! Sat around until well after dark. Really quiet and calm out, with remarkably few vessels on the waters of the whole bay, and with barely a breath of wind making the water as smooth as glass. A superb evening. . at some point as darkness was falling, the Coastguard put out a shout asking if any vessels in the vicinity of Paignton pier could assist in locating a small fishing boat which 'the first informant' had reported appeared to have lost power, with the occupants trying to row back to shore. A slow motor cruiser had 'just' arrived across the bay at the mouth of Brixham's outer harbor, but he responded nontheless, and was asked to go all the way back across the bay to potentially assist, if he didn't mind. He was soon 'racing' all the way back across (at his maximum speed of only 8 knots!). Took him a while. Felt real sorry for the guy. Within spitting distance of the casualty vessel, he was informed that someone else had already taken it under tow, and with thanks, he was stood down. He had to come slowly chugging all the way back again - all for nothing. Must have cost him a bit in fuel - and MUST have been a disapointment that he couldn't be the hero of the moment. lol . Eventually back home, still feeling very warm as it approached midnight . . TVd . .drank a glass of red wine and ate a big bowl of stew . . to bed around 2am.
6 - Back up at 9:30am!! 20C in, 19C out. Sunny. Bit of a lift on 2mtrs with plenty of French voices audible in the distance . . .walked FGn real late and sat in the sun and heat. Absolutely cracking summers day. . . recovered from the walk with coffee and more sitting in the back garden, listening on the scanner attached to my homemade slimjim in a plastic tube, loosely clipped to one of the pergola uprights. Overheard the ferry operators reporting the sighting of a lone dolphin off Berry Head. It allegedly had some 'damage' to its head and dorsal fin! :o( . . . Mum called in with the papers and food donations for chats until around 2:30pm . . .ate a bowl of stew with four pieces of bread and butter and a little chocolate . . napped for a couple of hours . . connected the charged battery on the car back up, and started having a gentle diagnostic poke at things. It very quickly became apparant, that the lighter socket wasn't even heating up the lighter - irrelevant of whether or not the key in the ignition made it live! I'm really not prepared to start spending loads of time trying to get to the bottom of it. All I want to be able to do is keep the damned battery from going flat with that solar panel. It DID come with an interchangeable end, which enables the cigarette lighter plug to be removed, and a straight lead with crocodile clips to be connected instead. Trouble with that is, when that change is made, the lead isn't anywhere near long enough to reach the battery - which means I'm gonna have to start cutting off ends and splicing wires etc! Bugger! Gonna have to give that some thought and return to it all some other time. .With the battery fully recharged, the car started up right away. Just ran the engine for a little while where it sat, rather than run it up and down the lane as I had been originally intending. I VERY much need to get some petrol now. That too will have to wait, because I really don't fancy having to lug a container of petrol all the way back from the garage and then start trying to get it into the car in this sort of sun and heat. Aside from anything else, for some crazy reason I've always felt that playing with petrol in blazing sunshine, is somehow increasing the risk of things going 'horribly wrong' in some way. Much happier doing that sort of thing when its a bit cooler and more overcast! lol . . . walked BGdns and sat around for hours. Plenty of motor boats and yachts moored in Fishcombe Cove, noise of partying on Churston beach, and plenty of 'youths' heading that way carrying carrier bags of booze etc. A stunning summers evening. More like the French Riviera than the English. . the first hour(s) of sitting on our usual seat were in the full late sun. Incredibly hot. Even Bella didn't seem to want to bother chasing her ball much at all, and was as content as I to just sit for a bit for a change. . eventually retreated to one of the higher seats to get out of the setting sun. Much chatting with 'the kayak guy' who turned up (who'd been out in his kayak around Berry Head for a couple of hours earlier, and who confirmed there WAS a dolphin out that way, and a crowd of people all watching it from the cliffs). Carried on just sitting, supping my coffee, smoking cigs, listening to the radios and chatting as the sun went down and all the lights around the bay started to twinkle in the dusk. Ended up chatting for ages to a passing guy who'd been fishing from the rocks, whos wife was doing a charity 10 mile night walk in Paignton/Torquay as we spoke. . Eventually back home well after dark after 11pm! Actually got back home feeling less than warm after all that just sitting about, with the outside tmperature having dropped to low double figures C. . TVd. . ate six small sausage rolls, five Mum donated viennese whirls and chocolate . .to bed around 2:30am.
5 - Up at 9am. 20C in, 15C out. Mostly sunny, with lots of hot and sunny forecast for the next few days. . . slow getting going and late walking . . walked FGn with a rucksack in the full hot sun. Was just heading back and threw Bella's ball like normal and - damn - I dropped my Uniden USC230 scanner to the concrete floor!! It hit the floor hard on a bottom corner, and promptly ejected the battery cover and batteries all over the place! Damn!!! :o( Thankfully, apart from a little bit of impact marking to the case plastics on that corner, it appears to still be working and have survived remarkably well. In all the years I've been carrying it (quite literally almost EVERY time I go out anywhere), that's the first time I've dropped it like that. I'd rather not have dropped it of course, but in a funny way, I wasn't 'overly' upset about having done so. I figure I've had my money's worth out of it several times over. There can't have been many sold that have seen SO much, several hours every day, use - for years! It HAS served me VERY well - and thankfully appears to be ready to continue to do so. . . back via the local stores for bulk tobacco supplies (6x50g @ £100.20) and some biscuits, bread and milk etc . . . PCd a bit of this. Lots I should be doing around the place, but it's starting to feel a bit too hot in the full sun outside (and in) to do very much. . It would appear that already, the antibiotics are doing their work (temporarily??!!) on my 'infection' quite nicely again - thank goodness! If only it were as easy to get relief from the trio of permanent gum ulcers in my mouth! :o( . . laid in wait again for the ISS pass at 12:44 BST, but sadly once again, there was nothing but bursts of 'packet' transmissions on 145.825mhz. . PCd more of this nonsense at length. . .been meaning to get round to doing it for AGES - and today I finally did. Dragged the extension lead down from the carport and then took my old (still working - just) upright vacuum cleaner up, and gave the car a bit of a vacuum out. It's been full of debris and bits of fir trees and the like ever since I cut down lots of the stuff in the garden and transported it all to the tip. How many years ago was that now?!!! With the vacuuming done, it was my intention to start the car up and run it for a while, and even go up and down the lane a bit, to make sure it was all still working and nothing had seized, etc. I removed the solar panel from the lighter socket and turned the key in the ignition and - would you f***ing believe it - the battery was flat!!?? WTF? I don't believe it - I spend that money on a solar trickle charger - and have fallen into the habit of neurotically checking it was charging (by means of the flashing red LED on the lighter plug), EVERY time I walk past the car - and as it turns out, all for nothing!!! How INFURIATING! So now I have to start trying to diagnose why it hasn't worked - AND charge the damned car battery again. :o( . VERY hot in the sun up by the car, and I really was NOT in the mood to start having to do all that - and with D coming round later, was all running out of time. I'd bought some mince from the butcher the other day, and had also amassed a load of vegetables with the intention of cooking up a big croc-pot of stew.That mince needed cooking before it started to go off, so I just walked away from the damned car thing and headed for the kitchen to start cooking. .took a good couple of hours doing all the peeling and chopping up of everything, and then the cooking, but eventually ended up with a big pot full of minced beef, potatoes, carrots, peas, mushrooms, onions, garlic salt etc. . left it in the pot on the stove with a lid on to cool down, and figured I had 'just' enough time before D turned up, to direct my attention back to the car battery/solar panel thing. . put my multimeter on the solar panel and confirmed it definitely was putting out a decent voltage. Lifted the bonnet and disconnected the car battery and then tested those leads. Bizarrely, the multimeter only showed a minimal voltage at the battery end. NOT a zero voltage, but certainly so low that no way was it gonna be charging. That suggested the lighter socket in the car was somehow suspect - but why the voltage was NOT zero confused me more than anything else. Running out of time, I figured there was nothing much more I could do other than get the car battery charged up before doing more tests and trying to figure it all out. Got the extension lead set up through the kitchen window and all the way up the garden again, and got the battery on a trickle charge - and left it that way overnight. I DID have the opportunity to briefly discuss things a little with the mechanic next door. Right off the bat, he suggested that most cars these days have the cigarette lighter wired up in such a way, that you have to have the key in the ignition and turned to 'accessory' before it is live. Damn - I hadn't even thought of that! I seem to recall every other car I've had, had a permanantly live lighter socket. IF that is how this car is wired, that would entirely explain why the solar panel hadn't charged the battery. Also - IF it IS wired up like that, then it rather makes a nonsense of the whole lighter socket way of connecting it up. Hmmm? . . . D called in with his guitar for chats, coffee, biscuits etc until around 10:30pm . . TVd/PCd until early . . ate a bowl of stew before finally to bed around 4:30am!!!!!!
4 - Up around 8:20am. 19C in, 16C out, breezy and cloudy with increasing sunny spells . . .popped an antibiotic tablet and walked (VERY breezy) FGn and then carried on down town in search of a piece of thin nylon webbing strap to replace Bella's dog lead 'tie' thingy. . invested 60p in a new D ring type clasp for my belt, although with hindsight, it's a size too small for what I REALLY want to replace the slightly broken old one I once found which I've been carrying on with. . nowhere seemed to stock any of the thin nylon strap I need (and it was difficult going in some of the stores to ask, because I couldn't tie Bella up outside!). BAD news! It's such a silly little thing, but I really am SO lost without it. . poked around at length in a charity shop and yayyy - discovered a 'Sirius' nylon belt/shoulder pouch type thing with a long thin 10mm wide shoulder strap for a mere 50p. That strap will DEFINITELY do the job (after a bit of cutting to length and sewing-on of the clasp and ring ends I use). Phew - thank goodness for that. Actually - that pouch 'may' also even be useful for putting my video camera in, in my pocket (instead of protectively wrapped in an old knitted hat, like I've been using for years) - although it'll make it all a bit too bulky in my bulging bodywarmer pocket for comfort I suspect? . . . recovered from the hot walk home with a coffee while PCing just a bit of this and monitoring radios - but really just wasting away the time until 11:56am when the space station is orbitting over again. Whether or not it'll be sending images again is anyones guess, but I couldn't resist getting all set up to have another go at receiving just in case, this time with audio from the extension speaker socket on the FT897 'roughly' fed into the PC soundcard. . an appalling wast of time again - nothing heard - except plenty of 'packet' activity coming from the ISS, nearby on the band. APRS and 'packet' and all that sort of stuff is NOT something I have any real knowledge or understanding of at all. I DID put in a rediculous amount of time poking around on the net to see if there were any 'easy' downloadable programs for just receiving/decoding 'packet' (Ham Radio Deluxe sadly doesn't do it), but I really didn't understand enough to seem to be able to find any, so eventually just gave up. Enough of all that time-consuming nonsense, methinks. Occasionally bumping into interesting radio stuff like I did the other day, is FAR more interesting and satisfying to me, than actually 'working' at trying to make it happen at a partiuclar time etc. . . withdrew from the radios and set about removing the strap from the little charity shop pouch, and cutting the useless lightweight metal clasps and buckle off. Tried to think outside the box for quite a while, to see if there was any way that I could improve upon it at all, but ultimately concluded it really was just absolutely perfect as it was. One end of the new strap had a small riveted loop already in place, so just to try and save on a bit of the sewing I'd have to do, I dared to simply wind-on a strong spare split keyring loop, rather than use the old solid flat-washer type one from the old strap. After melting the cut end of the new nylon strap, I then set about folding-over and sewing-on the old spring loaded dog-lead type fastener. That took a while. I sewed it on very, VERY securely. It's got to be able to withstand a pulling Bella after all! (The split keyring loop 'may' be a bit underweight for the task - time will tell.) At length, it was job done and I was - well - kinda back 'whole' again. Like I've said - such a silly little thing, but oh SO vital to what we do. VERY pleased to have the 'emergency' sorted - and I've even another half left, for if it wears out again. :o) lolol . . . defrosted some bread for a sandwich, but then suddenly detoured off to play with one of my morse keys!!! As with almost everything I've bought on e-bay auctions, the HK-705 key on a marble base I bought AGES ago, had turned out in time to have a 'fault'. Inexplicably, the coiled 'return spring' had somehow lost its springyness, rendering the thing unuseable and useless. I've LONG been meaning to dismantle it all and see if I could remedy the problem. I really don't even understand how a spring can simply lose its spring over time like that!??? There was no indication it had ever been messed with or replaced with a duff one - and yet it was now stubbornly NOT retaining its correct length or springyness! Just stretching it back into shape did NOT work, and it would soon compress back down to innefectual again!?? Over time, I've seen snippets on various TV shows of people doing metalwork and heating things up to a specific temperature and then quenching them in water and suchlike, to acheive a certain level of flexibilty and toughness from the metal etc. I'd even actually surfed the subject a bit, and watched the odd Youtube video. I'd gotten it into my mind, that I could dismantle the morse key and remove the spring, stretch it slightly, and then heat it up with a blow lamp and 'temper' it, by quenching it in cold water. With nothing to lose, I gave it a go. BIG MISTAKE!! lol Obviously I know NOTHING about metalergy or blacksmithing! Once I'd heated the spring up and then dunked it in some water, I clasped it between my thumb and forefinger, and gently gave a squeeze to see how springy it now was. It promptly disappeared into what can best be described as some sort of ferrous-ore DUST!!!!! It just totally turned to dust and disappeared! Actually made me laugh out loud. Oh well - live and learn. lolol . . managed to modify a bit of a spring from the collection in one of Dads old garage jam jars, to 'kinda' work on the morse key. It doesn't tension as nicely as would be desireable, but it's better than its ever been and it'll 'do' for selling-on some time I think. (The other HK morse keys I now have - the HK-707 and 708, both have a pull DOWN type spring rather than a push up, which seems to be a FAR better design. NOW I better understand!) . . . ate corned beef, grated cheese and mayo sandwiches with crisps . . napped . . . walked BGdns and sat around with coffee and monitoring radios etc for a good couple of hours, with Bella playing ball and chasing rabbits, and me chatting briefly with D across the bay on the VX-7 handie. Didn't get back home until around 9:30pm or later . . . TVd/guitarred . . ate biscuits and two defrosted and then microwaved, sloppy meat and pastry slices . removed my painful dentures and sucked plenty of chocolate . . aimlessly TVd nothing until bed around 4am, with plenty of light in the sky already.
3 - Up around 7:50am. 20C in, 14C out, grey and drizzley . . walked BGdns ('leaking' pretty bad). . recovered from the walk with a coffee and then PCd a bit. . rang up the doctors surgery trying to just get a repeat prescription for antibiotics, but they wouldn't do it without a doctor re-prescribing them, so they said they'd get a doctor to call me this afternoon between two and three. . Put the radios on for a bit of a listen and scan around, and just happened to bump into a 'big' 'drifting' signal on 145.8 mhz around 11:15am. Oh wow - how frustrating is THAT! Turned out it was the passing space station just about to start transmitting an SSTV image!? By the time I realized what was going on and fired up the PCR1000 and the HRD software (I don't 'yet' run a permanent audio feed into the PC from the FT897 for data decoding) , I was 'just' too late to receive and decode any of it apart from its callsign, before the signal dropped out as it headed east on its orbit! Damn - I need to get round to sorting out and wiring up a permanent audio feed (for receive only) from the FT897 (which has the 'better performing' co-linear antenna on the front of the chimney-stack currently attached) for such eventualities! I need to get one of those six pin mini din jacks from somewhere!? . . . pottered around for the next hour or so sorting through all my junk looking for a spare six pin din jack on anything (old PC keyboard/mouse?) but sadly nothing I have laying around will 'quite' do the job . . . got the PCR1000 and the HRD software all setup ready and waiting for the next pass at around 12:45pm (BST). Sure enough, there was the big signal again. It was a nervous agonising wait, since for 'most' of the <ten minute pass it was just sending out a dead carrier. But then - yayyy - after doing a morse-code ident, it started sending an FM SSTV image. YAYYYYYYY - the PCR 1000 connected to my deafest colinear (on the front of the house) and using the Ham Radio Delux Digital Master Software on the PC, actually managed to do a pretty damn good job of receiving and decoding an image (oh SO slowly, line by line!)! How incredible is THAT! . . silly, but as ever, picking up stuff like that gave me something of a buzz (which I 'sorely' needed (oh hardy har!) and was most grateful for!), and I ended up chatting on the local repeater for a bit afterwards, 'encouraging' a couple of others to give it a go on the next pass. . got everything all set up and ready to have another go, and wasted away the next hour or so. While making a coffee, I breifly got distracted and suddenly popped out into the back garden and dug out a trio of pieces of what appears to be self seeded grass from a bit of a border - and relocated them into the front lawn!!!!! The whole of the front 'lawn' is pretty much just big spreading weeds of some sort, and I have it in the back of my mind to ultimately attempt to dig them out and try to return the area to more like grass. I dug a few out the other day when mowing the lawn. Trouble is, when I dig them out, they are all so large and spreading, they leave a big patch of bare eyesore sunken earth behind. As a silly experiment, I 'planted' those individual bits of self seeded grass, in one of those bare earth patches, in the hole left by the root of the weed - just to see if it'll take and make any positive difference. Ultimately, there are SO many of those weeds out there, I'm gonna probably have to spend hours digging them all out some time, and then put down a load more grass seed and scattering of soil from somewhere. Really - a HUGE amount of work, which it's so much easier just not to do . . . the next pass of the ISS was silent (apart from BB calling to touch base right then! - quickly rudely 'dismissed'!!!), so setting everything up and encouraging others to listen was all for nothing! (Embarassing). Bumped into a website 'suggesting' the space station would only be sending such images between 0800 and 1300 'zulu' (but on which dates???), so I guess that accounts for it? . . . delayed calling BB back, in case the doctor was about to call. . whilst playing at the PC/radios for hours, it turned out Bella had been downstairs gnawing herself raw again - like she ONLY ever does, when I'm not actually in her company!!!!!! Damn it all if I don't now very much suspect, that both she AND I have a similar scratchy, itchy, leaky infection thing going on?!??? (- or am I now straying into the world of delusional parasitosis?) I may well have to visit the vet and have an opinion - and hand over wadds of cash of course! :o( At the very least, I suspect she may well be starting to have another battle with fleas (although I haven't seen any anywhere) and given how nothing seemed to work last year, I should probably seriously consider getting one of those hugely expensive vet pescribed flea collars again. I've only relatively recently taken the old one off her, because I assume it is no longer 'active'. . . around 15:10 the doctor called. I quickly explained as best I could, my re-occuring problem, and he promptly agreed to issue a prescription for another course of antibiotics (writing it as we spoke). He ALSO suggested a blood test (because of the re-occurence) - although because of something to do with staff shortages or holidays or sickness or some such, said I should contact the surgery towards the end of the MONTH to make such an appointment!?. . . touched base with BB . . walked down town with Bella and got my ready and waiting pescription from the doctor's surgery, and then popped the few doors down to a chemist to pay the NHS fee and have it made up. Breifly waited outside with Bella, who I'd tied to a bench outside the store. Somewhere along the line while excited Bella was acting up and leaping around like normal, the small bit of nylon webbing strap I've had for years, which I use to tie the handle loop of her lead to things, suddenly snapped!! Oh NO!!! That's a disaster. That's one of those silly little things which is entirely VITAL to how we live our lives. Really! Just a thin 10mm wide bit of nylon webbing around two feet long, with a small metal ring sewn on at one end, and a dog lead type spring loaded metal clasp at the other end. It hangs almost unnoticeable on a metal 'D' clip off my wide, black, combat-style webbing belt. I use it to easily and quickly fasten the looped handle of Bella's soft nylon rope noose lead to my belt when we walk - hence often not having to hold onto her lead (she IS getting better at walking to heal like that - but still too often not!). That fastening her to my belt is useful enough in itself, but that bit of strap is even more useful for actually tying her to things. Given the nature of her lead, without that bit of strap, I would NOT be able to tie her to seats and street furniture etc etc when I go need to go in somewhere shopping and the like. Just a silly little strap - but its absolutely fundamental to making the life we lead, possible. It outlived Sally - Bella's more exciteable nature and pulling etc etc, has put far more wear on it, and I guess it's just finally worn out. Replacing it somehow, is now an URGENT and VITAL necessity!!! :o( . soon carried on our way with my antibiotics . . with great difficulty, and having to take her lead right off in the middle of town to do so (!!!), I managed to get Bella tied uncomfortably tightly to a post, and was then able to dash in to a store or two and shop for a few food supplies . . .walked round the busy harbour and out alongside the outer harbour, heading for BGdns. Breifly threw Bella's ball into the sea a few times from one of the slipways, for her to swim for and cool down a bit. . eventually carried on up the big flight of steps by Astra Zeneca into BGdns and sat and played ball for quite a LONG while. There was quite a stiff breeze blowing, putting a chop on the waters of the bay and with a bit of a chilly edge to it when in the shade, but it was otherwise pleasantly warm, bright and sunny. I felt - 'ok' - and boy did I need a bit of that, after these last few horrendous days of sinking into a VERY despairingly down mood. It was very pleasant sitting there - and I did so for quite a while, trying to 'release' the despair of the last few days, before eventually heading back . . . immediately popped an antibiotic and started the long course of four a day . . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked a couple of pieces of breaded cod, peas and chips, and managed to eat a pretty large meal, despite the pain and difficulty . . touched base with Mum breifly, suggesting conflicting TV schedule choices worth watching . . TVd a stack of different shows all evening, (documentary about guide dogs, Horizon - 'What Makes Us Human', the final episode of the 'weird' drama series 'Dates', fly on the wall '24 Hours In A&E', etc etc) occasionally having a strum on the guitar in between . . . to bed before 1am.
2 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 7:45am. 18C in, 12C out, breezy and rain. .woke at the PC as usual, but attempting to use the e-cigarette to administer some nicotine, rather than my usual three or four (or more!) cigarettes! This is THE 'critical' test for me. Wasn't long before I was pretty convinced that it just wasn't gonna work for me. I really wasn't particularly able to recognise after having used it, ANY noticeable difference to anything I was experiencing in terms of cravings etc. What I'd most particularly hoped, is that it would enable me to alleviate the 'mental confusion' etc, which I seem to get when I start going through nicotine withdrawl these days. It really didn't seem to make any difference in that regard at all as far as I could tell! . . . walked FGn in full weather gear, only to find the rain had pretty much ceased. Felt light headed, distracted, confused and short tempered - in only the way that not smoking makes me (these days)! . back via the store for a few supplies and then back home as the rain breifly returned rather heavier - just to make sure we got nice and soaked by the time we got back . . TVd . . PCd this, and was of course back chain-smoking my usual cigarettes by midday. The 'hit' I got from smoking my first normal cigarette, very much confirmed to me how ineffectual that e-cigarette had been for me. WHAT a shame - and waste of money. Oh well - I HAD to give it a go didn't I. :o( . . PCd this at length until mid afternoon, feeling increasingly miserable again. S**t - I'm gonna HAVE to try to eat - something - again! :o( . ate corned beef and grated cheese sandwiches and crisps . . napped the rest of the afternoon away until around 6:15pm as heavier rain moved in . . .just sat in front the TV all evening hardly moving . . .ate a tin of soup and three (couldn't manage the fourth) crusts of bread and butter. . relieved myself of the constant pain and removed my dentures before sucking a few pieces of chocolate. . to bed just after 2am.
1 - Up around 8:30am. 20C in, 17C out, cloud clearing to sunny . . . walked FGn with a rucksack and then carried on down town. Had a brief look in a couple of charity shops before heading for one of the chemists, to see what they had on their shelves in terms of nicotine replacement tools, for potentially helping people give up smoking - but particularly looking for 'electronic' cigarettes. There's been plenty in he press about them recently, and I've read so many reports online from people saying how good they are, I figured it was high time I invested in one and gave the idea a proper test. The chemist only had one type on its shelves, so I just bit the bullet and bought it. Paid £9.99 for a 'Vapourlites Electronic Cigarette' with one cartomizer included, and another £9.99 for 5 cartomizer refills. If I'm to believe it, each of those refills is allegedly equivalent to approximately 40 normal cigarettes, so says the blurb on the packaging. Still strikes me as pretty damned expensive, even when compared to the outrageous price I now have to pay for tobacco!?. .bought tinned dog food supplies. Only twelve left on the shelf in the little mini co-op supermarket, so I had them all (£6.38) and carried them home on my back . . . PCd/monitored radios. Read up on the e-cigarette, made sure it was fully charged via the PC USB socket, and than had my first suck on the thing. Well, it definitely is NOT like smoking, but I guess there is 'something' of a smoking type experience to inhaling that weird vapour mist. I'm gonna leave it until tomorrow morning before getting serious with 'testing' it. . . TVd. . .painfully ate tuna and mayo sandwiches and a banana . . napped the rest of the afternoon away until around 6:30pm. . . walked BGdns with a coffee - and a particularly sore feeling and uncomfortable mouth - again, as always now. :o( . . . TVd . . drank a glass of red wine . . ate bowls of rice kripsies before bed around 2am.