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<My Diary Archive 2013 My Diary Archive>

- Up before 8am woken by a neighbour's door banging I think. 16C in, 11C out, grey cloud and very damp. . woke at the PC. Oh wow - that's a surprise. I'd put an ebay bid on a pair of rather decent looking second-hand army-style leather lace up boots several days ago. "mens black boots size 10 heel & sole wear minimal" The auction ended early this morning - and I'd won them for a mere £6.19 (including the £4.20 postage - which I strongly suspect won't cover it these days!)! I wonder why no one else bid on them?!? Stuff like that usually goes for WAY more than that? Bet the seller is disappointed. Ebay suggests they actually live locally just over in Paignton, so I couldn't help myself sending them a message via ebay (with my phone number). "I live in Brixham which appears to be relatively local to you. (Sadly 'I' do not have transport.) If you sometimes pass this way and wanted to drop off the boots and keep the postage money, I would of course have no objection." I hope that isn't insulting to them. I would if I were them - save all that aggro packaging them up and going to the post office and all. . . slow getting going and still waking up at the PC, when at around 9:36am I heard an astronaut on the orbitting ISS calling a general CQ on the 145.8mhz downlink!!! I've only heard them do that a small handful of times. Right place at the right time? All swetting and shaking with nerves, I called and called back on my FT-8800 (on maximum power) for the remaining couple of minutes duration of their pass - but all sadly to no avail. Hardly likely I would EVER be able to get back to them just using my chimney mounted vertical colinear antenna (especially since they were on a poor low-signal pass), but well worth a shot nonetheless. Blimey - I could do with having a lie down again now! lolol . . . walked FGn real late and sat and played ball with just a hint of passing rain in the air. . . didn't hang around 'too' long and got back home shortly before 11am. Raced to get the recycling bin out and then sat in-wait for the next ISS pass shortly after 11am. Gave a whole bunch of shouts throughout the 10 minute duration of their within-range orbit, but true to form whenever I try to make things happen like that, I heard not a peep from them. . . a significant 'opening' on 10mtrs yet again. The KQ2H FM repeater located in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York was coming in loud and clear (albeit for ME, with much rapid fading in and out ('QSB')) on 29.62Mhz. Couldn't resist transmitting and testing access into it, and hillariously ended up having a brief chat through it, with two people just along the Dorset coast over Sidmouth way! lolol WHAT a crazy small world! Chatting to people only around 25 miles away across Lyme Bay, by having the signals actually travel around a 6700mile round trip to New York and back!! lololol . . .cooked up a pot of rice and peas to go with a 'sauce' of chopped onion, turkey bits, garlic salt and chicken soup. Ate a bowlfull with four pieces of bread and butter . . . napped . . . TVd/PCd/listened to radios . . . ate biscuits and chocolate. . to bed around 1:30am.
30 - Up just before 8am. 16C in, <11C out, sunny with plenty of shower clouds around . . .walked FGn (in my glued/repaired shoes! Fingers crossed.) and came home with a couple of small stones for the garden . . . PCd a bit of this while monitoring radios and then surfed a bit (ebay etc), and somehow idled away the whole morning and into the afternoon. Sat in-wait for the ISS on a couple of passes, but as usual when I do that, nothing heard of course. . . ate grated cheese and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a banana . . napped until the 7pm alarm. I was apparantly in a deep, deep sleep, and had awful trouble waking, and didn't actually surface until getting on for 8pm after frequent subconscious 'lashing out' at the alarm snooze button!!!? . . . aimlessly TVd/PCd/monitored radios ALL evening, as a gusty rain storm sat over the house . . ate a banana and multiple bowls of rice krispies before to bed at 3am.
29 - Up just before 7am. 16C in, <7C out, sunny . . .walked BGdns in the very damp. Something about the weather had brought all the little midges out again. I'd forgotten how bad they can get sat there. Couldn't hang around there for too long because of the unpleasantness of them, and it was around the time that 'the' dobermans were liable to be up near the top seat, so I ended up aimlessly wandering down through the harbour. Sat on a seat right in town for my smokes and coffee, just kinda watching the world go by for a bit. Grabbed a couple of big cap mushrooms from the grocer before heading home. . . felt totally lacking in energy, and in one of those moods where I just couldn't manage to do ANYTHING at all! :o( . . Aimlessly PCd and ended up surfing e-bay adverts - at length! Put in an absurd amount of time looking at footwear. Everything is SO expensive!?? :o( Ended up searching e-bay, explicitely for any shoes with a 99p start bid that no-one else could possibly want!! (how sad am 'I'!) Ultimately did a couple of last few seconds 'shark' type bids and somehow won two hopefully 'useable' used pairs - from what turned out to be the same seller. A pair of Adidas trainers for £5.99 (inc £5 postage!) and a pair of Vans trainers for £6.04 (inc £5 postage!). I wouldn't have chosen to buy either new, and they'll be no good for out in the rain, but assuming they're ok-ish, for THAT money (charity-shop type prices, despite the postage), I figured they were worth a shot. If both pairs together last longer than just one month, then they'll be better value than those cheap rubbish ones I bought new from the local Shoezone, which only lasted a month. . . damn. I 'just' missed receiving an SSTV image being sent by the International Space Station as it orbitted over. . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate two big pan mushrooms, four slices of bacon and two eggs, with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a little chocolate. . napped until the alarm at 6:30pm. Great trouble waking, and didn't manage it until nearer 7pm!! . . skipped the walk . . TVd . . ended up on the radios chatting locally for ages. The outside temperature on the thermometer sensor poked through the PC room window, dropped to around 5C. Felt pretty chilly around the place. :o( . . . ate a banana, three (gone a bit hard) mini doughnuts, and half a chocolate cake . . TVd until bed after 2am.
28 - Up at 7:30am. 17C in, 13C out, some broken cloud but mostly sunny. I appear to be intact thank goodness. In fact, I'm pretty sure we escaped the worst of it locally. That was definitely NOT as bad here, as the forecast had suggested it could be. WHAT a relief. . . walked BGdns. Reached the lower part of BGdns just in time for a heavy rain shower. Had to take shelter (with another dog walker) in the lower gun emplacement (searchlight bunker actually) for a while, before it passed through and we could sit on the lower seat for ball play as usual. Three smallish cargo ships were sheltering in the bay, with three or four more (bigger?) sheltering further out in Lyme Bay more over Exmouth way. The sheltered waters of the bay were all very nearly windblown dead flat, and relatively calm looking. Further out on the horizon, out of the protection of the Berry Head peninsula, and off into the distance in the direction of Portland, the sea looked plenty rougher. (According to news reports, Portland and the Isle of Wight just along the coast, had seen some of the strongest gusts of wind - plenty stronger than here!) . . eventually sat on one of the higher seats in some sunny spells for my coffee and smokes, before eventually returning home . . Mum called to touch base . . did the mountain of dishwashing chores. . Checked the rainwater drain out back was clear (again), and then swept up a couple of bucketloads of fallen leaves etc, to add to the compost bin. .messed around with the charity-shop 'orthopaedic' shoes I recently bought. They'd failed ALREADY - with the sole/heal of one starting to come away from the leather upper!!! Is EVERYTHING cheap rubbish these days?!!!! Stuffed a load of PVA glue into the gap, and then used a scrap of wood inside the shoe and a big G clamp, to clamp it all back together, in the hope that the glue will hold them together for a while longer, so I can get at least 'some' use out of them and won't have completely thrown away my money!!! :o( . . bad headache. Was just thinking about eating something and trying to nap off my headache, when the neighbour lady from a couple of doors up, appeared at the front door!?? Oh NO - her drains were all blocked, and it was backed-up and all filling the inspection manhole in her garden! That's UPstream from me on the ridiculously narrow sewer pipe which connects ALL the houses in the street, which runs under the patios of all the houses in the rank, and which has blocked at least twice before since 'I've' lived here! Oh NO!!!!!!! Because of the lay of the land and how next doors extension (DOWNstream) has been built, if that all backs up to emerge in MY manhole by the kitchen window, I run the VERY real risk of it flooding my patio area in front of the kitchen window, and because there is nowhere for it to go because of next doors extension, in the worst case scenario, it 'could' actually rise enough to pour in through the air brick into the underfloor space beneath the house, and even into the conservatory/kitchen, etc!!! Raced to get my wellington boots and rubberised raincoat on, and then headed out back to investigate. Retrieved the thick fishermens rubber gloves from the garage and then used a screwdriver to prise-up and eventually lift away, my heavy cast-iron drain-cover by the kitchen window. Suprisingly there was no sign of any blockage - although that was NOT any particular relief, since the last time it blocked it WAS a blockage potentially on MY land, but 'just' a couple of feet upstream, between me and the neighbour!!! Joined the woman next-door-but-one, shifted the concrete slab covering her inspection pit, and sure enough, it WAS all backed up and full of - well - you can imagine!!! Ugggh! We were joined in her garden by another neighbour - HER next door neighbour UPstream. HIS drains and inspection pit was also backed up of course! Soon lifted the drain cover between us in MY upstream neighbours garden, and suprisingly found no sign of a blockage. (The rodding point in HIS drain has been cemented-over for goodness sake!??!) Even emptied a quarter of a dustbin full of rainwater down his drain, and it all appeared to run away down the U-bend like it should. SO - the blockage HAD to be upstream, in the thirty feet or so between his drain cover and hers. Turned out the woman up the road had amazingly actually bought herself a cheap set of drain rods after the last time they all blocked! They were still in their plastic wrapping, unused. Time to christen them? Very VERY nervously had a poke around with one of the rods in the disgusting backed up inspection pit in her garden, and managed to find what appeared to be the submerged sewer outlet. Not wanting to potentially make things worse and get one of the interchangeable rod 'ends' stuck down there, just as an initial 'test', I nervously screwed on all the rods and fed them down the sewer WITHOUT either of 'the claw' or 'rubber plunger' ends attached. The bad news was, I got the whole set screwed together and fed down the drain WITHOUT encountering any blockage, and without having ANY affect on the backed-up mess! In short - we did NOT have enough extension rods (by perhaps only two?) to be able to reach and possibly clear the blockage (apparantly somewhere under my upstream neighbours patio)! Around this point, it was suggested that the lady neighbour should telephone the water company - especially since 'I' was CERTAIN that the water company WERE NOW responsible for that run of sewer pipe (as per a change in the law and responsibilities of the company, and a notification to that affect which I had been overjoyed to receive in the mail a couple of years ago!) . whilst the lady neighbour disappeared to make the phone call, I dared to withdraw all the rods and attach the rubber plunger end, and then feed the whole lot back down, in the desperate hope that the bung pushing against the blocked 'column of water', would cause hydraulic pressure to maybe dislodge whatever was causing the block!!! Sadly it did NOT work! :o( Pulling it all back out afterwards DID however, reveal potentially something of why the damned drain was blocked. VERY unpleasant 'stuff' wrapped around the rubber plunger end!!! Must be some f***ing idiots in this street flushing all manner of TOTALLY 'inappropriate stuff' down their toilets (e.g. stiff nylon shafted, 'Johnsons' type, double ended cotton bud sticks!! IDIOTS!)!!!!!!!!! Eeeewwww, Eeeewwww, Eeeewwww!!!!!!!! So - that was pretty much that. Nothing else I could reasonably do. The woman neighbour eventually reappeared and confirmed that the water company allegedly would be sending someone out today. Dismantled all her drain rods, and just left them laying on the grass of her garden, for the rain to eventually 'wash them off'! Eeeeeww! Put all the drain covers back in place and eventually called it quits and returned home, just as a rain shower passed through. Yikes - that'll be MORE water backing up!!!! . . . made a coffee and then headed up to the PC room, to search through all my paperwork, looking for the communication I had a couple of years ago, about how the water company was going to now be responsible for that stretch of sewer pipe. I found it and then raced up to let the lady neighbour briefly read it. (She WOULD have received one too, but didn't seem to know about it. Perhaps 'I' was more aware of the (£s) significance and importance of it than anyone else?) Turns out it IS all of course, online nowadays. Private Sewer Transfer - YouTube Video! . SO - 'we' should NOT be billed for anything related to THAT section of the totally inadequate and blocking shared sewer run! . . eventually returned home to discover that whilst I'd been messing around in the neighbours drains, Bella had been at home scratching at one of her ears!!!!! The whole area in and around her right ear, was a big wetted, scratched, bloody mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STUPID dog! Oh FFS!!!!! WHAT a day this has turned into! Washed and messed with Bella's ears as best I could out in the conservatory, and then in desperation, applied some old vets ear drops. :o( . . . PCd this, frequently getting up to peer out of the window and up the road, hoping to see a water company van. 5pm and still no sign of anyone!!! What with everyone 'upstream' coming home from work and inevitably using all their utilities, and with the threat of yet more passing heavy showers - with all of that all building-up and going nowhere - things could VERY soon end up being VERY nasty for us all!!!!! <worry> I haven't done so, because I'm sick and tired of me being in the middle of things all the time, but I'm REALLY having to fight the desire to go and knock on ALL the doors of the houses 'upstream' (which and how far afield, I know not!??), and tell them what's going on and ask them NOT to flush their toilets for the forseeable future etc, etc, etc!!!! What a day THIS has turned into - and on top of all that, my internet connection is ALSO currently down! Grrr. :o( . . .6pm, all dark outside now, and still no sign of any drain people up the road! At least I just managed to briefly get online . . . popped ANOTHER annadin tablet and then walked BGdns in a wooly hat and gloves. Some good starry spells between the shower clouds, but noticeably colder than of late. A bunch of youths were partying in one of the lower gun emplacements! . . . called at the lady neighbour's up the road on the way back in a shower of rain, to find out what was going on with the sewer blockage. It'd REALLY been worrying me. Turned out the water company guy had turned up around 7:30pm. He'd quickly rodded and cleared the blockage (and took photos, she said. WHAT a way to earn a living!! I hope he is paid well - but I doubt it.). He also allegedly said that they would return some time, to investigate the reoccuring problem and 'camera' the pipe etc. EXCELLENT. Just what I wanted to hear. :o) . . TVd . . BB called to touch base . . . ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of ham sandwiches, crisps, banana, and a little chocolate . . to bed at midnight.
27 - One more day, one more year. Up at 7:30am. 17C in, 14C out, broken cloud with a bit of sun to start with. Windy of course! . .slow getting going. Poked at the PC, mostly looking at weather forecasts and the like. Forecasts at the moment are suggesting the big storm with the 'hurricane' winds will arrive around midnight. :o( <worry> . . poked at the HF radio for a bit (still mayhem on all the bands with people calling 'CQ Contest'). Had to go on-line to look up what the contest was, and what the contest exchange was, before I could potentially engage in calling back to anyone. Turned out to be the 'CQ WW DX Contest. CONTEST EXCHANGE: SSB: RS report plus CQ Zone number of the station location.' All well and good, but I didn't have a clue what my CQ zone number was??!! lol Further searching revealed the UK was apparantly in zone 14. Actually found a couple of Japanese stations calling on 10mtrs, and gave them a few calls, but sadly to no avail. Given the limitations of my location and modest antennas, etc, etc, I was more than happy just to have been able to even hear them! lolol I'd really begun to think, that side of the world was always going to be a complete blank to me. . changed a couple of my non-automatic clocks - and had to find some 'altitude' for my main radio controlled one from the living room, which did NOT update as it should have. walked BGdns. Windy, but not too bad at all, on our usual sheltered lower ball playing seat. The waters of the bay were pretty much just blown flat as usual, with some good sunny spells. Strangely, there was a single swan floating about some distance off-shore from BGdns and the end of the breakwater? Much breezier on the higher seat. Wow - the 10:10am coastguard Maritime Safety Information broadcast is NOW saying to expect 'up to severe storm-force 11 later'!!! I really don't recall EVER having heard THAT before, since I've lived here and been listening-in! . Didn't hang around for 'too' long. Just leaving BGdns, the full strength of the gusts of wind was evident. The strength of it briefly stopped me in my tracks, and the big tree limbs all around and overhead, blowing around all over the place, were something of a genuine danger/worry! . Glad to get back home out of it - and this is nothing compared to what is forecast for later!! :o( . . .recovered from the walk with a coffee in front the TV. Opened the birthday card Mum had left for me yesterday (complete with yet another £100 cash spending money gift enclosed!!!!) , and then looked through all the stuff she brought down that Sis2 had left for me earlier in the year. A whole bunch of socks, long sleeved T-shirt, zipped hoodie, zipped jacket/hoodie thing. Unusually for stuff from Sis2, despite the couple of 'undesireable' 'left-handed' zips, I DO think I'll probably be able to make use of ALL of it! For during the cold weather, just sitting around the house if nothing else. Definitely a success for once. :o). . . some of the new neighbor's washing had blown off their line and was laying in my back garden (as so often, because their line is poorly positioned near the fence. Crazy putting washing out in THIS wind!? ). I was just gonna go and retrieve it, when the guy next door appeared out there reaching through the fence and beat me to it. That gave me the opportunity to use it as an excuse and rush out and have a few words - and raise the issue of the PLTs and the fact that I've NOT had any interference from them for days. He'd apparantly 'moved things around' and hadn't been using them, and said something along the lines of intending to ultimately get an electrician in to put in some wires etc. I did my best at saying how I'd NOT been getting any interference of late, and how great it had been, and how grateful I was to him. That all made me feel MUCH happier about the whole sorry business. Phew. :o) . . . touched base with Mum . . PCd this around 11:30am. The met office website is reporting local 43mph gusts ALREADY!! . . . a coastguard shout started up around 12:30pm over Seaton way (out of my range). The Portland helicopter Rescue 106 and a local lifeboat were sent to the aid of a swimmer/surfer in difficulty. Given the current weather forecast and conditions - what a f***ing idiot? Soon fished out of the water, by the helicopter I think - upright and talking, but having swallowed some sea - flown to Dorchester A&E to be checked over. Under the circumstances, I reckon they should bill him!!! . . . so - dare I engage in my time honoured Birthday activity of having a 'drink' etc, and turning off the phones and 'reflecting' and getting a bit 'wrecked' throughout the evening (with just a 'bit' less 'guilt' than any other day - because it's my Birthday and I'm 'allowed to' this day!), or must I abstain and stay 'straight', in case the 'hurricane' later demands I have to suddenly leap out and try to deal with something nasty? Damn. :o( . . .ate two corned beef, mayo and grated cheese baps, crisps and a couple of mini doughnuts. . napped until the 6:30pm alarm . . . TVd/guitarred . . briefly chatted locally on VHF when called, despite being a bit 'under the influence'! . .TVd nothing/guitarred . .heavy rain . . ate half a Mum donated chocolate cake whilst watching an episode of Dads Army on the Iplayer. A classic episode - the one where a bomb drops into the bank vault and Captain Mainwairing and Sergeant Wilson end up sitting there with it in their laps. As always, for me, the whole show was ALL about the Mainwairing character and the wonderful delicious character acting from Arthur Lowe. Some laughing out loud. Brilliant stuff. . . cooked and ate two quarter pound burgers in baps. . TVd as the storm arrived in earnest around midnight. Good 50mph gusts at midnight. A local peak gust on Berry Head of around 65mph I think . .it was of course pretty worrying listening to the howling coming down the chimney, and all the associated creaks and groans of the windows and house structure generally, but overall, I'm pretty sure I've experienced worse since living here . . to bed around 2am after the worst of the storm seemed to have blown through already.
26 - Woke an hour earlier, snoozed on then up around 9am. 18C in, 15C out cloudy. Very slow getting going . . .walked BGdns. The local MSI broadcast was talking about an incoming 'severe storm-force 10'!!! That's a new one on me!! <worry> :o(. . Back via the store for milk and bread . . . dismantled and cleaned the four gang extension lead I had out of someones recycling bin the other night. The plug on the end of the lead turned out to be slightly damaged and wrapped in insulation tape, so I ditched that and fitted one of my spares. Other than that, there's nothing at all wrong with it. . . Mum called in with a huge heavy bag of 'stuff' ! Crazy old woman! Even 'I' wouldn't have tried to carry all that heavy lot down!! It was apparantly a bunch of stuff Sis2 had brought over for me the last time she visited earlier in the year - to be kept until my birthday. Oh dear - she shouldn't have (and 'I' have long since given up observing or ever giving anyone anything, whether it be birthdays, Xmas or anything else)!! I am 'conceptualy' grateful of course, but Sis2 does NOT have a good track record at giving me stuff which is of ANY use!! Left it all for 'opening' on my birthday tomorrow. . .ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese finger rolls, crisps, mini cheddars and a little chocolate . . .napped until the 6:30pm alarm, but deeply asleep, and trouble waking. Finally managed to rouse myself around 6:50pm! . . skipped the walk again. Another good call - started pouring with rain in the strong wind soon after. . . aimlessly TVd . . ended up on the PC/radios for a bit, listening around HF. Plenty of shouting all over the place with some contest or other going on, so ended up looking for some slow morse to practice receiving with for a while (I am STILL poor at it, despite occasional practicing! :o(). . PCd a bit of this. A clutch of ships sheltering in the bay according to the AIS. Gusts over 30mph . . .briefly chatted on the local repeater . . BB called to touch base. Chatted to BB for ages until early as the storm seemed to eventually slacken off and pass through. At some point during that long conversation, according to what Mum tells me, fifty two years ago - I was being born! Just a 'rehearsal' for the big one tomorrow? . . briefly listened around on the HF radio a bit more before finally to bed somewhere around 4am or later. The clocks changed back an hour to UTC tonight.
25 - Up with the alarm at 7:30am. 17C in, 14C out, cloudy and windy, but not raining at least. . . walked FGn . . . left Bella home alone and walked to the dentist for THIS week's 10:45am appointment. A short wait and then in for yet another green-goo mould of my upper teeth, a brief bite down on a warmed wax former for the new upper set, 'to get the bite right' - and that was that . . predictably back home to find Bella had gnawed her back-end raw again! :o( Interestingly and unusually, she was actually upstairs when I returned, and didn't seem to be aware I was returning until I'd actually entered the front door?. . PCd this. Wow - the AIS shows that the tall sailing ship 'Stavros S Niarchos' which was sheltering in the bay the other day, sailed around Lands End and headed up the North Cornwall/Devon coast during the night and early hours of the morning! That must have been quite a scary ride (for the thirty or so, on-board) in that weather, surely? Rather them than me! Scares me enough being on dry land in weather like that, worrying about my aerials and potential structural damage to the house, etc. One 'significant' little bit of structural damage (not covered by insurance through their usual getout clause of 'it's wear and tear and not covered'), and financially I'd be ruined. :o( . .Mum called to touch base and question me as to whether or not any of my account details had recently changed, as a result of my bank account switch. (They haven't.) Yayy - she was about to transfer a big wadd of cash into my account, as my birthday present for Sunday. . later on I checked my account and found she'd transferred exactly enough to cover all the bulk supplies of tobacco I recently bought from P! Yayyyyy. Excellent. Nice one. :o) . . . ate two cheeseburgers with mayo and barbeque ketchup and chips followed by a little chocolate. . napped until the 6:30pm alarm . . . DF called in for coffees, biscuits and chats from 7pm until around 10:30pm. Messed around with the internet/Youtube connected TV a bit, and introduced him to the comedian Dave Gorman. He WAS suitably amused I think. Ended up being horribly 'YouTube-ish' and both watching compilations of air crashes!!!!!!! :o| . . . TVd . . .ate a cheese and pastry slice, crisps, biscuits and most of a bar of chocolate! . . to bed around 3am.
24 - Up around 8am. 17C in, <14C out, mostly cloudy. Thankfully NO interference from next doors PLTs again. I wonder what's going on? I'm terribly grateful of course, but the whole business has kinda made me all 'up-tight'. As things stand at the moment, I've no idea from one day (minute!) to the next, whether or not when I go to turn the radios on, I'll be faced with all that obliterating interference or not. Assuming the guy next door is just being 'nice' and trying not to cause the problem, by keeping them unplugged, that must surely be a whole bunch of inconvenience and hassle for HIM too!? It's sadly all a bit 'unsettling' to me. . .walked BGdns as the cloud and breeze began to gradually increase. Funny how after taking all those photos of the ships in the bay yesterday, today the bay was comparatively empty. The passenger ship 'Kattegat' had already gone by last night - the tall ship 'Stavros' left 'just' before I got down there this morning - and the tanker 'Onyx-T' left while I was sat there. . . monitored radios and poked at the net a little when I heard a local guy chatting on 2mtrs to someone just driving out of the area. Utterly amazing what some people are getting up to with all the new modern technology (which has left me standing (£!), and which I don't understand at all now!) The guy leaving the area (G0HWC) was not only chatting on his radio, he was simultaneously transmitting live APRS data to the web to enable people to track his movements, AND - wait for it - LIVE streaming video/audio looking out from the cab of his vehicle!! I ended up monitoring the radio conversation direct on my radio for as long as I could receive it, whilst watching on the internet where the guy was driving at the time (albeit with up to around a six second delay from real time)! Utterly amazing. How IS that done? Some sort of unlimited data deal on a smart mobile phone connection? How I'd love to be able to do something like that from BGdns or the end of the breakwater etc at times! To be able to share, live, some of the views and things I see, with anyone who may be interested, would be SO cool. All beyond my pocket£ (and understanding) I'm afraid. . . PCd a bit of this . . . ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps and mini cheddars . . napped for almost a couple of hours until the alarm at 6:30pm. . . skipped the walk. A good move since the forecast storm with high 30mph+ winds and heavy rain, very soon arrived . . hand-washed (!) a large pile of handkerchiefs. My cold-like nasal/sinus 'issues' continue to be ongoing, and I'm getting through a lot of handkerchiefs all the time! It is tempting to conclude it is being caused by my smoking, but that recent stoppage of a few weeks did NOT at all improve matters, so I am of a different mind (although my heavy smoking DOES of course aggravate the situation). . . TVd while spending ages grooming Bella, and trying to clean her always problematic ears out - again!. . . radiod on the local repeater for a bit . . showered and got all clean for the dentist tomorrow morning . . aimlessly PCd for quite a while, all up-tight, as the rain and wind battered the house (and this is nothing, compared to what the early warnings are forecasting for Sunday night!!! :o( ). . . eventually to bed, far too late, after 3am!
23 - Up at 8:45am. 18C in, 15C out, sunny. Excellent - next doors PLTs are still off. :o) . . .Slow getting going. Walked BGdns quite late from around 10am. Reached the gardens just after some guy fishing up near the Berry Head quarry, had apparantly fallen and broken his ankle. The CRTs and an ambulance were called to attend and transfer him to hospital. Plenty of breeze and building cloud, but a really nice sunny spell to start with. Image of boats in Torbay as viewed from Battery Gardens, Brixham..Sat and played ball on the lower seat for quite a while, and even poked around at some of the views with the camcorder, appreciating how lucky I am to be able to idle away SO many hours, just sittin', listening-in and looking out. Always 'something' to see. Nothing particularly special about today - maybe one or two more boats in the bay than usual, sheltering from the bad weather? The collage I've included here, pretty much represents a short North to East scan across the bay (some in close, some on the horizon) from the lower seat where we play ball. From top left to bottom right:- 1.Panama registered tanker 'Onyx-T', anchored. 2.UK registered sailing vessel 'Stavros S Niarchos', anchored. 3.Cyprus registered passenger ship 'Kattegat', anchored - with a trawling 'day-boat' behind one of the 'Western Lady' ferries in the foreground. 4.Japan registered cargo ship 'Sanko Mineral', anchored, with a returning beam-trawler foreground. 5.Panama registered cargo ship 'Grand Pioneer', dropping off a pilot. 6.Returning beam-trawler and sailboat. 7.Beam trawlers and the end of the Brixham Breakwater. . . sat on the higher seat for coffee and smokes before eventually returning home somewhere around midday. . . PCd this . . . ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps and mini cheddars . . napped for a couple of hours until around 7pm. . . walked chilly and dark BGdns, under a clear, star-filled sky. Couldn't find anything visible orbitting, but was ampley compensated by briefly spotting a meteor flashing down towards the horizon, in an ENE direction. Played ball and sat around with coffee and smokes for ages. Actually pretty chilly, but a nice calm night. A large orange partial moon eventually climbed up out of the sea just to the left of the lights of the 'Sanko Mineral' cargo ship on the horizon somewhere around 9pm. . eventually headed back home. Stopped along the way, to have a look in someones re-cycle bin which had attracted my interest on the way out. I'd thought they'd just put out a bit of nice looking flex with a plug on it. On closer (by torchlight) examination, it turned out they'd actually put out a four gang extension lead! In a re-cycling bin? Surely the council don't collect stuff like that from the weekly re-cycling bins? Oh well - 'I' do!!! I've absolutely no use for yet another, but I just couldn't resist 'having it' - despite my guilt at doing so! (I WILL of course have to dismantle and test it etc, to make sure it's functional and safe.) . . . eventually back home somewhere around 10pm again. Swept up a little of the fallen leaves debris near the back door in the garden and then secreted just a couple of carrier bags of garden waste in the wheelie-bin, before emptying all the house bins in on top. Dared to vaccuum around the place for a quarter of an hour or so, despite it being rather late for such noise, and once I'd emptied it in, finally got the wheelie-bin out by the gate for tomorrows collection . . TVd and watched the final episode of a rather enjoyable and thought provoking six part comedy series I'd gotten into on the 'Dave' channel. "Dave Gorman:Modern Life Is Goodish". VERY clever/enjoyable stuff. (WELL worth having a look at, if possible on demand?.) Guitarred just a touch during the ad breaks. . cooked and ate a whole pack of thin sausages, on their own with just some barbeque ketchup, followed by a banana and some biscuits! . . to bed around 2am.
22 - Up at 10:10am. 19C in, 15C out, rain showers. Next door's PLTs were still plugged in from last night, obliterating the HF bands. Slow getting going, and inevitably ended up scanning around on HF, trying to get a feel for exactly how much of the band was being obliterated and where, and then surfing, searching for ever more information. It IS clear from what I've read and am experiencing on the radio, that next door's devices DO have the software 'notches' set, for 'reducing' the interference with 'most' of the amateur-radio-licence portions of the bands - so this IS as good as they can ever be!!!! Eventually walked Fgn VERY late in some unpleasantly blustery showers in an awful foul and depressed/paranoid mood. :o( What was apparantly Cyprus registered passenger ship 'Algeciras' was moored in the middle of the bay. I wasn't even aware it was a passenger ship - looked really quite small. . . back via the store, to then spend the whole rest of the day miserably tuning around the bands of interference, and surfing more, watching related Youtube videos, etc, etc, ect. Part of that time WAS spent trying to plan how best to capture/show what I'm experiencing - with perhaps a video to add to all those already on Youtube. If I DO do one of those, it'll be awful time consuming, and difficult to show how really devastating and far reaching it is! . . eventually called it quits late afternoon, after having actually spent the whole day just listening to interference rather than signals!!! :o( . .no - no, I DIDN'T call it quits!! Oh dear - a whole new miserable obsession! I somehow ended up messing around with the handies in the living room for a bit, trying to see how best to use them to detect and show the interference. The 'wide open' front end and (as a result, largely useless) HF frequencies on the VX-2 handie with its little rubber duck, appeared to show things best. Bringing it over towards next door's walls made the interference volume noticeably rise. It was whilst walking around just waving the handie around as an interference 'sniffer' like that, that I discovered some REALLY weird and potentially worrying results - which actually saw me go to the switchbox under the stairs and turn off all the power to the house for a bit! Even with all MY power turned off, whenever I brought the handie into proximity with any of my wall sockets or switches ('mostly' on 'their' side of the house), the volume of interference dramatically increased. The light switches were generally worse than the power sockets - although that 'may' have been purely a function of the elevation above floor level - every ceiling lamp in the place had a similar effect. One of the worst for it was my tripple-armed brass-effect lampshade thing in the living room - that one brought it up real loud. It then transpired that ANYTHING/EVERYTHING metallic throughout the whole of the downstairs (at least), would have a similar effect!!! I guess all the metalwork and house wiring brought into close proximity of the rubber duck antenna, was simply acting like a 'better antenna'? I HAVE seen convincing evidence on a Youtube video, that it is highly likely that those damned PLTs are quite possibly conducting their signals via the house power lines to adjacent properties!!! (I'd put money on it, that if next door plugged in one of his PLTs in MY house, he'd still get a connection to HIS side!) I ended up heading out into the front garden to see how far things went. I only went as far as the opposite side of the street in front of my house (75ft+?) but was able to clearly detect that interference all the way!!! The garden gate was picking it up pretty well - as was the metal lid to the water meter in the pavement!!! The story was much the same all the way up the (100ft+) back garden right up to the garage (although of course I DO have my wire antennas terminating up there, which 'could' have affected things). The short of it is, that interference is WIDE ranging and FAR reaching, and there is absolutely NO way of avoiding it. OUTRAGEOUS! I don't think it's of any 'real' concern, given all the different radio transmissions we are constantly exposed to these days, but it DID occur to me that it 'could' be a negative thing, healthwise, to be constantly 'immersed' in SUCH a high level of broadband 'radiation' in SUCH close proximity ALL the time!! (It is my belief from our conversations, that next door's baby/toddler (with her sensitive/growing/developing brain) sleeps in the room in which their router and one of those PLTs resides!!! 'I' wouldn't be comfortable with that if I was them!) . . . eventually DID call a halt and made some food real late afternoon. Ate ham sandwiches and crisps . . napped until the 7:30pm alarm. Difficulty waking and up around a quarter of an hour later after hitting the snooze button more than once. Briefly TVd in the living room before hearing something going on, on the scanner. Helicopter Rescue 169 was just in the process of landing on a rugby field 'somewhere' nearby-ish, to soon-after have an ambulance carrying a casualty drive to it at around 20:15. Ended up back on the radios/PC trying to figure out what was going on and where. (A bit of lightening in the sky to the East and south!) Both local lifeboats had just finished excercises and returned to station so it was nothing involving them. At 20:32 the helicopter was back in the air with the casualty. I then heard them reporting-in with Kinloss Rescue (Kinloss loud and clear, the helicopter only 'just' audible on 5.68mhz. Yayyyy - next door's PLTs have been turned OFF!) that they had seven people on board and were on their way to Frenchay hospital, Bristol. There was a bit more comms between them concerning reports from Bristol Airport (Lulsgate) that they had thunderstorms around 30 nautical miles to the South East of the airport. That'll be the last I'm able to hear of them no doubt, so what that was all about will remain an intriguing mystery to me. Frenchay hospital of course used to be my local and isn't entirely unfamiliar to me. I'm not entirely sure what it is they specialise in these days? Very sick young children and burns I think!!! . . .skipped the walk . . PCd this and then ended up chatting on the local repeater for absolutely ages until gone midnight, selfishly having a damned good rant about PLTs for much of that time. I VERY much needed that venting! . . PCd more of this until deep into early . . ate a cheese and pastry slice, some mini cheddars, a bag of crisps and a banana. To bed immediately after at around 3:30am.
21 - Woken around 6:20am by a combination of back pain and the sound of torrential rain battering the windows. 17C in, 15C out, blowing a pretty bad gale, and similar forecast for the whole week it appears!! Uggh. :o( . . slowly woke at the PC, in no way eager to have to venture out into the gale force 8 ish. Oh? - oops - it would appear that the two AAA alkaline batteries that came with my cheapo chordless mouse just died on me. So - what's that then? - two and a half months - the best part of three? I've not actually turned it off via the small switch underneath (because it has a built in 'power-save' feature) since I got it, so I guess that isn't 'too' bad is it? Still - a bit of a hassle having to suddenly remember how to do things with the keyboard when it suddenly goes like that! Quickly 'mostly' charged up a couple of re-chargeables and stuck those in and was soon back up and running. Right then - the acid test of how happy I am with that mouse, is going to be how long the rechargebles last between charges. A lot shorter than the alkalines I'm sure. We'll see. I hope it's not too short a time, because I really DO like that simple cheap little chordless 'Daffodil' mouse. It does all I need. So much so, I've even been very tempted to buy another as a spare/for when it ultimately inevitably breaks! . .briefly touched base with Mum and let her know there allegedly HAD been some sort of brief power cuts on Saturday night, which may have affected her bedside radio/clock/phone. I'd originally said there hadn't been, because neither my oven or microwave clocks needed resetting (nor did hers), but I'd subsequently overheard P chatting on the radio saying he'd had a series of short duration cuts. Weird one that - NOT to affect the clocks on the ovens etc? . . . eventually walked FGn in FULL weather gear and wellington boots! It started off not 'too' bad, but declined as I sat there playing ball, and was pouring with rain and blowing an absolute gale on the return. VERY glad to get back inside! . . . PCd a bit of this and monitored radios (through next doors interference, fully returned! :o( ) . . aimlessly poked at the net and somehow ended up on youtube. Ended up settled back in my chair with my feet up on the footstool under the desk, watching the whole classic 'Hancocks Half Hour - The Radio Ham'. I've long been aware of it of course, and seen plenty of little snippets in the past, but I don't recall ever having actually just sat through the whole thing in one go before. Despite how dated it is, it made ME fondly smile and laugh here and there. With all the TV channels of absolute mind-numbing piffle were constantly fed these days, I think it's an absolute scandal that there isn't at least one freeview channel airing such old classics. Think of all the decades of BBC programming, all paid for by the licence fee, which is all just locked away and never shown - or 'sold off', such that to get to see them, you have to stump up yet more cash for a pay per view type deal with some bloated satellite company. Scandalous. There's something VERY wrong about all that in my opinion. . As a modern day radio ham, it was also particularly amusing to imagine how an 'updated' version could be written/constructed, to more accurately reflect what todays operators get up to, etc. Anyway - that WAS a pleasurable little diversion there for a moment - if for no other reason, than to be reminded in one little part of that show, what it used to be like to have proper bottles of actual 'real' milk delivered by a milkman to the doorstep - complete with the cream on top - and to run the risk of having the tits peck their way into them, etc, etc. (I used to get told-off by Dad when I DIDN'T shake a new bottle of milk before using it on my breakfast cereals. That 'top of the milk' cream was delicious - on SugarPuffs especially! It's been decades since I've tasted 'real' milk like that, rather than that watery left-over rubbish we are forced to accept today. :o() How remarkably alien such a concept seems today. Boy - am I gettin' old! :o| . . .PCd . . the new neighbor from next door called in early evening with a scrap of paper, with all the details as written on his router power supply. Tried to be as diplomatic as I could, but was actually rather disapointed, because that really isn't what I'd asked for. I need to actually have my hands on and SEE the bloody thing, so I can fully 'reliably' establish if it is THAT causing the problem, what sort it is, and what plug type it has on the end etc, etc, etc. He clearly had NO intention of allowing me in to his house to see!? To his credit, he DID however pop back a while later, complete with the PSU from the router AND - wait for it - what turned out to be a PLT device!!!!!! FFS!! I'd been SO insistent and particular in asking if there were any other 'bits' around the place other than his router, but he'd been adamant there were none. I'll never understand what goes through other peoples minds - they so often seem to be 'confused' and unreliable! (Sadly, increasingly mine too of course.) Of course I've never actually seen a PLT before, so it took me a difficult while of 'interrogating' him to more fully get to the bottom of things. I even went to the extent of disconnecting my router from next to the TV, to use it as a model, of what 'usually' plugs in where!! With some difficulty, at length, I started to build up a more accurate mental picture of what he probably had going on next door. It was remarkably extraordinarily difficult to FINALLY get him to confirm that there actually WAS another PLT, still plugged in near his TV (only around twelve feet away on the other side of my living-room front alcove wall). THAT accounted for why I was STILL picking up interference - even with his router off!. I DID plug his power supply into the wall, and although I didn't have any way of putting a load on it for a proper test, it did NOT prodcue any significant interference on my VX-2. The PLT was a different matter entirely. As soon as I switched it on, the interference was predictably immediately LOUDLY evident. At some point ('rushing' throughout, since I didn't want to 'inconvenience' him), I raced to write down EVERYTHING written on the PLT device, so I could look it up on the net, etc. I didn't have anything to write with on me there, and after telling him, I made to start rushing up to the PC room to do so. I was actually 'shocked' when he stopped me doing so, and said he wasn't happy for me to go off with it out of his sight!!!!!??? What the ****? I went along with that without complaint of course, and just rushed up and brought the pad of paper and a pencil back down to the hallway, and then meticulously wrote it all down on the floor on my knees at his feet!
D-Link DHP-300AV P/N EHP300AVBTT AIE H/N VER A1 F/W Ver V4.4.1.00
There WAS some difficult conversation about what it all meant, and how it could be resolved (which to be honest, I was of course unable to answer). Despite me walking on eggshells and doing my best at being all polite and accomodating and trying to keep things sweet between us, it seemed to be clear (particularly from his refusal to allow me out of his sight with the PLT!!) that HE was already starting to 'dig in' and become less than fully understanding and helpful. :o( . before he eventually headed home, I asked him to just unplug for a short while, the PLT he still had in his living room, to enable me to be absolutely sure of things. I hung around in the living room alcove with the VX-2 for a bit. Sure enough - as soon as he'd turned off the other PLT, all the interference was gone. I wasn't sure if he was expecting me to let him know the outcome, so I stooged around on the front patio with the front door open for a bit. I eventually ended up knocking on his door, just to confirm I was done with my test. By the time he answered his door, he'd apparantly reconnected the router, but NOT either of the PLTs. Perfect. The VX-2 waived next to him through his front door, confirmed there was NO interference. At last - in a painfully difficult way, I'd reached my desired logical diagnosis. The REALLY bad intereference WAS being caused entirely by the PLTs. NO DOUBT about it AT ALL. I confirmed this to him, explained it WAS a widely reported issue, and finally asked him (in a pathetically 'pleading' tone!) to get in touch with TalkTalk and seek a resolution. He said he would. . . . PCd reading up on TalkTalk, the PLTs etc . . I DID foolishly try calling TalkTalk on their 0870 4441820 helpline (which no doubt cost me a fortune). What a predictable fu**ing joke THAT was! Their automated system was engineered to deal almost exclusively with existing cutomers. Getting past THAT without having a TalkTalk phone number etc, was difficult and lengthy enough in itself. When I finally DID get to actually TALK to someone, it was someone robotically reading from a script, with SUCH a thick foreign (Indian?) accent, I could hardly understand him. At some length, but trying to be as precise and brief as could be possible, I attempted to explain the situation. HOW I wish 'I' could also have recorded that conversation. The concept I outlined, appeared to be entirely beyond his understanding. After some increasingly frustrated and bad tempered exchanges on MY part, he ultimately said I would have to call another number - 0800 0849999. I asked who or what department that number would take me to. The SALES department was his reply!???? I tried to explain that sales was NOT what I was after. I wanted to either talk to a supervisor or more accurately make a 'complaint'. Again, this concept appeared to be beyond him, and I eventually just said thank you, and then hung up half way through his scripted goodbye speech! I called the other number - two or three times - but there was NO such number! The whole thing WAS predictable. It isn't ME who is their customer. It's appallingly typical of such companies these days, that they cannot or will not engage in ANY form of verbal communication, with anyone who isn't going to give them money. :o( Made me REALLY angry nonetheless. I fully expect that if the guy next door actually DOES attempt to call them about the issue, he'll be similarly phobbed off and end up getting absolutely nowhere. He of course has very little reason to even bother trying. It isn't HIS problem (yet!) is it! :o( . God I'm SO angry. I put all that sacrifice/money and effort into getting my little (HF) 'shack' all up and running, and just like that, some big company can ride rough shod over everyone, reach into my home and effectively make it all near useless. Who gave them the right?!!! Outrageous, outrageous, outrageous. I can't believe I'll ever win, but I AM gonna HAVE to fight back against such bullying as best I can, aren't I. Ultimately, if nothing changes, I will HAVE to attempt to report the interference with OFFCOM etc, etc. And what then - whatever the outcome - just imagine the 'relationship' I'll have with my neighbours THEN!!!!!!! FFS! FFS!!!! :o( . -/unfinished/-. . . walked FGn late in the wind but in the dry - in a foul, miserable, angry and paranoid mood. . .TVd . . cooked and ate three slices of bacon with a large pile of chips, followed later by three mini doughnuts . . . TVd/PCd the night away, feeling increasingly down and paranoid, until gone 5am before bed.
20 - Up at 7:45am. 19C in, 15C out, stormy. Bad lower back pain! . . slow getting going. Poked at the radios just a little, but pretty much just ended up listening to the interference from next door all over the bands! :o( Ended up online reading-up just a little more on PowerLineTechnology stuff, and looking at videos on Youtube and the like. It was perplexing to come to the conclusion, that all the examples of PLT interference I found, actually did NOT sound like the problem I'm getting!? I was left wondering if it's actually just being caused by a bad power supply on their router or similar? It's no good - I need to get talking to the neighbours again, and try to keep things sweet enough to enable ME to maybe actually be allowed into their place with my VX-2 handie, to have a go at using it as a rudimentary 'sniffer' and actually identify EXACTLY what the offending piece of equipment is (by turning it off, etc). Until I can succeed in doing at least that, I can't know what I'm up against, and am absolutely powerless to do ANYTHING about it! This is gonna be SO difficult for ME. :o( . . . eventually popped an annadin tablet and then walked BGdns, under blustery mostly grey skies. Jeeze my lower back is hurting!!??? Sat with a coffee on the higher seat for a bit, watching a fishing 'day' boat trawling for scallops close-in, not far off the end of the breakwater. Even 'I' know (from having watched/videod it being done there in the past) they are taking a risk doing that in THAT area. Predictably, they were soon snagged on some submerged 'gear', and were having to use either disc cutters or oxy-acetaline to cut it away!! All in a days work I guess . . . returned home and after brewing up courage for a bit, dared to go knock on next door's door, to have a word about the radio interference thing again. Got to speak the man of the house this time, and after a bit of a preamble, persuaded him to come in to have a look at my radios and actually hear/see why I'm starting to potentially be a pain in the rear to them. I then explained my desire to hopefully be able to try to get to the bottom of it, by popping in THEIR side and having a 'sniff' about etc. He didn't seem to say much, and didn't look particularly happy (I don't know him at all of course, so hard for me to judge) but he said he had visitors at the moment so he'd give me a shout back later, once they'd gone. <anxious> . . .another annadin tablet and then PCd a bit of this as some heavy rain showers blew through . . .early afternoon the neighbour called back round briefly, saying they were just on their way out, but he'd turned 'everything' off next door (which after a bit of clarification, actually meant pretty much just their Talk Talk Modem - NOT the heating or fridge, etc). Quickly raced up to the radios, and sure enough, the interference WAS gone. According to what he said, it IS just a modem - with no other PLT type devices involved anywhere, so - although I STILL haven't actually seen the setup for myself, I AM leaning in the direction of suspecting it 'may' be just a bad (oh so VERY bad) modem power supply? THAT 'may' be more easily resolved than it otherwise could have been. If only I could get to have a look for myself - IF it's just a 'wallwart' type power supply at fault, maybe just some ferrites on the cables would sort it, or I'd even consider buying a replacement (I may even have a suitable one laying around?) to keep everything sweet between us and solve the issue for ME. In reality, unfortunately at the moment, I'm not really particularly any further forward in being able to get to the bottom of it, but at least the guy IS showing willing. That is a HUGE relief in itself. . . shame I'm not really 'in the mood' to be playing HF radio. It's an absolute JOY (albeit briefly?) to suddenly be returned to my 'normal' (bad in itself!) noise levels across the bands without THAT interference. A big opening on 10mtrs again. . ended up chatting on the local repeater for ages, whilst simultaneously scanning around listening to all the signals coming in on 10mtrs, comparing the recieved signals etc. . . walked a little early, down through town and out along the outer harbor towards BGdns. Played ball with Bella for a bit on the slipway, encouraging her to swim out for her ball before ultimately climbing up to our usual seats in BGdns for more ball play and to drink my coffee etc . . . TVd . . DF called to touch base . . ate four pork baps, crisps, banana and a little chocolate as plenty of rain fell. . TVd (the next episode in the excellent 'How The Universe Works' series on the Quest channel), constantly blowing my nose etc, until early to bed by 11pm.
19 - Up at 8am. 19C in, 15C out, cloudy. . . walked Fgn and then carried on down town to draw an outrageously big wadd of money out!! . . breifly checked out a couple of unpleasantly busy/crowded charity shops before then taking the chance of walking all the way back up to Ps to see if he was in. Thankfully he was. Did 'the deal' and didn't hang around for long before heading home with my big carrier bag of much tobacco. I guess I'd better not divulge too much about all that here for Ps sake. Suffice it to say, it's a very reasonable one third-ish saving on shop prices, and I may well get through much of the coming year (!) without buying any more!!!! I've never had so much in my possession ever before! Doing things in bulk like that is how I like to do things - but when it comes to my 'dependancy/addiction', it rubbed my nose in it and made it doubly shocking how much it's costing me. A sickening reality check. A horrendous amount of money I really can't afford! It IS where 'most' of my income now goes!!!!!!! Shocking and insane - and yet, as recent events proved, I'm SUCH a TOTAL basket-case when I don't smoke - what can I do?! :o( . . . PCd just a bit of this . . .Mum called in with the papers and food donations for chats until mid afternoon . . .cooked and ate four quarter pound burgers in buttered bread rolls . . napped between a couple of duvets for a couple of hours. Woke overheating REALLY badly!! Felt awful, awful, awful. My 'cold' and simulataneously streaming and badly blocked sinuses, had suddenly returned - with a vengeance!????? What on earth IS this? I really am now quite convinced, that I have a cronic, long standing 'problem' connected to my sinuses (the right side in particular). Why eating a big meal and then immediately laying down and overheating in duvets, should cause SUCH a dramaticly bad effect, is completely beyond understanding to me. It's almost as though I have just 'incubated' a whole new, really bad cold!?? . . . skipped the evening walk and ended up just sitting in front the TV hardly moving, constantly sneezing, blowing my streaming nose and feeling VERY dreadful the whole night!!? . . . ate a banana, a couple of mini doughnuts and a handful of biscuits in the early hours. . eventually back to bed around 3:30am, after incredibly having sat languishing in that one chair in front the TV for around eight hours non stop!! Thanks to my bad lower, rotational-scoliosis back, and bad posture in that chair, and the length of time I sat in it etc, by the time I struggled up to bed, my back was aching REALLY bad, and no amount of bedbound contortions helped! Jeezuz - I am absolutely falling to bits!!!???? . . trouble getting to sleep.
18 - Up with the alarm at 7am. 18C in, 15C out, cloudy. Showered and got clean and then woke at the PC as usual. Finally managed to find a news article online about O, the kayaker who died the other night. Capsized kayaker, 20, found dead in surf . :o( That report pretty acurately for once, sums up everything I overheard . . walked FGn in a hint of rain. There was a report on the local TV news last night all about the Paignton Zoo 'Gorilla Trail' and all those artificial gorillas. I hadn't noticed the other day, but sure enough, that multicoloured one which was by the childrens play area, HAS disappeared. They've all been shifted back to the zoo ultimately to be auctioned off apparantly. . . returned from the short walk with another big rock for the garden (and a painful arm as a result of the carrying) . . .brushed my teeth and had a quick coffee before leaving Bella home alone and walking to the dentist for my 10:20am appointment. A short (but felt like ages!) wait in the little crowded waiting room before called in. Mentioned that my lower plate since having that tooth added the last time I was there, had felt as though it was subtley rocking, and 'jamming' in-between and putting pressure on, the few remaining lower front teeth. The dentist duely had a look, 'touched' one of the false teeth on the plate with her rotary file, and HAS hopefully improved that subtle sensation. It was then just two more green goo moulds, one top, one bottom, as part of the 'starting all over again' with re-making a replacement top plate - and that was that for THIS week - again. "See you next week"! :o| . . .PCd a bit of this . . chatted on the radio on the local repeater for a bit, and awkwardly 'vaguely' broached the previously spoken of subject, of duty free tobacco with P. Eventually decided to walk over and talk about it privately. . ALL morning, the church bells at St Marys were being rung? No idea why all morning like that, although it was suggested by P, that it had something to do with the anniversary of the abolition of slavery? Dunno if that's accurate. Anyway - I decided to head for St Marys Park for Bella's benefit before heading for Ps, and actually walked through the churchyard to get there. Suprisingly the church appeared to be all closed and locked. Wow - were those bells LOUD up close like that! They are kinda pleasant and oldy worldy to hear from a distance, like back at home, but boy, I sure wouldn't want to live near them over there like so many do - especially when they are suddenly going on all morning like today. In places it really was actually deafening! . sat in the park and played ball briefly. Of course I really shouldn't have, but just for the silliness and fun of it, I did even fire up my VX-7 and give a brief call into the local repeater, just to give anyone monitoring the repeater, a damn good loud blast of the bells behind my voice. It was so deafening on that seat in the park, even with the radio right up against my ear, I could barely hear the person who briefly responded to my call! lol . soon called a halt to being so silly and left the park and headed down the small steep lane back towards the main road. Found some unopened (electoral role) mail laying on the floor ! Turned out to be for a nearby house that had an iron gate leading through a corridor towards wherever their front door may have been, so I just popped it onto the wall through the iron gate and left it there. . a short distance later, I passed a couple of well dressed women stood near a house with a for-sale sign up. I politely acknowledged them with a nod of my head as I drew near. The church bells were deafening. In something of a, for me, 'bouncy' mood , I then called out to them whilst pointing skywards in the general direction of the church tower and said "It's a lovely sound isn't it. . . " They were both in the process of starting to agree, when I then with a grimacing smile added " . . FROM A DISTANCE!!!" A silly little 'joke', and I just carried on my way smiling. With hindsight, I think I may well have put my foot in it there!! I'm pretty sure the older of the two women was a prospective house buyer having a veiwing, and the other was an estate agent hoping for a sale! Ooops. I hope my joke didn't make the prospective buyer think twice or maybe even back out! lololol Me and my big mouth!! . . . eventually headed to Ps. Coffee and chats with P for what ended up being ages. Eagerly areed a deal on the tobacco he had. I'd had no idea he was talking about SO much. I need to hit my bank and return another day! . . eventually back home late afternoon . TVd briefly but soon became aware from the living room scanner (suprising since it is now only attached to the homemade copper pipe slimjim inside the attic) that there was a propogation opening on 10mtrs again. Ended up on the PC and FT-897 having a listen around the busy band (through the new, ever-present awful interference from next door!). I DID actually give a station calling CQ a shout, and had a brief 5/9 both ways QSO. An English guy on the Island of Gozo, north of Malta. :o) . . tired out. Lay down to nap but couldn't . . . drank a small glass of red wine. Cooked and ate four large cap mushrooms covered with sausage flavoured stuffing, chopped bacon and grated cheese, with four pieces of bread and butter . . skipped the walk as heavy rain fell . . . TVd guitarred the evening away . . . ate biscuits . . . to bed at 1am.
17 - Up at 8:15am. 17C in, 15C out, broken cloud and sunny spells . . . walked BGdns. Unusually two swan were just off the beach in the water in Fishcomber Cove, hissing at someones dog whenever it came close. I didn't dare to venture anywhere near them with Bella of course!. Sat with a coffee on the higher seat for quite a while before carrying on down town to look in a couple of charity shops and buy some milk etc . . .just aimlessly PCd/TVd the whole rest of the day away, NOT monitoring radios and with the sound off on the TV for much of the time! I just needed to be quiet for a bit I guess . . . ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a couple of chocolate biscuits . . TVd . . skipped the walk . . . ate two meat and pastry slices, crisps, mini cheddars, a banana and a couple of squares of chocolate . . early to bed around 11:30pm.
16 - Poor disturbed sleep, then up around 8:10am all woozy and headachey - again, still! 16C in, 14C out, pouring with rain. . .woke at the PC and after checking the rain radar, delayed walking for a bit, waiting for the rain band to soon apparantly pass. At least those new Campanula plantings in the garden are getting nicely bedded in . . . walked BGdns (with another rucsack of garden cuttings for 'depositing'!) after the rain had mostly stopped, and as things gradually improved to sunny spells . . .PCd a bit and then PCd a bit of this, not feeling up to doing anything - yet again! :o( . . went back on-line and fired up the ISS Observation website, hoping to establish if that WAS the International Space Station I saw last night. I thought so - yep - it HAD to be. Cooooool. :o) Ooooh - and the met office are forecasting a clear sky tonight too! Tempting to get down into BGdns early for the 7:20pm pass. . . ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches with a bag of crisps . . napped until the 6pm alarm. . quickly made a coffee and then walked (with another rucsack full), intending to try to spot the space station again. Initially headed towards BGdns but then detoured back and headed for FGn instead. Although the light pollution from surrounding houses is worse on FGn, the broad expanse of the playing field means there is a much better view of the sky, with a substantial unhindered West to East, horizon to horizon. Sat and played ball for a bit as huge towering rainclouds blew in, threatening to block my view. As luck would have it, the clouds rapidly headed East on the strong westerly, and kept enough space between them for me to have a perfect view of the space station for a good handful of minutes as it passed over (with still a significant amount of 'daylight' out to the west). It bizarrely appeared to keep pace with a rapidly 'following' rain cloud, and stayed 'just' in front of it as it headed out above Lyme Bay to the East, until it dimmed and ultimately disappeared. I couldn't resist having a go, and DID end up kneeling down near the football pitch centrespot, trying to get a zoomed in shot with my camcorder. I knew it would be pointless of course, because as ever, sadly the camcorder couldn't handle the low lux. The main drawback of that camera! I just briefly ended up with a shaky blurred blob of light. Oh well - it was fun to be able to go out and see it 'by appointment/on command' like that for once. lol :o) . . eventually headed along the clifftop road to BGdns. Made my rucsack 'deposit' amongst the trees and then carried on down to the lower seat for a bit of ball play - dabbling with the idea of maybe hanging around for an hour or so, in order to have another go at spotting the space station on its next (shorter) visible pass (increasing scudding clouds allowing). . it soon became apparant from the radios, that a 999 call had been received and a serious coastguard shout was commencing along the coast over Exmouth way. Based on the comms I subsequently overheard, at around the same time I'd first caught sight of the space station up on the green, two guys had been kayaking not far from shore. One, O, wearing only a wetsuit top and baggy shorts, had capsized his canoe and it had filled with water and he couldn't right it. Because they were 'just' off the surfline, his mate had suggested he'd tow it in, while the other guy swam back in. The guy with the two canoes got back ashore, and then looking back again, had suddenly lost sight of his swimming friend. It was then the 999 call was made. Exmouth CRTs were tasked to the beaches, the ILB was launched, and the Exmouth lifeboat which I believe was already out on training, was also tasked to join in the shoreline search. I of course couldn't help myself getting all 'emotionally' involved as I do (!?! WHY do I put myself through this?!), and ended up sat on the higher seat for absolutely ages, anxiously monitoring the little snips of radio communications. Helicopter Rescue 106 from Portland was ultimately called in to do FLIR and searchlight searches and I think was on scene by around 8:15pm. Sidmouth lifeboat was ALSO launched to join in with an extended shoreline search. I sat in the cold wind and chain smoked and drank my coffee, scouring the horizon for any distant signs of the helicopter, but failing to ever spot it (all of it hidden behind Torquay from my vantage point I think - and also a suprising amount of moisture in the air, reducing far-distant visibility?). Time dragged on and on, and it really did begin to look as though this was NOT going to be a good outcome! I HAD to stay there motionless and listen-in, no matter how cold I was getting! During all the long dark gaps between brief comms, it became impossible not to have the mind race and try to imagine, in GREAT depth, the emotions and experiences of EVERYONE involved, and the far reaching enormity of what had just happened, and what was likely to happen ever after!!! Oh my god - the pain of it for the family and friends, and MOST especially, MOST especially, for the surviving canoeist! A handful of simple errors of judgement, a lifetime of agonising regret! . . around 9:10pm helicopter Rescue 106 urgently and briefly informed the Coastguard that the casualty had just been recovered from the surf, brought to the beach, and that CPR was commencing! CPR - after TWO hours in the water!!!!? It seemed extraordinary to me for a moment, that they'd even try - but then again, I guess you'd HAVE to really, wouldn't you. :o(. . the lifeboats were all stood down, with thanks, soon after. . . the ensuing lack of comms spoke volumes, and of course, I kinda know what all THAT would have looked like don't I (from the July 'guy on the hill' incident I witnessed)!! I eventually staggered to my feet and started to head home. Just down the road at 9:30pm, Rescue 106 was back in the air with the casualty on board heading for Dorchester A&E, confirming and tellingly reiterating more than once, that a crash team was NOT required at the hospital. :o( . . . trudged home in somber mood - cold - so very cold. That must surely be one of the worst things about death mustn't it? Especially by hand of sea. The awful 'cold' of it! :o( . . . home shortly before 10pm to feed Bella etc. . . immediately PCd this, to help me 'decompress'! . . At 10:28pm, Rescue 106 had lifted off from Dorchester A&E and was returning to base at Portland . . .TVd and drank a glass of red wine, with the fire on for a while . . . ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a banana. . .to bed around 3am.
15 - Up at 7:30am. 15C in, 7C out, broken cloud and sunny spells . . . slow getting going again, and then walked FGn. Started out pretty chilly - enough for hooded fleece and fingerless gloves - but it then turned to mostly sunny as we sat and played ball on the green. 'Something' was adrift in the bay, a couple of hundred metres off Shoalstone Pool, and floating out towards Berry Head onb the tide. Zooming in with the camcorder suggested it was probably one of those large blue plastic barrels (as used on the mussel-farm). I DID half-heartedly have a go at reporting it to the coastguard (just for info. - as a minor navigation hazard), by giving the local phone number I have stored in my mobile phone a ring, but as has been the case every other time I've tried to call, it was engaged. I suspect that number is actually a 'duffer'. I may have to look on-line for another - although of course in a year they'll all be duffers, when the place closes! . left the barrel happily floating out to sea and eventually headed back - overheating in the sun! Couldn't resist and 'guiltily' grabbed a stone for the garden from the rough ground alongside the path near the exit to the field. They actually ploughed that ground earlier in the year, before they 'sprayed' the weird green wild-flower seed solution they put there, and a whole new bunch of stones have come to the surface - with a few thrown in heaps out of the council equipment's way. This year's display of wild flowers was lots poorer than it has been in years gone by. It appeared they had perhaps mistakenly introduced something in that seed which they shouldn't, and whatever it was, grew up all tall and unattractive, and pretty much 'drowned out' all the lower flowering pretty stuff. It's ALL now dieing back of course - revealing just a couple of 'tempting' stones here and there! . dumped the stone on top of the border alongside the fence out front for the timebeing. . . was just taking my shoes off when the doorbell rang. Blimey - my shopping delivery already - a quarter of an hour earlier than the booked 11 - 12 slot. Cool. . helped carry everything in and then once the guy had gone, laboriously and meticulously checked everything in and got it stashed away as best I could. (Piles of dog food in the spare bedroom of all places!!) Sods-law that given my recent 'cold' and headaches (I AM hopeful I am over the worst of it already) , the only thing they were out of stock of and unable to supply were the two packs of Annadin Extra tablets I'd ordered. Oh well - can't complain about that - SUCH a relief and good feeling to have all the dog food worry and other supplies etc taken care of for the next few months. . . PCd a bit of this, with the whole morning suddenly gone again already! . . . poked around in the garden for a bit before eventually just biting the bullet, and going ahead and digging out multiple clumps of campanula from its little 'nursery' border by the pergola, and then planting them amongst the stones of the rockery border by the lawn, which I cleared the other day. I have so little of that Campanula to play with, it didn't go particularly well, and I'm not hugely optomistic that much of it will actually take. Totally the wrong time of year to start playing such games of course. Time will tell. . at some point whilst messing around out there, the new neighbour appeared in her garden, and I had the nerve to gently (too gently?) broach the subject of the bad radio interference I'm getting from them. I didn't 'push it', but I DID get her sufficiently interested to have a listen to it on my little VX-2 handie across the garden fence. She even then took it and had a brief wander around inside her house. She soon returned and confirmed (as I'd suspected) that it appeared to get louder when she got near their TalkTalk modem/router. Given they'd only just moved in and were still finding their feet there etc, I didn't want to start causing any bad feeling or upset, so I said for them not to worry about it at the moment, I'd have to read up on it, but I WOULD probably want to 'return to the subject' in the future! . that's bad news. I'm really not sure there's gonna be much I can do about that! Especially me being me, not wanting ANY sort of 'confrontation' with anyone, and totally lacking relevant knowledge in how to combat it. :o( . . carried on pottering around in the garden, watering the new Campanula plantings and then trimming back more of the badly overgrown ivy from the fence leading down towards the kitchen . . eventually called it quits (after filling the birdfeeder with crushed peanuts) late afternoon . . resisted the headachey desire to sleep, and ate a tin of soup with a packet of crisps and four crusts of bread and butter . . TVd whilst monitoring the living room scanner. Caught the tail end of something going on out in the bay. From the little I heard, it 'appeared' that fishing vessel 'Birds Watching' had potentially lost its propellor, and had been towed back into Torquay harbor by 'The Full Monty'. Given the names of the vessels concerned, there must surely be scope for a joke in there somewhere? lolol . . walked BGdns with a rucsack of garden waste, and dumped it out 'off piste' amongst the trees in the dark. A star filled sky, but with some 'milky' thin high cloud and too much of a moon to be able to see too much. I DID however spot one faint 'orbitting' body as it headed East, and then when sat on the higher seat, another MUCH bigger brighter one. That too was heading East, and as it did so, it gradualy dimmed and eventually 'went out'. It presumably dimmed and 'went out' (as they often do when I see them) because it went into the Earths shade? WHAT a shame I don't have one of those clever phones with 'apps'. I reckon that may well have been big enough and bright enough to have been the ISS. . . TVd . . ate bowls of Rice Krispies . . to bed around 1:30am.
14 - Up at 8am. 16C in, 10C out, grey and damp . . . slow getting going. I feel headachey, weak and lousy, and getting through all my handkercheifs pretty quick - definitely some sort of cold or similar. :o( . Eventually walked FGn with a rucsack and then reluctantly carried on down town for much needed dog food supplies. Only one tin left in the house!! I never usually let it get that low!! Straight in and out of the Co-Op and then trudged home with 12x385g tins of Pedigree for £6 on my back in a sprinkle of rain . . . PCd a bit of this . . .I could very easily just go straight back to bed! YET another 'written-off' day then! :o( . . in recent days I seem to have also developed a whole new raft of interference on my radios on HF! Something new and local (an appliance of the new neighbours next door perhaps?) is causing dreadful 'pulse' type interference on all of the higher frequency HF bands - sounding almost like a car engine continualy running on idle, and giving a 20db over 9 signal on the S meter in places!!!!! As if my noise level wasn't bad enough anyway, this really is making the HF radios almost unusable - although it must be said, the FT897's noise blanker DOES have a damn good go at 'mostly' blanking it out here and there. :o( . . .PCd and did a monster on-line groceries shop (including bulk purchases of dog food, wine, tobacco, etc - totalling a shocking circa £350!!!) for delivery tomorrow. By far the largest amount I've EVER spent on shopping in one go! (I hope the use-by dates are good!) It'd be a fraction of that without the wine, and especially the tobacco of course!!! :o( Assuming it all comes, not including the tobacco and other locally-bought bits and pieces, it SHOULD (dog food etc) at least see me through quite probably WELL into the new year!! . . . messed around with radios, and even wandered around the house with one of my handies, trying to get an idea where that BAD interference is coming from. It DOES appear to be coming from the new neighbours next door! Although largely irrelevant, it appears to be centred somewhere around 24mhz, but spreading up the band either side by a good 10mhz or so! Oh dear. This is gonna be awkward. I'm certainly not gonna go banging on their door causing upset - but I AM gonna be eager to engage in a diplomatic 'over-the-garden-fence' conversation about it, as soon as I get the chance - which may well not be soon, because I never seem to see them (especally since it's now all dark at night, etc). What on earth can they have running in there 24hrs a day, causing SUCH bad interference? Can't be the fridge - that would go on and off, surely? WHAT an unexpected pain!!! :o( . . . cooked and ate a cheese and onion pastry slice with chips followed by a couple of mini doughnuts . . . napped until 6:30pm . . . skipped the walk . . TVd, including the Channel 4 show 'Dogs:Their Secret Lives' 'Mark Evans examines what our dogs get up to while we're out, and how to keep them happy in the modern British home.' Actually turned out to be a pretty poor show (as ever these days) - complete with the seemingly obligatory people getting emotional and crying on camera! It WAS midly interesting to watch the hidden camera footage of how the different dogs behaved when left alone. There were no great revelations for me. I've LONG been well aware, that one of THE worst possible things you can do to a dog, is leave it alone for any length of time. That's why I don't! . . spent much of the time watching that program, on the floor of the living room, grooming Bella. lol . . turned over to BBC1 immediately after, and 'forced myself' to watch the much advertised 'Crimewatch', with its updates on the heart rending Madeleine McCann investigation. I could hardly bear to watch it! SO distressing. Oh those poor, poor people. The agony which they have endured for SO very long!! It's absolutely carved into the poor mothers face and deep in her eyes after all these years. SO, SO distressing. :o(. . .ate a couple of bananas, crisps, mini cheddars, two corned beef and BBQ ketchup baps, and three mini doughnuts . .felt really pretty cold all evening (and continualy having to blow my nose etc!). Eventually succumbed and put the dust covered gas fire on for just a little while - already! . . . to bed at 1:30am.
13 - Up around 7:20am all bunged up and headachey. 16C in, 11C out, grey and damp . . woke at the PC with coffee, cigarettes, annadin tablet and handkerchiefs . . . walked BGdns. Back via town. . . TVd and just sat around feeling not good at all . . ate early, four ham baps . . . felt yucky and returned to bed without setting the alarm and slept until around 5:30pm . . . PCd briefly and then just sat in front the TV for the rest of the evening blowing my nose as a band of rain passed through. . ate mini cheddars, a banana, and then cooked and ate a pack of four small beefburgers and ate them in two buttered baps, followed by biscuits . . to bed after 2am.
12 - Up just after 8am. 17C in, 13C out, grey and very windy still . . .slow getting going and eventually walked BGdns at getting on for 10am. Nervously sat for my coffee on the higher seat with Bella on her lead, because 'the' dobermans were there near the seats under the roof again. Ended up getting drizzled and rained on a bit in a passing shower. Humph! . . Back via the store for a £1 loaf of bread, and tempted by five mini jam doughnuts for £1.29. Some cheese and onion pastry slices were going out-of-date and reduced (89p each as opposed to the usual £1.69) so I couldn't resist buying all five and cramming them into the freezer! lol . . .PCd briefly . . .Mum called in with the papers and food donations for chats . . . ate a slice of gala pie, a cheese and onion pastry slice, crisps, mini cheddars and two mini doughnuts. . ended up just listening around on the radios for a bit when it became apparant there was quite a bit of a propogation opening on 10mtrs. . PCd for a bit. Received an e-mail from the bank confirming my account change has gone through, so spent a while shifting money between accounts, in the hope of maximising any benefits from it. .napped for almost a couple of hours until 6:30pm. Woke overheating and feeling a bit bunged up! . . .walked BGdns in layers. The wind had eased off, the sky was mostly clear to start with, and the temperature had dropped down to single figures. Sat around for quite a while as cloud cover drifted back in. . back via a store for milk at 9:30pm and then a brief stop at Mums to pick up some food donation she'd forgotten to bring down earlier . . I have a horrible suspicion I've suddenly picked up a bit of a cold or some such - mostly affecting my 'iffy' sinuses again! :o( . . TVd briefly but absolutely nothing on any of the channels worth watching, so ended up poking around on the PC for a bit. Ended up chatting on the local repeater with a couple of people for ages - constantly blowing my nose between overs! Somehow ended up chatting through until 1am!! . . ate a trio of mini sausage-rolls, crisps, mini-cheddars, two bananas and three mini jam-doughnuts as some light rain fell outside . . to bed after 2am.
11 - Woke lots earlier and just tossed and turned for ages until up at 7am. 16C in, 8C out, overcast and breezy . . . walked BGdns and did not enjoy it one little bit. Felt very cold in the twenty (with gusts up to thirty) mile an hour NNE wind. Quite a swell on the waters of the bay too. .as I climbed up to the higher part of the gardens, a woman was sat with her golden retriever on one of the seats. We exchanged normal passing pleasantaries - and then all of a sudden 'the' dobermans ran over and had a 'slight' go at it! (Damn - I'd thought I was early enough for the coast to be clear of them!) Nothing too serious I don't 'think'? - but I didn't hang around to find out. I managed to keep Bella out of getting involved and got the hell out of there real sharpish! :o( . . . PCd and monitored radios. The coastguard were putting out a special MSI broadcast for the nearby south coast. 'Northerly gale force eight expected soon'! . . settled in to do paperwork and the like. Ended up biting the bullet and going on-line to change the account I have with my bank. I've had the same (albeit through various takeovers) free current account ALL my life, complete with associated accounts giving reasonble interest rates, etc - you know - like a 'real' bank. All of a sudden, all that's just stopped! Given how much my savings are dwindling in real terms, and given I'm getting next to no interest on ANY of it, I figured I had absolutely no real choice but to give that account up and switch to one that has a monthly charge - but which DOES give 'cashback's on various direct debits and also gives 'some' interest (as long as you have enough in there)! At the moment - as things stand, after having done all the numbers - because the bank has clearly 'engineered' the situation, it just makes financial sense for me to switch ('just'!). I have absolutely NO doubt, in the very near future, the bank will change it's goalposts again, increase the monthly charge and decrease the interest rates and 'cashback' benefits, and I'll end up out of pocket, paying for the privilege of them having all my (pittance) money! And of course there's no going back! I'm very not happy about it - but I clicked on the appropriate buttons on-line, and am now awaiting an e-mail confirmation of acceptance for the switch, etc. It remains to be seen how painless the switch will be, or if it'll end up in giving me all manner of headaches in failed bill payments and the like ? A reluctant 'end to an era' for me. It's just outrageous to me how the banks are getting away with this sort of stuff. :o( . . balanced my accounts . . . when the RSPCA inspector woman picked up the pigeon the other day, she left me with a 'guilt trip' envelope containing paperwork asking for donations. One of the methods for donating, was via a mobile phone text! Being all behind the times like I am, and because I don't keep in touch with ANYONE anymore (not even by e-mail!), I've never (succesfully) done any mobile-phone texting in all my life. It suddenly occurred to me, doing a 'donation' text like that, would be a VERY neat way of using up all the remaining credit on my old, OLD Panasonic EB-GD67 'brick' style mobile phone (the one with the duff battery that doesn't keep a charge, which I recently had 'reactivated' after the phone company 'swallowed' up my remaining credit). The RSPCA leaflet said "Text HELP380 to 70099 and give £3". I checked the phone and confirmed there was £8.89 credit still on it. I figured I could do two texts to use up the majority of the credit, and then just get rid of the phone (via a local charity shop which allegedly re-cycles them). Very slowly I managed to do the simple little text message and successfully sent it - confirmed by an almost immediate automated reply from the RSPCA thanking me for the £3 donation, etc. I then re-checked how much credit was left on my phone. I couldn't believe it when it reported my remaining credit was now just £3.79!!!!????? WTF??????? It COST me £2.10 to send a £3 donation text message???? That is OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!!! That phone company have stitched me up a treat haven't they. Sure - they may have reactivated the phone, but I reckon (deliberately?) on some insanely expensive roaming charge tarriff or suchlike. Such was my outrage, I really would have loved to have phoned the company and had that out with them, but THAT would probably cost me a fortune (again) too!? Enough is enough. I just need to cut my lossses (and sadly the RSPCAs!), draw a line under that damned old phone, and just get shot of it. . put in a bit of time going through the phones menus and deleting old phone numbers etc, before removing the SIM, and then putting the phone and all the associated charger and manual etc into a bag, ready for donation to a charity shop! . . PCd this . .radiod, chatting locally a bit . . . walked BGdns a bit early, mostly in daylight. Cold enough in the wind for layers and fingerless gloves, and even a wooly hat for a bit when just sat playing ball. . .TVd/guitarred . . ate two corned beef and BBQ-ketchup sandwiches, a large bag of crisps, three kipling apple pies and biscuits . . .TVd until bed around 1:30am.
10 - Up around 7:30am. 17C in, <9C out, sunny and windy. I'm very achey - my lower back mostly of course as ever - but my legs too! :o( . . the wheelie-bin (largely full of carrier bags of garden waste) was emptied all ok without incident thank goodness . . walked FGn in what turned out to be a very cold stiff northerly wind. Quite a shock after all these weeks of warm weather . . carried on down town and headed for the charity shop in which I'd looked at that big 'red' plate the other day. That stupid plate kept on returning to my thoughts for some reason. It was still in the window of the shop, so just to get it out of my mind once and for all, I bought it for the £1.50! . . popped in the local HSBC bank place on the high street to see if they had any of the calendars Mum had spoken about when we were both poking around on the PC on Saturday. The calendar was part of some sort of charity fundraiser which had been mentioned on the local BBC radio station which mum listens to, and they were allegedly gonna be available from HSBC outlets. They didn't have any! They confirmed they WERE supposed to be getting some - but they didn't know when!? Fat lot of good that is then! . . . . recovered from the walk up the top of the garden in the sun with a coffee for a bit, before then having a go at removing the sticky labels from the base of the plate. Image of a £1.50 charity shop 'centrepiece' plateAs it turns out, it SHOULD have served as a warning that it still had most of the manufacturers label stuck on the base! Whoever'd had it before, appears to have just given up half way through trying to scratch it off, rather than soak it off and maybe use lighter fluid to dissolve the glue (like I did), etc! With the label now removed, it's possible to see that the base is scratched around where the label was - and the bad news is, with the plate on the dark table, that is all pretty visible - or at least visible enough to bug me! Overall, it's actually not 'quite' as good looking as my mind had made it seem - and I'm not sure if it really works in the middle of the dining table like that, but - ah well - that's where it's gonna stay for the timebeing. If nothing else, it gives a little more protection to the table, to enable me to 'dump' things on it as I frequently do. Not my wisest investment of £1.50. That'll teach me NOT to try to be all 'ideal-homes matching arty-farty'! lol I'm really not good at it! lolol. . did more laundry and then the mountain of dish washing I've had all stacked up in the kitchen for weeks! . . .PCd/TVd, pottered and somehow just sat around the whole rest of the day through, doing absolutely nothing but ache and feel fragile . . . eventually skipped the evening walk because I just couldn't face the cold wind . . drank a small glass of red wine. Cooked and ate a chicken kiev with a large pile of chips and peas . . TVd . . ate a banana and three kipling apple pies . . .struggled to stay awake and ended up in bed by around 10pm!!!
9 - Woken around 6:15am by the sound of Bella clattering out of the bedroom and going downstairs. She hasn't done that for a while and I leapt out of bed and followed, in case she was needing the garden. 19C in, 13C out, cloudy . . .walked BGdns. Couldn't sit for my coffee on the higher seat because 'the' dobermans were at large up there. I'd judged from sadly keeping an eye on my watch, that they probably would be, and safely negotiated my way past them with Bella ON her lead! Headed out along the windy clifftop road towards FGn. Briefly dared to sit for a cigarette and a few slurps of my coffee in the small immaculately kept, clifftop 'rosegarden' park place, despite the sign on the gate saying no dogs. (I kept Bella under control and did NOT play ball etc - and rehearsed my response for if anyone were to turn up and be silly about it.) What exactly IS the point in having such places, and explicitely excluding dog walkers, if almost no one else EVER uses them? . . eventually carried on along to FGn for more sitting, some ball play, and the rest of my coffee before ultimately heading home . . . worked in the back garden spending the whole day messing around with one silly little rockery/border/bed adjoining the lawn. I haven't really touched that little corner since I removed the hedges and trees that were covering it when I moved in, and I'd just left it to sprout whatever wild sown flowers and weeds appeared there during the summer, together with the mass of covering ivy. Basically - all a bit of a 'left to its own devices' mess. Put in hours moving all the rocks out of the way, completely de-weeding it all, and removing all the spaghetti of ivy, etc, etc. Like almost everywhere else in the garden, the previous people had also had chippings down there at some point, so I also put in an absurd amount of time with an old garden sieve, trying to 'reclaim' some of the little stones (maybe for potholes in the lane if nothing else)! . . eventually called it quits and then relayed all the boulders and rocks, and added several more from my 'rock pile' heap up by the garage. The way I see it, every rock I put down, is one less bit of earth which will need de-weeding in the summer. Image of Bella and a bare, newly de-weeded garden rockeryUltimately, as I'm pretty much aiming for all over the place, I'd like to just have all the rocks, with Campanula growing all around them. Unfortunately, given the few precious bits I have currently growing in the garden (some STILL bearing purple flowers!), it's gonna take years to have enough to be able to transplant and populate everywhere I want it - so that 'rockery' corner may well sadly end up just being bare earth and stones (and new weeds!) for ages! :o( It IS worth saying here of course, I'm just trying to tidy things up a little and lower the amount of maintenance required, and generally make the best of a bad job. If I had the choice (energy and money), I'd take EVERYTHING out of that garden, and start almost entirely from scratch, with some proper intelligent landscaping. Intelligence being sorely lacking in everything that was done here in the past it would appear!!! :o( . . at some point, the new neighbours next door arrived back home, and gave me the opportunity to see them, say hello, and speak to them for the first time since they moved in. I'd deliberately refrained from including it here, but it'd seemed really weird that immediately after having apparantly moved in, whenever that was, they then disappeared for at least a week or two leaving the place empty - and even with laundry out on the line in all the storms for ages??? Anyway - they appeared to be a relatively young couple with a very young toddler child. They DID tell me their names, but as is usual with me, by the time they'd finished saying them, I'd 'forgotten' them!!! . . trimmed some ivy from the overgrown fenceline nearer the kitchen, and spent ages chopping everything into 'bag sized' chunks as usual. Ended up with a good handful of blisters from all that secateur cutting - as ever. Eventually loaded up the wheelie bin with as many 'hidden' carrier bags of garden cuttings as I dared. I seem to have ended up with only mostly see-through carrier bags left!! That's not good. That may well make it a bit obvious what I'm doing, when the bin men tip my bin into the back of their lorry!! . . . showered and got clean . . .VERY tired, but eventually mustered up the energy to walk, complete with a big shoulder bag of garden debris!! Walked BGdns and detoured way off the paths in the dark, to 'sensitively' deposit my garden waste on an ivy covered slope amongst the trees. A strong breeze and felt plenty cooler than of late. A clear star filled sky. Spotted a small handful of things orbitting. :o) . . . TVd . . ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of ham sandwiches, mini cheddars, crisps and slightly later, two small chocolate doughnuts . . to bed around 1am.
8 - Poor sleep then back up around 8:15am. 19C in, 15C out, sunny spells but ominous BIG black clouds all around. . .eventually walked damp and dewy BGdns in what turned out to be mostly warm and sunny. . council workmen were working in the higher part of the gardens with their horrible noisy two stroke strimmers and the like, so we eventually ended up walking down into the inner harbor for me to sit and drink my coffee for a bit. . ended up chatting to P from across town for a bit (inevitably mostly amateur-radio related stuff), when he pulled up on his mobility scooter. Eventually walked all the way back home with the whole morning gone already!! . . . put a load of laundry on and then PCd a bit of this whilst monitoring radios. The coastguard (all along the south coast!) have apparantly been having trouble with their network of aerials this morning. I think they lost the lot earlier, and then when they got them back on-line, were having intermittant trouble with various of them, with various vessels at the very least missing the MSI broadcasts and suchlike. THAT sort of system failure must surely be the sort of thing that absolutely MUST not EVER be able to happen, when they close all the coastguard stations (including Brixham and Portland!) next year as part of the much criticised centralisation and alleged improvemnt of services!! . Overheard some fisherman chatting (as I do the same two every day while they're out in their respective day-boats hunting, 'shooting' and trawling their nets) and heard them use an unfamiliar saying which I thought was pretty neat. "We had the hole but not the shark.". . .mowed and strimmed the lawns . . did more laundry. . .ate spam, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps, banana and a square of chocolate . . . napped until the 6:30pm alarm but woke feeling all tired and with the same 'lack of sleep' type headache I seem to have had bubbling along for days. :o( . .skipped the walk and just quietly TVd the evening away, watching nonsense. . ate bowls of rice krispies before to bed before midnight.
7 - Poor broken sleep then back up around 8:45am. 19C in, 16C out, misty grey. The cruise ship from yesterday went round Lands End in the night and is now just off Cork, Eire according to the AIS website. Feet on the ground in Torbay one day, southern Ireland after breakfast the next - what an extraordinary effortless transition for the passengers . . . walked FGn. Wow - do I feel stiff and aching after yesterdays walk! Even Bella seemed fairly content to just sit for a while this morning (AFTER ball play all the way across the field to the seat of course) . Didn't hang around for too long. On the way back, we bumped into a dog walker walking her cute little sheep-dog type female puppy called 'Poppy'. It was all wearing a multicoloured long sleeved shirt and a big fat padded collar type thing!?? It actually looked a 'little' bit like the multi-coloured imitation gorilla, still sat by the children's play area not far away. Turns out it was wearing all that because it was recovering from surgery following a dog attack, and the shirt and collar was helping stop it reaching and worrying its wounds! Turns out it had been attacked by a German Shepherd - one of the pack of four or five which we often encounter and are always walking off leash. (The last time I recall seeing them all was on Mansands Beach when I did the long Kingswear walk.) The youngest of the pack, a cute black one, had apparantly suddenly attacked it, for some reason connected with wanting its ball or some such, and one of the others had then also briefly joined-in, in that classic awful 'pack dynamic' way they can! (A 'pack' of dogs, no matter how normally cute, can be so, SO dangerous! Damn - I'm gonna be all up-tight and on-guard every time I see those shepherds now!! ) From the womans description of the event, and the injuries it suffered, it sounded VERY much like what I'd gone through with Bella and 'the' doberman. I sincerely commiserated of course. It was particularly saddening to see how nervous little Poppy was around other dogs now. She shyd away from Bella, and strained on her leash to get as far away as possible as we chatted, and as another German Shepherd walked past a little distance off. SO sad. :o( With hindsight, I was REAL lucky that Bella didn't seem to suffer such an acute personality change, and become so fearfull of other dogs following both of her attacks. . contrary to what I think was forecast, it began to drizzle a bit as we wound up our conversation! Headed straight for Mums, intending to have a bit of a bash at clearing out her rear rainwater gutters. I had been dabbling with the idea of carrying my roof ladder up there, to do a full-scale de-mossing and cleaning of her entire roofslope, but frankly I just felt far too tired and aching from yesterdays walk to be able to face it. The hint of drizzle in the air was the clincher. . . some chats and a coffee in Mums back garden before getting her step ladder up with a bucket wired to the top rail, and starting the gutter clearing work. With hindsight, I really probably should have gone back home and got my roof ladder. Despite how aching and tired I was, standing on the very top step of the the step-ladder meant I could reach a good couple of tile courses up onto the roof slope of her bungalow, and I just couldn't resist scraping and digging away at and removing as much of the thick piles of moss as I possibly could. I even ended up retrieving some long handled garden hoe type impliment and a stiff bristled sweeping brush from her garage, and was able to reach up a few more tile courses. Scraped and poked and brushed at the moss for AGES - gradually moving the ladder along, bit by bit. Jeeze - I was 'just' going to clear out her gutters, not do all THIS!!! To cut a LONG story short, with occasional and diminishing passing light drizzle showers, I ultimately called a halt with somewhere near the bottom half of her rear roofslope all scraped and swept clean, and all the rear gutters emptied and hosed down (once I'd also knocked up a new bit of hose with hoselock fittings, to attach her outside tap to her EVER leaking and needs replacing hosereel!). In total, all the debris I removed filled at least six builders buckets! Sadly the upper half of the roof still has a load of moss on it, so it's only half a job done, and the wrong half at that - but that's just gonna HAVE to do for the time being. "Every little helps"? Exhausted - and oh jeezuz - my ACHING back, from reaching up on the top step of the step-ladder over that guttering and roof edge, trying to wave the long handled implements back and forth at arms length! It was a suprising 4pm by the time I'd helped wash down and tidy everything away back into her garage, and then had a couple of cigarettes to recover! . . . slowly achingly returned home with Bella. . .ate spam and mayo sandwiches, mini cheddars, crisps, a banana and a square of chocolate . . . napped after 5pm until the 7pm alarm. Trouble waking. Felt very tired still, aching much, and generally pretty fragile! Skipped the evening walk . . . PCd this - at great length - until early!!! It takes longer to type all this than live it!! Now - what and when was that 'significant' bit I missed I was going to add? No - I just can't be bothered. . .ate a couple of Mum donated chocolate-filled mini doughnuts. A 'mistake' purchase by Mum I suspect. First time I've ever had chocolate filled ones. I'm not keen . . . to bed around 3am - or was it 4am?
6 - Up around 7:35am. 18C in, 10C out, sunny. Woke at the PC/radios as usual. Some amount of 'out-of-the-ordinary' babble on the scanner had me check the AIS website. Looks as though there is another cruise ship visiting the bay, moored close in by Torquay. . .out in the sun walking with a coffee, bottle of water and a rucsack by around 8:45am. Mention last night of that guy doing the car boot sale, and the good weather encouraged me to have another bash at walking to the boot sale for a poke around. . Just up the road, the old guy who lives in a bungalow immediately opposite where the party had been last night, was out staring up in concern at his roof. Turned out that at some late hour, one of the idiot 'children' at the party had thrown a couple of glass beer bottles up, to smash all over the poor guys roof!!! FFS! Jeeze - I would have been LIVID if that was me. If that was me, I'd have been very tempted to demand that the selfish idiot neighbor who 'allowed' the party, get up there and sort the damned mess out! (I DID say if he needed help later, to 'grab me' as I passed by.) That poor old guy (who uses a mobility scooter to get around!) had apparantly called his son to come over, and get up there with a ladder to remove all the broken glass etc! Outrageous! . . Image of Bahamas registered cruise ship 'Albatros' in Torbayheaded straight for near the higher seat in BGdns, to have a quick look out across the bay - and sure enough, Bahamas registered cruise ship 'Albatros' was moored in close over by Torquay. The arrival of T with 'the' dobermans, saw me quickly leash Bella safely up and head quickly away. . headed out on the coastal path, down across Churston beach, up the cliffs on the other side, on out to Elberry Cove, crossed the beach and carried on round to Broadsands. Left the coastal path at Broadsands and headed up the roads, cut through a short wooded footpath, and climbed up onto the green at 'Windy Corner'. Traversed the main road and wide grassy common, and eventually dropped onto the rough track which leads out of the big field in which they have the car boot sale. All that climbing and walking took a little over an hour and a quarter. Rapidly walking up and down all the many rows of the car-boot tables 'scanning' everything, took another good forty five minutes or so because there were just SO many. If I'd had a car to transport stuff home, maybe I would have been interested in various bits and pieces that were there, but circumstances (and finances of course) demanded I be VERY choosy and generally resist. I stopped at one set of tables and briefly picked up an ornament which was laying in the corner of a box on the floor. It was an ornament/figurine type thing of - well - Bella basically! A black seated German shepherd, carved from some sort of stone (harder and heavier than coal I think). I didn't actually want it - just figured it demanded a closer inspection, to be able to compare it to the slightly smaller one carved from coal which I used to have, and ended up giving to Mum during a 'declutter' session. (The only one 'I' want, is my prized big solid brass one which has pride of place atop the centre of my living room mantlepiece/fire surround. It really must be 'almost' unique. I've never seen anything anywhere (I HAVE trawled the net - on many occasions) to compare to the quality, beauty and lifelikeness of that one. THAT one I will NEVER willingly part with. Anything else is just second rate 'clutter', not to be bothered with!) As I dropped the black stone figurine back into the box on the floor and started to walk away, the guy manning the tables who'd spotted me and Bella looking at it, called out from a little distance away and said I could just have it - for nothing. Even if he was just eager to get rid of all his unwanted clutter, that struck me as a very generous and nice gesture on his part. Silly perhaps, but I just didn't have the heart to say no thanks! lol I ended up being all eager and grateful and walking away with the thing stuck in a pocket! Damn - what the hell am I gonna do with that now! lololol . . Eventually finished scanning all the tables and just headed straight back out of the field the way we'd come without stopping. Returned to Broadsands and because the tide was going out (and since we are allowed to with dogs at this 'off season' time of year), climbed down onto the widening beach and played ball with swimming, chasing Bella on the sand for a bit. Eventually called a halt and carried on walking back across the grassy headland, down over the low tide rocks, and back onto the pebbly beach at Elberry Cove. . FINALLY stopped for a break and sat in the shade of a tree on the pebbles, to cool down and rest my aching legs and back, and for both of us to have a drink (onecup flask of luke-warm coffee for me, the bottle of water for Bella from a rolled up freezer-bag 'bowl' from my pocket). A little more ball play at the waters edge before eventually heading back up along the mile or so of the wooded coastal path to Churston cove and ultimately back up into Battery gardens. . sat on the higher seat in BGdns for quite a while, and then even longer, chatting to a dog walker I haven't seen for ages. Her dog (neckerchiefed 'Chumley') had apparantly had TWO rear hip (or was it knee?) replacements!! Extraordinary. Cost her a small fortune. He seemed to be doing ok, although did look a little 'stiff' in his gait. She suggested the black dog figurine I was carrying was carved from some sort of lava rock! . . eventually back via the store for a bottle of milk and then a very brief stop off at Mums to 'force her' to accept (she happily did) the carved stone dog ornament I'd just lumbered myself with (and to pick up the bananas she'd bought for me and had forgotten to bring down yesterday). She was in the middle of washing her hair, so I didn't hang around - although she DID have time to point out the state of the gutters at the back of her house, which she'd only recently noticed. Jeezuz!! Great clumps of grass were all growing out of a significant length of her gutter!!!! That's REALLY bad! What on earth must happened with all that, when we had that torrential heavy rain the other day?? Damn - that can't wait - I'll HAVE to get up and clear that within the next day or so. (Neither of us could face me doing so right there and then.) . . . soon carried on home, increasingly stiff and achey. Plenty of broken glass glinting in the sunlight all over that guys roof just up the road, but it DID look as though the larger pieces of the broken bottles HAD been removed. Finally back home around 2pm. . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden before putting the scanner back on charge in the living room. As I did so, it transpired there was a serious coastguard shout going on, with a 13 year old boy stuck on the cliffs in the vicinity of the Imperial Hotel, Torquay. Coastguard Response Teams were both on their way, and already in attendance, but only 'in the vicinity'. Coastguard helicopter Rescue 106 was I believe out on excercise not far away, and was on scene real quick. There appeared to be a bit of difficulty actually locating the 'casualty', until one of the bay ferries (were they monitoring channel zero?) directed the helicopter to the casualty by pointing the bow of the ferry at him and saying so on the radio. The helicopter crew quickly assesssed the scene and 'made sure they had enough power' to do the winch. At 14:54 their comms to Brixham coastguard were "Rescue 106 immediate. Casualty recovered, inside the aircraft." As always, the concise and no-nonsense precision of those guys comms, with not a single word ever wasted as they spend their whole working lives 'in the death zone', almost got the hair on the back of my neck up. The 'casualty' was fine. He was transferred to a landing site on Daddyhole Plain (once the CRTs on the ground had cleared the couple of walked dogs running loose. lol) and was on the ground by 15:00hrs. Because he was a child, and his parents were allegedly 'out', he was gonna be handed over to the police. I think his mates (including the first informant?) had scarpered. lol Police were on scene by 15:15, by which point his mates had resurfaced and been located, "should the police wish to have words". . . ended up PCing just a bit of this . . . TVd . . drank half a glass of red wine. Cooked and ate four quarter pound burgers in buttered baps . .the cruise ship Albatross I believe took on a pilot, and then left Torbay around 5pm . . . tried to nap but had great difficulty in falling asleep. Eventually slept for maybe an hour before then having great difficulty waking back up! . . . TVd/PCd the night away. Ate bowls of rice krispies . . to bed after 4am.
5 - Back up around 8:25am after almost no sleep at all. 19C in, 15C out, sunny . . . walked BGdns with coffee and sat around in the pleasant sunny spells at length. . eventually back not much before midday. . PCd a bit and messed with my old mobile phones briefly. Despite a single parent company having apparantly taken over both networks now, (and an icon on both phone displays suggesting they are now 'roaming'!?) sadly it WON'T enable me to just swap the SIM from one ('locked') phone to the other - which if they had, would have been a real neat way of just using up the available credit on the one that holds the best charge. Hmmmph. . Mum called in with the papers and food donations - and HER mobile phone. Very quickly ascertained that her old, OLD phone DOES appear to be working ok-ish, similar to mine. That phone of hers is SO old (can't even find a replacement battery-pack for it online!) , it really very quickly seemed to make absolutely NO sense to spend ANY further time messing around with it. Both pretty much agreed that we'd worry about it (and a possible replacement) some time in the future, IF and when the need arose. .PCd and poked at the net YET again at some length, looking for possible shoes for Mum's increasingly bad feet. I'm pretty sure, the sad reality is, her feet have gotten SO bad (because she avoided the risk of 'possible' partial remedial surgery some years ago), there isn't a shoe made that's now gonna improve things any for her!!!! A worrying future for her (and me to a smaller extent as a result perhaps?) :o( Chats etc until around 3pm . . . ate a piece of Mum donated gala pie, mini cheddars, crisps and a banana followed by a square of chocolate, whilst reading the BBC red button text news, as is my usual while-eating habit. Bumped into an article on the BBC local news about the mayday I was picking up on the 23rd September!!!!! (Actually - I wonder if that may also have been connected to the 'undertaker' comment I heard on the evening of the 3rd October?) Jeezuz - what a way to go! To make a simple little mistake, suddenly end up in the water, and then be powerlessly fully aware that you are going to die, as your cherished yacht sails away with your life without you! Jeezuz - just imagine - ALL of it!!!!! :o( . . napped until the 6:30pm alarm. Difficulty waking . . .walked after 7:30pm with a coffee. . .just up the road and round the corner, there appeared to be a noisy houseparty for 'youths' (children actually) underway. They were clearly all drinking of course. WHAT on earth were those kids parents thinking (assuming they knew)?! Loud music, much screaming and shouting, girls running up the street 'crying', boys running after to consol them - all the usual nauseating childish idiocy - made all the worse by the drink of course. The whole thing just made me want to puke and get the hell away from it all as fast as possible. The poor neighbours. :o( . . the sky had mostly cleared to moonless starry by the time we reached the lower seat in damp and dewy BGdns, with the temperature rapidly dropping to fingerless-gloves chilly. Given the lack of moon or light-pollution reflecting cloud, it was a particularly dark night around the gardens, ideal for seeing the sky to best effect. Sadly the star-filled sky seemed to retain a lot of moisture content (not cold enough yet?) giving a slightly 'milky' appearance to the breathtaking spectacle. Perhaps for this reason, despite doing my usual, of sitting looking up, searching for all the 'moving' and orbitting things, I suprisingly didn't spot a single one! It's become so commonplace for me to spot such things, I felt almost 'cheated' not-to on this occasion! Still, a pretty spectacular sky nontheless. . as I sat on the lower seat in the pitch black, I became aware of someone coming along the footpath just behind. I couldn't actually really see her, but it soon became apparant it was a lone female. She was slowly, slowly somehow managing to inch her way along the unseeable path in the total darkness, all the while saying, as if chanting an optomistic mantra, something like "You're allright. You're allright. You're allright." It really was very obvious that she wasn't! Aside from the inherant dangers from 'people', of being a lone female in such a place at such a time like that, she really was actually potentially putting herself in VERY real danger because of how dark it was and the nature of the path she was on. The pitch black of where she'd managed to get to, was actually probably the lightest part of her route. A little further on where the path becomes steeper underneath the trees, it gets EVEN darker, and that debris strewn path drops nastily away to a STEEP slope on the right. Further along still, the slope and drop to the right is even worse (down towards Fishcombe Cove), and it is exactly along there, where some while ago an old guy fell off the path and was miraculously found still alive wedged against a tree half way down the slope the next morning! Even with my familiarity with the gardens, I doubt even I would have been able to negotiate that route on SUCH a dark night as this without a torch (despite my practice of often walking around there as much as is 'safely'-ish possible WITHOUT using my torch). Difficult to know how to under such circumstances (because she had NO idea I was sat there) so I eventually just blurted out in as friendly a voice as I could theatrically manage, "Good evening - are you ok?" Poor woman, it MUST have scared her to death! She asked who was there. Maintaining my attempt at a friendly non-threatening voice, I replied I was 'just a dog walker'. There was the breifest exchange of words I think, before I suggested that I escort her, and illuminate the way with my torch. Perhaps because she'd gotten herself into the darkness so deep, she was stuck and had little choice, she accepted. Boy oh boy oh boy - WHAT a dangerous situation she'd put herself in. I could have been an axe murderer or who knows what! I put my torch on and made some 'put her at ease' nonsense conversation about not to be afraid of the dog etc, and climbed up onto the path just in front of her. At this point I blinded myself and deliberately shone my torch into my own face so she could see me and I said hello. (I did NOT light her up so I could see her!) The safest way for two people negotiating that path in the dark with a small LED torch, is for the person with the torch to walk behind, and hold the torch out in such a way that BOTH parties can see the immediate path ahead. Under the circumstances, that really REALLY suddenly seemed like NOT the thing for me to do - be walking behind her! So - at length we slowly made our way up the steep path, with me and Bella walking in front of her, trying to illuminate where SHE was walking. Difficult because that meant I couldn't see too much of where 'I' was stepping!! lol There WAS a VERY small amount of conversation as we made our way - and the little she shared about herself in those few sentences, turned out to be more than I bargained for, and gave me much to replay and analyse later!! Along the lines of - in her younger days she'd hitch hiked and travelled all around Europe. She'd had a car accident a while ago, a serious one, and - well - from the list of injuries she recounted (which included a head injury. Aha?) it sounded like she really should have died several times over! She now as a result of the effects of that accident, couldn't in whatever way do what she used to be able to do, and she now lived with her elderly mother. She alluded to frustration at her current circumstances, and made comments to the effect that it may have been better if she hadn't survived. Anyway - blah blah blah - that was quite some walk! Ultimately we safely reached the final section of path before it emerges out onto the road near the holiday camp, which was lit well enough from the nearby street lights for me to suggest I was no longer required as a pathfinder. I shook her hand, bid her farewell, and disappeared into the darkness with Bella the way we'd come - without ever actually seeing her. Headed straight up to the higher seat to sit with my coffee and replay and feel all 'weird' about that funny little unexpected encounter with who knows who. I confess, I felt 'nice'. It really was a little nothing, but sometimes it feels SO nice to have the opportunity to in some small way just be 'nice' to someone. What on EARTH must SHE have made of it I wonder? lolololol . . a little while later, a guy appeared climbing up the steps next to the old gun control bunker, stumbling around a little, using just the light from his mobile phone to be able to see in the dark! Sat on my seat just off the path, under the trees in the dark, he didn't see me as he stumbled down the path the short distance to the other couple of dog walkers he'd noticed sat chatting under the roof. He politely asked them for help and if they had a torch!!!! Turned out he'd been watching some football match or other in a pub down town, had himself a couple of Guinesses, had done the long walk and arduous climb back up to BGdns, but had then stumbled off the path a bit in the dark, slipped on the muddy ground, and dropped all his keys in the undergrowth! He'd been down there trying to search for them from the inadequate light from his mobile phone. (NO chance!) He also admitted that he'd understandably got a bit spooked and panicy on his own in the pitch black, when he heard noises (animal) in the undergrowth etc. He was actually pretty desperate because it was a BIG bunch of keys 'for everything', INCLUDING his van which was parked nearby, and in which it was his intention to sleep the night before having to be at the car boot sale up near Windy Corner early in the morning. . Overhearing all this, I immediately went over and joined in the conversation and subsequent torchlit search down on the lower steps. . to cut a long story short, it all turned out to be almost farcically amusing. Because of the drink and the darkness, the guy wasn't able to be particularly precise about exactly where he'd stumbled. The other dog walker and I ended up carefully ferretting around doing a fingertip search by torchlight amongst all the fallen leaves and ivy, looking for 'a big bunch of keys', all the while trying not to disturb the area so much that we may have covered them over and buried them for good! Whilst we are in the process of doing all this, lo and behold, the guy somehow ended up finding his own keys - about thirty feet from where we had been directed to look. Grrr. lolololololol It WAS a BIG bunch of keys too! Suffice it to say, the guy was hugely relieved and very grateful to us and all offering handshakes, etc. . I returned to my seat for more smokes and sky watching. A bizarre evening walk this one! How come so many people are - well - frankly so stupid? I think maybe we need more warning signs put up around the place. "WARNING: IT GETS DARK AT NIGHT"!???? . . The other dog walkers soon left, after the (too drunk to drive!!!) guy worryingly re-parked his van on the other side of the road and presumably settled down to sleep . . eventually back home (past the drunken kids party house, still in FULL swing and audible from streets away!) shortly before 10pm . . PCd this and monitored radios for a bit, but just wasn't particularly in the mood and soon withdrew to eat. Cooked and ate six thin sausages in buttered baps, a banana and chocolate biscuits . . inevitably ended up in front the TV - to find absolutely nothing on worth watching yet again. Ended up watching an old episode of Dads Army via the IPlayer. . to bed around 1:30am.
4 - Up around 8:45am. 19C in, 17C out, sunny spells . . .slow getting going. Unusually had a brief scan around the radio on HF on 40mtrs, and even ended up having a brief '5 by 9' signal exchange type QSO with a station on Aranmore Island off the coast of County Donegal. A 'Mayo' club station, spending a week on the island I think. . . . walked FGn and caught out in a shower. Still all damp shoes and coat from yesterday! . on down town for a few supplies and specifically to look in a charity shop. I'd spotted a big ceramic plate type thing in the shop window yesterday, and it'd preyed on my mind that I didn't have a closer look at it. I wouldn't normally have ANY interest in anything like it, but this WAS something a little different. A big flat glass plate, all red glazed within the glass, and with a handful of tasteful small gold motifs around near the edge. Hard to describe - but the reason it had 'gotten to me', was because of how well it matches everything in the living-room/diner etc. I'd gotten it in my mind it would have made a perfect centrepiece/place to dump things, in the middle of the dining table. It was only a couple of £s. As it turned out, it was rather bigger than I'd thought. More like the size of my large microwave oven rotating plate. A large plate for displaying and serving cakes perhaps? Anyway - I resisted, because sadly it really was too big for what I had in mind. Real shame - it WOULD have looked very cool. I did NOT however manage to resist a nice cheap plain and simple, white plastic battery operated wall clock (a replacement for the PC room for the timebeing) which I bagged for just £3. .eventually trudged home with a heavy rucksack, mostly full of a large bag of potatoes! . .recovered with a coffee. Well, it would appear my old mobile phone IS now working - ish again. It logs onto 'a' network, and I can make calls etc, but 'something' isn't right. Every time I turn it on, it tells me I have two 'new' text messages (always the same two from 2nd October!). All those messages say is "update error: 040730" and the time and date!???? There also appears to be a new icon always appearing on the screen, which I 'think' the manual says is something to do with it showing it is 'roaming'!???? . .PCd briefly . . popped up the local store for more supplies. I'd mostly gone up for a few cartons of orange juice. They no longer stock or sell it apparantly. That's a pain. That inevitably means I'll just stop forcing myself to buy and drink it, and will return to a diet entirely devoid of ANY fruit (other than bananas) or vitamin C! Ho hum . . cooked and ate six thin sausages, two fried eggs and chips . . . napped for only an hour or so . . . walked BGdns early . . . DF called in with his guitar for chats and coffees until after 10pm . . .BB called to touch base . . . TVd/aimlessly PCd the night away . . ate a bag of five mini jam doughnuts . . eventually to bed gone 5am!
3 - Up around 9:45am! 19C in, 16C out, wind, heavy rain and even some thunder I think. . Wow - TORRENTIAL rain in fact!! Up to gale force 7+ at 'some' point according to the MSI broadcast. The web shows winds of 18mph and 29mph local gusts, with a huge swathe of really heavy rain coming up rapidly across the channel from the south, accompanied by large numbers of lightening strikes too! If I'd woken earlier I 'may' have gotten out and back before all this. Jeeze - NO WAY am I going out in THAT right now! Sorry Bella - maybe later when the worst has passed - which it appears it 'may' rapidly do according to the rain radar? . . sure enough, somewhere around 11am the rain appeared to stop - mostly - ish. (Later in the day on a local weather forecast, the weather girl used a phrase something like 'A chumps pause' to describe that drier spell! lol I've never heard that before.). . . walked FGn with a rucksack, in full weather gear despite the dry spell, looking rather overdressed compared to others passing by. Good job I did as it turned out. It started raining again as we sat playing ball - and rained LOTS! . . carried on down town to buy some soap powder for Mum. She'd struggled all the way down with her bad feet the other day, specifically to get some particular brand of soap powder from the one Co-Op store that stocks it, only to find the store unexpectedly and inexplicably closed for the day. I totally understood HOW infuriatingly frustrating THAT must have been for her - and had determined to go get it for her this morning if I possibly could. . Succesfully bought two big boxes of her favourite 'for coloureds' soap powder, and a on-special-offer jar of Nescafe for me, all for £5 each item. Couldn't get both the damned boxes of soap powder in my rucsack! Given the torrential rain, that was liable to end up being a big soapy disaster! Ended up having to wrap the box in a plastic carrier bag as best I could, and then carefully carry it in my aching arms all the way back!! . . straight back up mums to briefly drop off the soap powder and get the money, and then home - utterly soaked through with both rain and sweat . . . it eventually stopped raining. Pottered in the garden for a bit, checking the drain wasn't blocked (again!) and mostly sweeping up leaves to cram in the worm-full composter . . . cooked and ate a chicken kiev, mushrooms with grated cheese, peas and chips followed by a little chocolate . . napped (damp!) until around 6:30pm . . walked BGdns. Showered-on on the way back, just to top-up on everything I was wearing still being damp! . . TVd the night away with the scanner on next to me much of the time, as heavier rain moved in for a bit. At some point, although inaudible outside of my range somewhere over Beer way, it appeared there was a serious coastguard shout going on. Frustratingly all I picked up were snippets of the Portland Coastguard control room side of things. Ultimately I heard them talking, I think to the Exmouth CRTs, saying "We've been discussing it in the ops room, and since you're all now just waiting for the undertaker, were happy for you to stand down"!!! With the wind blowing the rain against the windows outside, that made the modest comforts of my living room seem particularly comfortable and welcome right then! :o| . . ate spam sandwiches, mini cheddars, biscuits and chocolate. . . to bed around 2:30am.
2 - Poor sleep and woke around 5:30am. Trouble getting back to sleep but eventually did for a bit until back up around 7:30am. 19C in, 15C out, damp and grey. . . walked BGdns. Sat around for ages and then was gonna sit around some more, on the higher seat with my coffee, but suddenly recalled an e-bay auction (local) for a Doro mobile phone (for Mum?) was ending some time this morning, so figured I'd head straight home in case I was in time to 'maybe' have a bid on it. . .sat and watched the last-minute bidding on the phone, go higher than made any sense at all, so easily resisted. . with a sudden bee in my bonnet about why BOTH my and mums old 'for emergencies' mobile phones had suddenly stopped working a while ago, I ended up poking at the internet for quite a while trying to read up on PAYG contracts and the like. Couldn't find anything useful/pertinant, so ended up giving the phone company a call by landline (expensive (to me) no doubt!). To cut a long story short, Mums 'should' allegedly still be working all ok. Mine HAD allegedly been deactivated because it hadn't been used for six months!! I can't prove otherwise, but I HAVE been deliberately making the occasional call on the damned thing (to my own ansaphone and/or the phone company to check the credit left, etc,etc) and I'll swear I HAD done so within the last six months before it stopped working! The suggestion was that the call to check what credit was left, did NOT count as a 'proper' call, so maybe that was why? Bloody infuriating. Disturbingly, since mine was now 'deactivated' (the SIM), they said they had reissued the phone number and they could NOT now simply reactivate it!! They ended up telling me to write down a whole new phone number for it, which 'should' be active in a day or two. Miraculously they were then able to confirm that I DID still have a credit of £9.59, which should transfer to the new number. (It probably cost me that much to ring them and be on hold for ages etc this morning!!) What a load of time/money wasting nonsense! Since I recently went an alternative route, and got that OTHER (PS donated) old mobile phone of mine happily up and running, it's all a bit pointless bothering - but it's the principle of the thing for me, about not making it so easy for the phone company to just swallow up that old remaining credit of mine. Assuming I DO get that old OLD phone back up and running in a day or so (with its rather duff battery - which would cost around £6 to replace - so THAT probably makes no financial sense), I'm gonna end up having credit on TWO 'out of date' PAYG mobile phones now!! If I ever get caught carrying them both (just to finally use up the credit and be done with one), people could think I'm a drug dealer or somesuch! lolol Ho hum. WHAT a waste of most of the morning! . . . PCd this as occasional heavy rain showers passed through. . .Mum returned my earlier call talking about her phone. Turns out her mobile is NOT connecting to the network, like the company had suggested it still was! Grrrrrrr. I need to have it in my hand and then call that damned phone company back again! It's never gonna be worth it is it! . . . ate cheese and mayo sandwiches, crisps, mini cheddars and a banana . . napped . . .rainy. Skipped the walk . . . TVd . . DF called during his search for props for the amateur dramatics stage show he's involved with. He asked if I had any old tea-chest type packing cases! The proper old fashioned wooden ones he was after. I don't of course. Hard to imagine many people would have any of those surviving and laying around these days. Surely now 'collectors items' if they did, and probably worth a bit. . . guitarred just a little. .ate a couple of mini doughnuts . . somehow TVd/aimlessly PCd the night away until finally to bed at getting on for 5am again!! My sleep patterns seem to be all over the place of late!
1 - Back up around 9:30am. 18C in, 15C out, rain/drizzle. . . headachey and slow getting going. Walked FGn REAL late, feeling woozy and really not too with it. On entering the lower part of the green, as has been our habit for a long while now, I pointed out a distant pigeon on the grass for Bella to excitedly chase after. Crows, pigeons and squirrels are her favourite - AFTER her tennis ball. It's great fun for HER I think, and it IS amusing to watch her, as she absolutely RACES after them like a greyhound, only to have them soon mockingly take to the air. She often barks with excitement when starting her run, so her 'prey' is almost always given early warning, ensuring their ultimate safety. I suppose I have to admit that I've ended up 'encouraging' it? I won't any longer!! Even though she had her tennis ball in her mouth at the time, somehow on THIS occasion the pigeon was slow to move, and she actually kinda 'caught' the poor thing!!! <Horror!> I was already frantically calling 'Bella-COME' by the time she did so, and she amazingly pretty immediately DID stop her attack and return to me (minus her ball) - but she HAD made 'contact' with the pigeon!!! I've no knowledge of how badly it may have been injured. I did NOT have it in me to pursue it and have to go through the other day all over again! <guilt> Suffice it to say, it walked away behind the boundary wall out of sight!! :o( Jeezuz - there's me going through all that emotional agony over the suffering of that one the other day, and here I am 'being responsible' for actually being the CAUSE of another!!!! :o( <self-loathing> . . eventually carried on down town. Looked in a charity shop or two and then shopped for a few supplies, including 12 tins of co-op own brand dog food for £6.38 . . . cut my hair/beard etc. LONG overdue. .PCd looking at mobile phones. I seem to have grown a desire to try to sort out another mobile phone for Mum - for 'just-in-case/emergency' type occasions. Hers stopped working recently, just like my old one, and I'm uneasy about her not having one, even though (more than me) she really never needs one! Given how she is all behind the times and a bit of a techno phobe etc, I'd gotten the idea that I could maybe have a go at getting hold of one of those real basic ones. The type that are specifically designed for - well - people like her! Basic functions - high volume - big buttons - single button speed-dial, etc. Something like a 'Doro HandlePlus' or 'Phoneasy'? Surfed for ages reading up on such things, looking at prices etc. Sadly, because of their niche market, they are actually comparatively expensive! Not sure my idea makes sense. . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and feasted on two garlic butter filled chicken kievs, chips and button mushrooms cooked in butter. . napped until the 7pm alarm. . woke with the same headache from earlier and feeling really quite unwell again. . skipped the walk and pretty much sat motionless in front the TV for the WHOLE evening, and feeling a bit cold! . . ate a trio of small doughnuts with coffee before eventually to bed around 12:30am, now (burning off the doughnuts?) feeling uncomfortably warm.