Any Port In A Glass

As I was reading in bed my blinks were getting longer and longer, up to the point where I was probably asleep. At which point I dropped the Kindle on my face and woke myself up. It’s probably a bonus I don’t have to hold it at arm’s length to read as some people do, I’d have broken my nose otherwise.

It’s my last day in work for a while, as when I log off tonight I’ve got eleven days off, and then two week’s self-isolation when we come back from Porto, so I won’t be back in the office for over three weeks. It is amazing just how many people would be willing to get my laptop to my house if I “accidentally” left it in the office when going home tonight.

Poor little Charlie is getting very limpy; he came back from his walk this morning on impulse power. It does mean that in the space of a week I’ve gone from being the limpiest creature in the house to third most limpy, with Charlie getting worse, and Nathan being in a boot with his broken ankle. Next to overtake is probably Sniffles.

Speaking of whom, he seems to be turning into his dearly departed sister. He’s become a lot more vocal around getting let it, and he is being a fussy b@st@rd about his food. And his sense of timing is all off, he arrives out of breath at the front door only after we have left and got in the car. He then wanders off somewhere to sleep when we are out, and misses being let in when we get back.

I don’t know if I can decide. Do you have to be a d1ck in the first place to buy / drive an Audi, or does buying / driving an Audi turn you into a d1ck? Which came first; the d1ck or the Audi?

They were talking about herd immunity on the radio, and I think it would be a great thing if I had immunity from hearing anything.

Friday morning, no need to get up, no rush to do anything, just about managed to have brunch before heading off to get a haircut. As it was in the furthest corner of Crabbet Park, I went off after mine to take some photos of road signs, and some old houses, before meeting back up with Helen when she had finished her shearing.

We wandered up to what remains of the Crabbet estate, past the old houses and stables, and to the Holiday Inn, where I was looking to take a photo of a blue plaque, only to find that they are doing building work on the hotel and the part with the blue plaque is boarded off. Not to be defeated, we headed to Turner’s Hill Road and back over the motorway and to Caxtons, a magnificent old Tudor Cottage which has a blue plaque to Philip Webb, who appropriately helped form the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. As we got there my fatbit did something modern and tried to shake my arm off again.

We carried on down to Balcombe Road, past more old buildings, and themed road signs

Before heading home for a quick change and respite before going back out and doing more walking. We were met with a little deposit from limpy Charlie, who obviously was objecting to being left alone for a few hours.

Then we were off again, this time we were walking over to the Frogshole Farm with friends to meet other friends (and completing a party of six) for dinner. Most of the way can be walked away from roads, through woods and fields and by streams until popping out opposite the pub.

We were given a table and had to wait for a bit for everyone to arrive. We had been told that we had to order through the app. Which is atrocious. It took twenty minutes to order drinks and puddings, and then that ended up being through a traditional waitress service. It is an Ember Inn, and the app is called Ember Inns, which is appropriate, as if you had to use to get a fire engine for a fire, by the time it had worked, embers would be all that were left.

They hadn’t told us that the table was only for a two-hour window, so it was annoying to be told that the next booking was waiting for our table, when that wasn’t our problem. They had to wait some more as well as it took half an hour for desserts to turn up. We then wanted to have drinks, and so get a table outside, only to be told that we weren’t allowed to sit as six, we had to sit on two socially distanced tables, with a maximum of four on any one table. Mind-blowingly ridiculous seeing as they had been happy for us to sit as a six inside.

We walked home, but it was dark by then so parts of the journey were quite entertaining as it was through almost pitch black woods, and for one part even my night vision wasn’t good enough to see the path, or anyone else, and so we found the way by phone light.

If Charlie hadn’t been impressed with being left alone for a few hours earlier, he was less so at being left again, and had left two lots of presents on the kitchen floor for us to clean up. We’re so lucky.

It was a late night and so on Saturday morning, we just about got into town in time for Maccy D’s breakfast, before an amble around town and a bit of shopping. People still can’t follow signs on the floor, and it is amazing just how many people out there appear to have cold chins. I took some more photos of locally listed buildings in the next street and we had Saturday night pizza and watched films, seeing as we’d been doing other things on Friday.

Packing and preparations were the name of the game for Sunday as we got ready to fly off to Porto for five days Monday morning. Helen went to see her mum and I rang mine, there were probably similar lengths in time. And during this I levelled up to level 19 – Jigsaw Ninja.

Sports went a bit better this afternoon, Spurs scored five and won, although Mourinho looked furious with the team as they had been doing some attacking. The 49ers scored with the first play of the game and kept going for a comfortable win, but so many injuries that I might be able to get a game after quarantine.

Going to make the most of being in Porto, as it’s two weeks of self-isolation when we return, unless of course they change the rules again by then.

Time To Explore

Friday was better, the idiot laptop didn’t keep dropping out, and I was able to get some work done. Quite a lot of work in fact and was virtually caught up by the time the weekend started, but feeling annoyed at every little thing. Not even pizza helped that as the delivery driver ran off without leaving the dips that should have come with it.

Saturday morning, I had positioned myself in the usual seat at the kitchen table, staring morosely out the back window. Helen intervened and said perhaps it was time I went out for a walk that didn’t involve just getting fizzy drinks and crème eggs from the local shop.

So I went and did something really really exciting. I took photographs of street name signs. I had done this the weekend before full lockdown kicked in, taking those of the streets close to where I live where the streets are all names after occupations.

This time I was going a bit further afield and I was going after explorers. Fourteen of them in all. I had plans to move on to painters, and cathedral cities, and even people linked to London, but I hadn’t charged the camera and it called an end to my wandering by running out of power just after the last explorer had been found and photographed.

I still did some shopping, but being on a different parade of shops from normal I found that the Co-op still had a supply of crème eggs. I resisted the temptation to buy the whole box on the counter and kept it to just the ten.

In the evening we were out in the garden in the dark, with clear sky and stars above us, using the barbecue as an impromptu fire pit. Charlie was mithering for us to throw the ball, well single juggling sack I’d been given at the last SUG conference. His eyesight isn’t the best and so he can’t see where the ball is being thrown, he only reacts to the sound of it landing and then finds it by sense of smell. Most of the large bush down the side of the garden had been removed, so some of it was in the green bin, and more was on the ground. Instead of bringing the ball straight back he was going through a routine. He ran around the bin, through the bush remains before coming and dropping the ball under the rose bush at the edge of the patio. He then would do his version of Riverdance, emitting a strange squeaky growling noise whilst staring at where he dropped the ball. When we didn’t move he would pick the ball up from where he had “buried” it in the bush and then drop it in the large plant pot so we could see it and throw it again. Every single time. And he would stand there looking hurt as to why I was killing myself laughing at him.

Back inside the TV was turned on, and as usual it was on Dave. But unfortunately it was an ad break and therefore sponsored by some company where they have a bloke carrying a dog asking “is there room for Mr Snuggles”. There is no limit to the number of suggestions for where exactly he could stick Mr Snuggles. None of which would be printable.

Going to bed we found the cat with his nose pressed to the gap of where our bedroom door would open whining to be let in. As if he was desperately trying to find somewhere Charlie free for the night. This isn’t a surprise as every time the poor cat passes the dog, Charlie busily tries to stick his nose up the cat’s backside.

Anyway, Helen picked the cat up, and he looked most put out as he was placed in the spare room instead. It did sound like he was tapping away on the keyboard of Helen’s laptop after the door was closed. I had visions of the cat writing up his Trip Advisor review.

“I booked a comfortable double room with extra body heat, but couldn’t get in to it. The hotel owners placed me in a single room instead, with no coverings or facilities. The blind didn’t work, and it looked more like an office than a bedroom. I tried typing up this review on the computer in there, but despite my furious tap dancing across it, I found there was no power, and no warmth in the device when I settled down to lie on it.”

Sunday saw my turn to do the weekly shop, so it was off early to a not very full Sainsbury’s. (Full of people that is, the shelves were fine, got everything on the list.) They also had boxes of crème eggs so another top up happened; I’ve got enough for another week or so now. Even with less traffic on the roads it’s still amazing just how bad Crawley drivers are. I wonder if it’s got anything to do with the layer of sand that seems to have settled over all the cars in Crawley in the last week and that they can’t actually see where they are going.

I have mentioned that the bush in the garden was being removed. It was completed on Sunday, and so Monday morning there was a forlorn, confused looking cat. It had been a couple of weeks since the fencing had been set up in its current format, and the daily changes had stopped, and so the cat was nicely settled into a routine. So he wandered over to where the bush had been, turned all around to see if he’d walked in the wrong direction and then sat in the spot where he would usually be covered by the bush and scowled at Helen putting the washing out. I think the previously low Trip Advisor score may well become a minus score now.

I know the feeling, after what was quite an animated weekend for me, the general feeling of meh! had kicked in again by the time it got to midday on Monday. The poem written over the weekend might have had different lines (or even missing lines) towards the end if I’d written it on Monday.

What day is it please? Does anybody really know?

Not that it matters of course, I’ve nowhere to go.

Nothing to do except maybe gaze out of the window

And get fatter eating pizza and some hot cookie dough

The lockdown at the same time both sucks and blows

And when it will end is something nobody knows

The lack of motivation for me to do anything grows

And my stomach is so big now I can’t see my toes

I stare at a screen for countless hours every single day

Whether working or personal use all I feel is dismay

All the colour is gone and now all around me is grey

For someone to shoot me I might just fork out and pay

I wonder if the next time I move will it be sometime in May

Or will it be later in the year just in time for Santa’s sleigh

By which time God only knows how much I will weigh

And I’ll have forgotten how to speak, instead I’ll bray

The news is depressing it’s all about death and misery

Or people who are self-obsessed chanting me me me

I sit and wonder how on earth it is they can’t see

How their selfishness affects absolutely everybody

It’s not rocket science and they don’t need a degree

To see that there is more to life than taking a selfie

It isn’t as if everybody in the world always has to agree

But wouldn’t it be good to try and make others happy

Now I know I’m not known to have on my face a smile

And that every day in lockdown can be such a trial

It’s difficult to prevent my usual outpouring of bile

But perhaps a change of outlook would be worthwhile

I could go la la la, fingers in my ears in a state of denial

And keep everything the same on my personal file

But I am going to try and go that extra mile

So that I end up being at the top of the dial

I may have framed my jigsaw, but it still hasn’t made it up onto the map wall, and it sits next to me at the end of the kitchen table. We still haven’t started on the next physical jigsaw, but I’m keeping my hand in online. Reading has slowed, only three books this week. I did think about writing, but only got as far as writing a list of chapter titles. It all adds to the word count I suppose.

I’ve been seeing a lot of people online have been doing online diaries. I did think about doing this, but got distracted (and a little dyslexic), and so my only entry has been.

Dear Dairy,

Thank you for your supplies this week. It has been good to upgrade from semi-skimmed to full fat milk, it is just a shame that you no longer do gold top. With crumpets for breakfast, and additional baking in house, can I get an extra pack of butter delivered each week please? Yes, and keep the cheeses coming, double the halloumi order, keep the Cheddar, Feta, Mozzarella and Danish Blue at the same level, and some nice Applewood slices would appreciated this week to put on the burgers. Don’t forget the yoghurts and double cream; we have to keep the deserts going as well if I’m going to achieve the pudding look before lockdown ends.

Grrr. I mentioned meeting sociopaths last week. There are some more I need to add to this. Those that add meetings in over possible lunchtime hours. Now half an hour or an hour isn’t that bad by itself. It’s those who add them in when the rest of the lunchtime period is already booked that need a good slap. And as for those who book two hours meetings from noon to 2pm, they need Eddie Honda to come and do his signature hundred handslap move on them.

And now it’s raining most of the time. There are some positives to this. The sand has been washed off the car, and there are fewer morons out and about. Plus there’s less chance of having to go out and exercise if it’s raining. Onwards and upwards.