Mon 1: I reckon there's a game to be played, in well-off neighbourhoods, trying to spot personalised numberplates starting with every letter of the alphabet. I spotted well over half of the 21 possible registration letters while walking through Farnborough. Tue 2: Apparently TfL are trying that bloody "bus is moving" trial again, on a handful of buses, with different wording. Following a tip-off, I can confirm that none of the 13 vehicles on route 430 were doing it today. Wed 3: The latest video art exhibition at 180 Strand, which is open (free) until 9th December, isn't as good as previous shows but does take you round a lot of the previously unseen basement. Thu 4: My landline rang. Given it wasn't a Sunday, this was unusual. But it turned out to be a lot quicker than several emails. Fri 5: All the comfy chairs in Saffron Walden Museum are 'In Memory Of Flossie Gedney 1903-2013', which is a damned good age to reach, and were part-funded to the tune of £321 by people dropping green tokens into a box at Waitrose. Sat 6: Margate is unforgivingly miserable in chilly rain. I had hoped to hide in Dreamland, which is now only a fiver to enter, but they have a "no food and drink" policy and a bag check, and I had a thermos of tea, so I went and got utterly drenched on the beach instead. Sun 7: The first art exhibition on City Island, opposite Canary Wharf, turned out to be an almost empty gallery with a few coloured rectangles on the wall, a few more on the floor, and two overhead projectors with cellophane on. I only stayed for the second minute out of politeness.
Mon 8: Sometimes, when you write a throwaway sentence about something on the blog, the very important person in charge of that something emails you and says nice things but also queries why you were less than positive about their something, and you have to email back diplomatically, and it's OK it all ended well. Tue 9: It was one of those days when you could walk around London in shirtsleeves (which seemed normal at the time, but would become an entirely alien concept within weeks). Wed 10: Despite being perfectly sunny, the view from Leith Hill was all blurry at the horizon. I got Surrey's highest waterfall, on the Tillingbourne near Friday Street, all to myself. Thu 11: I was very much hoping that the card selection at the Kew Bookshop would solve all my imminent 80th birthday card purchase needs, but Quentin Blake's illustration of a plump, bald, boozy octogenarian entirely failed to resemble my Dad. Fri 12: I can walk up to the lady on the checkout, pay for a bottle of milk with two coins and be out of the supermarket before the cashless drones have got to the front of the self-service queue. Sat 13: There are many ways to walk from the edge of Richmond Park into the centre and again out the other side, via several deer, and this was another excellent one. I also now know where The Priory is, should this ever prove useful. Sun 14: Always check the list of weekend engineering works before you spend thirty minutes in a traffic jam on the way to a tube station which turns out to be closed, and another thirty minutes outpacing the traffic on a long walk to the nearest tube station that's open.
Mon 15: I was just as excited about the Harry and Meghan baby news as you were. Tue 16: Walking through a suburb of Sheffield I was delighted to stumble upon a Doctor Who billboard, featuring a giant Jodie Whittaker, at the foot of the road where I think Graham and Ryan are supposed to live. Wed 17: I went to buy some crodoughs, because needs must, but while I was trying to decide which flavours to get I accidentally called them "cronuts" and heaven knows what the baker must have thought of me. Thu 18: Epping Forest is a splendid place for a long walk across a scrunchy beech-leaf carpet, far from the madding crowd, and all the better for having a cafe in the middle selling cheap sausage paninis. Fri 19: Oh joy, the Thames Path along the western edge of the North Greenwich peninsula is open again, and not yet all flats, so retains a reasonable amount of downtrodden character. Sat 20: The most memorable thing about my Dad's 80th birthday turned out not to be the big meal, or the balloons in the hedge, but the pheasant who chose to run out in front of the car at the last second and ended up under the wheels... and basically, never look back. Sun 21: It looks like the winner of the last ever series of Big Brother might be from Norfolk. His Renault was parked on my dad's gravel, somewhat unexpectedly, while his father popped in for elevenses and to share all the hot in-house gossip.
Mon 22: Even though Great Eastern Road in Stratford is now two-way, almost nobody is driving down the new bit because it's barely signposted. A lot of pedestrians are discovering that running across a very wide road is a lot more dangerous now traffic can sneak up in both directions. Tue 23: The new Photography Centre at the V&A is quite good, and well frequented, although it's the old stuff getting all the attention rather than the attempt at a modern digital showcase. Wed 24: I walked the length of the Regent's Canal, which is a good eight miles. I passed 13 locks, 89 cyclists and 109 joggers. The three diversions were less welcome. What I should have counted was tents. Thu 25: It turns out the road across the front of Battersea Power Station is now open, should you ever want to see the chimneys from almost underneath, and the bland luxury hutches springing up alongside. Fri 26: By taking the tube to Cockfosters today I've now ridden the entire Piccadilly line this year, indeed every section of every Underground line except the High Barnet branch of the Northern line. Sat 27: On my second visit to Coal Drops Yard, I was shocked to discover that bearded millennials really do walk around in bright orange parkas with fur-edged hoods, like it's some decade they can't even remember. Sun 28: It was Doubling-Up-The-Duvet Day, the annual autumn festival.
Mon 29: As one of my presents last Christmas, I was given a ticket to see a Bond girl on stage tonight at a famous theatre in central London. It turned out David Walliams was sitting a few rows in front, and June Whitfield was in the circle. Tue 30: It's not every day you spot Princess Anne on your walk to the supermarket. Her black limo whizzed round the Bow Roundabout preceded by whistle-blowing outriders, and her briefly-flashed face was unmistakable. Wed 31: Living in a flat, Hallowe'en is rarely a trial. Nevertheless I went out for the evening instead, and was pleasantly surprised by the total absence of trick-or-treaters on the streets of East London.