Sun 1: Received an email from someone asking if I'd kindly mention their event again, because I appear to have enjoyed it last year. Sent back an email pointing out I actually mentioned it on the blog yesterday. Mon 2: I'm sitting in a bus shelter in Stratford surrounded by three girls and a boy carrying a hoodie. The girls seem quite excitable about what's inside the hoodie, especially after they spot a couple of police officers nearby. Something that might be metal flashes from inside the rolled-up clothing. Its owner grins with casual bravado. All four then hurry towards the front of a bus that's just arrived. I'll catch the next one. Tue 3: Head to Dagenham to visit the Barking Stink, a Totally Thames exhibition at Valence House. It's very interesting, but essentially just a few information boards plonked outside the cafe so not worth trekking all that way for. Later in the week I'll discover exactly the same information boards - a second copy - plonked outside the National Theatre on the South Bank. I should have gone there first instead. Wed 4: How tired the interior of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre looks. I don't think this is the fault of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre. Thu 5: I've noticed somewhere in the Midlands that my Art Pass unexpectedly lets me into, so I need to go before it expires, so I buy rail tickets for next month. I bet it rains. Fri 6: BestMate and I go for dinner at our favourite restaurant near Tower Bridge. The sunset is dramatic, but the service isn't as good as it usually is. We'll give them one more chance.
Sat 7: I also rode the rail replacement bus from Acton Town to Rayners Lane, but that all worked very smoothly so I didn't write about it. Sun 8: I head for the new Seven Dials Market, a foodies' food hall in a former banana warehouse. I thought it it opened at eleven, but it turns out on Sunday it opens at noon so the security guard on the door sends me away. But I didn't really want a vegan doughnut, short rib burritos or Cornish Gouda off the cheese conveyor belt, so I didn't come back. Mon 9: A big spider scuttles underneath my TV. It must be September. Tue 10: I stay up until almost 2am watching the Prorogation ceremony in Parliament, which proves even more surreal than usual. But a fortnight later the Supreme Court will decree it never happened, so maybe I dreamt it all. Wed 11: I spot that the Christmas chocolates, mince pies and puddings have appeared on the shelves in my local supermarket (already), but I don't blog about it because that's really 2003, and I don't tweet about it because that's far too 2009. Thu 12: Whisper it, but the Natural History Museum is more interesting than the Science Museum (not in terms of what there is on display but how it's displayed). Fri 13: It's sunny, it's warm, and it's barely rained for the last few weeks. (How long ago 13th September now seems.) Sat 14: One of the last remaining undeveloped patches of land under the auspices of the QEOP planners is to the south of Stratford High Street between the Greenway and Rick Roberts Way. During the Olympics it was used for coach parking. Ultimately it will have 900 homes. But until April 2024 it's been adopted by a car supermarket, Big Motoring World, who've covered the site with hundreds and hundreds of BMWs and Volkswagens. Their application passed all planning hurdles, but who the hell thought the sale of exhaust-belchers was an appropriate use of public development land? Sadiq, over to you.
Sun 15: An incident somewhere in the vicinity has required my gas supply to be turned off. It being late in the evening, I haven't yet noticed the card saying an engineer needs to visit for a 'purge and restart'. Mon 16: I ring for an appointment. The engineer comes round promptly. He purges/restarts my system. "I just need to check it's restarted properly," he says. He checks my appliances. He notices that my gas cooker isn't 100% operational. He notices that the connection to my gas boiler might not be safe. He fills in a gas safety certificate. He switches the gas back off. It's been off ever since. Tue 17: I get a phone call from my letting agents asking if an engineer can come round now. "Sorry, I'm in Sutton," I say. Wed 18: I get a phone call direct from the engineer. He can't come until tomorrow. Thu 19: The engineer comes round. He immediately spots that the problem with the boiler isn't actually a problem. However, he then spots another problem with the boiler which may be a lot more difficult to solve. "It's old," he says. "I suspect we'll need to get it replaced." He doesn't check the cooker because the gas is off. "It's old," he says. "Probably best to just get it replaced." Fri 20: BestMate kindly offers me the use of his bath. After five days without hot water, it is bliss. Sat 21: After six days without a gas cooker, I have been surviving on cold food and microwaveable meals. The chicken breasts in my fridge have exceeded their use-by date and have to be thrown away. Sun 22: After seven days without central heating, it's fortunate that it's September and I haven't needed it.
Mon 23: For complicated contractual reasons, my letting agents have asked if I could buy a new gas cooker and they'll refund me. I attempt to buy a new gas cooker online. One of the questions on the application form comes up as a No rather than a Yes, so I am unable to proceed. Tue 24: Apparently I am no longer allowed a gas cooker as my kitchen doesn't have an external wall. The old gas cooker was perfectly legal, but a new one would not be. I have no choice but to defect from gas to electric (sigh). Wed 25: I order a new electric cooker instead. It should be here on Friday. Thu 26: BestMate has flown to America for a fortnight, so popping round to his for a bath has become a lot more difficult. Fri 27: I stay in awaiting the delivery of my new electric cooker. Eventually I get a call from the driver saying he's nearly here. Shortly afterwards I get another call saying he couldn't park because I live on a red route. "Best rebook for a weekend because parking might be easier." This weekend is fully booked, but they can do October. Sat 28: I manage to get temporary access to a nearby parking space, so I ring up and rebook my delivery for Tuesday. Sun 29: I'm glad I bought a Brexit-ready stash of tinned food because it has proved very useful. Jacket potatoes from a microwave don't taste the same as from an oven, but they'll do. So far I have only succumbed to one takeaway, and I'm sure I'm eating less than usual. Nevertheless I have somehow put on three pounds in weight. Mon 30: After two weeks without central heating, it's fortunate that it's September and I haven't needed it. Two weeks without hot water is proving more problematic. As yet there is no indication as to how my boiler problem might start to be resolved, only that resolving it will be very complicated and may take weeks. I hope to know more soon. Thankfully, as a tenant, I'm not paying.
Tue 1: I stay in awaiting the delivery of my new electric cooker. Eventually I get a call from the driver saying he's nearly here. I go out and direct him to my cunningly-sourced parking space. Sadly the van is fractionally too big so doesn't fit. "Best rebook for a weekend because parking might be easier." The saga continues.