Wed 1: Just before lockdown in March, in common with much of Britain, I went panic buying for toilet rolls. I'd only just broken into my last pack of four so was worried about when they might run out. The first day of July, it turns out. Thu 2: Roman Road Market has finally reopened. Thus far there are only a handful of stalls along one side of the street, selling the usual £5 dresses and "Top Shop, honest" blouses. A row of barriers allows pedestrians to walk by (or queue outside Iceland) whilst keeping their distance. Few locals are taking advantage as yet. [That'll change]
Fri 3: The electronic billboard beside the Bow roundabout finally includes a proper advert again, for oat milk, rather than a relentless carousel of health-related messages. [The government's Brexit campaign starts with a vengeance on Monday] Sat 4: If you like old telly, you should enjoy the podcasts from distinctnostalgia.com. Three times a week they churn out a lengthy chat with someone who used to create classic TV, either in front of or behind the camera. Streamable hours include interviews with Thelma Barlow from Corrie, Freda Kelsall who wrote the schools programme How We Used To Live, three of The History Boys, Henry Kelly from Going For Gold and the voice of Rosemary the Telephone Operator from Hong Kong Phooey. Sun 5: My double-barrelled nextdoor neighbours are moving out, escaping to a proper house in Walthamstow, which means a stackful of personal belongings on the landing for a few hours (and a parking ticket on the delivery van). I wonder who'll be moving in instead. [There are few clues so far, as only the dog ever ventures out onto the balcony] Mon 6: Walking home from Victoria Park I had the choice of turning left or right. By going right I fortuitously avoided walking into a large group of police officers trying to persuade a man not to jump off the A12 footbridge. [Thankfully they succeeded]
Tue 7: The possible imposition of a 'bus gate' in Roman Road (as part of Bow's Liveable Streets scheme) continues to polarise the community. A big 'Save Our Streets' banner has been hung from the pub opposite, numerous anti-posters have appeared in shop windows and campaigners Let Bow Breathe are undertaking a major pro-leafleting push. [The consultation closed this week, and now we wait for local cabbies to explode] Wed 8: Shopping update: I arrived at the supermarket to find a shopworker removing the last of the one-way arrows from the floor. The store is also no longer one way in and one way out, which'll save everyone a long trolley push down the pavement outside. Thu 9: The shopping mall at the Millennium Dome posted a leaflet through my letterbox offering a 10% discount "as one of our closest neighbours". I suspect this means they're in financial trouble. Fri 10: I tweeted a photo of the junction where Britain's lowest-numbered A road (the A1) meets Britain's lowest numbered B road (the B100), and it got more views than my blog has had altogether this month, and I wonder sometimes if I'm focusing my efforts in the wrong place.
Sat 11: The Thameside West Vision Centre, alongside the DLR viaduct off Silvertown Way, always reminds me of a Supermarionation set from an episode of Captain Scarlet. The sign above the Entrance even looks like the typeface Gerry Anderson would have used. Sun 12: The Sunday food market in Victoria Park has restarted, with stalls now spread along the fringes of the western park rather than all crammed into a single roadway. Each pitch is marked out on the grass with small pink cones. I arrived while everyone was setting up, some piling equipment out of a Zipcar, others unfurling a gazebo or unshuttering their van. Refreshment offerings included Chubby Dumpling(Taking Dad's Treats To The Streets), Meltsmiths(London's best grilled cheese) and Oink(A Bacon Butty Revolution). Mon 13: Every year the gladiolus on my balcony sends up one long spike which promptly topples under its own weight before its seven flowers open. However this year I managed to attach an 18" ruler as a support before it collapsed [and hurrah, it stayed upright throughout an extended blooming phase]
Tue 14: Late in the evening I heard a loud commotion at my front door, then the sound of a key in my lock as two inebriated blokes attempted to gain entry. After 30 seconds of ever-increasing frustration they finally worked out they actually live on the floor below so were on the wrong landing, and off they blundered. Wed 15: City Airport is up and running again, although with a tiny number of flights at present. I walked up onto the Royal Victoria Dock footbridge to get the best view, and absolutely nothing took off or landed. The lack of planes has helped me sleep in later in the mornings, though. Thu 16: A full-on funfair has appeared at the top of the Olympic Park beside the Hockey/Tennis Centre, complete with dodgems, hoopla stalls and tall whirly things. It'll be open four days a week until the end of August, should you fancy the full Please Register Before You Come Please Bring Your Face Mask Please Use The Hand Sanitiser Gel Provided Please Stay 1m+ Apart experience. Fri 17: My thanks to the BBC for rescreening the entire London 2012 Opening Ceremony (director's cut) after the Ten O'Clock News. Once a year would be fine by me. [It's still on iPlayer if you need an uplifting boost] Sat 18: My morning walk was interrupted by a bunch of boisterous revellers hanging round the entrance to the local funeral parlour, one of whom was offended when I socially-distanced by stepping into the Cycle Superhighway. He flailed in my general direction, failed to make contact and then called me "you black bastard". This never normally happens. Sun 19: My dad reports from Norfolk that our tortoise has laid an egg, a trick he first achieved in July 1981 which forced us to entirely reconsider her pronouns. [Four more eggs later turned up half-buried in the soil, which is a lot of effort to go to for an unfertilised clutch]
Mon 20: Every car in Teviot Street has been leafleted by a conspiracy theorist (The News The Government Doesn't Want You To Read) whose deranged ramblings (Do Not Buy From KFC! Child Prostitution!) masquerade as a community newsletter. Tue 21: I've now finished watching I May Destroy You, which is thrillingly contemporary, so am filling this afternoon by re-watching Michael Palin in Around The World In 80 Days, which is sublimely outdated. Wed 22: In May it was horse chestnuts. In June it was blackberries. In July it's acorns. Autumn is coming. Thu 23: The drive-through McDonalds at the Bow Roundabout has reopened to takeaway customers, which means any wannabe burgermuncher turning up on foot can now go inside rather than having to fire up an app and get one of the moped riders to bring it out for them. Fri 24: I walked down to the lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf, which was obviously closed, but was staggered by how fast the forest of flats along the access road has shot up. [I may blog about this at a later date, by which time there'll be stacks more] Sat 25: I've now been on Instagram, silently, for exactly five years. Celebrated with a photo of a municipal housing block. It got hardly any likes, as usual. Sun 26: I heard a peculiar noise in the sky and looked out of my window to see... wow, a Lancaster bomber flanked by a Spitfire and a Hurricane. This unannounced flypast was for a VJ Day anniversary pre-record somewhere in Central London, and by pure fluke passed through the tiny slot of sky I can see from indoors.
Mon 27: Walking randomly through Stepney I stumbled upon a blue plaque marking the site where Dr Barnardo started his work with children. It's now a (shuttered) halal grocers. Tue 28: I love the new blue, black & white logo for Coventry City of Culture, whose year in the spotlight has been nudged back to May 2021-May 2022. Wed 29: Remember that crane whichtoppled in Bow killing an 85 year-old woman earlier this month? I thought I'd leave it three weeks before walking past... and sheesh, the sight of a normal row of houses with a diagonal gash across a single roof was enormously affecting. Round in Gale Street the crumpled crane still rests across a newbuild block, all construction halted, while police continue to observe the scene from both sides. Never take tomorrow for granted. Thu 30: On Ruckholt Road, where a cycle lane runs directly through a bus shelter, someone from TfL has finally sprayed some paint on the adjacent pavement to show where the shelter ought to have been shifted four months ago. A separate yellow roundel marks the intended site of the bus stop pole. Fri 31: Heathrow's mid-afternoon 37.8°C would have easily smashed the record for the UK's hottest ever July temperature... if only Cambridge hadn't utterly smashed it with a 38.7°C last year.