Thu 1: Spotted Michaela Coel again, this time in the vicinity of Victoria Park and much better disguised in baseball cap, designer dark glasses and a white scarf across her chin. Didn't fool me though - once spotted never forgotten. Fri 2: Those BBC4 pop documentaries they schedule just before screening another year of Top Of The Pops reruns are excellent, and 1990 was no exception. Sat 3: After two inches of rain fell yesterday, the northern Olympic Park was fulfilling its role as a flood bowl to ease water levels downstream. A heron lurked on the riverside footpath in several inches of water, right where I was standing yesterday, while gulls paddled around the nearby benches.
Sun 4: My favourite trainers have developed peeling soles, probably because I've walked hundreds of extra miles this spring and summer. Originally they were "special occasions only", then "definitely avoiding anywhere muddy", then "everyday choice" and before long they'll be "holes, dammit, farewell". Mon 5: Seasonal style tip - the men's headgear of choice this autumn is the mustard-coloured beanie. Other less hip shades are available. But any fool wearing one today is dressing by the calendar, not the weather forecast. Tue 6: My annual house insurance bill has somehow increased by over 150%. Not 50%, but 150%. Rang the brokers who apologised, found something cheaper and halved the annual fee they've suddenly started charging, but the bill is still up 30% and I fear for next year. Wed 7:Filming in the Olympic Park 1: A film crew village has appeared on an empty site beside Pudding Mill Lane station. It has six caravans for actors to hide inside between shoots, and two marquees, and a refreshment truck, and minibuses, but no actual filming. Whatever they're shooting nearby must be major because the caravans are still here three weeks later. Thu 8: The 3-year-old battery in my 5-year-old iPhone is now starting to show its age and will suddenly drop 30% for no readily apparent reason. Fri 9: Tesco say they've reduced the amount of plastic packing on their own brand cheese by 41%. That's good. They've also reduced the pack size from 460g to 400g. That's less good. The price per 100g has stayed exactly the same. That's good. The new pack is no longer self-seal. That's less good. Sat 10: A sign outside the Premier Inn/Brewers Fayre in Beckton says Book Now for Christmas, and I wish them good luck with that.
Sun 11: I can't believe it's not butter. Mon 12: Last November I had to have a new boiler installed in a different part of the flat. Today the builder finally came back to beautify the resulting mess. He started in a different room to the room I was expecting, which required some annoying last minute shifting of stuff. He's not especially good at social distancing. Tue 13: The builder again started in a different room to the room I was expecting, which required some annoying last minute shifting of stuff. By the end of the day some ugly pipes had disappeared behind new skirting and several tiles had been replaced. He's quite profligate with toilet roll. Wed 14: The builder arrived earlier than I was expecting, which required some annoying last minute shifting of stuff. By the end of the day I had a new cupboard where the boiler used to be. Alas he can't finish the job because its doors haven't arrived yet, and this means the new skirting's not going to get its final coat of paint until he returns in, sigh, maybe three weeks. Thu 15: Spotted 12 magpies on a grassy bank in the Olympic Park, and I have no idea what that signifies. Fri 16: Went round to BestMate's for dinner, rare chat and to finally watch S3E10 of The Crown. Stayed late, but was careful to leave shortly before midnight when Tier 2 restrictions kicked in. Sat 17: Had a mammoth number of visitors to the blog today, but it was mostly you lot refreshing the page endlessly to try to get past the High Alert screen (or to test out the random number generator). All the comments on the Sutton bus route word search were therefore fake, sorry.
Sun 18: I like listening to Ramblings on Radio 4, but this week's Walthamstow/Hackney Marshes episode is the first time I've listened to Clare Balding chatting to her guest in the same place I was walking. Mon 19: My landline doesn't normally ring on a Monday. Today it rang with the news that my mum's sister has died - not from that - following a few weeks of inexorable medical decline. She was always one to slip a letter into a birthday or Christmas card, even when there was nothing much to say. I shall miss them. Tue 20: Went to the non-essential clock shop in the Stratford Centre for a replacement watch battery - a rare purchase - thankful that it decided to fail during the gap between lockdowns. My 30 year-old Casio is so iconic you can still buy one (£29.99 in the front window) but I'm chuffed mine's an original. Wed 21: Rang BT because my broadband contract is coming to an end, and they somehow managed to find me a cheaper (identical) deal but with a Fibre upgrade thrown in. So that's good. Thu 22: Hurrah, the Roku player stuck into my smart TV now has a BBC Sounds app, so I can listen back to radio programmes over decent speakers. Fri 23:Filming in the Olympic Park 2: The western end of Northwall Road was busy with trucks, crew, refreshment tables and several stewards to keep members of the public at bay... and all to film a commercial, so they said. Sat 24: I slipped while clambering round Mudchute Park and grazed my hand on a gravel slope. End result: minor cuts across my palm and a tiny thorn to pick out. But I happened to have some hand sanitiser in my pocket, and that's the first time I've been thankful it's 2020. Sun 25: I haven't adjusted the clock on the microwave because I'll only have to change it again when the builder comes back.
Mon 26:Filming in the Olympic Park 3: Today's film crew on Northwall Road are from Warner Brothers, who appear to be organising a major vehicle incident underneath the bridge by the Velodrome. If you're watching a movie next year and spot a silver Subaru (RK52ZXF) upside down on the bonnet of a white car, that's where they filmed it. Tue 27: At Hackney Bridge the door to the perfumery reads GALLIVANT - Fragrance For Urban Explorers, and I have never wanted a start-up to fail more. Wed 28: As a follow-up to the major leak which disrupted much of East London's water supply three weeks ago, Thames Water have laid a temporary road across Hackney Marshes and are excavating two large holes beside the football pitches. Thu 29: A letter arrived from BT with details of my new broadband/landline contract, confirming that the terms have actually changed and kicked in yesterday so I'll get no more free weekend calls. A phone call to customer services confirmed they don't have a free weekend calls option any more and I should have been told this, sorry, and they can't undo it because it changed yesterday, sorry, and I should have received an email but they failed to update my address, sorry. The financial recompense they offered should pay for several weekend calls. Fri 30: Even though I've spent most of the last seven months walking around my local area, there always seems to be a fresh new street to explore. I may not be saying this by March. Sat 31: It's been London's wettestOctober on record, topping six inches of precipitation. It's also been the dullestOctober since 1894 with just fifty-or-so hours of sunshine. You weren't imagining it.