Fri 1: I thought I'd celebrate the new year by making up a Bird's trifle, given that the packet was now eight years old rather than seven. I successfully avoided the milk boiling over but I did end up with all sorts of powders everywhere, right across my surfaces. Other than the Dream Topping, which no longer lived up to its name, the trifle tasted impressively nostalgic. Sat 2: I opened up my phone to check my email. The battery percentage immediately plummeted from 45% to 1%. I took this as a sign that I do indeed, urgently, need a new phone. Sun 3: My nextdoor neighbours have returned home today. I know this because the packages propped up against their front door since before Christmas have finally been taken in. My other nextdoor neighbours have also returned home today. I know this because the courier note that's been poked under their front door since before Christmas has finally disappeared. So much for Tier 4 regulations. Mon 4:Winter Walks on BBC4 is extraordinary television, in part for its non-intrusive 360° photography but mainly for its sweeping landscapes, thus quite the tonic for these freshly-locked down times. Tue 5: Last time I bought a new phone someone transferred everything across for me. This time I did it all myself because i) technology has improved ii) needs must. Wed 6: The storming of the US Capitol - extraordinary scenes - thankfully confirms Donald Trump's legacy status will be evil psychopathic despot, not merely unhinged populist egomaniac. Thu 7: When one of the most dangerous things you do is pop into the chemist to pick up your prescription, it's not good when they fail to order it and leave you standing there for five minutes while they work that out, then ask you to come back tomorrow. Fri 8: Along with my new phone I bought a cheap adapter so I could continue using my old headphones rather than forking out for bluetooth earplugs. Used it for the first time today. Two hours later my headphones stopped working, dammit.
Sat 9: On today's walk Docklands looked like it was glowing in the fog. Sun 10: Someone I haven't spoken to in 15 years rang up out of the blue for a much-belated catch-up conversation, and all because I emailed my Christmas cards this year instead of posting them. Given the price of stamps I might do this more often. Mon 11: Having received no post whatsoever last week, today a 1st class letter arrived postmarked last Monday. Tue 12: Ah, my headphones haven't broken, it's just that my new phone no longer has a case so the volume button was being nudged downwards in my pocket. Wed 13: Unexpected emails today include one from a lady whose shop I blogged about last year (which narrows it down considerably) and one from a graphic design student who wants to include my photo of a semaphore tower in her dissertation. This is the kind of inbox I like. Thu 14: Tog up in waterproofs and head out to Victoria Park. It's rained so much that part of the perimeter road is underwater. It continues raining after I drip home, indeed it'll be the wettest January day so far this century.
Fri 15: I found a lone grey hair in my eyebrows today... two decades later than my mum told me it would happen, but eminently disconcerting all the same. Sat 16: On a riverside path on the Isle of Dogs I passed a litter bin overflowing with dog poo bags and with a further pyramid of dog poo bags piled on top. Either Tower Hamlets refuse collectors are understaffed or E14's canines are being taken on longer walks. Sun 17: It's now 300 days since the PM first locked the country down. That's 1½% of my life (and, if you're 16 years old, 5% of yours). Mon 18: I'm pleased to confirm the existence of a street in Dalston called Grace Jones Close. Tue 19: TfL have permanently switched the traffic on the Old Street roundabout so that it now runs round the 'correct' three sides of the original square. Don't rush down, it'll be the end of next year before they've tidied up the current mess and opened up a central public space. [The project page on the TfL webpage has yet to be updated and still details the previous configuration]
Wed 20: Joe Biden's inauguration speech was interrupted by a phone call from my dad who was being driven home after his first vaccination jab. Moments in history don't get much better than that. Thu 21: Crossrail are still running empty test trains back and forth on the Abbey Wood branch, at least a year before they'll enter passenger service. If the Victorians had taken the same approach to health and safety the UK's rail network would never have got off the ground (but they didn't have software to contend with). Fri 22:It's A Sin is very good isn't it, as you'd expect from Russell T Davies, even down to how brown the 1980s decor was. I'm being true to the era by watching the episodes live once a week rather than streaming ahead to the inevitable unhappy ending. Sat 23: Broke into a £20 note I took out of a cash machine last March. Still got three more £20 notes to break into. Sun 24: Had bacon for the first time in almost a year. One mouthful and I immediately added it to my list of regular lockdown comfort foods. Mon 25: Birdwatching update: Stumbled upon the kingfisher in the Olympic Park again, directly in front of me and perfectly framed on a branch below the main footbridge. Unfortunately I assumed it was a robin, because it normally is, so I carried on walking and off it flew in a perfect low arc above the river. [map] Tue 26: wintry Wanstead Flats, dodge swans and icy puddles, pure isolation #haiku Wed 27: The 'Vaccination Centre' signs on the walk between Canning Town station and ExCeL have been rehung and now all point in the correct direction (apart from the pair at the start of the Silvertown Viaduct which are entirely contradictory).
Thu 28: Took a detour down Grove Passage in Bethnal Green, a properly atmospheric alleyway beneath the viaduct at Cambridge Heath station. Fri 29: Unusual things I saw on today's walk: a) the Olympic Park in flood b) a Eurostar train being washed c) a priest celebrating mass. Sat 30: I braved the rain to go out and buy a newspaper, except the shop was closed because they'd had a power cut. Thankfully there are still at least six other places within ten minutes of home where I can buy one - how very fortunate I am. Sun 31: Time to eat the last mince pie until, what, September?