Sat 1: Picked up a copy of Time Out outside Stepney Green station. It's the first edition since September because people are finally going Out again, although it's only monthly to start with. May's edition has 48 pages - 14 pages of adverts, plenty of non-time-specific editorial and 6 pages of Things To Do. You can download Time Out for free these days, they need the circulation. Sun 2: I wasn't thrilled by the Line of Duty finale, but I wasn't as grumbly as some people (and at least it tied up all the appropriate loose ends). Mon 3: Dropped my TV remote control onto the carpet, which I've done several times before but now it sounds like something inside has broken loose. Thankfully everything still seems to work but now I have to live with it rattling like a kaleidoscope every time I use it. I must learn not to leave it balanced on top of an empty mug. Tue 4: A few minutes into today's walk I stumbled upon two men flytipping at the end of Wrexham Road. They looked redfaced and angry at being spotted, then drove off hurriedly in their white van. Annoyingly the photo I thought I'd taken of their numberplate didn't come out, but I'm reassured they probably think it did. Wed 5: It took four attempts to find a shop with a 200th anniversary copy of The Guardian (so my thanks to P&P News in Maryland). Thu 6: Went for a walk around the lake in Beckton Park. First spotted a heck of a lot of black plastic rat traps in the undergrowth. Then spotted several large black rats scampering everywhere, blimey, which simultaneously explained the number of traps and suggested they're not working. Fri 7: Having checked the use-by-date, decided it was finally time to open the emergency UHT milk I bought last spring. It properly wrecks a good cup of tea, that stuff.
Sat 8: Crossrail excitement! A sign has been pasted up beside the works entrance under the bridge at Pudding Mill Lane which says Trial Running - RFLI Rules beyond this point. Trial Running is the critical stage before Trial Operations which is the really critical stage before Passenger Service. Trial Running had been pencilled for the summer of 2018, then more realistically "at the earliest opportunity in 2020", then most recently "at the earliest opportunity in 2021", and here we finally are. The first pseudo-shuttling will begin on Monday. Sun 9: I keep going back to the Old Street Roundabout to watch it being sequentially de-roundabouted, and there still isn't an interesting blogpost in it. Mon 10: Bought Now That's What I Call Eurovision because it was only a tenner for three discs, and because last year's Icelandic entry is on it, but mostly because Tesco know a few of us still buy CDs so this is one of the tiny handful of titles they bother to stock.
Tue 11: prickly yellow gorse, flies plague the sand by the lake, some bluebells linger #WhippsCrossHaiku Wed 12: I was surprised to see a plane low overhead above the Greenway because it's not on the City Airport flightpath. It turned out to be a KLM plane that had aborted its landing and was going round for a second attempt. Thu 13: Following another of this month's blitzkrieg showers, the streets are full of bedraggled souls in their Eid finery dashing home from the mosque. Fri 14: I'm not sure if the empty tables outside City pubs and restaurants are because it's 12 degrees and a bit damp or because everyone's saving themselves to go indoors on Monday. Sat 15: Six weeks after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, an all-black poster outside East India DLR continues to offer deepest sympathy to Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal Family. Sun 16: The downside of going back on a tube train for the first time in 8 months is hearing the See It Say It Sorted message for the first time in 14 months. I really hoped they'd given that up by now.
Mon 17: The red hot pokers in the Olympic Park are looking jolly splendid. Tue 18: London's Nightingale Hospital closed over a year ago, but two giant blue signs on Burt Road still mark the entrance to the Staff & Contractor car park and nobody's yet taken down the staff shuttle signs in the bus shelter outside. Wed 19: Normally the iris on my balcony throws up one bloom but this year it's four. I have no idea what I did right but it looks very pretty. Thu 20: I was baffled to see a table of merchandise outside lowly AFC Hornchurch's stadium, which is tucked away off a quiet Upminster sidestreet, but it turns out they're playing Hereford in the FA Trophy final at Wembley this Saturday. Go urchins! (and they won...)
Fri 21: In my attempt to spot all 420 personalised numberplate combinations from A1 to Y20, which I started three months ago at the start of March, I've now seen all of them except for F15, G16, H18, T17, W20, X16, Y13 and Y17. If any of you have a vehicle bearing one of these eight, I'd be much obliged if you could drive it round the Bow Roundabout a few times. Sat 22: I didn't think the UK's Eurovision song deserved nul points, indeed the new scoring system ought to have made that nigh impossible so we excelled there, but it was never a contender. As for the winning Italian song, that totally passed me by. Sun 23: Seven months after she died my aunt's house in Suffolk has gone on the market and swiftly sold. The estate agent described the property as having a 'Superb Kitchen' and 'Superb Mature Grounds and Gardens' which I suspect she'd have been jolly proud about. But it's eerie swiping through photos of the interior stripped of her belongings and realising I'll never go inside again. Mon 24: I've been living in this flat for almost 20 years, and today is the first time I have ever felt the need to go and knock on the door of the flat upstairs to tell the inhabitants how much noise they're making. Alas they didn't open the door (I suspect because they didn't hear me). Tue 25: The McDonalds by the Bow Roundabout is closed for a month-long upgrade, which this week includes digging up the drive-thru lane, realigning the pedestrian entrance and ripping the brick cladding off the walls. Wed 26: I spotted the second series of Bridgerton being filmed at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, which was all bright lights, top hats and bonnets. I also bumped into one of my regular drinking partners watching through the railings, which was a pleasant surprise. But I need to retrain my inner monologue not to say things out loud, because it appears I'm very much out of practice.
Thu 27: The Newham Trackside Wall, Crossrail's very-very-long artwork covering a blank barrier, has finally reached Silvertown. The last section includes one panel about pub quizzes at the Tate & Lyle factory and another about Stella Minge and her 1950s Molly House. Fri 28: Not only did I get my second jab today but I also used a cashpoint for the first time in 14 months, went inside BestMate's house for the first time in 7 months and ate a meal cooked by someone else for the first time since October, and it felt like a bit of a landmark day. Sat 29: It's been a kingfisher-free month in the Olympic Park, which is a shame after six consecutive blue-flash successes. Sun 30: It was odd seeing actual tourists on Tower Bridge again, and an actual queue waiting to go inside and up the towers, but I'd prefer to walk past thanks. Mon 31: My first bus journey for 63 weeks was aboard a rail replacement bus, partly because I hoped it'd be quiet but also because it's an excellent way to go five miles from home for free. I skipped the first bus with 14 passengers on the upper deck (because it looked like it was being driven by a timetable jobsworth) and was rewarded with a 'just two of us' instead (which got to the destination quicker).