Fri 1: These monthly 'unblogged' posts are getting fewer comments than they used to, so maybe readers are losing interest, but they've had a good four year run.
Sat 2: The first blackberries are ripe. Summer's nearly over. Sun 3: Three things I always whizz past on Instagram: i) adverts; ii) anyone publishing more than 10 stories daily; iii) posts from two days ago which the algorithm insists on keeping at the top of my feed because I haven't looked through all the photos (and never will). Mon 4: I was on the 346 bus when two teenage boys boarded. Only one paid. The other delivered a sob story to the driver until he was allowed on, then smirked broadly as he walked up to his friend on the back seat... where they discussed getting off in the High Street and going to Wimpy. They breed a very different kind of rebel in Upminster. Tue 5: Whenever I visit the Museum of Docklands I like to drop into the Sainsbury Archive on the first floor. On today's sortie I picked up free bookmarks depicting Snax salted crackers and Morning Coffee biscuits, and also admired the model of the North Greenwich eco-Sainsbury's (1999-2015).
Wed 6: I went to collect my prescription from the chemist. Normally they hunt for a slip of paper in a box arranged alphabetically, but a new electronic system has been introduced and it's proving less efficient. They had to ask for more ID details up front, then type them in, then wait because the wifi's rubbish so the search took ages, and all this clogged up the till so nobody else behind the counter could use it and a queue built up. Modernisation is often a regressive step. Thu 7: How many ministerial resignations does it take to bring down a PM? If you're Boris Johnson, 62. Extraordinary times. Although I see he intends to keep collecting his salary for another two months. Fri 8: Inflationwatch A four-pack of Cadbury chocolate bars (e.g. Wispa, Double Decker, Topic, Crunchie) has been 98p for well over a year, and today it's £1.25. Sat 9: I see from the fine clothing on display across the streets of Tower Hamlets that it's Eid again, the other Eid, the bigger one. Again it surprises/saddens me that almost everyone out celebrating and/or heading to the mosque is male, but that's religion for you. Sun 10: I thought Clissold Park looked busy, and at first I assumed a market was taking place but no, the BBC were filming the Antiques Roadshow. I watched several optimists queueing for valuations, but only over the fence so I probably won't be in the background when one of them reacts overexcitedly on camera.
Mon 11: At Elephant & Castle station they've put up a poster about carrying water in hot weather, but it's the paranoid lockdown version about cleaning your hands before removing your face covering, and I had hoped they'd recycled all those by now. Tue 12: Gladioliwatch: For many years the tub on my balcony has thrown up one stalk of potential gladioli which has delivered seven daily blooms. Last year it threw up two stalks, each with seven daily blooms (yay!). This year it threw up three stalks (ooh!) but only one has bloomed and with only three flowers (bah!). Wed 13: I was on the R4 bus in Orpington and a lady in a mobility scooter boarded, and she had great trouble getting up the ramp and struggled to get her Freedom Pass out to pay and was really bad at steering it and needed about four attempts to negotiate herself into the wheelchair space, and she apologised throughout because it was her very first day in a mobility scooter, and the rest of the passengers were so supportive, and I thought "good for you, today's a humbling watershed in your life, well done for facing it head on". Thu 14: I picked up a copy of the Bromley News Shopper while I was in Orpington and its headline story was about a music festival in Bexley. Worse, two of its Page 2 stories happened in Southwark and only three stories in the entire paper were from anywhere in Bromley. When your back page is "World & UK Sport", local news really is very dead indeed. Fri 15: Remember that post about shopfront telephone numbers I asked you not to comment on? Well a dozen of you couldn't resist, or else couldn't read, and I had to shift all your comments to the next day's post. I do this sometimes, shift a comment to a different post where it's actually relevant, especially if your comment starts "Hey DG, off-topic but..." Sat 16: I have ridden Crossrail, the proper central section, every day since it opened. That's 47 consecutive days (not including the days it's been closed, obviously). And it would have been 50+ except I'm off to Norfolk tomorrow so my run ends there. But hey, beat that.
Sun 17: I dropped by the East End Canal Festival in Mile End Park, and I fear you'll be reading a lot more about the Bow Heritage Trail this autumn. Also you might want to support Reclaim Our River in their excellent campaign to close the gaps in the Thames Path round Tower Hamlets. I also failed to win a prize in the tombola (which, judging by what was on the table, may have been a good thing). Mon 18: When my parents moved into their Norfolk home in 1991 there was a large arable field at the bottom of the garden. Later it became a paddock, then a businessman built a house there, and today I watched two sweaty workmen obliterating another bit of the horizon with a dozen fence panels. Tue 19: I thought I'd be dodging the worst of the heatwave by coming up to Norfolk but no, yesterday's 38°C peak was ten miles away and today has topped that. Utterly astonishing temperatures (and likely harbingers of an increasingly uncomfortable future). Wed 20: The new Co-Op at Barking Riverside opens next month in a grim prefab ten minutes walk from the station, so that's one thing you can do if you ever decide to visit the godforsaken nomansland end of the line. Thu 21: Had a plumber round, and while he was fixing my problem he told me how he owned 23 houses but only had six mortgages, and then he charged me over £100 plus VAT, and after he left it turned out he hadn't fixed the problem after all.
Fri 22: They've opened up the small chamber at Outernet London on Charing Cross Road, complete with swirling multi-screen video effects, but passers-by seem reticent to walk inside so staff are on hand to encourage them in. One told me the really big atrium won't be opening for 'another month or two'. Sat 23: I think I saw the actor Daniel Rigby on platform 14 at Stratford station. I wasn't 100% convinced, but back during lockdown I thought I saw the actor Daniel Rigby in Victoria Park so I'm raising both sightings to 99% convinced. Sun 24: Before I was in Ham or Sandwich I was in Deal, and while I was there I had to take a walk down the concrete pier. This is my favourite photo from the lower deck at the far end.
Mon 25:Programmes I've been enjoying on BBC Sounds this month: i) the eight-part documentary charting Boris Johnson's character over 57 years (it's always been obvious to those who were looking) ii) Alexei Sayle chatting to passengers on long-distance UK train journeys. Tue 26: I went out for drinks with BestMateFromWork to celebrate it being exactly 20 years since Pauline's leaving do when he suggested we went out for drinks afterwards. We still had tons to discuss, not least because I'm the only person he can talk to about archaic annual leave terms and conditions. Wed 27: TfL have launched a book club, which you might think would mean cut price offers on various nerdy transport-related books but no, you pay £4.99 a month and this allows you to pick from a list of three Hodder & Staughton bestsellers, e-books only, and it does feel like something a financially stable TfL wouldn't need to do. Thu 28: The Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham was a lot of bull (and rather too much expressive dancing). Fri 29: I watched the Neighbours finale despite not having watched an episode this century, and I thought they wrapped it up well, but it was all too obvious that Scott and Charlene turned up on a different day to everyone else. Sat 30: I was waiting for the 347 in Ockendon and the other bloke at the bus stop engaged me in conversation about the trouble he'd been having contacting Argos customer service - they never answered and when they did they always cut him off and it was all foreigners anyway - and I think he assumed I'd nod along, but instead I tried to offer a logical reason for all his woes but he wasn't having it, it was all broken Britain, and I made sure to sit as far away from him on the bus as possible.