Sun 1: Getting off the train at Alexandra Palace I was surrounded by a large crowd of sea captains, bright yellow bananas, red and white striped Wallys and a few passengers not in fancy dress. It's a darts thing apparently. Everyone was trying to tap out on the obsolete card readers because nobody's covered them over.
Mon 2: It took a fortnight for my walking boots to dry off after wading through what should have been a tiny stride-able stream just north of Tonbridge. Thankfully nobody mentioned the mud in the tearoom, they must be used to it. Tue 3: That's the first time I've ever been accosted for cash by an alcoholic while tying my shoelaces outside a Michelin-starred restaurant. He was not successful. Wed 4: Battersea Power Station, supposedly "London’s most exciting new shopping and leisure destination", is as dead on a weekday in January as you'd expect it to be. (Weekends though, blimey) Thu 5: I would be totally honoured if you used my photo of Gracie Fields for the cover of your debut album, Nick, thanks for asking. (It won't be out until June though because sourcing vinyl is really difficult these days) Fri 6: I watched the first 10 minutes of Our Flag Means Death but it didn't make me laugh so I stopped, and now every time I log into iPlayer it suggests I might want to 'Continue watching', and I wish there was a button to say 'I am seriously not interested never suggest this again.' Sat 7: Maybe I left it too late to go to the sales, or maybe there was nothing worth having, or maybe I have all the pillowcases and tableware I need. Sun 8:Secrets of blogging: I do a lot of my on-the-spot research by scribbling notes on the back of a folded-up envelope. Mon 9: I renewed all my library books using the Tower Hamlets app but totally missed that one of them hadn't gone through because someone had reserved it. Thankfully I checked again later, just in time to dash it back to the Idea Store and avoid a fine. Thus far all my borrowing has been free and long may it stay that way.
Tue 10: I was at Baker Street for the tube's 160thanniversarycelebrations on platform 5. I'm not sure the Mayor unveiling a heart-shaped roundel really deserved a big cheer, and by the sound of it the rest of the assembled crowd agreed. Wed 11: The volunteer at Richmond Museum told me the Poppy Factory exhibition was very good, and on the way out I had to agree with her, the Poppy Factory exhibition had indeed been very good. Thu 12: Dear Elon, nobody wants a sticky 'For you' tab, they want an uncurated chronological feed of just the users they're following. You already know this, so damn you for going ahead and doing it anyway. Fri 13: I was riding a bus through Merton when the driver received a phone call, nipped off the bus to answer it, then told all the passengers about the serious electricity supply problems he was having back at his house. Admittedly he did this on a Hail & Ride section and I did have a lot of sympathy for the guy, but I suspect that's a disciplinary offence. Sat 14: I waited for almost half an hour outside Bromley-by-Bow station before realising that no, there weren't any replacement buses despite the line being closed all weekend. I think that's a first. Sun 15: One day I will get the Woolwich Foot Tunnel entirely to myself (and I've nearly managed it several times) but today was not that day. At least the cyclist passed through quickly (but he shouldn't have been doing that). Mon 16: For no particular reason, here's a photo of a ginger cat padding past a modernist church in Yeading.
Tue 17: While getting off the train I suddenly realised the bloke alighting behind me was BBC transport correspondent Tom Edwards, so I was totally expecting a report from Barnes on the local news that evening but it never happened. Wed 18: I've finally got that new psychogeographical London book out of the library. I was chuffed to discover that this blog is referenced in chapter 6, but less chuffed to be called out for something I wrote that was plainly wrong. Thu 19: I got to the platform at Bromley-by-Bow just as the doors were closing and with an 8 minute gap until the next train, so I sarcastically saluted the driver. They then opened the doors for me so I saluted again with considerable thanks, and I fear the two distinct meanings may not have been readily apparent. Fri 20: I unexpectedly bumped into Tim Dunn and Siddy Holloway standing in the middle of a ticket hall so stopped to say hello, and only then spotted two camera crews down a passageway preparing to film them from a distance. I am therefore able to exclusively reveal one of the stations that'll be featuring in the next series of Secrets of The Underground. Sat 21: It's been a while since my landlord raised my rent so I've been steeling myself for an unpleasant email, but when the news actually arrived it was a text message at 8am on a Saturday morning and that jolted me awake somewhat. Could have been a lot worse, thankfully. Sun 22: The boss of Tesco told Laura Kuenssberg that "some food manufacturers might be using inflation as an excuse to hike prices", and I yelled back at the TV that 18 months ago Tesco own-brand choc ices were eight for £1 and now they're six for £1.30 and that's a 73% price increase which is a totally unjustified price hike, but I fear he never heard me. Mon 23: I got as far as Hounslow before realising I wasn't wearing my watch, and I feared it'd fallen off like it nearly did at King's Cross at Christmas, which'd be a bummer because it's going to be 30 years old next month. I then spent an agonising three hours before I got home where I confirmed no, I just hadn't put it on that morning. Tue 24: My Chiltern train journey started out under heavy cloud which lingered over London all day. The frost started at Denham, the clouds cleared by High Wycombe, the fog descended through Princes Risborough and hurrah, Banbury had crystal clear blue skies all day. So that was a win.
Wed 25: While researching lists for the blog I came across this very very long list of Unusual Wikipedia Articles, and if you're ever bored I recommend it as the perfect time-sink. Thu 26: BestMate loves planes, indeed we've been on a day trip to Duxford together and been for a walk following the Heathrow flightpath, so I was gobsmacked when he said he'd never been to the RAF museum in Colindale. Maybe it was just somewhere cub packs to the northwest of London went. It's now very much on our to-do list. Fri 27: That is unexpectedly tempting and I would totally get a kick out of it but I'd better not. If only you'd asked five years ago. Sat 28: The day started with the flat downstairs holding a banging party, and ended with them holding another banging party with pulsing bass that went on until 5am. They'd better not try that again next weekend. I did however get more sleep than I was expecting. Sun 29: Outside New Eltham Library I came across a rather large lady sitting uncomfortably on the pavement. She asked if I could help her stand back up again, except she was holding a frisky alsatian on a lead in one hand and that was quite the moral dilemma I can tell you. Mon 30: In 2021 my local Tesco stopped stocking Becks, other than the pointless non-alcoholic version, so I was amazed to spot a single box all by itself in the wrong location with no price on it. It's now all mine, hurrah, effectively at 65p a bottle and just in time with February coming up! Tue 31: Yesterday's tales of your experiences with natural hazards were fascinating, thanks, and well worth a read. I have lived a very cushy life phenomenon-wise. The highest score came from MartinG (who's lived in China and Japan) with 7 out of 10 (E2 V2 H2 T1). Mary and a nameless person scored 6. As of 7am this morning earthquakes are by far the most commonly experienced hazard, with volcanic activity in second place and hurricanes and tornadoes some way behind.