diamond geezer

 Wednesday, May 31, 2023

31 unblogged things I did in May

Mon 1: One of the five most gorgeous human beings on the planet has followed me on social media and I feel strangely vindicated.
Tue 2: I finally got round to watching Glass Onion, the Daniel Craig whodunnit, courtesy of someone else's Netflix account. It was very cleverly written and immensely enjoyable, but plotwise Knives Out was a tad more satisfying.
Wed 3: I went looking for a newsagent in Shepherds Bush and you wouldn't believe how hard they are to find these days, all the likely contenders just sell food and vapes, but eventually I found a sparsely stocked throwback on The Green, thank you Yogi Smurti, and now I have a Coronation edition Radio Times to go with my 1953 copy.

Thu 4: That unnerving feeling when a rising tower of scaffolding passes your window and you have no idea why.
Fri 5: We're having pipe problems on Bow Road. The cycle lane outside the Nisa supermarket has been dug up for a second time and has subsequently filled with water, while the usual corner outside the old town hall has been dug up for something considerably more serious, again, and the ironwork must be fundamentally flawed down there.
Sat 6: You wait 70 years for a coronation and it rains again, so the royal family's ability to predict the weather remains appalling, and I see this as excellent evidence that time travel doesn't exist.
Sun 7: I have rarely been as underwhelmed by a concert as I was by tonight's Coronation extravaganza at Windsor Castle. The music was unexciting, the humorous bits weren't funny and King William's had better be better.
Mon 8: I got to the end of Magpie Murders which was very good, and I guessed the importance of wordplay as early as episode two but I was only looking for clean words so somewhat missed the point.

Tue 9: As well as visiting all the stations in zones 1-3 this year, I've now also visited all the tram stops. I'm excited to discover that tram mascot Roger the Crocodile is now fronting his own promotional campaign, although I doubt it'll generate much successful feedback.
Wed 10: The Woolwich Ferry is back operating a two-boat service on weekdays, hurrah, but it was still quicker to walk through the foot tunnel instead, even with both lifts out.
Thu 11: I enjoyed Gideon Coe's last 3-hour show on Radio 6Music, but didn't enjoy that it's going to be replaced by a shorter less eclectic double act which probably won't work, but we'll see.
Fri 12: A spider has taken up residence in the corner of my bathroom, high above the tap end, and I am fine with this even to the stage of being able to lie back in the bath for half an hour with the lights off.
Sat 13: Well didn't Liverpool triumph at Eurovision? The city showcased itself perfectly for a full week, the BBC pulled out all the stops to deliver a nigh-flawless set of shows, Hannah Waddingham was a star, Finland were diddled, and we may never see any of that here in the UK again during our lifetime.
Sun 14: A woman sat down next to me on the Central line, and shortly afterwards burst into tears and dashed away to sit at the other end of the carriage where she was quietly comforted by another passenger, and I have no idea what happened there but I'm assuming I didn't cause it.

Mon 15: I gave Vernon Kay's first mid-morning Radio 2 show a try. He was chipper but possibly over-trying, and listenable but lumbered with duff features (Vernon's Vaults, what were they thinking?), and not exactly appointment-radio but also playing better music than Ken Bruce is allowed to these days
Tue 16: TfL have just updated their online portal for Oyster and contactless accounts so that access now requires a One Time Passcode to be sent to your phone. This Multi-Factor Authentication is for our own security, they tell us. But "If you do not wish to have MFA set up on your account and provide us with a phone number then unfortunately this means you will not be able to access your online account", i.e. if you don't have a mobile phone you are now permanently locked out. This is not progress, it's exclusion.
Wed 17: My tram was delayed by inspectors catching a freeloader who refused to alight, and after a few minutes the mother opposite took out her frustration on the inspectors for holding up her journey. She announced to the carriage that they should let the bloke stay aboard and allow us to continue because "it's what we're all thinking", and I really wanted to tell her that not everyone was thinking that but I kept quiet. What I was actually thinking was how some people always claim to be speaking on behalf of everyone to further their own point of view, populist politicians especially, and the faredodger eventually relented and threw his lager over the tram windows as we drove off.
Thu 18: Leytonstone is right up there in my Top 10 London suburbs I associate with tedious traffic congestion (along with Richmond, Southall, Northolt, Colindale, Ponders End and Plumstead), and these junction improvements had better be worth it because it's hellish at the moment.

Fri 19: They're dismantling the old departures board at Euston station, the new smaller perpendicular ones presumably having been deemed a success, and I suspect somebody somewhere is mighty pleased about how large an advertising screen they'll be able to replace it with.
Sat 20: I suffered two serious breakages today, one bang on the stroke of midnight (that's never happened before) and the other mid-afternoon (that happens all too often). I sorted the anxious expensive one within a week but the one that's not my responsibility alas remains unsolved.
Sun 21: I rode the first timetabled purple train from Shenfield through Paddington and then, thanks to delays due to overrunning engineering works, I was able to ride the first purple train back the other way. The trainspotter count was unexpectedly low.
Mon 22: Workmen have turned up to drill out the two disused telephone kiosks outside Bow Road station. Tomorrow the boxes will be on the back of a truck and by Wednesday there'll just an empty paved space.
Tue 23: It's amazing how much emergency planning you can do aboard a bus zipping through the backstreets of Sutton.

Wed 24: As of this week we've had a Conservative government for longer than we had the last Labour government, and maybe 13 years is genuinely unlucky.
Thu 25: Bromley Public Hall on Bow Road, which until 2021 was the Tower Hamlets Register Office, finally has a new use - it's become Bow Coroners Court. This is one of three courts in HMC Inner North London, the building where juries meet if required, and I can't work out if it's new or a replacement for somewhere else. Also the rebrand is really cheap, just a couple of bits of paper stuck by the door, so it looks like the budget also died.
Fri 26: I unexpectedly bumped into BestMate's Mum at a bus stop in Bexley. I almost didn't recognise her with her sunglasses on.
Sat 27: I went through the palaver to upgrade two of my savings accounts to new versions offering better rates of interest, and you could hear the boredom in the voice of the lady reading out the terms and conditions, and she could hear the frustration in my voice that they don't do this automatically.
Sun 28: It's the day between the 10 mile walk I do every five years and the 10 mile walk I do every two years, so I'm afraid I can't come on a long hike today sorry.

Mon 29: ...and while we're talking very old tube maps, the two on the Jubilee line platforms at Canary Wharf are both dated December 2018, and how utterly shortsighted do you need to be as a station supervisor or organisation not to have realised this?
Tue 30: I've very much enjoyed reading Mike Parker's new book All The Wide Border, a personal travelogue exploring "Wales, England and the places between". He brings the multi-layered history of the Welsh borders alive with a smart focus on places along and around the rivers Dee, Severn and Wye, much of it based on personal experience. The pandemic intrudes somewhat, although given the regulatory divide either side of the border it's always pertinent, and I'd have muted the non-geographical politics stuff. But he paints such a picture you'll likely be tempted to make a pilgrimage yourself.
Wed 31: I've been meaning to visit this event ever since it was first widely publicised in 1973, or at least since I first noticed it in 1983, and this is the first year I've ever remembered on the day but circumstances may conspire to keep me away again.

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