diamond geezer

 Tuesday, April 02, 2024

31 unblogged things I did in March (true version)

Fri 1: I can't believe another constituency has elected George Galloway as its MP (actually I can, mine once did, because politics repeatedly proves you can fool enough of the people some of the time).
Sat 2: Yes I watched the Brits, and yes the nominees included a lot of acts I'd never heard of (but the majority I had because I'm not a musical hermit). I'm not convinced Raye deserved six awards, it suggests the competition isn't what it was. Thank God for Kylie.
Sun 3: Regarding your advice about my dodgy laptop keyboard, many thanks, I'd never used the accessibility-focused onscreen keyboard before and it's made adding the Zs, Xs, Cs and Vs much easier.
Mon 4: The dozen celebrities they've gathered for the return of Celebrity Big Brother aren't especially celebby, nor entirely enthusing, although bringing in Sharon Osbourne for a week and pairing her with Louis Walsh was a masterstroke.
Tue 5: Buses passing along Stratford Broadway now announce "alight here for Moorfields Stratford", and I had absolutely no idea what that might be but it turns out it's a satellite of Moorfields Eye Hospital which opened last summer, so that's why.

Wed 6: British Gas sent me a letter saying I hadn't paid my bill, which I could understand if I'd only just paid but in fact I paid a fortnight ago and their letter was postmarked a week later. I rang up to check, and it took me three attempts to comprehend the simple fact that yes, they had indeed got my money.
Thu 7: I took my new Gold Card to Angel station to get the discount added to my Oyster and it was the usual - initial bafflement and then swift professional processing. And that may be the last Gold Card I ever get, assuming the next Mayor doesn't ditch the 60+ alternative.
Fri 8: Regarding your advice about my dodgy laptop keyboard, many thanks, I hadn't realised generic USB keyboards were so cheap. In particular thanks for the specific suggestion to go to Stratford CeX, where I picked up a very decent one for £3 and it's essentially solved all my ZXCV issues.
Sat 9: My birthday walk took me past the house I grew up in and it had a For Sale sign outside so I was straight onto the estate agent's website. I didn't recognise the place inside, partly because it's been extended twice, but I'm quietly gobsmacked this narrow terrace is now worth £700,000. My parents paid closer to £700.
Sun 10: You could hardly move in Tooting this morning for offspring wandering around with small bunches of flowers, and mothers braving the downpour to be taken to a reserved table for dinner and drinks.
Mon 11: My flat suffered a five hour power cut this evening, all of it after dark, and blimey that seriously limits what you can do these days. I used my wind-up radio as comforting audio backing and lit some candles. I also managed to write half tomorrow's blogpost courtesy of the battery in my laptop and made sure not to open the fridge, but ended up going to bed early. A one-off, thankfully.

Tue 12: The next London Boroughs of Culture will be Wandsworth (2025) and Haringey (2027), which means since 2019 we still haven't had a properly-west or a properly-east borough. Being in zone 3 also seems to boost your chances. I still think Waltham Forest (2019) made the best go at it and it's been downhill ever since.
Wed 13: Last time I didn't hear anything for a month I sent an email and got back "no don't worry I'm fine" by reply. Again I haven't heard for a month and again I sent an email but this time there's been silence, increasingly prolonged silence, and I worry about what might have happened. I also realise I might never know, but thanks a million.
Thu 14: BestMate was in need of cheering up so I bought him some gypsy tarts from the J Ayre bakery in Blackfen and his eyes lit up. If you too feel nostalgic for sweet circular tarts filled with evaporated milk and muscovado sugar, as perhaps gorged at 1970s school dinners, now you know where you can get them. Compared to chain pastries I think £1.70's very reasonable.
Fri 15: The 1000th Wordle was ERUPT, and I thought the New York Times might celebrate but instead they hid everyone's stats unless you'd signed up for a free account. I had a streak of 190-something which has now vanished, pah, but if I can't see it go higher I can now safely skip a day, so what they've actually done is lose my loyalty.
Sat 16: I really should have joined the website before, it's been immensely illuminating as to what I genuinely like, and I've been seriously impressed by how it generates content on my behalf.

Sun 17: One ring of trees in the Blossom Garden in the Olympic Park has bloomed (the other varieties open later), but it's still very much not the memorial stunner the National Trust hoped, not this year.
Mon 18: I walked to Lambourne End and wondered if it might be fodder for a new series, Villages Fractionally Outside London, but I don't think I could sustain that based on a steakhouse, a car park, an outdoors centre and a few big-drived hideaways. Unexpectedly it's the first time I'd been to Essex this year.
Tue 19: This year's theme at Two Temple Place is glass, another winner which allows for provincial museums to showcase some of their finest exhibits, in this case Sunderland, Stourbridge and Ely. A delight, and as a plus the midweek audience made me feel positively sprightly.
Wed 20: One of the journalists at Secret London has written a derivative article - This Is The London Street With The Shortest Name - heavily based on a post I wrote in 2021. Fair enough, but they've also used two of my Flickr photos with a non-commercial attribution on what's unashamedly a commercial website, and despite emailing them I've heard bugger all, but that's clickbait parasites for you.
Thu 21: On my alphabetical journey through classic authors at my local library, I didn't enjoy Doyle, raced through Easton Ellis, was charmed by Forster, admired Greene and am now settling down with Hemingway.
Fri 22: Several Southwark parks have signs outside warning that they don't grit the paths during bad weather so "Please think about the risk of slipping before entering the park", which does sound like they're abdicating legal responsibility for fractures because they're now too skint to afford salt.

Sat 23: Went to the theatre (non-West End) with BestMate. We decided to eat first but forgot to double check the start time, so after relaxed starters ended up gulping down our main course and complimentary dessert in 15 minutes flat. The performance was very good, if shorter than the advertised 70 minutes, and we enjoyed sharing the bar with the main star afterwards.
Sun 24: In my quest to spot all the numberplate letter pairs, I've seen another ten this month bringing my total to 505 out of 519. I finally saw GT on a GTI, and today an improbable personalised numberplate starting with PV, so that's all the G's and P's done. FYI the pairs I've yet to see are NR, OF, RL, UE/UH/UT/UV/UX, VH/VJ/VL and XG/XW/XY.
Mon 25: I need to remember that sometimes, when I write about some new project and pick holes in it, the people responsible might be reading. They were, they got in touch, and we're still very much on speaking terms.
Tue 26: When it happens it happens so depressingly fast. "Maybe a year" should have been months, "maybe months" should have been weeks, "maybe weeks" should have been singular and "hopefully tomorrow" turned out to be today.
Wed 27: Living where I do I see a lot of horse-drawn funeral corteges. What I hadn't seen before was one jump a red traffic light. First four black mares trotted through, pulling a carriage containing the remains of NANNY, and then four black hearses followed on behind. I wasn't aware that funeral processions were allowed to ignore traffic lights, or maybe it's just that those horses weren't going to stop for anything. As they disappeared off over the Bow Flyover I wondered if perhaps NANNY had requested one last rulebreak on her final journey.

Thu 28: I passed by the Widow's Son, site of the long-running Maundy Thursday hot cross bun ceremony, but it's not been a pub since 2022, the curtains are closed and all that's stuck up in the window is a year-old squatters eviction notice.
Fri 29: The London Greenground Map is a gorgeous huge pdf connecting 1200 of the capital's green spaces. Think tube map but more complex, more colourful, more parks, rivers, nature reserves, woods and wetlands, and more of an attempt to be a work of art. This Easter it's been made open to everyone to download for free, although the designer would very much appreciate a one-time contribution.
Sat 30: On my way to Norfolk, via a guided tour of Essex, that's the first time I've ever had my ticket checked in a car park before boarding a rail replacement coach. Those with barcoded tickets ended up in the longer queue.
Sun 31: A rare gathering of the entire family took place over a home-cooked Easter meal, the youngest also celebrating his 25th birthday. Eggs were hidden, chocolate was eaten, retirement gifts were admired and wedding accommodation plans were made. The generations move on...
Mon 1: For the avoidance of foolish doubt, all 31 things in yesterday's post were untrue.

Finally, let's see how my annual counts are going...
Number of London boroughs visited: all 33 (at least six times each)
Number of London bus routes ridden: all 548 (100%, including the three new ones)
Number of tram stops visited: all 39 (100%)
Number of Z1-3 stations used: all 350-odd (100%)
Number of Z4-6 stations used: 0

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