diamond geezer

 Friday, May 31, 2024

31 unblogged things I did in May

Wed 1: The latest exhibition at The Curve gallery at the Barbican is dark and almost empty apart from 20 scant full-frontal paintings. I completely missed the subtext ("The exhibition highlights how The Curve’s shape reflects the Arabic letter Zayin (ز), the first letter of the word ‘zamel’, a derogatory term for gay men, whose buzzing sound is used to insinuate the slur without voicing it in Morocco"), exiting at the far end thinking all I'd seen was a lot of todgers. Always read the blurb.
Thu 2: I've now watched Baby Reindeer, courtesy of BestMate's Netflix account, so suddenly understand the cultural zeitgeist a lot better. It was certainly dramatic but never felt believable, especially the bus shelter scene where the routes hadn't even been listed in numerical order.
Fri 3: The local magpie has taken to landing on my balcony. I thought initially this was in a nosey territorial way but it turns out he just likes drinking the water out of the rim of the tray underneath my rosebush.

Sat 4: We have brand new electric buses round our way on route 276 and they look unusually squared off, I think because the electrics are in the roof. Every time I see one it feels like Bow Road has jumped 10 years into the future, such is the transformative visual power of new technology on the streetscape.
Sun 5: I still haven't got used to Radio 4's Round Britain Quiz being on a Sunday rather than a Monday. I can't be the only person who lies there in the bath shouting "Oh for goodness sake that was never a four - three at best".
Mon 6: You may have seen the British Transport Police's advert at tube stations which says "Beware the Gadget Grabbers" and invites you download the Railway Guardian app. Unfortunately it presents you with a QR code to scan which means you have to get your gadget out and thereby risk getting it grabbed, which seems somewhat counter-productive.
Tue 7: I stepped onto the DLR at Bow Church and thought I recognised the man settling down opposite as, erm, ah, ooh, the topless scything bloke from Poldark. I checked later and it turns out it almost certainly was Aidan Turner because he lives on Bow Road, in one of the nicer houses, so he's almost my neighbour.
Wed 8: It's that time of year when people wear less and thus reveal all the extra tattoos they've had done over the winter. Evidently the needlers have been very busy again. Some of you are going to run out of space by the end of the decade.
Thu 9: The latest graffiti under the Bow Flyover has a poetic millennial flair.

Fri 10: I was up late enough to catch all the "OMG, the actual aurora actually visible from everywhere, stupendous!" notifications on social media, but when I looked out at the sky I saw bugger all. I even walked down to the River Lea to get darker skies and tried waving my phone camera to enhance the image but sadly this once in a lifetime experience passed me by.
Sat 11: Stayed up until midnight to watch Ncuti's first proper Doctor Who episode drop on the iPlayer, then watched the second in its proper teatime slot. He was great, and Russell T Davies certainly knows how to deliver a rollicking story (even if it's full of holes the more you dissect it).
Sun 12: Yes, but two dedications for the same anniversary is just greedy.
Mon 13: I watched the first episode of The Fortune Hotel on ITV, and swiftly decided that "swapping briefcases occasionally according to wilfully subjective rules" is a poor excuse for a format and I never watched again.
Tue 14: I tried opening that jar of raspberry jam I've had since 2008 and the lid resolutely refused to shift. So I put it back in the cupboard and a few days later found it had leaked everywhere making all the adjacent jars sticky, then I ended up with dark red stains all over my shirt, then I threw it in the bin.
Wed 15: Walked the full length of Harringay Passage for the first time. It's about a mile long and crosses eighteen sideroads on the way, which is properly unusual, and all because a sewer pipe runs underneath.

Thu 16: I finally caught a DLR train with the fake buttons at the front, designed to keep small kids happy as they punch away to sound the Woolwich Ferry horn, ring the Bow Bells or pick the Turbo charge option. Unfortunately this particular carriage-front had found itself in the middle of a train so the intended effect was instantly shattered.
Fri 17: The Science Museum still insists on everyone booking a free ticket, but their ridiculously bureaucratic onboarding experience will let you enter any old rubbish as your name and email address. I called myself piggywoo from numpty@numpty.com and they happily issued me with a QR code and in I sailed. They're the numpties here I think.
Sat 18: Little tiny conkers are appearing in horse chestnut trees amid the candleblossom, and before you know it they'll be all over the ground, we'll be putting the clocks back and it'll be Christmas again.
Sun 19: I always rewatch Betjeman's Metro-land when they repeat it, mainly because it's excellent but also to scan the crowd in the Croxley Revels scene in the hope of identifying more schoolmates, or even myself.
Mon 20: On my alphabetical journey through classic authors at my local library, I ploughed through a lot of Hemingway, embraced the wistfulness of Isherwood, thoroughly enjoyed a dystopian James and preferred Kureishi when he wasn't being relationshippy. If I can find a good L I might just get through to Z by Christmas.

Tue 21: New DLR trains will start to enter service soon and the seats will have a moquette called Poplar. There's also a variant for priority seating.
Wed 22: Ooh a surprise general election! This is my 16th, which means I've spent approximately 3% of my life during a general election campaign. This is just behind the amount of time I've spent during an Olympics (4%) but ahead of World Cups (2%), bank holidays (2%) and birthdays (0.3%).
Thu 23: I worried back in February that's I'd pruned my rosebush too much, even though I'd been told you can't. I now have one thriving stem with three gorgeous ruby roses, one muted stem where nothing's budded or bloomed, and one sturdy woody stem where all the action used to be but which didn't grow back any leaves so remains entirely bare. Mixed results.
Fri 24: Time to go through the annual charade of updating my ISA before it reverts to a low-rate account. Ridiculously the Bank of England have raised interest rates by 0.75% over the last twelve months but my bank's best savings rate is now 2% lower than it was last year. It's not just mortgage-payers being screwed.

Sat 25: When I reached Shoreham at the end of my 13 mile coastal walk I hoped for a look round the Marlipins Museum, a small maritime collection housed in Britain's oldest secular building. Last time I was in town I missed out because I was four months too early, whereas this time it turned out I was thirty minutes too late. Maybe next time.
Sun 26: Spotted my former boss in a London park wearing a ridiculous hat, and decided this probably wasn't the optimum moment to go over and say hello again.
Mon 27: It's been a while since I went to the John Soane Museum and it remains bizarre and brilliant, even if the upselling of the guidebook at the entrance is a bit strong. Also the official one-way system is very difficult to follow if you haven't bought the guidebook.
Tue 28: After walking the muddy Yeading Brook on the edge of Ealing I just missed a bus so had time to visit my favourite London eaterie, the Kingshill Bakery on Kingshill Avenue in Hayes. I bought a lush chelsea bun, huge by chainbrand standards, and am pleased to report they haven't raised the price since last year, it's still just £1.

Wed 29: Today I walked through Parsloes Park in Dagenham for the first time, and I suspect it may have been the largest London park I'd never walked through before. I'm now wondering what the new recordholder is. Also it may have been huge but it wasn't very interesting, sorry Dagenham.
Thu 30: In my quest to spot all the numberplate letter pairs, I've seen another two this month bringing my total to 509 out of 519. Today I finally saw OF on a Porsche in Highgate, meaning it's taken exactly six months to get the O's done. FYI the pairs I've yet to see are NR, RL, UE/UT/UV, VH/VJ/VL and XG/XY.
Fri 31: I had a missed call from my niece, an event so rare I concluded that either a) someone was very ill or b) she'd got engaged. Thankfully it was the latter, hurrah 🎉, so our family now has two weddings in the offing.

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