A bloody miserable start to Tuesday stuck out in the estuary wilds.
Wet and windy, and so no swim, and no run either.
Anna buggered off to South London. The mad cat wouldn't allow me to follow.
A day stuck indoors on work shifts and getting things done.
@RobertElms was fine mid-morning company. His new time slot is bedding down really well.
Walworth was the main theme for the morning. It remains a wonderful London locality, just about hanging on against the brutal advancement of South London gentrification.
It always helps when yer man plays a bit of Jackie Wilson as well.
I received a bonkers FoI response from ECC during the luncheon period.
It reeks of a cover up, with emails that I suspect do exist being deliberately withheld. Evidence is being collected to prove this theory...
A run of work shifts then started mid-afternoon, taking me all the way through until bedtime.
It was a new client, and one that I'm rather enjoying.
It doesn't take long for the social on the modern interweb to be swallowed up by the commercial.
Like IRC never happened, etc.
But job's a good 'un.
A far better lovely lido swim to start the working week.
It was made all the better by the flip flop-less le gai pensionnaire.
Our man has been swimming in Belgium over the weekend. He returned to Lake Brockwell with tales of how some Belgium river swallowed up one of his flip flops.
Detail is everything. It is why we return to the lovely lido each morning.
le gai pensionnaire soldiered on back in South London, one foot with flip flop, the other without.
What a trooper.
We even had some fancy foreign opera in the showers as well.
The swim itself was Brockwell Blue at its very best.
A bright Transpontine sky, piercing through the 6.4 degrees of clear water.
I spotted South London fairies dancing on the basin of Brockwell Lido. Cold water swimming tends to do strange things to the soul.
I then had to see a man about a burglar alarm. Which was pretty random, and we didn't really resolve the situation.
A brief run of work shifts in the flat, and then I had to head east and back to over there.
Oh dear, etc.
Bloody mad cat.
The train journey time was spent writing a short piece on the lido for a book that le gai pensionnaire is hopeful of publishing.
Plus listening to Shakespeare Alabama. It sounded ACE racing through the North Essex landscape.
I arrived back in the estuary wilds with a bulging sack of post to look at.
In Heartbreaking Cat News: a letter from the insurance company, basically saying that the mad cat is now officially an old mat cat. We need to cough up more for her insurance
Some rather decent #localgov news came my way late in the evening regarding 'developments' at CBC.
Well I never.
Big, big story brewing...
Anna and I watched the dirty Leeds match in the evening, in-between both finishing off work bits and bobs.
I really didn't want to swim on Sunday morning.
This is a rarity. It is part of my routine. The day doesn't start until I have been refreshed by a swim.
But I really didn't want to swim on Sunday morning.
Or maybe it was that I really didn't want to brave the outdoor waters of Lake Brockwell?
As ever, the effort was in getting there.
I delayed. I dithered.
I rocked up poolside around 10am, knowing that I had ACHIEVED.
I had yet to enter the water, but once you are there, then you are going to swim.
I messed around a little further in the changing room, delaying le grand depart.
I re-laced my trainers.
And then I went for it.
6.7 degrees, and six lengths to match.
What a HERO.
And then in strolled Lido Ed. I casually asked him how many lengths he had managed.
I felt like crying.
Ed cheered me up with shared childhood tales of Wollaton Park, back in the Fair City.
Batman - blimey.
I had plans to cycle off to the Nu Battersea for yet another exhibition. But I was bloody knackered and cold.
And so I stayed in the flat and caught up with some online twaddle, blogging the Scrap Trident snaps, and then Dulwich and hockey match reports.
I made it back outside again late afternoon. It was actually warmer than inside the flat.
I had half an hour of anarchic gardening.
It was more picking up crisp packets than tending to the green growth to be honest.
But yeah - that Sunny Stockwell miracle soil is working wonders. It is blessed with Transpontine gold.
I headed out to Brixton early evening for the Topcats at the Rec. The Ruffhouse was hosting a very late arriving team from Worcester.
The away team spent the first two quarters warming up and taking a hefty beating.
Just over an hour later and they were buzzed off court and back to Worcester.
I managed some housework back in the flat, and then published the school content from Friday.
Sunday came to a close with a couple of hours of work shifts later evening.
I haven't warmed up all day to be honest
Up early to bash out a blog post on Critical Mass from last night.
The cycling theme continued with the short ride over to Brockwell Park for the @bwpark run.
Madam Pacemaker clocked me as soon I attempted a lame stretch.
The plan was to shadow her around at least the first circuit of the park, and then see what develops.
What actually happened is that I became boxed in 30 seconds into the run, whilst Madam Pacemaker was already halfway up Cressingham hill.
I took it steady, clocking 12 mins at the first time split.
Keep up this pace and I was optimistic of a 23:30 final time.
Any aspirations for being the future of South London athletics were cruelly cut down when a primary school kid breezed past me.
The final time of 23:16 was half-decent.
And then the lovely lido.
I absolutely LOVE the growing collective of Saturday morning Park Runners, who then slip into the lido for the severe cooling off comedown.
One ambitious fella was even attempting some poolside yoga ahead of his swim.
The water temperature had dropped by .3 of a degrees overnight, down to a lively 7.3.
Six lengths felt like sixty.
It was encouraging to see the first gathering of the Brockwell Lido Breakfast Club outdoors as well.
We will be getting all frostalgic in only a few weeks time.
A cycle back to Sunny Stockwell, a Lidl dash, and then I headed off to Brixton Cycles to see an old Sunny Colch pal who has now been washed up in Transpontonia.
But she wasn't there.
I had a lovely chat with some of the Co-op workers, happy to be in at their new home for the shhh soft launch of the next few weeks.
The space is HUGE. It should offer up so much more potential for Brixton Cycles. I hope this extends into evening events.
And then the cry went out for:
"To the Marble Arch!"
After loitering around Tyburn with Critical Mass last night, Saturday luncheon was all about the anti-Trident march.
I didn't have long, and couldn't commit to the full on march down to Trafalgar Square.
I stayed around as the thousands of people protested down Park Avenue.
It was good to see banners for Colchester Green Party and [gosh] Clap'ham Labour.
I cycled back across the river, and then headed out to Transpontine del Curva.
The Dulwich were playing some slappers from Essex.
Most of the match was spent talking with Disco Darryl.
Dulwich were bloody awful, and losing 2-0 with two minutes to play, when I head to leg it to catch a train.
I heard the first roar on the platform of East Dulwich station waiting for the 16:51 to Streatham.
I caught up with with highly unlikely Dulwich equaliser via a tweet as I was passing through Tulse Hill.
Saturday evening was spent watching Streatham Redskins Vs the Invicta Pikeys in the first leg of a Cup semi.
It was ACE.
1-0 to the Skins - an unlikely hockey score, but a brilliant shut out for the home team.
I stopped off at the Bowie mural in Brixton on the way back.
And still they come...
A good day. A very good day.
An early morning appointment with Rasheed, the Demon Barber of Brixton underneath the Academy.
The poor fella was struggling with a heavy cold. He still provided the best haircut I've ever had at 7am.
What could possibly go wrong with a No. 1 all over?
You'd be surprised at some of the horror shows that other have inflicted on what remains of my hair.
I then had a stiff bicycle lock.
The stiffness of the lock is the best barometer for measuring the temperature.
If I'm stiff, then it's chuffing cold out there.
I nervously rode on through Brixton, lovely lido bound.
To my surprise the water was still relatively high at 7.7 degrees. I expect this to sink over the next couple of days.
One after one, the Icicles returned to the male changing room, red flesh and shaking uncontrollably.
I was playing the long game, hoping that a delayed transformation from suit to rubber would increase the water temperature.
I was wrong.
But it was a bloody good swim.
I promised myself four lengths of Brockwell Blue.
I managed six.
Strangely it was my teeth that felt the cold the most. The water penetrated through with each half-gulp as I went through my freestyle motion.
And then it was:
I've switched around some school days. I was seeing the same lovely kids carrying out the same lovely activities around each school.
I've resorted to random (ish) guerrilla school timetabling.
It all meant that I actually had a little longer in SE17 than I usually do. The pace of the day helped me to achieve what I wanted to.
The highlight had to the Year 6 fractions party. I confess to getting the party started with some Dad Dancing, whilst wearing a post-it note slapped on my forehead saying 14%.
I should try that next time I hit the clubs.
A very decent end of day work conversation with a colleague who is managing the school Digital Leadership Team.
Often these projects are just all talk. This looks like being real action.
Good effort, Madam.
A brief cycle back to Sunny Stockwell, some online catching up, and then I cycled off to Waterloo for the February Critical Mass.
Still We Ride.
A day that started off with a sense of organisation and control, but then that quickly fell apart.
I managed to get done what I wanted to on the train.
The woman sitting opposite seemed to have a same sense of immense personal achievement by completing her colouring in book.
Sorry. I just don't get it (said the man who spent an hour of commuting reading a Planning Committee report...)
The cycle from LS down to S Ldn was strangely quiet.
And very cold.
I made it down to SW9 for a full on school day ahead.
Playing cricket, cooking stir fry chicken and learning all the science that I should have learnt whilst still at school - not a bad way to earn a living.
A brief cycle through Sunny Stockwell, a LIDL run, and then more work elsewhere.
It was the first shift on a nu yoof client.
Christ I feel old.
I went to bed pondering age, and being ever so slightly aware that tomorrow morning is going to be a bit of a brutal lovely lido experience.
The first weekday morning of flying solo on a tricky new work client.
I've done the weekend shifts, but not the full on weekday affair.
It went quite well.
I surrendered on the soundtrack front and had the company of Serenade Radio to keep me company.
I felt about 50, which is not too far from the truth
Many of the old school Trent jocks are back broadcasting on Serenade. The Castle Gate flame still burns strong.
Another GLORIOUS estuary wilds sunshine day followed.
Another stuck indoors day on a run of works shifts was there to match.
Pay to play.
The most exciting it got was a quick dash to the train station to pick up some tickets for Transpontonia tomorrow.
I published some content on the SE17 site. The Y6 pupils appeared on C4 News the night before, demonstrating their knowledge and research on air pollution.
For some weird reason I fired up iTunes and resorted to some Whitney.
What a pair of lungs.
I confess to being rather partial to the first album and the slush ballads.
Some more work, some more admin, and then the day was gone.
Plus I wimped out of worming the cat again.
She can wait.
A 6:30am work start, plus packing Anna off to South London.
And then a reverse ferret for the morning fitness.
It was the inverse of yesterday: the bicycle and dry weather said SWIM, the body screamed out for another run.
Always choose man (or woman) over machine.
And so I ran the exact same route as yesterday, with what I thought was an ever so slightly better time as well.
But it wasn't.
The remainder of the work morning was bloody frustrating.
I've had some 'tool issues' with a particular client. Nobody else in the team is experiencing anything similar. We are at a loss.
And then luncheon.
That was WONDERFUL.
The estuary wilds weather was shorts and T-shirts.
I had a mad half hour of FORKING the garden.
I was tempted to get out my picnic blanket.
@RobertElms played Osibisa and Sunshine Day.
I'm still GRINNING.
Cricket season starts soon...
I had some more work in the afternoon, and then an old Radio Trent colleague pointed me in the direction of Serenade Radio.
Sadly I seem to fit their age demographic, if not style.
I bashed out a Buzz piece taking the piss out of the Lambeth Tory alt Budget.
Apologies - it was just too easy.
And then all alone on Tuesday evening, and so I buggered off to CBC Scrutiny.
It promised so much, but ultimately fell ever so slightly short.
I managed to make it back to base in time for the second half of the Arsenal match.
I missed the two goals as Anna was FaceTiming.
A rainy run to start the working week.
It wasn't suppose to be like this.
My body screamed SWIM, but my bicycle said bugger that when it saw the rain.
I ran up towards the University and past the roadworks for the new cycle path.
A March finish date looks optimistic.
My music of choice was all screwed up.
Bowie, natch, and a long overdue revisit to the Let's Dance album.
Except the dodgy version that I downloaded threw up some techno bollocks for the title track.
Nobody wants that
And then work. With Anna.
We appear to have gone our separate ways on the relationship defining industry crossover work.
And thank the chuffers for that.
I was banished to the office, whilst she blagged the desk from the Raj / Colchester.
Mr Sainsbury visited us mid-afternoon.
Which was nice.
I f-ed up with the online order.
SIXTY cans of cheapo lager?
Shurley some drunken mistake.
But yeah - chin chin.
More work, and then the weather changed. It was a half-decent end to the estuary wilds day.
I had some work training late afternoon. It was a real back to basics with the tool that we are going to be working on for a new client.
Keeping with this theme was a work email, informing me that as a company 'veteran', my legacy first name only email address is not long for the interweb world.
Monday evening was spent with a half-arsed interest in watching the Man Utd Cup match, before switching over to Nigel Watch with Burton Vs Southend.
A Spring start to Sunday.
The garden was looking gorgeous with random bulbs breaking out all over the place.
We blagged some cheapo fiver bag of bulbs late autumn. Anna scattered them around the garden in the same style I scatter sugar on my cornflakes.
The magic of Spring is not knowing where or when these will bloom.
It was a similar scene cycling off along the Trail for the swim.
The surface has now completely dried out and makes for an ACE ride.
Forty lengths, and then something quite remarkable happened: the racist UKIP spa was taken over as the Wivenhoe spa.
Talking about poetry and artisan bread made a decent change from the bloody foreigners chit chat.
I cycled back to base, passing Anna on the way en route to golf.
I has a brief burst of Sunday work shifts, some T20 to watch and then a spot of anarchic gardening.
More work later in the evening, and then some NBA to finish off the weekend.
A 7am Saturday morning work shift.
It was quiet.
A bit of Brixton Buzz action, and then I cycled off for a swim.
Once again the Trail was hard. There was a charming high tide to match.
The swim itself was spectacular. It left me feeling sky high and ready for the weekend.
The cycle back along the Trail was delayed slightly. I had to navigate a swan that had decided to sit right in the middle of the path.
A little more weekend work, and then Anna and I walked off for an afternoon of BOOZE and football.
We stopped off first at The Flag, a local business that needs a little love right now.
We walked straight into an Essex hen party.
I was tempted to stay.
But the football was absolutely ACE.
Top of the table Wivenhoe Town made it 2-2 against a strong Kings Lynne with more or less the last kick of the game.
I had some more work on a new client early evening. I'm rather enjoying it to be honest.
And then some photo editing, BOOZE and crappy TV with Anna.
A day more or less written off to work.
The shifts started at 7am, and came to a close some 14 hours later.
Not much else to say...
The Four-fer with @RobertElms threw up a few surprises.
Colour was the theme.
OH HAI Purple Rain. That was a nice way in which to start the weekend.
Anna returned from Transpontonia mid-afternoon.
We both had plans for the T20 and then BOOZE, but the work stuff won the day.
And that was pretty much Friday...
A 7am work shift, assisted by a 6am alarm call from the mad cat.
I forgot to turn her electric blanket on overnight.
I should do this more often. It saves money and it wakes me up at an early hour.
The morning work was smooth.
And so was the luncheon swim.
I missed the water yesterday.
I touched down on Thursday after the first length and felt alive once again.
There. That should do.
Ha, bloody ha.
A lame 29 other lengths followed.
West Ham Wanker conversation consisted of him telling me how to style my hair so that I looked like Ace Face in Quadrophenia.
He offered up some gel.
I politely declined and pointed towards my bald spot.
I cycled back to base, caked in crap from the Trail, and straight into more work.
It's getting pretty busy work wise. I've agreed to a run of weekend work shifts.
Pay to play, etc.
Like a fool I then headed off to Colchester Town Hall for the second consecutive night.
If it's a Thursday evening then it must mean that it's a Planning Committee meeting.
A WHOPPER as well with the Tollgate Village application being 'considered.'
'Some' have suggested that it was a done deal beforehand.
Which makes me question why I gave up four hours to listen to the waffle.
A day that never really got going, and never really ended either.
The scheduling of my work shifts meant that I was house bound all day, with some stop / start short breaks punctuating the work pattern.
Not enough time to go out, and not enough time to really start anything of significance back at base either.
My final piece of work training on a new client was completed late afternoon. I think I'm flying solo come the weekend.
I did finally manage to get out early evening, heading into Sunny Colch for the CBC Full Council meeting for February.
I know how to PARTY, ladies.
Boy - it was a lengthy one.
It went on for over four hours.
I had to bail out just before the end to leg it for a train.
I used anchor.fm at the close to record a wrap.
It has become my online audio platform of choice overnight. The instinctive nature of the app makes it a pleasure to use. It;s gonna be ACE for the kids to use in schools.
I played around with the mad cat a little when I returned home. The best part of the day.
Another early estuary wilds start to see Anna off to South London.
It was light (ish) by 6:30am.
Much like my 7am work shift.
The run of work shifts took me through until luncheon.
It was bloody gorgeous out there in the estuary wilds.
I had to escape.
I had to swim.
I stopped off first at the train station to pick up a Greater Anglia delayed train form.
The polite chap very kindly handed one over.
I politely asked for a half a dozen. Past form has taught me that I'll be needing these over the coming weeks.
And then the swim.
I had a very tight turnaround ahead of the afternoon shifts. I couldn't arse around in the spa.
I ended up gatecrashing the wrinklies lane.
I had some pretty heavy work training mid-afternoon.
I think I typed up more notes than the words that were delivered.
Detail is everything.
I came close to buying an f828 camera later on.
Yeah yeah - an upgrade from my usual f717.
The mighty @urban75 has been banging on about them of late. Retro is the Nu new, etc.
I've got an eBay search set up. The price appears to be dropping over the past few weeks.
One became available for £70.
May just wait a few more weeks.
I managed some anarchic gardening just ahead of sunset.
Tuesday evening was spent arguing with Anna over FaceTime, digging out some archive Brixton Splash images for Buzz, and playing around with Anchor.
It's the nu @audioboom, dontchaknow.
And it really is rather good.
Monday was all about waiting for a new fridge to be delivered to Sunny Stockwell.
'Anytime between 7am - 7pm.'
That's quite some window of opportunity.
Thankfully it was an 8:30am delivery.
And so having spent six months or so getting rid of all of the South London furniture and fittings ahead of the Essex Great Escape, Anna and I are now... buying back all of the South London furniture and fittings with a return to Transpontonia.
Life is funny.
Ha, bloody ha.
The fridge is absolutely ACE.
A monster of a retro US 50's style model.
I intend to fill it with fine cheese and cheap booze.
I had work shifts all morning, and then escaped for a brief S Ldn parks run at luncheon. Nothing too strenuous - Kennington and the lovely Larkhall.
A little more work in the flat, and then I had another break in the day for a photo walk.
I walked up towards Clap'ham via Larkhall, and then back down along the Clap'ham Road.
Clap'ham Nu Town 'aint for me.
I finally finished catching up with Gilles Peterson history of Bristol music during the afternoon shifts. It's a fantastic piece of social history broadcasting, covering sound systems to dub step.
And then very, very late in the evening I had to head back over there.
A strange lido swim for Sunday morning: we've lost some water.
I first noticed when I touched down in the shallow end for the first time and grazed my knee.
Back up in the deep end and my usual touch / splash down fell short.
I could normally swim blind in the lido. Twenty Two years of lovely lido swimming means that I know the pool inside out.
Except when the water level dips.
Swimming dreams were then exchanged in the changing rooms.
I have a couple of WEIRD ones.
The first involves the plug being pulled on the lido, so that I end up beached and unable to swim.
Sunday morning was little like that in reality.
The second is just odd. The water becomes thicker as I progress. I am eventually left stuck in a blue syrup.
I had a little spare time after the swim itself. And so I fell asleep in the lido spa and dreamt of blue treacle.
I cycled on from the lido to West Norwood. On my radar was the cemetery.
What a Valentine romantic, etc.
I wanted to wander around on a photo shoot. It was bloody cold though, and my shutter finger wasn't really playing.
I cycled back to Sunny Stockwell, stocked up on cups of tea, and then headed back out to Brixton for the basketball.
I'm LOVING the Topcats right now.
The men's team were 21-0 down in the first, before somehow turning it around and coming close to an unexpected victory.
They just fell short come the final buzzer.
Sunday evening was spent publishing endless school content, and then listening to the remainder of the Gilles Peterson Bristol broadcast.
It put my in the mood to take a hot bath, light some candles and listen to Portishead.
Happy blue treacle dreams.
Happy Wedding Anniversary, Anna.
Wish you were here, etc.
I was up early on Saturday to edit some of the basketball photos from the night before.
And then the Brockwell Park Run.
Woh. It was chilly out there.
I had a decent effort.
The halfway split had me clocked in at 12:00. I picked up the pace and managed to gain 30 seconds or so with a final time of 23:26.
Happy with that.
I wasn't so happy about the lovely lido.
6.7 degrees - 5 degrees is usually when I start to cry.
I managed six lengths, but felt a little wobbly after the fourth.
I tried to leave the water, but fell over.
I tried to hide my misfortune, but the lifeguards clocked me and kept a very close eye on me.
I was punch drunk, a giddy boxer that has had no other punishment than a silly cold water swim.
It took an age to warm up in the gents. The hairdryer was placed in positions where it really shouldn't go.
There. That's better.
A bit of admin back in the flat, an anniversary FaceTime with Anna, and then I set off walking to Battersea.
There was yet another public consultation about the Power Station regeneration. Paying lip service is all part of the Nu Nine Elms.
My walk out west was most pleasant. It was blustery, but I managed to hug the banks of the Old Father for most of the walk.
I really wasn't in the mood to play the political activist at the consultation. I just wanted some snap of their ACE Power Station model to be honest.
But for some reason, the clipboard wavers seemed confrontational and up for the fight.
I was knackered after the Park Run / lovely lido / walk.
Please go away. Just let me take some photos.
They insisted on asking me about what I thought about foreign wealth propping up the development.
Yes, yes - it's not for me.
But that's not the point.
I admit to being vary vanilla, smiling, not saying much, and then snapping away.
I don't want to change the world, I'm not looking for a New England, etc.
Or even a Nu Battersea.
The plan was then to keep on walking along the river in the opposite direction. I had some work to do, and didn't fancy completing it alone in the flat.
The Royal Festival Hall or the National Theatre was on my walking radar.
It was a decent walk, broken up by all the tourist bobbins that now forms around the London Eye.
I arrived at the RFH and tried to blag a work station to settle down into.
I wanted it be social, but I didn't want a bloody kid's festival to be taking place.
That was bloody loud.
And so no work undertaken, but another walk back to Sunny Stockwell.
A brief LIDL dash, and then I spent the remainder of Saturday evening trying to finish off the work.
How do I normally end these posts?
Oh yeah - knackered.
That should do.
A 7am work shift, and then a cycle off to the lovely lido.
I wasn't really ready for this. I was bloody cold in bed the night before.
The water temperature at Lake Brockwell had dropped once again. I had hoped that the only way is up.
Six degrees hurt. I kept with tradition, and matched it with a poxy six lengths.
A lady in the adjacent lane was looking resplendent with her breaststroke and bright red lipstick.
My body mass was reduced to pimples.
I had to fix up and look sharp ahead of a school day in SE21.
Out can the 'male' make up in the gents, and a cravat.
I looked ACE...
The school day was also wonderful. Any time spent in a school on a Friday before a holiday is pretty special.
The lovely SE21 kids were treated to a brilliant afternoon performance by the English Opera Touring company.
I snapped away throughout most of the show, and shot some video as well. It was a very special performance, with the kids all joining in.
I cycled back through Brixton, and simply couldn't resist another few moments at the Bowie mural.
It's now starting to hit me that we have actually lost him.
I carried on up Brixton Road, and then stocked up on Transpontine olive bread.
Something for the weekend, Sir?
Two loaves should suffice.
A bit more work back in the flat, and then I made what is becoming something of a routine schlep from Sunny Stockwell to Stratford for the basketball.
The Lions took a 20 point lead going into the 4th. They ended up losing against a very poor Surrey side.
Basketball. Bloody hell.
A 7am work shift, the morning after a night out at the Colne Social Club.
My teetotal decision seven hours earlier paid off.
The bicycle ride along the Trail was spectacular.
A heavy estuary wilds frost meant that the ride was viewed through a postcard prism.
Plus it was fast and hard - always a good ride.
And then another day, another average swim.
Thirty lengths, followed by a bizarre spin dryer conversation with West Ham Wanker. I think he was still sky high after Monday night to be honest.
I settled down for the run of work shifts back at base.
@RobertElms very kindly went with my Cover to Cover suggestion - Our Lips Are Sealed, The Go-Go's Vs Smiling Terry and the Fun Boy Three.
I phoned in for the first time, supporting Smiling Tel and Fun Boy Three, natch.
The boys won by a country mile.
More work, and then a dash for the train.
A week in South Ldn awaits.
I managed the mad dash via Moorgate to be back down in Sunny Stockwell just in time for the next run of work shifts.
An evening LIDL run, and then to bed early.
Big old SE21 school day in the morning.
Another weak swim to start off Wednesday morning.
I was tired. I had little time. The bloody pool was full.
Lane etiquette had me relegated to the wrinklies side of the pool.
Twenty lengths, I made my excuses and went to shampoo my short and curlies.
West Ham Wanker was on Genesis Jukebox service in the showers.
"Name that tune!"
...he laughed as I lathered up my pubes.
"Is it You Can't Hurry Love?"
At least it shut him up.
I had work to do back home.
The mad cat wasn't playing though. Or rather she was.
Mad Hour was brought forward early. It must be something to do with the changing seasons.
I tapped away, trying to concentrate.
But the Mad Cat was on keyboard walking duties.
The luncheon period was taken up with some more work training.
Woh - that a lot of detail. All worthy as well.
Late period Madness was soundtrack for the afternoon shifts.
Michael Caine, One Better Day, Yesterday's Men - that's a fine run of singles. It defined my Thursday evenings with TOTP back in the day.
More work, some domestic duties, and then I buggered off down the road for an evening at the Colne Social Club.
Pool, darts, cheapo booze.
It was like being back in Johnno's garage during the summer of '85.
Thirty lengths was planned on Tuesday so that I could be back at base in time for the first work shift of the day.
In the end I clocked up 40. I wanted to keep on going.
It was a messy stop / start day of work. I've got some new clients with plenty of policy detail.
I had an hour to escape to the garden late afternoon.
It's a bloody mess.
It's the same this around every year just ahead of spring.
My lovely lawn is a swamp; the foliage is either brown or green - dead or alive, etc.
I've learnt not to worry though.
Somehow the magic of the estuary wilds sun will turn all of this around in a coupe of months.
And then the raspberry run will begin.
The rest of Tuesday was spent watching the close of the ODI, and then half an eye on the Liverpool / West Ham match.
A leisurely lido swim to start the working week.
Monday wasn't a school day, but a stuck indoors day working from the Sunny Stockwell flat.
And so I needed to escape for a swim first.
I managed to miss the rush hour rubber boys.
I also managed to miss le gai pensionnaire, which is always a disappointment.
It was blustery and bloody cold.
Once again it was the South London sun that kept me going. Raising your head above the cold water to take on air became an act of stretching for sunlight as well.
But only for a miserly eight lengths...
And then work in the flat.
It felt like 2002 all over again, but without the dial up.
Late afternoon and my time was up. I had to head back over there.
Oh dear, etc.
Monday evening was spent with more work shifts, and making a start on editing the Vauxhall photo walk from last Sunday.
I woke up with a hangover and with Anna in South London on Sunday morning.
Two outta three 'aint bad, etc.
We had agreed the night before to be out the flat by 8am, and walking the mean streets of SW8 on a photo shoot.
It's a rarity that we get to spend South London time together now. Nine Elms is changing at such a pace, that we wanted to capture it.
We couldn't have timed it any better. It was the perfect blue sky photography day.
The streets of Sunny Stockwell and Vauxhall were empty.
I did a similar photo walk a couple of years ago. The whole regeneration site had pretty much been flattened by then.
Fast forward two years and it is almost finished.
I wasn't expecting to see the cuboid American Embassy so close to completion.
The missing piece for the jigsaw appears to be the Power Station.
We both felt that the whole stretch was lacking in any soul. It may have been 8am on a Sunday morning, but you find evidence of 'life' [and then some...] back outside Stockwell tube.
Even with a Transpontine blue sky day, it was bloody freezing.
Sunlight was nowhere to be seen. The height and scale of the development blocks it all out.
I remain slightly sneering over the whole patch. It's not for me. It's not for you.
It will be interesting to see in 12 months time if any of the luxury apartments are actually being lived in.
Anna then buggered off back to Essex play golf.
I did my thing.
Which meant a lovely lido swim of course.
I'm not sure why, but my mind wasn't really into this; my body even less so.
The water temperature had dipped ever so slightly since Saturday.
It felt bloody cold poolside, with the South London wind starting to blow up.
It took me four lengths to find my rhythm.
And then it was absolutely LOVELY.
The Brockwell skies overhead were spectacular.
I rotated my stroke, and then when my head was above the water I was met with blinding sun in battle with the bruising skies.
Three layers of clothes were left back on the radiator rail back in the gents. They had a comfort blanket value as I shivered after a shower and a towel down.
A dash back to Sunny Stockwell, a bit of gardening, a bike clean, and then I buggered off back to Brixton.
I haven't seen the Lady Topcats play at the Rec in sometime. I enjoyed it more than the men to be honest.
Some school work back in the flat, and then some further training and a late night Sunday shift.
Up early and hangover free.
Fast forward 24 hours, and that won't last.
I did a bit of blogging and photo editing from the basketball from Friday night.
And then the Brockwell Park Run.
My enthusiasm has been slowly picking up over recent weeks.
The unfortunate run of 'male bodily injuries' that I suffered over the Christmas and New Year period appear to have been resolved.
The run last week was gentle; today I was up for a half-decent work out.
Although probably not a PB...
Madam Pacemaker greeted me at the gates of the Park.
I politely declined her very kind invitation to sprint around with her.
Instead I took it at my own pace - 11:58 at the halfway split. Happy with that.
My final time of 22:30 was around 30 seconds up on what I was expecting.
I took no consolation from being beaten by a man and his dog. A fella and his four-legged friend crossed the finish line just ahead of me.
Woof woof, etc.
And then the lovely lido.
Woh - that felt cold as I strolled up poolside, still soaking wet in my running gear.
There was a brisk Brockwell wind, but the water temperature was actually up form yesterday to 9.1 degrees.
I put in eight enthusiastic lengths, and was then joined by the rubber boys and girls of the Windrush Tri Club.
I kept the pace for a couple more lengths, before ducking out.
Back at base and @RobertElms was asking about the best and most missed things in your borough.
My contribution was:
BEST things in Lambeth:
Brockwell Lido - now open all year round.
Black Cultural Archives - brilliant new Windrush Square location.
Canterbury Arms pub, Brixton - proper old school boozer, live music, club nights, but now demolished for 'luxury apartments'.
Not quite gone, but will be soon: Vauxhall Ski Jump bus station.
sad, sad face
I cycled off to the West End (ish) early afternoon.
The first stop Sir John Soames House.
I have been past many times, but for some reason never ventured inside.
I was expecting it be BONKERS.
It was DOUBLE BONKERS.
My disdain for hoarders soon diminished.
The whole house was full of phallic items. Who would want to live in a house like that?
I felt rather inadequate as I put in a toilet stop in the authentic old basement u-bend.
And then something very different: the New Ldn Architecture exhibition at the Building Centre in Bloomsbury.
There was so much detail to take in. Basically I just wanted to try and find my flat on the HUGE map.
But South Lambeth Road had slipped off the end of the world, somewhere around The Oval.
I hunted for around 15 minutes to try and find the SE17 school.
I checked, and double checked my cycling route, but still kept on ending up in deepest Bermondsey.
And then I found it.
Half a school.
Year 1, 3 and 3 had fallen off the map.
I cycled back down South, taking in Whitehall.
I hadn't planned this, but I caught the Save Our NHS demo in full flow.
I stopped for a short while to take some snaps.
And then I had a visitor in Sunny Stockwell.
How very rare.
Oh, hello Wifey.
It was another His 'n' Hers Transpontine evening.
That's not technically true. We headed over to Hammersmith for a gathering of friends in remembrance of one who has recently died.
It was all very respectful, yet still life-affirming.