It was a hot afternoon, the last day of June... but I had a busy working day ahead before I could see the sun rise as a man, Comrades.
But first the early morning swim.
Remember Total Control Racing (TCR), the slightly advanced incarnation of Scalextric? The concept was that you could change lanes to avoid the dreaded 'jam car' - a slow paced moving entity that served no other purpose than to frustrate you.
There was a jam car in the fast lane of the pool this morning. I managed to control my boyhood racing anger and keep the swimming hippy karma shit going.
But yeah: the FAST lane should say it all, luv.
I had a decent mid-morning catch up with the Labour party candidate for the by-election taking place on Thursday around these parts. I volunteered my overall prediction. I noted that she didn’t blink an eyelid…
Most of the morning was spent editing audio.
Chopping up audio and polishing it to perfection can be a pain. I refer you to my personal manifesto, Comrades.
But y'know - pay to play, and all that.
The afternoon was spent editing some old SE17 images as part of a long-term database management project. Most of these were over ten years old; I haven't seen them myself in the past decade.
Late afternoon and I butchered the bay tree. No worries - I do it every year.
It’s slightly sad in that it is one of the few remaining green ‘things’ that we inherited in the anarchic garden. We nurture it each winter, and then come summer time and it’s for the chop.
I took Anna out on a an early evening spin. She's been frustrated of late with her speed. Truth be told and I've been rather impressed.
I've been getting a bit bored of the same old Badlands routes though. We decided to ride it in reverse, and see if it made any difference.
If felt like we were lost for half of the ride.
The long shadows of Anna's fancy carbon frame kept on creeping up on me. I thought that she was about to take me, but it was just the late evening sun adding to the illusion.
Still - an average time of 27kmh for us both is half decent.
Pinch, punch tomorrow Comrades.
A chilled early morning roll out. The roads were still wet. It felt more like a Ride of the Falling Leaves rather then a midsummer spin.
The route was 'experimental.' We ended up getting lost.
Bloody Strava was playing silly buggers. I reckon it was about a 50km round route taking in Lawford and then over towards St Osyth.
Remember: If Strava didn't record the ride, then you didn't ride it, right?
The road bike held up well. I carried out some 'mechanical fine tuning' the day before. The magic of WD40 never ceases to amaze me.
We passed an old boy en route once, twice and then a third time. Maybe he was lost out in the Badlands as well?
I admit to keeping my distance from Anna. She was leading once again. Sorry, love, but I still don't trust you with that wibbly wobbly de-cleating action.
And that was Sunday to be honest.
Back on the bike again tomorrow.
Saturday started with the first Wifey Weekend Roll Out in almost three weeks. I think even Anna would admit that she struggled.
I've somehow raced myself into fitness (ha!) over the past fortnight or so. Anna decided that she wanted to lead. Just out of Alresford and she came up with the old cliche of crosswind, and asked me to take over.
I didn't mind, but it would have helped if I knew where the route was taking us.
It was roughly out to Lawford, and then back in via the Tendring back lanes. Much like the ride on Friday evening, we were continuously cloudbusting.
The roads were heavy with horses early on Saturday. 7am at the weekends is a different world out there. Cyclists and the tally hoe set emerge from their slumber and take over the world for a couple of hours.
You'll be telling me that post 9am comes the time when cars rule the roads...
I'm starting to experience rides now in different stages. There's the early enthusiasm that then gives way to the serious riding. The third quarter of the cycle is where the monotony sets in. The final stretch is the kick for home with a sense of achievement.
It could be 30km leg stretcher or a full on 100km+ roll out. Those four stages all appear for me at almost exactly each quarter stage of the route.
We made it back to base under bruising skies. Make hay whilst the sun shines, or something.
The reverse ferret was to catch up on household duties. These were carried out to perfection with some podcast catch ups.
@davebriggs is producing some wonderful interview style probing with various tech / social web folk. His recent conversation with Andy Mabbett is wonderful listening for anyone with a passing interest in all things Wiki.
Cafe Calcio was cued up next. Intelligent fan based culture is something that first attracted me to When Saturday Comes back in the day. The Calcio crowd are now capturing a similar ethos via audio.
Oh. And #METROKNOBBERS.
Not long now until the Champion Hill Blues return, Comrades...
To the canoes! ...came the shout mid-afternoon. We both got encased within black rubber bondage and prepared for the walk of shame down to the Quay.
The bloody estuary rain had other ideas. We were prepared to paddle through the drizzle, but not a bloody downpour.
Wellies replaced the body rubber, and a brief hack through Wivenhoe Wood and towards the University on foot was the substitute.
It was alright as walks goes. The sun started to emerge as we turned around at the University and headed down to the Trail. Photographing the calm after the storm is one of my favourite subject matters, especially so when there are still drops of rain to match the rays of light.
Not the best of photoblog posts, but it captured the moment.
There was still sufficient water remaining some three hours after high tide. We probably could have got a little paddle in, albeit a wet, wet, wet row up and down.
Football finished off the day.
Back of the net!
Fifty lengths this morning, more out of duty than desire. I made a cracking joke in the gents, a deviation on the fork handles / four candles. Sadly my 8am wit of floor mats / formats wasn't as universally funny as I first thought.
A shift free morning followed, mainly taken up with fiddly techy bits and bobs.
I've been having some major issues with Super Duper, my Mac back up client. For some reason the scheduled dumping of data has come to a halt.
I've played around in Terminal and done the usual verifying routine. Shirt Pocket, the makers of the software, have been superb. We finally fixed it before luncheon. It looks like my Mac has some pretty serious conflicts involving the calendar.
I'm using it as my excuse to skip a few days of the daily fargo diary.
I finished off the morning by editing the @firstsite audio from last night. It was a lengthy piece addressing the work of artist Bruce McLean. It all made a little more sense second time around.
Part of the paid for work is of course to submit a polished piece of editing. Never underestimate the time that this will take.
I was reminded as to why I was first attracted towards the beauty of @audioboo - one take wonders, no edits, and then move on to your next piece of content.
It seems that the search for the perfect piece of audio / image / words is now creeping into the hit and miss world of the modern interweb.
I don't like it.
The medium for me is all about exploring and capturing. You have date archives to reference what went before, but you don't spend all day crafting 250 words.
Forward ever, backwards never, Comrades.
Which is kinda the case Somewhere in SE21.
Transition Week is about to get underway. This means a complete new set of teaching timetables, homework timetables and all round school reorganisation ahead of September.
These were mailed over after lunch for immediate publication. I do like the efficiency of a well run school.
I was locked down with work shifts all afternoon. Sticking with the forever changes theme is youtube.
I'm all for innovation, but the bloody platform won't stand still.
Further tweaks here and there leaves a whole work routine outdated overnight. These changes never seem to make management any easier from the back end either.
My soundtrack to all of this was the Listed Londoner with Adam Ant. I'm no uber fan of his music, but I do love Adam as a warm, thoughtful, highly intelligent Londoner.
There's a couple of days left on the iPlayer. It's well worth just under an hour of your time.
A cloudbusting bicycle ride concluded the day. I set off in bright estuary sunshine, only to become bruised with the Big Essex Clouds. I rode into the rain, and then came out on the other side with the sun starting to set.
A crazy Shilts conversation in the showers during the early morning swim. Public changing rooms somehow enable conversations that would otherwise be off limits.
I had to exercise severe self-constraint not to shout out the Pavlovian Shilts response of:
"TINA! TINA! TINA!"
It's a Forest thing folks.
I made a mad dash for my towel to cover up my modesty.
Bloating out on raspberries for breakfast has been the norm now for the past couple of weeks. This year has been a particularly impressive crop.
But there's only so much you can do with them when operating on a limited budget / can't be arsed.
My daily rotation of raspberries and Bran Flakes / raspberries and porridge has probably been exhausted.
Anyone tried them on toast?
The morning was spent catching up and publishing the SE21 content from the day before. I recorded all the audio from the Leaver's Assembly, but uploaded it to the wrong account.
An hour was spent downloading it, and then uploading once again with all the tags and data etc.
A couple of work shifts were picked up late afternoon, timed to perfection for a work email that pinged:
"Are you planning to take a summer holiday this year?"
Yep. It's called the lovely lido.
I had some evening work over @firstsite. I do struggle with art. Even with an expert opinion to guide you through it, I still got a little lost in the conversation.
The ride back to base was quite beautiful. Empty roads and a setting sun out in the east.
Peter Shilton lives around these parts, apparently.
"TINA! TINA! TINA!"
I finally got round to listening to some of the Robert Elms 20th birthday broadcasting celebrations this morning. I'm about an hour in, with one day left to listen on the iPlayer.
I do wish the BBC would allow downloads of audio.
It's a tremendous listen for anyone that loves nothing better than going on a journey on the Northern Line, and then returning back to base safe in the knowledge that you have got London embedded underneath your fingernails.
Yer man is nothing but a grubby London guttersnipe.
I absolutely adore him in a metrosexual sort of way.
Old school London was also pretty much evident during the morning ride when I cycled down Brixton Road. A proper South London funeral procession was setting off from the Oval end.
Horses, plumage, brass bands - it was all there. It was really quite moving, but also uplifting in a macabre kind of way.
We use to live in a hidden away Lodge (really) towards the top of Brixton Hill. There was a stables next door where the nags for these type of send offs were kept.
It was like a step back in time to the day of Steptoe and Son. I still see very, very occasionally a rag and bone man riding down South Lambeth Road.
Washing away the London timeline from underneath your fingernails can lead to a sterile existence.
Elsewhere today and it was all about tears.
Another midsummers day, another Leaver's Assembly.
If it's a Wednesday then it must mean that I was down in SE21.
There's no easy way to get around these assemblies, especially when you are saying your farewells to young adults that have special learning needs.
I've long since realised that the best approach is to simply celebrate all that the school has done for them over the years. All of the Year 11 leavers departed having been genuinely enriched by the amazing staff and other students around them.
The tears got a little tricky during some of the speeches. It's OK, Madam - we all felt the same...
I made the short cycle from SE21 down to the lovely lido towards the end of the day. This is my Transpontine place for reflection.
I was feeling drained, physically and mentally from all of the sorrow at school earlier. Twenty lengths later and the waters of Lake Brockwell had enriched me.
It was bloody brilliant.
The South London sun rays danced and teased along the basin of the pool. I had to keep my eyes closed when I tilted my head for breath, such was the power of the Transpontine sun.
I can't decide what it best - a pre-work enriching lido swim, or a post-toil Brockwell blue comedown.
The solution of course is to double dip - best of both Brockwell worlds.
I played around a little later in the evening with @DaveWiner's latest toy - Happy Friends.
Essentially it's an outline twitter tool. I love the simplicity in which Dave builds his platforms. It's probably the very same reason as to why I'm still finding my blogging freedom using fargo.
I've yet to find a convincing way in which I could personally use Happy Friends. After my TweetDeck WOH of yesterday, it may just be a simplified solution to managing different threads.
A day of publishing awaits tomorrow...
That time again - the back end of the month and I start to stress about back ups. I get an alert during the last week of the month to run a simple back up across all of my online activity. It usually takes me until the same time the following month to complete it.
I made a half-arsed attempt today to start the whole routine of sql dumping, Dropbox copying, Evernote exporting, plugin updates, Time Machine checks etc.
It's exhausting stuff.
And then a work email about systems for systems for systems did my head in.
I did find a useful new WP plugin though. Those nice folk at dxw have built a plugin that checks plugins. I rolled it out across all of my work and play sites. It's early days, but I'm keen to see how trustworthy other developers actually are.
It was a routine of a working day that required a little distraction. I fired up TweetDeck around luncheon, the first time in what must be over a month or so.
I soon remembered why I stopped using TweetDeck.
It's an incredibly useful platform when your sole work activity involves monitoring and generating tweets. But it is impossible to run it in the background and continue with any other form of concentration.
I've had a huge twitter cull. I was still left overwhelmed with the sheer volume of tweets.
A solution of course is lists. I've built up many lists - some public, some private, which I occasionally use. TweetDeck just drowns me in data.
The problem is that some of it is incredibly useful, for both work and play. I'd say around 70% is absolute twaddle. This more or less reflects my own twitter output.
I'm finding that I'm using twitter these days increasingly as a broadcast medium.
That's not good.
Many online friendships have made the offline transition in the past six years or so. Simply by having a me, me, me twitter account isn't going to help continue this shared activity.
It took me the best part of the working day to publish all of the content created in SW9 last Friday. I usually try and self impose a maximum of four hours for video, audio and image editing, plus bashing out around 1,500 words to cover all year groups.
This time of year though means that there is so much going on within schools. I recorded all of the audio for the Leaver’s Assembly. It’s a one off chance to capture those memories. Editing it however can be a little… tiresome.
I managed to escape for a late afternoon roll out ahead of an evening shift elsewhere that I had committed to.
The fields around Tendring were looking scorched. Great Bentley Green was preparing for an evening cricket match with some England football booze action taking place in the nearby pub. A funfair has also set up on the Green. You couldn't imagine a more English mid-summer scene, whatever the concept of Englishness might be...
It wasn't the best of rides, but I felt strong on the climbs during the run in back to base. I had a cycle free day on Monday. The rest was needed after the 190ish km over the weekend.
I finished off the day bashing out another couple of Brixton Buzz pieces. It's one hell of a HUGE news footprint. Two blogs can definitely survive in the patch, probably three or four. I think that specialism and different forms of... 'sustainability' will have the final say.
Transpontonia tomorrow. Hopeful of some fag end play at The Oval once the working day is done.
C'mon the 'rrey!
I'm finding it tricky doing the flip flop of swimming pools. One morning you're stretching out in the glorious 55 yards of the waters of Lake Brockwell; 24 hours later and you are paddling in a converted gas showroom out in the Essex Badlands.
Monday was a morning of swimming adjustments. I launched from one side of the pool to the other, put in a few power strokes (yeah, right) and then it was time to turn around again.
At least one constant appears to have been transported from the lovely lido: the HEAVY PETTING couple.
The Brockwell Icicles have a theory that the Transpontine heavy petters are conducting an early morning affair down in the shallow end. Why else would you 'embrace' such sexual passion in a public pool at such at early hour?
I'd personally worry about leaving the lido at full mast.
Back in the Badlands and a bloke was showing a young lady his best stroke in the spa. This was my signal to go and have a shower and head home.
The working day was mainly taken up with policies and publishing.
Schools are increasingly expected to publish all data relating to absolutely everything for that nice Mr Ofsted. I half expect a Paperclip Count spreadsheet to be sent my way for publishing before the end of the week.
Policies are continually changing and there is a genuine paranoia that Mr Ofsted will want to access the data, rather than the brilliant teaching.
I took a break from all the policy to take a look at... Lambeth Council policy. I bashed out a piece for Brixton Buzz on the £200k investment that the Rec, Ferndale and Flaxman are all about to share.
Although it's part of a mandatory compliance upgrade, at least it shows willing from the Council to see a future for the Rec. This was far from the case some six months ago when the Brixton SPD was speculating on the future of the site with a knowing nod to the developers.
I finished off the day by sending some of my own planning policy to Lambeth Council.
Like for like window replacements in the flat apparently require planning permission. It's no great cost at £170 for the application, but the online information is fiddly.
The temptation is to bypass planning and apply retrospectively, if and when needed. We see so many blatant breaches of planning along South Lambeth Road.
But no - we went with the full application, site plans, architectural drawings and maps. Plus hurrah for Google Maps in allowing me to lift a photo from the back of my flat and zoom in on the exact window that is being replaced.
The curtains are being closed before any heavy petting commences.
Heavy legs for the first five miles or so of the Sunday morning roll out. It was the morning after the morning before. The 105km on Saturday was catching up with me, quicker than... quicker than I could catch up with the other Sunday morning early roll out riders.
And then something strange happened.
As soon as I hit the rural countryside out towards Ardleigh, the legs instantly opened up. It was a breath of fresh air - quite literally.
I've not done any serious consecutive days of cycling since the Tour de Norfolk back in April. It's amazing how the 'ride yourself into fitness' bollocks actually holds true. The trick is to keep on moving.
I passed the rare sight of a recumbent on the road out towards Lawford. I've always been tempted to see how low I can go on two wheels. I'm not sure if I could hold my nerve, let alone find the storage space.
The rural rhythm continued as I made my way up to Ipswich. I actually managed to take a couple of other cycling groups who were cycling in the comfort zone of a pelaton.
I almost came a cropper on the freshly laid gravel at Cox Hill just outside of Lawford. The Mod squad then trailed past me - fishtails and all - in the East Bergholt approach. I love the idea that the Ace Faces are still out riding on a Sunday morning.
The return run in once I reached Ipswich was uneventful. It wasn't a great route to be honest; that will teach me for lifting the GPX rides from other riders.
I deviated slightly from the flashing Garmin purple arrow, and explored some of the back lanes of the Suffolk / Essex border.
Back at base and my average time was... average.
Still - just under 200km in two days. Happy with that.
An afternoon of gardening awaited.
The Sunny Stockwell secateurs transported to the Essex Badlands haven't traveled that well. They're crap, if truth be told. It's like trying to cut up overgrown hedges with a pair of comedy zig zag style scissors.
I gave up halfway down the garden and decided to live with the wild approach to anarchic gardening.
The worms were fed with all the leftovers from the past week. I tried to calculate what generation of the worm cycle we are on. We had the original breed delivered back in 2006. I'm not sure of the average lifespan of a worm, but eight years on and they are still chomping away on my daily apple core.
We had some half decent points buried away in there, as well as some tech issues. I think it was rather rushed and we might need a more considered approach. Cutting down on content rather than empty pauses has to be a good thing though.
I'm delaying the offline work printing project. This should really have started today. The weather forecast suggests that tomorrow could be a day of putting aside the procrastination and not taking to the pedals.
I arrived back in the Essex Badlands almost as the Solstice sun was rising.
I blew out Mad Bastard John F on his 6am ride, but I was still in need of something of a leg stretch.
Boosted by blackberries for breakfast, I finally got out on the bike just after 10am. This was the Ride of the Unknown. The route was uploaded to the Garmin, but the lines were a little wonky. I got lost in Colchester town centre.
I gave a clenched fist to the striking firefighters sitting outside a 70's style strike fire cauldron. I think the clenched fist was received with the solidarity that it was intended.
POTHOLES were a problem. I missed a crater of a beast on the outer edges of Colchester. I had to stop and check my spokes.
I counted them all out, I counted them all back in again, etc.
Soon I was cycling through rural Essex. The unknown (to me) purple flower was ever powerful. The purple arrow on my Garmin was guiding me around. I prayed for no purple rain.
But then again...
My route planning suggested something around 75km. Halfway round and I realised that 100km might be more accurate.
I had a slight arthritis twitch in my knee. This was the first return of the jolting pain since the summer of 2012. I didn't stretch the night before. No pain, no gain , etc.
Terling Church looked as lovely as ever as I rode down the hill. I really must pay a visit. Although probably not on a Sunday morning.
I picked up the weekly Wifey Roll Out route during the home run. I decided to ride it in reverse. It was incredibly disconcerting, like skating around an ice rink anti-clockwise.
A slight de-cleating incident left me grazed and confused in the Layer de Haye home stretch.
Worse was to come at a Rowhedge junction during the final run in. A motorist ploughed straight into me, rather than waiting at the junction where I had right of way.
Instinct set it. I swerved, avoided the bonnet by about half a metre and was left in the roadside ditch.
"Sorry, I couldn't see you because of the sun"
...was her poxy excuse.
"Try seeing my life right in front of you next time"
...I replied. Plus some colourful language to add to the context.
Recuperation back at base was two hours of hammock time. The plan was to catch up with Robert Elm's broadcasting birthday celebration from Friday afternoon. Predictably I fell asleep after the first live number.
Rolling out again tomorrow.
The cat sitting spreadsheet is getting slightly crazy. If it's a Thursday then it must mean that it's the start of a Transpontine stretch, right?
But both of us in South London? And the cat?
I never was any good filling in all those fiddly Excel cells.
Go with the flow, I say.
Which for Thursday morning meant a most charming commute in with the good Daniel Ruiz Tizon. Sadly not in person, but I was Sunny Stockwell bound, the stomping ground of the South London latte ponce.
Dan's podcasting empire it quite incredible. An astonishing amount of detail is contained within each podcast. Yer man is not only prolific, he also has some form of self quality control.
What I love about the weekly broadcasts is the intimacy. He takes you on a journey around the backstreets of SW8, not too dissimilar as to where I have been straying of late.
The trick for any online twaddle is to tell a wider story, yet somehow keep it personal.
Dan does this to perfection. I arrived back in Transpontonia with a huge Sunny Stockwell smile on my face.
The rest of the day was spent Somewhere in SE17. It was slightly frustrating, if truth be told.
The great online / offline divide continues to dominate. There are moves to make the two domains move slightly closer, but I just don't do offline publishing.
I volunteered to help out on an offline printing project. I think the vanity got in the way of the execution. A few weeks of 'creative experimentation' seems likely.
I was genuinely shocked to hear of a few staff changes come September. Stability is all important within a school, but personal lives forever move forward. I was more than a little upset.
As ever, the real value in the day was
playing working with the kids. A mixed bag: Nursery caterpillars, Reception sums, Y1 literacy, Y2 science, Y3 trip to the ISIS Centre (yep, had me for a while as well...) Y4 Dulwich Woods project, Y5 Ancient Greece assembly and Y6 school play preparations.
I still found time late in the day to experiment with feedbin. I'm basically after an RSS mobile solution.
I want a headline and text, and nothing else.
feedly works well for me on the desktop, but I detest the mobile and tablet user interfaces.
feedbin meanwhile has an incredibly clunky desktop.
A rock and a hard RSS place.
I can't really justify the $3 subscription per month for a tool that only carries out half of what I want to achieve.
Is it too much to ask for an RSS solution that provides simple text updates synced across all devices? I really don't need to be turned into anything more of a social media pimp.
Maybe I'll just ditch RSS on the mobile.
I managed to squeeze in a late lido dip. The pool was just starting to clear of the Rosendale kids from over the road. I managed a strong twenty lengths. I could have probably carried on if it wasn't household duties back at base.
Booze with some Brixton Buzz pals completed the evening.
Ra, ra, ra and it's all back to the Dogstar.
I found the football quite funny to be honest.
Another day, another cat sitting spreadsheet.
A morning of online video training, and then an afternoon of future work planning.
Company X now has a policy of carrying out all online communication between staff using video. I did fret for my first session about lights, camera, action etc.
But this morning was a come as you are experience, lycra top, stubble and a cheesy grin.
It went well. As ever I value any meaningful work dialogue whilst working remotely.
The Pop Genius of this Parish pinged over his latest album just before luncheon. He probably recorded it straight after breakfast.
I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but he's been on superb form of late.
I took the opportunity of some new mp3 action to reorganise my iTunes library. Some ten hours later and I have just about finished re-building my iTunes library.
If it 'aint broke, etc. I need to remind myself more often of my tech mantra: if it takes to long to fix, then f-it.
I bashed out a couple more Brixton Buzz pieces. I'm quite enjoying the freedom that Mike is giving me with these.
I understand how #localgov works and I have the knowledge. I couldn't blog about the Brixton cupcake scene with the same ease.
But once again - 'aint taking my sweaty arse anywhere near the careerists sitting in the Town Hall. Happy to blog about political issues with a small p, if there ever is such a thing...
And then the Roof Man came round later in the day.
The damage isn't as extensive as we first thought. It's not quite a case fixing the roof whilst the sun shines, but we can probably stretch to some new felt for the shed.
Transpontonia early tomorrow
A chilled morning commute on the road bike. The optimistic short-sleeved lycra has reverted back to the full on lycra body armour. I look like a cyclist ready to enter battle.
I look rather SEXY.
The wind ruffled what is left of my hair as I rode down the big hill. It was quite a thrill. I made a mental note that it must be about time for that annual exercise in personal failure when I try and grow my hair once again.
Mrs Headphone Lady was once again already putting in the lengths ahead of me at the pool.
I just can't trust swimming wearing a pair of headphones and a waterproof mp3 device. Is that a waterproof guarantee?
Plus the solace of the early morning swim is all about having a clear head. I get fed plenty of oral nonsense throughout the working day. My swimming time is special. Special for me.
I noticed the return of Mr Frog in the front garden ahead of the morning shift. The silly cat is spending all hours out in the back searching for him.
Let sleeping flogs lie.
And so another day, another dollar.
I downed tools late-afternoon for some much needed hammock time. The estuary sun is creeping ever higher later in the day. My peak-hammock time is now roughly around 4pm.
I drifted asleep with Ansari charging in to bowl for Surrey. I awoke with Belinda Carlisle.
A 5pm work shift beckoned. I counted down my fag end hammock days by admiring the garden as I swayed back and forth. It looked almost as SEXY as me in my lycra.
A late work finish, but just enough light left in the day for a quick spin. The plan was simply to get around. As ever, Strava and the counting clock spurred me on to semi-greatness.
I was in the zone for all of two minutes along Fratting Road. I was then overtaken by a carbon kid crouched down on his tri-handlebars.
More garden watering duties as the estuary air chilled, and the long sleeve lycra appeared once again.
I'm too sexy for my shirt.
Tony Blair came to remove my radiators today. As far as blog post opening liners go, you gotta admit that this is up there with them.
My Sunny Stockwell plumber is Tony Blair. Well, not that Tony Blair, but he is Tony Blair to all those that know him.
His green plumber's bag contains tools that could be mistaken as weapons of mass destruction when placed in the wrong hands. The invoices have been known to be sexed up, such is the beauty of TB's handwriting.
Irrigation, irrigation, irrigation etc.
Which is what Monday morning was all about.
And so Tony Blair came to remove my radiators. It's all part of the long process of restoring the Sunny Stockwell flat to its former glories. That summer of '96 Trainspotting day-glo orange may need to be toned down as part of this remake.
Tony was on top form. I never like to hover whenever a handyman is carrying out his work. I took the opportunity to trim my bush downstairs, so to speak.
I really should do a Dylan and go electric, but I rather like the hard toil involved in the manual clipping with the secateurs.
Actually I think I just like the word secateurs.
"You're doing a fantastic job!"
...remarked my local Cllr as she walked down South Lambeth Road looking as wonderfully glam as ever.
I was slightly sweaty, wearing workmen's clothing and looking a bit gawblimey.
We held a conversation of sorts for just over a minute. Congratulatory hedge cutting skills soon gave way to nervous smiles.
My wonderfully glam local Cllr then walked off down South Lambeth Road, and only then I realised that I had been talking to my wonderfully glam (and rather well known) local neighbour.
I went back upstairs to tell Tony Blair all about it.
I had a decent Sunny Stockwell catch up with @elainekamer45 later in the afternoon. Five years of #SW8 social history was condensed into five minutes.
There was a sense of frustration over the progress of the new Stockwell Square that is being built around Binfield Road. As ever, a compromise is on the cards.
The tube station wall facing Jack's (or ack's as it now reads) was suppose to have a canopy. TfL aren't forking out for it, and so we're left with a rather drab brick wall as part of the centrepiece of the Stockwell take on pavement cafe culture.
I returned to the flat and Tony Blair was by now packing up his armory in his green kit bag, and I finished off trimming the bush.
I set Strava running for the ride back to LS. Tip: don't forget to turn it off unless you want to become the new King of the Mountains along an East End stretch, doubling the previous PB time.
The evening was spent raising a glass to all the goodness that is Test match cricket, and then listening to the ACE Daniel Ruiz Tizon on Resonance - 14'50" in for my Transpontine contribution.
I didn't mention Tony Blair, let alone my wonderfully glam local Cllr and her alter ego high-flying actress.
Ab Fab, etc.
The morning after the night before. Much to my surprise I managed to stay awake for all of the England match.
That was worth it.
I didn't get out on the bike as early as I wanted on Sunday morning. But even at 8am, the Essex Badlands country lanes were completely empty.
I made a major cycling fashion faux pas in rolling out with the silly lycra leotard. Good job that there was no one else around to see it.
The weather has definitely turned. It took me fifteen minutes or so to warm up.
Not a bad ride, but not exactly breaking any PB's either. Bloody Strava buggered up once again, failing to record any of the 40k-ish ride.
Mad bastard John F said on Saturday that if Strava doesn't record your ride then it hasn't happened.
I feel cheated.
I almost lost my front wheel out towards one of the Tendring gravel patches disguised as a spot of re-surfacing. All I could think about was how silly I would look in hospital with the lycra leotard.
The afternoon was spent working.
Early evening was put aside for a gardening session. I say gardening, but it's more of an exercise in tidying up. I'm very good at pulling things ups, not so great at planting.
The honeysuckle that I butchered back in the spring has started to flower. The tomatoes are almost ripening, albeit ball bearing size. The appearance of the evening primrose at sunset was a welcome surprise.
I've got a full on day of Transpontine duties tomorrow, mainly involving... gardening. The tools have been packed up. The plan is to pull things up in the front garden for the flat, and then ponder what can go down at so late in the season.
If I plant some evening primrose before luncheon, then it wouldn't surprise me to see it flowering by the time the sun sets over South Lambeth Road.
The Ride of the Mad Bastards was the reason I woke at 5am this morning. I say the plural bastards, but really it was just Mad Bastard John F.
You couldn't wish to ride with a nicer cyclist.
John F explained that the early rural roll out was so as to avoid the traffic. He later let it slip that it was so that we could also tag along on two extra rides.
I did well to actually make the rendez vous. Mad Murphie the cat chose my moment of leaving the house to bring home Mr Mouse.
BAD girl, Murphie. Bad girl.
Mr Mouse wasn't quite a gonner yet. I managed to rescue him, and then hide him away at the bottom of the garden. It would keep Murphie busy all morning, and then knacker her out for the afternoon when I had some work to catch up on.
Job's a good 'un, on both fronts.
The Ride of the Mad Bastards was brilliant. Once around the Tendring lanes with John F, and then we hitched a ride with the Velo Club Revolution pre-club roll out.
Cyclists are funny folk. A club run always has to have a pre-club run for the extra keen cyclists. By my calculations this meant the Ride of the Mad Bastards was actually a pre-pre roll out.
It was the first time in over a year that I have cycled in a peloton proper. I was a little edgy at first, but soon found my line and length with the rider in front. 20cm seemed to be the acceptable distance - a little too close for my comfort, but it certainly got me round.
I made the fashion faux pas of riding in yellow. It takes a cyclist with a certain arrogance to pull off the look.
I kept my head down, put on my best race face and somehow wasn't dropped.
Back at base and Murphie was out for the count. I fired up InDesign and completed the fiddly school docs that I have been bodging.
@richardgallon gave me the professional once over and marked me out of 10. I only hope that the Head Teachers of South London are so generous.
A rare late afternoon swim followed. If I've not put the lengths in by 9am most mornings then the opportunity is usually lost.
But I wanted a light stretch after the ride, plus I was a little smelly if truth be told. Never underestimate the power of a home water metre to motivate you to swim.
Disclaimer: I ALWAYS shower before entering the pool - unless I am #drydiving at the beauty of Lake Brockwell of course...
The Big Essex Clouds were making all the right pretty patterns as I cycled home. I had my camera in my swimming bag, and so stopped for fifteen minutes or so for an impromptu photo shoot.
In Nature News: I watered a snail whilst doing some late night gardening. He / she / it seemed to enjoy it, even coming out of the it's shell, so to speak, to soak up the sprinkling.
It was crawling rather close to the milk carton that Anna uses to DROWN slugs and snails in cheapo cider.
I like to think of my watering act as a show of snail solidarity.
I really can’t be arsed with the football. Here’s a video instead of a Dulwich Hamlet robotic vacuum cleaner, via @vornstyle.
Almost a two steps back type of day. But hey - progress, of sorts.
The morning swim was a bit of a disaster. A timetable mishap meant that I was in the water when the Roly Poly Club went through their WEIRD routine with giant phallic foam rods wedged between their legs.
At least the water is pumped full of chemicals.
Two functional lanes, five swimmers. Something had to give.
Swimming etiquette should be so simple. The Badlands pool can't take more than two swimmers per lane.
I was doing the up yours, down mine rotation thing with an old fella. And then Mr Day-Glo Speedo waded in, bonkers butterfly and all.
I called it quits after thirty lengths, half-tempted to join the Roly Poly lot and wedge some foam in-between my own legs.
Back at base and it was a working morning spent losing the fight against the spambots.
One step up, two digital strides back.
I bashed out another Buzz piece - it's really quite a key meeting to decide what should be done with the brute of an unused changing room that blots up the beauty of Brockwell.
Bulldoze it, I say - but look at those bloody figures...
Thursday's working soundtrack of solace was replaced by CHOONS, Funky Friday and all that. Yer man @RobertElms delivered with Eurythmics [almost THIRTY years ago!] and The Kinks. Funky Friday was... rather laid back.
A late, late luncheon of yet more strawberries and blackberries was the energy I needed to carry me through the afternoon shift.
I was particularly pleased to find King Strawberry buried away behind the rhubarb - out of reach from both Wifey and the shitting cat. I made sure that I washed it thoroughly first.
@feedly returned sometime late afternoon. My first task was to back up the OPML ASAP, and then whack it into Dropbox.
I've got around 600 stories to catch up on. I've quite enjoyed the online break, and have even turned to old school media for any news content. Telly news is rubbish, btw.
The Attack of the Spambots Part II characterised the final push of the working day. I then played around a bit with InDesign, finishing a project for a couple of schools. I'm rather impressed with the results. Just waiting for the feedback to see if we proceed...
Weekend bicycle rides were up next. I planned a roll out to Ipswich on Saturday, and then Braintree on Sunday. Routes were sourced and uploaded to the Garmin.
I then received a tip off from Mad Bastard John F that he wants to roll out at 6:45am tomorrow morning.
The offer of some Sunday work shifts was accepted. Needs must - almost time to settle up the second half of the tax bill.
...two steps back.
A day of no RSS action. @feedly has been compromised with a DDoS attack. Pretty serious for the company, mildly annoying for me and my work.
Not having any access to my feeds has made me think about how much I have come to rely upon content being pushed my way through every moment of the working day.
It all comes back to the old Hunter Vs Scavenger model of modern interweb useage: do you (a) ruthlessly track down the story yourself, or do you (b) sit back and allow the magic of the modern interweb to serve up content via RSS?
Ideally (a) but as ever, time and tide leads me towards (b).
I was left picking at the bare bones of the modern interweb without feedly to fill the gap.
It got me thinking about how I have changed the method in which I track down content, both for work and pleasure.
RSS was my original preferred choice. For around a year or so in 2010 I relied upon twitter and my trusted network to push anything my way.
But I soon found that I was missing stories that fell outside of my own twitter radar. I wanted the complete, all-encompassing reach that RSS could provide.
Even the retirement of Google Reader didn't deter me. I simply uploaded my opml file to feedly, and carried on where I left off.
Plus... forever adding to the now cloud-based opml file with feedly, without any second thought as to a back up.
And so now I am left hostage to feedly, much in the same way that feedly appears to be laid hostage to the nasty DDoS hackers.
I experimented a little later in the day with @zite. I just can't seem to trust a delivery platform that works on an algorithm of what I may - or may not - like on any particular day.
I want a definitive solution that means I don't miss any of the content that my work has come to rely upon.
RSS it is then.
I had a two hour training session early evening. Having worked in complete solace for the entire day, this constant screen sharing and interaction was quite welcome.
I rarely work in complete silence, but it was quite a fiddly day work wise. A puritanical approach is no bad thing once in a while.
Back to the drum 'n' bass working soundtrack tomorrow, Comrades.
A lethargic mid-weeker all round. I'm not sure why - bed by 9pm the night before, and then eight hours unbroken sleep.
The first signs of slowness were in the pool.
What the chuffers happened there?
Fifty lengths were fine, but it seemed to take twice the time. I had the pool to myself - a rarity out in the Essex Badlands. It at least gave me some thinking time for my The Selfishness of the Indoor / Outdoor Swimmer novel.
Must get round to writing the first page sometime soon. But not before the lethargy is lost.
I even had a slow cycle back to base from the pool. I was overtaken by a proper Ace Face Mod - Vespa, fishtails and loafers.
You don't see those very often, but he certainly managed to carry it off. I still had a mysterious damp patch down below in my lycra shorts.
I had a work free morning. The plan was to catch up on other online projects ahead of a full on afternoon and evening work shift ahead.
I bashed out another piece for Brixton Buzz, and then responded to a request from the good egg @1670WestEgg for some online audio.
The self-styled South London Coffee Ponce is introducing a new feature for his weekly Resonance radio show.
Sixty seconds of why South London is so special to you was asked for. I could have filled a full hour to be honest. I rattled off a one take wonder clip (yeah, right) jumping from the lido to The Oval to le velo - the three lynchpins that prop up my Transpontine existence.
I finished off with some rubbish remark about being a bastion of South London independence.
It was around this time when the lethargy returned. I fail to understand many body patterns connected with swimming, but I do know that it knackers you with a delayed effect.
You are full of beans (steady) for the first four hours after a swim. This is my most productive part of the day.
And then all of a sudden you are fighting off extreme tiredness, both mentally and physically.
This coincided with the epic work shift.
Systems for systems about systems appears to be a current work theme. Over-complicating online processes when you are working remotely can be a challenge.
I managed to escape for a brief roll out late in the afternoon, but even this was defined by my lethargic lead like legs.
The 30kmh average from the day before was down to 27kmh.
It was a delight to see some of the early roadside poppies starting to appear; less so the overgrown verges that are making it difficult to see what is around the corner along some of the more rural lanes.
I encountered endless flies up my nose, leading to a not very dignified nostril cleansing routine on par with that of a Premier League footballer.
A little more energy was gained for the final evening work shift.
Another morning of raspberries freshly picked from the garden for breakfast. Hunters and gatherers etc - all added to the not so ethical microwave porridge. A BATTING Day lay ahead; energy was needed.
The work schedule was slightly re-jigged. I had a surprise invite to pitch for a new project. I know my stuff, Comrades. I carefully explained what I will do, how I will do it, and more importantly, why it needs to be done.
And my price?
I then went outside to fix the washing line. Mr Productive, or what?
Bits of blogging from the Transpontine weekend were waiting to be caught up with. I offered a piece to the lovely Brixton Buzz. I was surprised - and rather pleased - to receive admin rights via return of email.
I'm not sure what type of content I will be sourcing for Brixton Buzz. Probably something around gentrification and the ever changing area. One thing's for certain - I'm not dragging my hairy arse back into Lambeth Town Hall anytime soon.
Work shifts followed, all completed with the BATTING Day commentary from the ace @surreycricket. You've got to feel for Rory Burns - 199, and then out during the final over before tea.
But well batted, Sir. Well batted.
Another micro break in the stop / start work shift pattern, and I found myself playing postman. The previous house owners still receive more mail than us. No worries - it gives me excuse to take a walk down by the Quayside where they now live.
As ever, I stumbled straight into a mid-afternoon Quayside piss up of poets.
Oh Lordy. Fine company though.
Work shifts, work shifts, work shifts, and then a late roll out with @pmmikes.
The subtext was a catch up about a future #hyperlocal project. The reality was that I was left puffing and panting as yer man dragged me around the Essex Badlands back lanes.
I was pleased with the 30 kmh average, although I note that Mike triggered off a 30 MPH flashing sign close to the sprint finish.
I recouped by sipping tea in the garden and looking lovingly at the wisteria.
A plodding swim, followed by raspberries from the garden to go with the Bran Flakes for breakfast.
Should be sufficient to set you up for the day?
Monday [yes I know there is an issue with the fargo date rendering...] started as it meant to carry on with plenty of plodding all round.
The hot sticky scenes, you know what I mean, didn't do much to break me out of the lethargy.
I spent most of the day working on school projects. Some catching up with content that has been sitting around for a while, as well as a little playing around with InDesign for a dead paper media publication that is... plodding.
I pondered the openness is publishing some very truthful - and political - minutes from a Parent's Meeting on one school site. The request came from up above, and so I obliged.
The transparency is great - the content is no different to what parents are told face to face by the management team. My own reservations were more to do with the www prefix in the url : the whole world is watching - not quite, but you get the point.
It's an issue that I often have with both work and hyperlocal projects. Sharing is a wonderful thing, but I often sense that it is sometimes forgotten that you are sharing amongst strangers.
The Wivenhoe Forum frustrates me (steady) when users continually post up phone numbers and email addresses not only of their own, but also of other local people.
I warn against this, but there is only so much you can do when trying to tell others about the dark modern interweb.
The working day finished with some online training. Transparency was once again a theme. I love using tools such as Go2Meeting, but I often fret at what is left exposed on the screen of the work colleague that is leading the session.
It was a useful session for a new project I've been invited to join. My main oberservation was the social hierarchy that the client has put in place: Facebook, youtube and Google+, but only then as a bit of a bolt on at the end.
The percentage of time spent on each platform looks something like 70%, 25%, 5%. The irony is that Google+ is a delight to work on, youtube seems to change the admin tools each week, whereas Facebook is just a beast.
The plodding of a day sped up slightly towards the close. Neil the lovely painter / all round good bod came round to give us some quotes.
Best earn some money to pay for it all.
Back to the Essex Badlands after some time spent down in Transpontonia. A cock up at Colchester Station didn't help, leading to a 2am bedtime, with high hopes of catching the 8:30am high tide.
We somehow made it, lugging the canoes down to the Quay, with only one resting stop en route.
The water looked rather dirty today - not a great omen as we had ambitions of paddling down to the Hythe and past the effluent waste re-entry point.
It's a dirty job, etc...
The fatigue of a weekend of high living back in South London caught up with me as we reached Rowhedge. Anna actually powered ahead of me in her fancy canoe with the funny rudder thing.
We turned around just at the Wivenhoe Wood approach and let the outgoing tide carry us back to the old hard.
We had company in a seal that tailed us for the entire return journey.
A brief chat with the Pop Genius of this Parish and we lugged the canoes back to base, a quick lycra change and then we hit the bicycles.
Bruncheon (aha!) in Walton was the plan. By now I was getting accustomed to Anna powering past me. She took me on Ten Penny Hill, so to speak. I was riding on a milky cup of tea, and not much else.
The Garmin worked wonders again. We lifted a Walton Lanes GPX from the modern interweb, and then followed the dancing arrow all the way across to the coast. Strava was playing silly buggers and didn't record the ride heading out.
My tired limbs were helped with a lack of any head or tail wind. Even the wind turbines along the route lay resting for the morning.
Half the roads heading out towards Tendring appear to have been resurfaced recently - and not very well either.
We rode along what is barely a gravel track masking as an B road for around fifteen minutes. I prayed to the Spoke Gods to treat my road bike favourably.
I'm always equally amazed with the art deco houses around these parts and the roadside tat that is put out for sale each weekend.
It's definitely not a London thing.
A cup of tea and a sizable slice of carrot cake along the clifftop restaurant was the reward. Strava kindly managed to capture the data for the return leg: just over 24kmh - and that was Anna pulling me in, if truth be told.
An afternoon of gardening followed. The wisteria is running wild, growing shoots of at least a foot long with my every London excursion.
I watched some local kids carry some canoes down to the Quay mid-afternoon. Strange, given that they were setting off at low water.
They returned about an hour later, caked in mud and dragging the canoes along the road. I didn't ponder for too long the current status of the effluent waste re-entry point.
Metroknobbers completed the acclimatisation.
Don't forget to breathe...
I tend to judge the passing of each day by how knackered I am come close of play. If I fail to keep my eyes open before I reach the end of the first page of the bedtime read, then a big positive tick can be placed in the plus column.
Saturday was such a day. Please don't judge me, but that John Major autobiography really isn't going to get read anytime soon.
It's been a few weeks now since I last ran the @bwparkrun. Circumstances, weather and injuries have kept me away from the weekly running and WHOOPING around the beauty of Brockwell.
I pondered the Transpontine Trek early on Saturday morning, a slow plod that takes in Clap'ham, Brockwell and lovely Larkhall Park. But that would mean that I miss out on the @bwparkrun reward of a lido dip afterwards.
I didn't feel too strong during the prep talk. I looked around for Madam Pacemaker, but she was nowhere to be see.
No worries. I had a pleasant catch up with a Labour Cllr instead...
A Personal Best was never on option. I struggled up the hills, and then suffered on the way down. A lame sprint finish saw me home, happy just to finish rather than race against the clock.
And then later in the morning when the @bwparkrun email dropped, I found out that I was one second off a PB.
The purification in Lake Brockwell was beautiful.
I procrastinated for a while with the Icicles who had already put the weekend lengths in and were enjoying some Lido Cafe coffee.
The Brockwell skies bruised, and there was talk of the pleasures of wet weather swimming.
Five minutes later and I was doing the Lake Brockwell thing, completely oblivious to the thunder storm taking place around me. You don't feel the rain when you're already wet.
I managed 16 of the 20 lengths when a lifeguard gave me a friendly tap and asked me to leave the pool. South London lightening and a lido aren't the best of bedfellows.
A bit of business back at the Stockwell base, and then I was Brixton bound for the informal gathering of TedXBrixton.
This was my first visit to the recently opened Hub Brixton down in the basement of Lambeth Town Hall. It's a shared workspace for the bedroom freelancers of #Sw9. Natural light was at a premium, but I suppose it's better than dead civic space.
The TexXBrixton folk were lovely. The planning is underway for the main event taking place in October. These informal sessions were to source ideas and speakers around the theme of Two Worlds Collide.
The usual post it notes filled up an entire wall. Most of the #hyperlocal Brixton issues covering gentrification and displacement were covered. The suggestion of locals Will Self and Joanna Lumley as guest speakers would make for an interesting double header.
I then cycled it from Brixton up towards Blackfriars for the Nocturne Series, a city centre criterium around Smithfield.
It's a commute that I use to do daily back in the old Graun Farringdon Road days. I had forgotten how soulless the stretch is from Elephant over to Blackfriars.
The Nocturne was tremendous fun - a real celebration of London cycling. I snapped away for half an hour, and then reminded myself that I really should enjoy events for what they are, and not with the intention of amassing as much digital content as possible.
I walked a lap of the Smithfield circuit, trying to find a decent viewing location in amongst the five deep crowd.
A lengthy delay followed the first race with a serious injury to one of the riders. I randomly walked past the carnage as part of my circuit, and then took the decision to keep on walking.
It didn't look good, with a full on oxygen mask and a 45 minute delay to the racing indicating how serious it was.
I was due back on the Transpontine side of the Thames at 7:30 for a return to The Globe, and a return to the epic Titus Andronicus.
I've blogged before about the bloody destruction and all round gruesomeness of what is becoming the finest Bankside production for many seasoned Globe groundlings.
I'd agree 100% with this. It's rare for me to return to the same production for a second sitting / standing. I tweeted killing after killing, partly as an experiment in what you can get away with at The Globe, partly as an excuse for me to turn away when the sword was inserted from behind, deep inside the lady bits of the poor victim.
Another guttural Globe ROAR greeted the close of the production. It is a truly remarkable piece of theatre.
Come close of play back at base and I was knackered. Another successful day.
John Major was taking to his soap box ahead of the '92 election campaign. This should be sufficient to send anyone to sleep.
The body said beddy byes; the mind was still occupied with Titus.
A bloody good day.
RSS pretty much manages my entire online activity. It's my starting point first in the morning as I hunt down content [arf!] that might lead to something later in the day. I also turn to my reader (@feedly) for the final online scavenge at the close of a working day.
If I want content, RSS works for me.
But I'm noticing increasingly that many publishers are clipping the first sentence of the copy, and then relying upon a click through to the actual site to read the content.
It's the poor man's equivalent of the paywall. So close, yet so far. At the risk of sounding like a self-facilitating media node, I really haven't got the time to click through to your BIG media site and then see what you have to offer below the first para.
Online traffic and ad revenues are of course driving this. I understand totally that you want me to turn the page impression counter so that you can sell more ads, which in turns feeds the free content that you are kindly providing me with.
But I just don't click through.
From a journo's point of view, it's all about the story, isn't it?
You have something to say; getting the message out there in whatever medium you can has to be the way forward.
@LloydDavis and Robert touch on this theme during their delightful Try Doorbell podcasts. The url is dead. Long live content.
We have the medium now in which to put the message across in so many different forms. Why limit to an RSS prick tease?
My online reading has gone a little limp of late.
Another charming Transpontine day. I'm finding it hard to sleep past 5am at the moment. The first morning buses (or is it the final night buses?) are the urban alarm call along South Lambeth Road.
No worries - early bird and all that. I'm sure that Lidl in Sunny Stockwell sells cheapo worms.
The beautiful blue waters of Lake Brockwell were calling. And so was a new lido tumblr.
I quite like what I've done here: take a poolside pic before the #drydive plunge, create a new tumblr post there and then on the iPhone, and then allow the magic @ifttt to cross-post and pimp out to Facebook and Twitter.
I've been keeping a @BrockwellLido twitter watch for six years or so now. It started off as a simple temperature check.
Now that the good folk of BLU carry this task out VERY early, I thought I'd allow the advances in my phone tech to create a photo snapshot.
It takes around the same amount of time to whack out the tumblr post as it once did to spunk out a tweet with the old tech. The long-term view is that I'll hopefully have an online image archive of the lovely lido for every day when I'm swimming.
Twenty lengths under glorious Transpontine skies was the early reward for Friday morning. I felt strong, although not as strong as @katiekingswell who powered past me on more than one occasion.
A brief wave to @oneeyegrey putting the lengths in, and a short 'n' curlies shampoo catch up with @mutley69.
No sign of Singing Peter...
And then it was the short cycle through Brixton and down Stockwell Road en route to Somewhere in SW9.
What a LOVELY day in what is fast becoming shhh my fave school.
The approach of the end of the summer term always fills me with some sadness. The activities are rightfully geared towards the departing students.
But truth be told, once they leave then you seldom see them again.
I spent most of Friday recording some video with the Y11 leavers. With most of their GCSE's now thankfully finished, attention has turned towards the Leaver's Assembly.
It has been decided that short video messages will form a large part of this process. I think it's an ACE idea. The students are much more candid on camera, rather than having the pressure and expectations of addressing a full school assembly.
I prepped them by asking for openness and transparency. There's no right or wrong answer, is a phrase that I think I used. I wasn't prepared for the lelvel of honesty that I then managed to capture.
I heard stories of personal development from being very withdrawn Y7 students five years ago, to a fine selection of young adults who are mostly ready for the next stage of their learning.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I hid behind the iPad on more than once occasion as my eyes started to moist up.
Blame it on the aftershock of the lido swim...
And then a return back to base, before the short walk through the backstreets of The Oval for some Surrey cricket t20 action.
How many chuffing times have we played bloody Essex?
There was to be no happy ending, both for the 'rrey and the return of KP.
The Pavilion was buzzing when yer man stepped out to the crease. It reminded me of Mr Ramps for the 'rrey when speculation was rife that he was about to have an Indian summer with an England re-call.
No return for Mr Ramps, and probably not for KP either.
It was lovely catching up with three of my female cricketing companions. I think I managed to out-dress them with the bonkers blazer.
Those 5am buses will be back along South Lambeth Road soon...