EVERYTHING today was geared towards taking the cat to the vets for her annual jabs. It’s an absolute heartbreaker, every year.
In years gone by I have wimped out and deliberately arranged work shifts. I wasn’t so lucky this year.
Murphie is not a caged beast. The look of horror on her face when we finally get her inside the cat carried is a real tear jerker.
It’s not a great experience for her either.
She arrives at the vets dripping wet - a mixture of cold sweat from fear, and having a few unfortunate toilet training incidents.
I'm equally wet through sweat and tears.
And so the day was carefully planned around the capture, the trip, and then the recuperation.
I had strict instructions to be back at base at a set time.
My anxiety was taken out with a power swim. Fifty lengths and it felt fantastic.
Even the weird knuckle shuffle taking place with the roly poly aqua aerobics in the opposite lane couldn’t dent my enthusiasm.
I has a FFS very loud moment as I cycled across a carpet of broken glass. Amazingly the road bike emerged unscathed.
I worked throughout most of the day with the office shutters closed. Crazy, crazy late October weather. I absolutely loved it.
The three minute power pop blast with the tools being downed came today via the four-fer. The bitter sweet Elvis Costello was on the agenda.
Allison is probably the perfect pop song.
Work woes kinda drowned out the countdown to the vet.
And then the moment came: time to cage the cat.
Time to man up. A firm grip and in she goes.
She pissed her pants - Murphie, not Anna.
It was a reverse ferret this year with Anna crying off for work reasons. I walked the fifteen minutes or so down the road up towards the vet, carrying the smallest cat in the biggest cat carrier. There’s room for an Alsatian in there.
I spoke with the cat all way - all sorts of silly nonsense to try and calm her down.
The vet was wonderful. A quick jab, a brief check up and then we were done.
Ham sarnies all round to celebrate back at base. See you again next year.
It was then a rock ’n’ roll sort of an end to the working day. I blitzed the early evening shift with the ACE American Graffiti soundtrack. It was so good that we settled down to watch the film later in the evening.
The cat slept through it all.
A case of mistaken identity early morning on the Wivenhoe Trail.
I cycled towards a waving dog walker, stopped, and then had a chat.
Madam thought that from a distance I was her husband.
Madam is my next door neighbour.
A light swim followed. I missed the opportunity to make the most of an empty lane.
Tide and time had me cycling off somewhere Gawd knows where in Colchester in search of that elusive fridge hinge for the tenants. Getting warmer…
I then picked up Anna’s road bike after some mechanical mendings.
I am DANGEROUS in bicycle shops. I have long since resolved that a new frame is heading my way for the new season. Being surrounded by pure carbon almost had me reaching for the credit card.
Back at base and yer man @RobertElms does tend to overdo it a little with the whole Bowie thing. That is if it is indeed ever possible to overdo it with the whole Bowie thing.
Heroes was played after luncheon.
It was one of those moments where I increased the volume on my Mac by a couple of levels, and then two more.
This sounds good.
Let’s raise that by four more.
Fuck it - all the way to the top.
Everyone needs a three minute power burst of musical inspiration at least once in their day. There is only so much Late Junction noodling that one man can take in the working day.
Jambalaya was a little different.
Hank Vs The Carpenters for Cover to Cover. The bloody song had been stuck in my head all morning, even before the 2pm contest.
Hank had it by a country 'n' western mile.
And quite right, too.
Work / Brixton Buzz all the way through until early evening.
It was lively old day for Brixton Buzz. We broke the story that 1 Town Hall Parade is about to be the subject of a Compulsory Purchase Order by Lambeth Council for Your Nu Town Hall.
Our original piece posed the question: Is this Electric Brixton, or the Fridge Bar?
Electric Brixton ‘aint for the bulldozer; it seems that the Fridge Bar is.
Others nicked the story, but by then we had learnt that the owners of the Fridge Bar had only found out about the CPO via BBuzz.
A legal statement was released…
And the I think that the whole fireworks fuck up probably ran its course. My internal FoI review request was rejected. We can’t publish the Overlay Plans of Brockwell showing how mean Lambeth Council is without the threat of legal action.
I particularly liked the claim in the response that I “claim to represent the public”
Treble ARFS all around.
The “Error - no address supplied!” …was also a nice touch.
Comrades: check with your own Council Tax records. I would have thought you knew, seeing as though your lot fucked up in issuing me with an incorrect court summons for Council Tax non-payment.
That very nice @hoeykatemp kindly intervened and cleaned up your mess.
I’d vote for her
A alarm clock wake up style swim to start the day. I hit the aquatic snooze button after the first length. The body said no, and so did the mind to be honest.
I drifted off down the lane, but not off to sleep.
Forty lengths later and I was ready for bed once again.
Some swims are better than others.
And then PMQs.
Afternoon and evening work shifts, followed by two wasted hours trying to find out why talk talk told EE to cancel a new order for a broadband switch in the flat.
The answer is obvious: talk talk didn’t want me to leave, so much so that it tried to sabotage a switch.
The outcome is a further ten day wait to be reconnected in Sunny Stockwell. Which means that I can’t work there.
Half expecting to wake up doing backstroke.
Swimming, not drowning.
An autumnal carpet for every pedal along the Trail en route to the pool this morning. It won’t do much for my wheels, but the golden view was certainly good for the mind. Short sleeved lycra as well.
I had another West Ham Wanker conversation in the changing rooms. I quite enjoy these.
I’m running out of West Ham Wankers in which to assassinate to be honest. My West Ham man is full of optimism, compared to his Oh Woe is West Ham rant of a month ago.
I think that the spiritual power of swimming has a significant say in all of this good cheer.
It then got a little touchy feely in the gents.
The lights were off but there were certainly people at home. Rubbing down your (?) short ’n’ curlies under darkness was a little seedy for 8am.
I then made a brief trip into what was a very Sunny Colch. I had a few errands to run.
My hit list suggested a 50% return rate. I actually achieved far more.
Anna’s road bike was dropped off at the ACE Colchester Cycle Stores for a new inner to be fitted, and a slight jigging of the gears.
I took my opportunity whilst in town to do a brief charity shop run. I spent an entire Sunday morning back in Transpontonia walking the mean streets of Pimlico trying to find a cheapo gents coats.
Size is everything.
So is style.
I miraculously managed to find both size and style in a BEAUTIFUL winter coat that I picked up from Trinity Hospice.
£28 - ACE.
I was on a roll and so went in search of some rubber swimming socks for the lovely lido. Another success, which then led to an amazingly priced £10 pair of black deck shoes that I have also been after.
I pondered how the coat, the socks and the shoes have all been attempted to be sourced online. All have failed via the modern interweb.
Offline shopping. It will never catch on Comrades.
The only disappointment was not being able to find the tricky fridge hinge that we still need to replace for our tenants. It will be easier to buy a new fridge to be honest.
Back at base and the GORGEOUS late-autumnal afternoon weather wasn’t lost on yer man @RobertElms. Sun = soul. EVERY TIME.
It was a soothing show with plenty of blue sky inspired soul love. The Isley’s Caravan of Love had me GRINNING all the way through until sunset.
Which is just as well, seeing as the work shifts stacked up until bedtime.
A delayed arrival at the pool this morning. A surprise Wivenhoe Forum Committee Con-flab along the Trail delayed me slightly. All fine, Madam
And then a quick round the houses catch up in the entrance to the pool as I put the hyperlocal world to rights with another fine lady.
Which all meant that it was an absolute power swim ahead of scheduled work shifts back at base.
I’m no fan of poolside music, but it was good to hear Speak Like a Child - the one decent song on the aquatic loop - stuck on repeat.
It was a rare working day where both Anna and I were working from home. Occasionally a little crossover takes place, despite two very different work domains taking up our time.
I think that I managed to confuse Anna over her work’s use of Instagram; I think that I managed to confuse myself to be honest.
Rock ’n’ Roll luncheons RULE around here.
A stop / start working afternoon, with endless household admin during the breaks. It’s a full time job in itself trying to sort out a final bill from talktalk, booking a BT engineer and then searching for an elusive fridge hinge online.
I think that I ended up with Two Outta Three ‘Aint Bad.
And then it was time for the dentist - the best thing I can say is that the waiting room has the most delightful art deco fireplace.
A fun Monday, yeah?
The evening was spent publishing SE17 and SW9 content, with half an eye on the football.
Same every year.
And so I woke up not knowing if the fancy digital alarm clock would automatically sync with GMT. The back up was the iPad next to the bed, which definitely does sync.
2:30am and a quick check showed that yep, they both has defaulted to GMT.
5:30am (really 6:30am) and I was restless.
But what better way to start a Sunday then with an online reading catch up and the whole of the 1999 double album via Spotify.
If you didn't come to party, don't bother knocking on my door, etc.
That seamless segue from 1999 to Little Red Corvette still remains a wonderful moment.
I went out on the Ride of the Slipped Gears Part II mid-morning. I'm now carrying out running repairs and experimenting with the tightness of the gear cable whilst out on the road.
The first half of the route saw me slip, sliding away.
Somehow everything just clicked into place with the derailer for the return leg.
I'm still tempted to just bring forward the next big bike spend by six months or so.
I spent an enjoyable early afternoon with the Watching Wivenhoe Wildlife lot. The Nature's Bounty walk was mainly fungi based. I now know what a Little Brown Job is.
The highlight was being invited to sniff a walnut leaf.'
And then work for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
An uneasy Ride of the Slipped Gears to start Saturday. I had planned a detour of a route for Anna and I, deviating slightly from the usual weekend Abberton Reservoir run.
My gears started to slip within the first five minutes. This meant that I was saddle bound for the rest of the ride, unable to showcase my mountain mule climbing style.
The route was rather lovely. Endless empty Essex lanes.
Some were slightly too empty, such as the private road that led down to the farmer’s house.
We were met by the good ‘ol Essex boy outside the gate, and some friendly words about not trusting a GPX satnvav file.
And then it all went a little WOH.
Appropriately it was along Shatters Lane, just outside of Great Wigborough.
We had no spare inners with us. What’t the point? We can’t fit them anyway. A taxi was called for as we decided to take a hit.
Or rather Anna decided to take a hit. I was getting a little chilly around the lycra edges and decided to put on my best race face and press on.
I had a text from Anna an hour later as I arrived at the pool:
In Colch. All good.
But it wasn’t all good because the silly girl missed the opportunity to get the puncture fixed in Colchester, and instead told Mr Taxi Man to keep on driving.
I put the lengths in, aware of the remarkable healing power of a swim.
The puncture woes were forgotten, until I towelled down my bits and pieces and almost punctured myself by treading in someone’s used ear bud on the floor.
And then an incredibly practical afternoon and early evening of indoor / outdoor household chores. Both sets of builders have now departed. The big clean up started up here.
I hacked away at the ivy with great joy. Once the bugger takes hold, then you become a slave to its ability to swallow up all around. I gave it an extra hard stamping down as I placed it in the garden waste bag.
Back indoors and I put my office back together after a floor and paint job. I took a moment to reflect that I have been working off the exact same office desk for 26 years now.
Productivity has fluctuated, but the desk has remained a constant. It has made the transition from pen and paper to analogue, and then to digital. It is impossible for me to calculate how many words have been based out from on top of this hardy piece of wood.
I wish that road bikes were as reliable
An early morning King of Clap'ham Common run to start off Friday. Except my crown is slipping.
The Bright Young Things of SW4 were bouncing around the Common with a youthful zest that I mislaid sometime back in 1996.
Nice run though.
I wasn't surprised to see the Moscow State Circus pitched up on the Clap'ham South side. Every other week is Circus Week in SW4.
A quick shower back in SW8, and then the postcode hopper had the short walk to work in SW9. If it 'aint got an SW or SE in the postcode then I'm not getting out of bed for no one.
There were no motivation issues required for Friday. The final day in any school ahead of a short break is always fun. Add in the GRIN factor that SW9 somehow has and I was in danger of smiling all the way through until after the half term break.
I confess to a bit of a John Redwood moment during the singing and signing assembly when Love Train started up. I think that I just about got through my um's and ah's. It was truly ACE to see some of the SEN pupils who find communication a problem letting it all go and enjoying themselves. PROPER inclusive education.
Other highlights in the day included a short session in the sensory room with bloody Enya playing, and then the major achievement of helping one young lady stroke the adopted school cat. She was previously petrified.
The school day came to a close with Year 7 designing a healthy sandwich food . I was so inspired with the chicken, mushroom and jam and croissant that I made one for myself back at base.
A weird window cleaning accident almost brought my weekend to an early close before it had even started. Limbo dancing four floors up along South Lambeth Road is not worth the vanity of clean windows.
Another floor man came round to give us a quote. I'm pretty hopeless at this. I just smile and offer to make them cups of tea.
And that was pretty much Friday.
An incredibly early start to Thursday was rewarded with the most majestic riding of the No.35 bus - The Route of KINGS, Comrades.
I blagged the top deck front seat, and was then treated to a cheapo view of London looking rather lovely.
Observing the hordes of early morning City workers criss-crossing the capital was like watching a scene from some long-lost film celebrating a love of London.
I even clocked a City Girl, suited and booted and also wearing the proud pink 'n' blue of the Dulwich.
Fine effort, Madam.
We're an inclusive lot down in the ComFast Chapter. So what if you were walking away from Transpontonia and heading towards propping up the capitalist system?
...said the bloke on top of the No.35 bus as he made his way to work.
My legs gave me a cycle envy twitch as I saw the peloton stream down the Walworth Road. It's not a site that you would have seen even five years ago. Sadly the Brompton was back in the flat and so I was bus bound.
And so SE17 destination reached and it was time for work.
Or rather play.
It's been a long old half term in SE17. The arrival of that nice Mr Ofsted last week has taken its toll on the staff.
Smiles were never in short supply on Thursday though.
I spent a little extra time with the Reception children. They are preparing for a parent's assembly on the last day of term. I was impressed with their singing and passion for shapes. Who knew that a dodecahedron could make such a playful rhyming word in a song for five year-olds?
The school itself had a most delightful aroma of cakes being baked throughout the day. A cake sale as taking place at chucking out time.
We're talking PROPER cakes here. No poncey cupcakes; fairy cakes, chocolate cake and some rather worried looking gingerbread men.
I walked back from SE17 to Sunny Stockwell later in the afternoon. I made a mental note of how this patch has changed so little in the past decade or so.
A few brutal new builds have appeared along Camberwell New Road, but that's about it.
A brief rendez vous with Wifey back in the flat, and then I attempted to put on my best poker face when receiving quotes for a new wooden floor and window shutters.
Sadly I'm no gambling man.
Work publishing occupied Thursday evening.
Plus an ACE Sunny Stockwell Lidl shop.
Another three in a bed and the little one said sort of morning swim.
It was all going... swimmingly, until two became three. I stood / swam my ground. I was polite, but I'm not one to be bullied out of the water.
Still came out buzzing off me tits though.
The Battle of the Builders was the soundtrack once again for the working morning. Builder 1 raised the stakes with a burst of the Pop Master Quiz on Radio 2. Builder 2 responded with some left of centre 6Music.
I trumped them both with Late Junction.
There is only so much of the Nu-Polish Folk Revival scene that one man can take.
Mid-morning was spent with the welcome visit from a hyperlocal politician.
Well I never.
I rather enjoyed our catch up. I had no idea about the 'slight disagreements' that seem to be preventing any substantial progress of late.
Plus I did enjoy the observation that my mp3 recorder is now serving the purpose as a 'substitute blogger' at localgov meets.
Never underestimate the power of putting EVERYTHING on the record, verbatim.
Play fairly, Comrades.
I worked the entire day on the settee. That's not as relaxing as it might first sound.
Builder 1 and Builder 2 have been banging around EVERYWHERE else all day. They're doing a fine job btw.
I was left stranded on the sofa, dealing with yet more browser woes.
I re-launched The Chronic Pt II later in the day. No particular reason - the modern interweb is there, the
South London Sunny Colch punk rock DIY culture said just chuffing do it.
I still haven’t resolved the whole time / location shifting thing. I’m flitting and flirting between Sunny Stockwell and Sunny Colch with no regular pattern.
But I do feel that there is a space for some form of hyperlocal presence back in Sunny Colch. It will be scaled down, minimal - some may even call it agile.
I simply haven’t got time whenever I am back in the estuary wilds to commit to the same level of content that I was spunking out for The Chronic previously.
It will probably just be hyperlocal political stuff - and even then maybe just blog posts about Cabinet, Planning, Full Council etc.
I plan to tweet my arse off at localgov meets, and then bash out a brief blog post on the train journey back home.
It’s better than nothing.
With another round of BONKERS ‘election by thirds’ coming up again May, not to mention the General Election, I do feel that there is a need for keeping track of CBC and related issues.
I make no promises.
Just like the politicians.
And then an evening spent at CBC Full Council.
That went well.
Buggering off to Transpontonia tomorrow, Comrades.
Perfect running weather to start off Tuesday.
Joining me for the plod was the wonderful Mtume and Juicy Fruit. Sometimes you have a song stuck in your head whilst pounding the mean streets of CO7. Other times and it's simply the bass loop that keeps on going round and round.
I doubt if the boys form the 2nd and 3rd Battalion of the Colchester Parachute Regiment had similar songs keeping them going whilst out running. I tried to keep up the pace with the proud purple T-shirts.
Not a chance.
Planning, chatting to Neil the very handy painter chap, and dashing in and out into the garden with wet washing took up most of the morning.
And then we had Dexy's with @RobertElms.
Yer man Kev was on top form. It's so fantastic to hear him sounding happy. Still at the top of his game as well.
I confess to having a bit of a She's Got a Wiggle work dance moment; the mad cat gave me a disgusting look.
A little deliberation followed mid-afternoon about the value in publishing the audio from a ahem recent localgov meet. It was decided not to. For now.
Firefox was an absolute fuck for the work shifts. Five browsers running separately (it's a work policy...) and each one requiring the painful process of updating before any widgets on the shop floor could be produced.
Much the same for an RSS feed that I am trying to generate. It should be such a simple (automated) process.
Seems that something is not quite right with one of my hosts.
I gave up on the football and spent the evening with Van Morrison instead.
Jack Straw on saxophone.
Well I never.
A wobbly ride to the pool first thing. I’ve got a spoke that is half in, half out on the road bike. It’s nowhere near critical, but the tight arse within refuses to spend any more money on a bicycle that is going to be replaced next season.
It always amazes me as to how important a single spoke is in holding the mechanics together.
I was crap at physics, but I can still appreciate the power of a single spoke.
Of more concern was the crapness of roads. I’ve clocked four broken glass stretches on the short sprint to the pool. I put it down to the Fresher’s season over at the University.
The swim itself was no-nonsense. Straight in, 40 lengths, straight out.
It felt good.
A light touch of a working day; well - light in terms of output, slightly stressful when it came to some rather severe company wide tech issues.
Protocols and Plan B. And even Plan C.
It was all covered.
I spent the early evening arseing around with some online responsive twaddle for something that I am hopeful of rolling out tomorrow. It's not exactly top secret to those that know me, but it may or may not happen.
And then an evening of trying to settle down and watch the football, but finding myself getting the house ready ahead of the internal work that is about to be carried out.
All of the external stuff should be finished tomorrow. Bye bye scaffolding, hello indoor dust sheets.
I took the opportunity to re-think my home entertainment system.
By that I mean I put in the shed an ancient analogue TV, along with a not so ancient analogue TV, and then upgraded the office digital TV to the bedroom.
I still won't watch it. I'm neither proud or ashamed to say that Eastenders on my iPad each evening is one of my daily highlights.
I do remember watching the 1989 FA Cup Final on analogue TV1. It still works. I've tried to find a taker for it, but these things are now impossible to even give away.
Of course I could go all rock 'n' roll, climb to the top of the scaffolding and throw it down from up above.
But I'm a lover, not a fighter.
Most of the time.
A run to start Sunday morning.
I was hopeful of a big bike ride, but the light rain suggested otherwise.
I feel like I've got one big ride left in my legs ahead of the winter season. I may just make it into town on the Brompton before the weather really turns.
The run was alright. It's amazing to think that ten years ago my days as a runner were apparently over. One seriously knackered knee, and then the onset of arthritis in the other knee year three years ago.
This was the turning point.
Madam Physio put me under an intensive daily stretching routine, an activity which still eats into half of my day.
The outcome though is that both knees seem to be miraculously back in working order.
I've picked up an Eastenders iPlayer habit along the way. You try getting through half an hour of stretching in solitude.
I spent the rest of the early morning setting up Yosemite on my iMac and MacBook Air. The download and installation were both smooth. The front end experience looked a little like... XP.
I'm sure that there are under the bonnet benefits.
Anna and I harvested the crop of chilis mid-morning. Half have ripened, half remain green.
We're quite pleased with the load, although the taste may be a little too strong for my liking.
I worked in total silence for the rest of the day. It was glorious.
The sun shone through into the office. My mind was completely focussed. The only regret was that I didn't get out to enjoy the fag end of these Golden Days.
In Small Online Success Steps News: I finally managed to resolve the @ifttt bug that was sending out two tweets whenever I take a lovely lido pic for m'tumblr blog: I had two @ifttt accounts.
I completed a TfL Vauxhall Station questionnaire later in the day. At least I tried to complete a TfL Vauxhall Station questionnaire...
The options were limeited, the questions were closed.
Do you feel safe at Vauxhall?
What would you like to see as a replacement at the station?
Do you want to bulldoze an iconic structure just so that a false 'public realm' can be built that TfL / Lambeth Council can then fill with pop-up boutiques that will sell absolute shite?
You get the idea.
Sadly it's all a done deal.
I LOVE that building
And then later in the evening and the news broke that Jack's in Sunny Stockwell has been bought by Sainsbury.
Don't mourn, gentrify...
Saturday morning was spent with my head down the toilet bowl.
And when I say Saturday morning, I mean Saturday morning - 4:30am.
Sadly booze wasn’t involved. I blame the cheapo pate.
I tried to sleep from around 11pm onwards on Friday, but it just wasn’t happening. I gave up shortly around 3am, and fought off the forthcoming chunder with some coding.
ROCK ’N’ ROLL weekend, etc.
It was with a huge amount of emotional relief when the solids finally exited from within. My only thought was will all of this beastliness clear up in time for a Saturday morning bicycle ride?
But there was to be no bike ride. The bloody gip kept on rumbling all morning.
A brief trip to the Farmer’s Market was the alternative. It was an autumnal explosion of orange colour. Pumpkins and carrots were on the shopping list.
Luncheon was spent watching Forest away at Cardiff. It was the first time that I have seen the away kit this season.
It’s the classic Adidas white, three stripes down the arm and two badges on the crest.
I could have sworn I saw Run yer Bollocks Off Birtles doing the business up front.
And so three stripes on the shirt, two stars on the badge and no points in the bag.
We caught the train to Weeley mid-afternoon, and then had a hack of a cross-country walk over to Brightlingsea. The aim was to capture the glory of the autumnal hues on camera; the sub-text was to get rid of the gip belly.
A success on both fronts.
It was a weird walk. I plotted in the route on the Garmin, aiming to cover country paths rather than roads. We ended up walking straight across a farmer’s field, with the friendly face of the farmer waiting for us at the other end.
I was half expecting a shot gun up the arse.
We feigned innocence and general fuck wittery. We just about got away with it.
And then around the next corner in a ditch we came across the most enormous porn stash, so to speak.
It was every school boy’s fantasy from back in the day - a couple of bin bags stuffed full of some rather naughty bedtime reading.
We kept on walking towards Brightlingsea.
A bit of Nigel Watch early evening with Sheffield United away at Bradford on Sky.
Still LOVE that man.
One day, Comrades. One day.
And then we tried once again with the Lance Armstrong film without falling asleep.
A lane to myself for the morning swim. The sunlight bounced off the basin of the indoor pool, illuminating all the crap that has been allowed to build up.
Eyes left and the roly poly aqua aerobic ladies were giving it a pelvic thrust in the direction of my goggles.
I turned a blind eye and continued to observe the poolside crap.
A so so ride back to base. I’ve not been able to find my bicycling legs of late. I was on the road bike and was still weary of the slipping gears.
I gave it a little extra kick coming up Boundary Road. The cassette wheel remained unmoved.
Still want a new (ish) road bike, mind.
I passed the Pop Poet of this Parish along the final stretch. You will never see a more dignified late middle-aged aged man riding a bicycle.
I gave him a friendly CHAPEAU!
I think that the compliment was returned.
Cool as fuck, etc.
Little Stevie was the four-fer working soundtrack with yer man @RobertElms. I chuffing loved it and got far too emotional for 2:30 in the afternoon.
A skunking Funky Friday finished off the listening.
More work, more planning.
And then the pub.
A morning of balance.
Attempting an ambitious responsive design for a work project Vs arseing around in the back of a Unix box for @LloyDavis’ latest Tuttle offshoot.
Trust me on the responsive thing. I’ve been asked to investigate the possibilities for one school.
Online design trends always remind me of football grounds post-Taylor. My beloved Notts County built a brilliant mechano ground around 1992. A decade later and it was dated.
The window for online design acceptance is currently a month at best. The trick is for me to roll out a responsive design as per the request, but with a back door escape, should we need it.
Maybe the Unix box is the solution, eh Lloyd?
Still having a few issues in maintaining the index file, but I will persist…
The Richard Dawson Question continued with Late Junction. I personally adore his music, although I can appreciate why others are not so keen.
Yer man Dickie did sound as little distorted however through my tinny headphones against the backdrop of Radio 2 blasting out from Nice Mr Builder Chap all day.
Radio sodding 2 and me will never be friends. ‘New releases’ from Pink Floyd, Simple Minds and chuffing Freddie and MJ.
Instead I had @RobertElms and the Cover to Cover for the afternoon work shifts. I Believe When I Fall in Love, Little Stevie Vs Art Garfunkel.
Oh go away.
The referee should have stopped the fight before Garfunkel even got the chance to warble away.
But wait! What’s this?
Bloody Art won it.
Day shift woes: youtube has changed the back end. Again.
I swear Google does this just to keep an army of self-styled social media experts in gainful employment to help explain the continued changes.
Work tools down, and there was just enough time left in the golden autumnal estuary afternoon to give the garden a half decent hack.
It’s sprouted to become a bloody mess in the past couple of weeks. Usually we are very good and keeping on top of all the growth. Anna is the planter, I am the puller.
Takes two to tango, etc.
I poisoned the stump of the spiky tree that was chopped down two autumns ago. The cheeky little bugger had began to grow once again.
The big daisy things have bloomed for the last time this year. In the garden refuse bin they go.
And then I pulled up the roots of another spiky tree that was also felled two autumns past. The stump was removed at the time. It’s still bloody breeding from beyond the grave.
I crave for such personal fertility.
It’s a highly emotional task chopping down the garden of delights that didn’t quite get to show their full face this year. Joining the big daisy things in the sack was a couldn’t be arsed tomato plant (ta for coming, etc), a slug chomped rhubarb plant and enough rocket to stick up the arse of your least favourite person.
And then it was out of the great wide open, and back online.
I’ve been having some interesting discussions throughout the day about #localgov scraping. If ahem a certain org can’t be arsed to have any online presence then why not let the residents do it for them?
Gosh. That reads all very much like the Co-operative Council twaddle. It certainly wasn’t intended to come across that way.
But I do love the idea of a localgov site that been digitally disrupted. Put something online that scrapes the content from the official site. The clone will look beautiful and will be responsive.
Extra layers of content can be added to help residents be better informed in the absence of any desire from up above to actually talk with the Little People.
Just as my enthusiasm was starting to be alerted, bloody dropbox threw a wobbler.
This was a weird one.
I’ve got folder in my set up that contains nothing but gpx files. Dropbox has been fine in updating this across devices.
I couldn’t quite isolate what the exact issue was, but all of a sudden it wasn’t behaving.
Ditch the gpx dropbox folder.
I think some online types might call this an agile way of working.
I still haven’t totally given up on the BT landline fuck up. I’ve deduced that the ring trip is taking place outside of the property. BT say that if this is the case then I probably won’t have to spunk out for the engineer call out.
I think I’ll get the Unix box working first…
A frustrating day spent mainly talking to BT about why the landline isn’t working. I resolved this by giving up. It’s not often that I accept defeat on such issues, but when the bloody phone is only used about once a month anyway, then it’s time to let go.
Most of the morning was spent publishing content from SW9 and SE21. Plus a little planning about where we’re heading next over in SW9. I’ve got a few ideas for some some fairly major changes. Hopefully the school management team will approve.
Work shifts elsewhere, and then late in the afternoon and the call came through that the nice Mr Ofsted will be in SE17 over the next two days.
Sadly I won’t.
They’ll be fine…
I stuck with the SE17 locality and published my photos from the WWSI Walworth Road shoot with @richardgallon.
We pretty much walked from one end to the other together on Saturday. I still love the variation that two different photographers can produce.
Basketball on British Eurosport 2 (blimey) rounded off Wednesday. London Lions lost, but it was good to see the old boy Rod Brown showing that he is still a decent point guard.
The dampness that greeted me on Tuesday morning saw a second day of no poolside action. Sorry, but my road bike 'aint getting wet for the sake of a quick splash up and down the fast lane.
And so a run instead.
I think that I've found my ideal distance in the 8km-ish Wivenhoe Waddle. The 5km of the @bwparkrun really pushes me. It's so short that you get dragged into a sprint, rather than a run.
8km is great. My time splits were pretty constant for Tuesday. I even managed a short sprint finish towards the end.
I asked for clarification early morning from Essex County Council on the bodged FoI for the Wivenhoe Cycle Path. We have the data from the public consultation; it would be decent now to see the internal report that apparently led towards the £750k decision.
The wording of my FoI deliberately asked to see the report, and NOT the consultation data that I already have.
And whaddya know: ECC pings back the consulation data.
I'm not sure if they are being provocative or just plain stupid.
Hurrah for @SophiaLooney to do a little bit of internal digging for me. Every #localgov set up needs a Sophia.
Lambeth's loss, etc...
And then I found myself having my feet being pampered in a foot spa before an electric drill was taken to my big toenail.
Not your average Tuesday morning.
Swimmers and lovers will be all too aware of my Big Toe Problem.
Aplogies for having to put up with the gruesome sight all summer. It has now been rectified, thanks to a rather pleasant trip to a local chirpodist.
I took the opportunity of being in town to pick up Anna's road bike that has had a service. A carbon frame, no receipt, and the rather friendly bicycle shop chap let me just walk out with it.
It felt smooth as I wheeled it along back to the train. I'm in the market for a new (ish) road bike myself. My bank account suggests that carbon sadly isn't an option.
The Battle of the Builders continued back at base.
It's a friendly battle.
We've got two different chaps working on two different projects. Builder 1 is a 6Music man; Builder 2 is more of a Radio 2 fella.
I put on the headphones as I settled down for the workshifts and did the Late Junction thing.
I came up for air at around 10pm, watched a bit of Spandau on ITV+1 and then... bed.
A rare walk through the Sunny Stockwell Conservation Area to start the working week.
Except it wasn't that sunny.
RAIN meant that this was a public transport day, rather than a Brompton Boy About Town day. Cycling in London in the bloody rain is thoroughly miserable.
My end destination was Somewhere in SE21, via the No. 3 bus. A quick cut through Groveway and I was within touching distance of Brixton Road and my bus rendez vous.
Despite living right on the doorstep of the conservation area, I very rarely venture into it.
The foggy Transpontine memory recalls Anna and I going to look at a flat there sometime around the turn of the Century - a phrase that always sounds preposterous whenever I type it.
It wasn't an an out of reach price back in '99 for a couple on a modest London income. It contained a private swimming pool.
The flat was incredibly pokey. We would have split up within the first month.
I did ponder this morning as to how much the flat now gets flogged on for.
Brixton was WET and so was the lido, natch, as the No. 3 went past.
Oh how I missed my morning dip on Monday.
The day was otherwise another blink and you'll miss it ACE school day. It started off with Jingle Bell Rock ('cos you can never begin your Christmas concert rehearsal too early...) and ended with a game of musical statues.
Some semi-serious maths work was somewhere in the middle.
I had an arsey journey on a Thameslink train later in the evening. I love the stretch that takes you through Loughborough Junction, the Elephant and then towards Blackfriars.
But the train bloody broke down just outside of Blackfriars. I could have lived with this if it were the more Transpontine window spotting friendly patch by all of the Elephant regeneration twaddle.
Cycling and DARTS were my TV relaxation friends for Monday evening.
I arrived chilled at the lido for my Sunday morning swim. Not a good start.
The hit and miss temperature board stated 14.8 degrees. This is significant for any winter swimmer. We have dipped below the magical 15 degrees. The following five months or so means two swimming hats, and then hope for the best.
I swam with @iciclepete. He does have an incredibly gracious breast stroke motion.
I put my head down for the crawl and splashed around like a bloody maniac to keep the cold away.
Twenty lengths later and it was time for some map exchanges with @oneeyedgrey. Yer man did rather well on the Pimlico charity shop circuit yesterday. He returned to Transpontonia with tales of Saville Row suits for under £100.
We plotted poolside specifically where I should be cycling off to. Somehow it didn't feel right setting off to buy a new whistle whilst wearing a pair of retro cycling tights.
But cycle off to Pimlico I did, arriving just before 11am.
Most of the charity shops had a midday opening.
No worries. I walked towards Victoria, and then back slightly off the poncey Pimlico beaten track and around the estates.
I have always been fascinated with this part of town. It makes the millionaires meets council estates of Sunny Stockwell seem like a slight mis-match on the economic barometer.
Pimlico does filthy rich rather well. This was why I was doing the charity shop circuit in SW1 and not along the Walworth Road.
Pockets of poverty can also still be seen around the edges of Pimlico.
Sadly no Saville Row suits could be seen, or even a designer winter coat which was also on my shopping list.
I cycled back down to Clap'ham and did a brief tour of the charity shop circuit of SW4. It was interesting to see how the prices dropped, and so did the quality.
Clap'ham: the poor man's Pimlico.
Mid-afternoon was taken up with some therapeutic gardening.
It was supposed to take half an hour. Two hours later and I was just about done.
Sunny Stockwell gardening isn't helped by the hinderance of working the good of the SW8 land on a slope. You are either reaching up from the bowels of the basement flat, or bending down and showing half of South London your backside as you pull out the weeds.
I'm surprised no one tried to mount a bicycle in-between my bottom cheeks.
It was all very rewarding. I still have flashbacks to the Great Ivy Kill of October 2013.
I'm happy to work the toil of the land for a couple of hours each month to keep the bugger back.
The Lidl lavenders are looking lovely as well. Hopefully they should survive the next five months or so.
And then it was cleaning and housework all the way. The builders / window fitters / plasterers have finally finished in Sunny Stockwell. The Big Clean Up is now underway.
And I'm knackered.
I finished off Sunday recording a brief piece for the Forward the Hamlet podcast.
Early to bed. A school day over in SE21 tomorrow.
An early morning appointment with Pete the Greek, the demon barber of Brixton.
I say appointment - I simply strolled up at 8am, and then five minutes later and the deed was done.
Job's a good un, etc.
Billie Jean was playing in the background on some crappy Gold station. The number two on top, number one on the sides took less time than it took Micky J to tell us that any fatherhood claim against the kid is a load of pants.
Now That's What I Call a Haircut.
I was actually early for once for the Brockwell Park Run. I ponced around a little outside the lido, pretending to do some stretches and get in the zone.
Truth be told and all that I want to do is leg it around the park, and then bsee how far the pre-race diet of three cheapo Cornish pasties from Lidl can get me.
I shot my load.
The race was underway and somehow I was leading. For about 10 metres.
I never know where to position myself in the field of 200+ runners. You either get boxed in or overtaken by the real athletes.
Not a great time - 30 secs or so off a PB.
My reward was a dip in the waters of Lake Brockwell.
It was absolutely beautiful.
I delayed my dry dive entry by about five minutes for a poolside chat with my good friend @peterintheswim. He had just majestically managed 1km of the lido, with the temperature hovering around 15 degrees - breast stroke as well.
We both savoured the moment as the South London sun radiated down on us at the deep end. I commented that there was nowhere else in the world that I would rather be right now.
I sounded like a bloody Jesus Jones song.
Meant it, though.
My misty-eyed unashamed love for the lido got the better of me for my own entry. I was still slightly tearful as to how much this place can move me when I flopped into the water.
A gallery of Lido Cafe gawpers probably spat out their coffee, such was the comedy moment.
Not much time for a serious swim today. Mid-October remains my absolute FAVE time of the lido year.
Or is that mid-August?
Hey hoe. I tend to say the same thing each month.
The summer crowds have buggered off back to Brixton Rec, the water is clear from one end of the 55 yard pool to the other, and the temperature is just perfect.
Once we get below 15 degrees then the water needles start to penetrate any naked flesh. I have vowed for a winter season without a wetsuit over the coming months.
The lido locker room chat was as entertaining as ever. It's great to observe the difference in social behaviour against a pre or post lido swim crowd.
Those undressing ahead of a dip are deadly serious; the opposite is the happy clappy post-swimming crowd who are as high as a Brockwell Park kite.
A brief porridge stop back at base, and then I walked from Sunny Stockwell up to the Elephant. I could have cycled, I could have caught public transport. But I fancied a walk along a stretch of Transpontonia that is rapidly changing.
Waiting for me at the other end was @richardgallon. The Boy About Town knows his North / East and soon to be West London.
He is South London ignorant.
I was about to change all of that.
We had a pre-arranged Way We See It photo shoot down the Walworth Road. The real WWSI was mothballed many years ago now (gosh).
But we like to occasionally revive the spirt and meet up for some social snaps.
We walked from the Elephant end down to Camberwell, shooting away at whatever caught our eye. The decaying shop fronts and roofs were a prominent feature.
I politely mentioned to Richard that perhaps the East St market traders wouldn't take too kindly to a big f-off SLR being poked in their face. I think that we did rather well to only raise suspicion from one shop owner, and even then we were only snapping at her shop sign.
All of that finger pressing was hard work. Our reward was some pie 'n' mash from Arments. Rich went for the gravy option, and even upgraded 10p for the kidney to add to his steak pie. I pointed out that he had paid precisely 10p for the luxury of what was inside his pie.
It was a decent meal, all eaten with some useful exchanges of ideas for work solutions.
And then it was all aboard the pink 'n' blue bus as the cry went out for:
To Transpontine del Curva!
Truth be told and Dulwich were absolute bobbins against a very well organised Bognor side. An early second half goal for the away team was enough for them to take the three points.
It was more of a social catch up with @Darryl1974 and @clogsilk also coming along, plus a special surprise guest appearance from the always entertaining @oneeyedgrey. I didn't recognise my lido buddy with his clothes on.
I opted for the 37 bus home. It crawled through Herne Hill with the same haste that it did two decades ago.
A little more online twaddle for Saturday evening as I explored some of the ideas passed on by Rich earlier in the day.
I've got a passport to Pimlico for tomorrow, Comrades...
6am and the first lido feeling of the season when you wake up and think: Mmm. What the chuffers am I doing?
As ever, the effort is all in the preparation. Once you arrive at the lovely lido then you have overcome the major hurdle.
YOU WILL SWIM.
And swim I did, in what was a very refreshing 15 degrees.
I had a slight panic for the first two lengths. I tried to catch my breath as the thickening water (seriously) took ahold of my body.
Plus I reluctantly became involved in a semi-serious pace keeping session with a fellow Icicle.
My heart rate soon calmed down. Twenty lengths later and I was grinning insanely. Still smiling now.
And then I was SW9 bound for a school day. Sending you off to school with the lido shivers has to be the best start to any working day. Bollocks to all of this Ready Brek glow nonsense.
@mutley69 did warn me back at the lido about the dangers of wearing braces for a school day.
"They'll hang you from them"
...was his wise words of wisdom.
"Sir, is it that you is wearing braces?"
...came the line of enquiry.
Of which there was really only one answer.
The clothing at least complimented some of the song choices for the lovely morning assembly. We'll Meet Again matched my style. Sadly not so for The O'Jays and Love Train which came up next.
I was introduced during the morning to the school cat. Ownership is not an issue - it never is with cats.
The handsome young chap has started to visit the school over the past few weeks and has been claiming pockets of extra territory each time.
I think that he quite enjoyed morning humanities.
And so did I.
I spent a little longer than I normally would in a science lesson. Actually I spent longer in a science lesson that I ever have during my time as a pupil back in the day.
I guess we're all still learning...
I finished Friday by making a fruit salad with some fun loving Year 7 pupils.
The idea of a double dip back at Lake Brockwell was floated. The summer season is still upon us - the lido doesn't revert to a winter timetable until the end of the month.
The South London sun was glorious late afternoon, but I was simply knakckered after putting in the lengths earlier.
I'll regret such a decision in a few weeks time.
Friday evening was spent back in the flat, mainly image editing and uploading video. I've pushed my iPhone to the max over the past couple of days and storage is becoming something of an issue.
A completely offline day awaits for Saturday.
There's talk of a pre-match meal of pie 'n' mash
A delightful start to the day with some conversation and podcast catching up. The eight minutes of the commute with @MatthewLinley is always time well spent. I think that we both know that time is limited - both in terms of travel and the wider picture of... life.
So much to cram in, not enough time.
This morning we managed to hold in-depth discussions on educational attainment, scaffolding and why KP is such an arse.
And then it was podcast catch up time.
I simply love the idea that MY South London is delivered to me every week via a selection of ever increasingly professional podcasts.
Daniel Ruiz Tizon is perfection personified. He also just happens to tread in the exact same Sunny Stockwell footsteps as myself. Hearing him Tell It Like It Is around SW8 each week is always a delight.
I particularly liked the reference to the Urinating Dwarf of Stockwell.
Forward the Hamlet would have been unthinkable even two years ago. A fortnightly podcast dedicated to Dulwich Hamlet. It's the type of recording that has an almost fireside listening feel.
The big boys of the Premier League can only dream of producing something that connects the club with the community.
And then finally a short burst of @SLHC to complete the commute, another production from the Hold Fast Network.
I do love the niche that you can discover with podcasts. For some unknown reason the medium is incredibly strong around Transpontonia right now.
The final stretch of the commute was a weird cycle down the Walworth Road. Yep - even weirder than usual.
The final foundations of the Heygate are hanging on as a final reminder as to the strength of this still proud community. I like to think that Lend Lease will have the same structural problems in removing them that also inflicts the utter failure to remove the red coat of paint that still sits on the front door of John Smith House on the other side of the road.
The working day was somehow slightly rushed.
I did everything that I usually do, and all at the same pace as well.
I found that come late afternoon and I was way behind schedule.
I tried to delay my departure, but an appointment with a handy man over at the Oval couldn't be put off.
I cycled through sunshine, rain and then brilliant sunshine once again in the short journey from SE17 to SW8.
The fridge thing was a real fuck up.
Nothing to do with the incredibly handy handyman, but more my inability to actually buy the right replacement part.
The clock was counting down and time is money in the world of handy men on mopeds.
I cycled off around the Stockwell / Vauxhall / Oval Triangle of Intrigue in vague search of the correct part.
I had to accept defeat.
The handy handyman very kindly only charge me for half of his time.
Online catch ups, GIMP editing and a half-arsed interest in the England football match finished Thursday.
LIDO day tomorrow
Some random working music with Colour by Numbers - part of a continuing series in iTunes chucking up tracks that I haven’t heard for at least a couple of decades.
Woh. That voice.
Still stands up today (at least the recorded version from 1984 still stands up. Not so sure about the current vocal chords.)
I was lyric perfect for every song, singing along and confusing the mad cat.
Yes, darling. We had a life before you came along.
I use to wear make-up, y’know…
But not on Wednesday morning.
I’m not sure what happened to the day. It was lost in stop / start work patterns, WordPress experimentation and hanging out the washing.
Transpontonia tomorrow, Comrades.
A big Brixton Buzz story to start the day with the breaking up of Lambeth Living, the Arms Length Management Organisation. This genuinely surprised me. It is the reverse ferret of current council policy which is to pimp out public services to the private sector.
I turned it around in under ten minutes. No cut and paste effort, either.
Maybe I should treat all stories as breaking and apply the same urgency to bash them out.
Most of Tuesday was then spent either on work shifts or Wordpress template searching.
I’m still not entirely happen with my school sites.
Well, that’s not true.
I rather like the simplicity. I’m getting the impression that various clients don’t.
I could whack over a fancy responsive theme tomorrow and job’s a good ‘un.
But for how long?
Six months max before parallax slips slides off the modern interweb in the same way as sliders?
Maybe fargo.io is the solution…
I spent the early evening listening to the KP story play out on 5Live. It was fascinating listening.
The conclusion rolled out by many commentators today has been that no one has come out particularly well with this whole sorry saga this summer.
You can’t really disagree with that.
I’ve still got a soft spot for KP, even if he does owe Surrey a bloody good knock.
…assuming he ever get to bat for the ‘rrey again.
My brief Genesis flirtation abruptly came to an end late in the day. I dared to venture back beyond 1980.