NY Eve - and it was a working one.
I've worked NY Eve in previous jobs - record shops, radio stations. Not quite the glamour for 2014 with me pitching up in the estuary office for a full on working day.
It wasn't quite as busy as Christmas Eve, but the modern interweb never stops. Total respect for m'colleagues who have signed up for the early shifts on NY Day.
I caught the final Late Junction of 2014 to keep me company during the morning. I go through various phases of selecting my fave LJ presenters.
Max Reinhardt is currently pushing all of the right buttons for me.
What is so great about LJ is that each presenter brings their own style and taste to the show, yet you always know that you are listening to a LJ broadcast.
The pace stepped up slightly for the afternoon with @RobertElms and his choice of tunes for 2014.
I increasingly feel like a High Court Judge asking "who are these Beatles that you speak of?" when caught trapped in conversations about modern music.
The whole Frozen thing would have completely passed me by if I didn't work in primary schools.
Most of my modern musical education now comes via Mr Elms. As ever, his tastes were spot on for 2014.
Late afternoon and we published the Brixton Buzz Review of 2014. It's a mammoth piece of bloggage, and one that I am rather proud of.
You can't condense the pace of change that has happened in our patch over the past 12 months into a neat and tidy blog post.
It was fascinating to see how the seemingly disparate stories such as the Ritzy Living Wage, Cressingham and Future Brixton are all inter-related.
The value of bashing out blog posts on a daily basis for a hyperlocal is that you get to capture the story at every change. Piecing this all together once a year is a valid exercise.
But yeah - it took a bloody age to write and publish.
Work came to a close for the year around 7pm. Anna and I lined up the film of choice for the evening, and then I toasted a "chin chin" as a cap of Night Nurse took me under for the evening.
Phew. Rock 'n' Roll etc.
Have a good one.
Some tricky work shifts with a new client.
I tend to stack up notes about notes about notes that refer to notes. I think that I just about got there.
I took a break to listen to Julian Temple talk with @RobertElms about The Clash film being screened on NY Day.
Temple is key to all of this - probably the best post-punk filmmaker around. I love his cut and paste technique, all pieced together with a genuine knowledge and love of his subject matter.
It's all about being in the right place at the right time.
I spent the early evening trying to put together the Brixton Buzz review of 2014. I thought that it would be a half hour job.
A combination of the pace of change in our hyperlocal patch and yep - the sheer quality and volume of content that we are creating made it something a little more substantial.
Housing, gentrification and communities fighting to be heard are pretty dominant themes. I hope to have it finished sometime tomorrow.
I tried to watch the the second half of D***y Vs Dirty Leeds. But I couldn't decide which team I disliked the most.
Another early to bed evening.
After a restless night of coughing and wheezing, the ideal recovery was... a return to the working week.
A full on day of work was scheduled. No time for a swim - no bad thing, given the bodily fluids that my nose and mouth are currently giving off.
And yeah - that was Monday.
I caught up with Gilles Peterson's All Winners, always a highlight of the year.
And then for some strange reason TSC Glasto '85 was forwarded on to me.
It would be a shame to not to listen, wouldn't it?
The segue from Long Hot Summer into Call Me was quite beautiful. Haven't heard that in a while.
I played around a little with the mad cat early evening. She was especially... mad.
The kill for the day was a leaf bought in from outside. Oh how we both enjoyed passing the endless hours away.
Half an eye on the Liverpool Vs Swansea match for the evening with a bit of blogging bollocks to sort out, and then very early to bed, trying to play catch up from the night before.
A cough and a limp and an early morning run.
Bad habits are hard to break.
My wheezing suggested that a run was unwise; my legs had other ideas.
It was actually a half decent plod. The coughing cleared up under the freezing estuary air.
I had a slight calf twinge for the return leg.
No worries - I'll run it off tomorrow.
Attention switched back up to the Fair City for most of the afternoon.
The TWO stars on the shirt of Forest were playing anything like ex-European Cup winners (ARF.)
I took out my frustration with some anarchic gardening. The first daffodils of the season were starting to shoot up, leaving me with some optimism following the football.
And then later in the afternoon I listened to the final hour of broadcasting from Radio Trent. Again.
The original station which was my first place of work died a horrid death many years ago. Corporate takeovers and the twaddle of commercial radio killed off the Castle Gate ethos and radio as we know it.
But the modern interweb is a wonderful thing.
radiotrent.co.uk was far from a tribute station. Many of the old jocks were back broadcasting. Even the jingle package had half a wink to the 301 glory days.
The modern interweb managed to kill the radio star though.
Despite decent listener figures, the ads simply couldn't afford to pay the royalty fees required for such high numbers.
It was fitting that the old bugger John Peters got have the final sign off - and with Golden Slumbers as well.
Another slightly emotional music moment for, which seem to be happening all too frequently of late.
I'm sure that Trent will be back in some form in the future.
But that's not really important. The memories of what made this such a genuinely unique place to work will always remain for everyone who passed through Castle Gate.
I took a hearty slurp of strongly brewed tea out of my Trent FM mug as Jon Jon hung up the mic.
Have a good one, etc.
I think that I made the right decision.
And then it was off to the Party of the Year.
A busy old morning in the gym. It was good to catch up with Mr Boom. Some of our best conversations are spent either on the train to LS or stark bollock naked as we do a bit of a rub down.
I managed forty lengths of a power swim, up and down in parallel with Anna. I'm not sure who was pushing who to be honest.
She kicked ahead at the end of each length with her showboating tumble turns. I caught up mid-length, only to fall behind come the fancy underwater turn around.
We set out on a hack after luncheon out towards Brightlingsea. We were already running / walking late with the estuary skies not looking too hopeful.
A charming conversation out by the Sailing Club with a couple of friends slowed us down slightly. My hit and miss photography also delayed the end destination.
We hit the cross-country route past Thorrington Tidal Mill. The final half hour or so was walked in complete darkness.
It was muddy. We were a couple of mucky pups.
A bit of a misunderstanding with the bloody awful Brightlingsea buses led to an abandonment of the BOOZE.
Back at base and it was an evening of strange catch ups: Forward the Hamlet on Pete Garland, the Culture Show's Damon Albarn piece and weirdly Hello Quo which I recorded around a year ago.
Even stranger was the film choice for the evening: Quadrophenia.
I haven't watched it in over a decade. It still amuses, but doesn't exactly thrill in the way that it once did.
Ace Face at the pool tomorrow morning.
Boxing Day - a time to burn off all the booze that was drunk the day before.
Either that or down more booze to try and create some sort of alcohol equilibrium.
I managed both.
The usual summer Wifey Weekend Roll Out route was on our radar. But I'll be buggered if I'm taking my road bike out around the estuary country lanes at this time of year.
I pumped up the MTB tyres to the max and wrapped up with four layers of lycra.
Anna opted for her hybrid. She got as far as 10m out of the front door before the first mechanical.
Her chain was misbehaving and decided to throw a wobbler and dismount.
Quit whilst you are ahead etc. Out came her MTB for a matching His 'n' Hers Boxing Day hack.
The ride was fine, despite my puncture anxiety. We really wanted a ride out on Christmas Day, but didn't fancy being stranded Gawd knows where with a flat.
I was surprised not to see many other Boxing Day riders. We probably encountered just under a dozen during the two hour ride.
We won't be breaking and PB's with the MTB timing. The 40km course averaged at just under 20kmh. I blame the extended toilet break and the time spent recovering after a female motorist honking her horn at my honker.
We stopped off at the pool on what is traditionally the busiest day of the year.
But it was half-empty.
Forty lengths, and then falling asleep in the sauna.
And then mid-afternoon and the tidal situation brought out the call of:
But Anna wasn't having any of it. The water and air temperature was bloody cold.
I was battling against both bruising skies and an outgoing tide. I counted three other canoe folk during the half hour paddle out towards Alresford.
The water was dirty and fast - the way that I like it. I actually broke sweat battling against the incoming tide whilst trying to get back to the sanctuary of the old hard.
Anna attempted to tackle her tax return early evening.
Bollocks to that.
I opened up a bottle of red and sat back for the Arsenal Vs QPR match.
Christmas Day started with a purring cat and closed with a snoring wife.
In-between and there was running, walking and drinking.
I managed a short Christmas morning run, despite still trying to shake off a cold.
I passed one other lone runner on the way out of Wivenhoe.
...I greeted him with.
He pulled a greenie into the hedgerow and carried on running.
The roads were icy at 8am with a light frost. You'd be hard pushed to call it a traditional Christmas morning, but the crispness and the estuary sunlight was there to be savoured.
A wash and brush up back at base, and then Anna and I headed off on a walk - in the exact same direction that I ran an hour earlier.
We had ambitious plans of Wivenhoe Wood, over to the University, a romantic walk by the Lakes and then back along the estuary.
It was all going so well until the ever-expanding University building project fenced us in.
Being stuck underneath the bloody podia on Christmas Day morning is not an experience that I would like to repeat.
The Student Union bar on Christmas Day became an option for about half a second.
We were guided out of the maze by bizarrely a BONKERS lone trumpeter who was sitting by the Lakes and blowing his own horn, so to speak.
I was too tired on the return home to even take my wellies off. It wasn't even midday.
A jazz pre-luncheon followed. Art Blakey and his Messengers passed away the Moanin' hour as I did a bit of photo publishing.
And then it was:
The Greyhound was ACE.
All of the pre and post effort at home was taken away with a six (SIX) course meal. The service was superb, the company was charming.
Who knew that Brussels can steal the show when mixed in with bacon?
Anna even managed to swipe half the cheese board in her handbag.
And then it was all about the NBA for the evening entertainment.
I still don't get why or how the Americans get to stage high profile NBA ball games on Christmas afternoon. But it's got to be better than the crap served up on the British channels.
Have a good one.
An early morning swim in more or less complete darkness.
I'm not sure if the lack of lighting at the pool was intentional. It was still dark outside, leading to an eerie aquatic experience.
The changing room post-swim was full of the joys of wife beating jokes.
Back at base and it was the busiest working day of the year for me. A run of shifts from 9am - 8pm.
The darkness from earlier in the day was replaced with natural illumination. I had to close the shutters in the office, such was the strength of the estuary sun early afternoon.
The smell of a turkey peaking a day too soon crept in from underneath the floorboards from the other side of the semi-detached.
@RobertElms marked the occasion as is traditional now.
I HATE tradition. Try something new.
The work shifts stretched on slightly longer than necessary. Too late to soak up any alcoholic festivities.
I'm sure there will be occasions to make up for this over the coming days.
I arrived at the gym to find an empty gym.
Half of the machines were out in the car park, waiting to be transported to the Great Big Gym in the Sky.
Thankfully my own Gym Bunny days are long gone.
I hoped that they still had some water left in the pool.
I was surprised to find it completely empty of people.
I limped along, only managing 30 lengths. A heavy chest and general seasonal lethargy got the better of me.
I managed to clear my Christmas cold with 15 minutes in the steam room.
The changing room was buzzing with HILARIOUS cracker jokes.
I speed dried down below and buggered off.
Work shifts followed mid-morning through to late afternoon. This is actually the busiest time of year for us. A full on working day awaits for tomorrow.
A slight emotional flutter with the Lover's Rock session with @RobertElms. This is happening all too frequently of late. No harm is shedding some musical tears of joy.
I managed an escape ahead of the evening shifts for a stroll down to the Quay.
I was on a mission, delivering an iPod first generation (FIRST GENERATION!) to a friend who has been hunting one down.
Much to my surprise, I fired up my old 2001 model, and woh - there it was.
Like vinyl never happened, Comrades.
A few village Christmas cards to deliver, a bit of pre-Christmas household admin, and then work shifts to finish the day.
Plus @richardgallon's ACE Xmas 2014 podcast.
Have a good one.
A trip to Nottingham.
Now turn around.
And that's it.
It wasn't quite so hit and run this morning. But the days of spending 9am - 5pm walking the mean streets of NG1 and being dazzled by the big city are long gone.
That was slightly depressing to be honest.
The bus fare of £5.10 for a return journey wasn't a good start. I almost felt obliged to bloody well enjoy myself.
I bolted off the Barton bone shaker just after Trent Bridge, and way before the Broad Marsh terminus.
The one thing that you can rely upon for entertainment value in the Fair City was within my sights.
Nope - not the City Ground (arf!) but the BRILLIANT Anchor Surplus supply store.
This remains the best army surplus store that I have had the pleasure of visiting. Everything on show is for sale. That includes the missile warhead sitting outing in the forecourt.
My spending power was equally focussed for Monday morning: a replacement for the ex-Police gloves that I managed to lose at Colchester Town Hall a couple of weeks ago.
And there they were, the exact same pair that I wanted, pristine, tight black leather.
They fitted like ...a glove.
Thank you, Sir.
I wandered up towards the city. I really couldn't be arsed with the Victoria Centre or Broad Marsh.
What's in it for me?
I spent an hour or so in Hockley. Much of this time was taken up umm-ing and ahh-ing over a bowler hat.
I LOVED it.
But I just haven't got the balls to carry it off.
I went in search of the public toilets in the Market Square, only to find that they have been replaced by a water feature.
Which I suppose is apt.
It all looked a little lively in The Bell. I was half-tempted, but not wanting to be half-cut for the return to the family home.
I walked past a few old work haunts - Virgin Megastore (now a bloody Poundland) and Radio Trent (now some sort of community 'hub.' URGH).
And then it was back down to Broad Marsh and all aboard the Barton fun bus back to Keyworth.
I just don't miss you.
The best cure for a City of Death hangover from the night before was of course to... run a half marathon back out in the direction of the badlands of Leicester.
Actually it wasn't that bad.
I have been planning running the old Keyworth epic route for a week or so. My arthritis is easing up after the dull as ditchwater daily stretching routine.
My reward was a BIG run.
I'm trying to think when I last did this run - probably around four years ago?
It felt good right from the off.
The back lanes of the South Notts Wolds were empty on Sunday morning, save for a rather rapid increase in cyclists.
Back in the day and it was all about the running shoes. Now it seems that it is all about the bike.
This is no bad thing.
A couple on a tandem road bike passed me heading out to Bradmore. A full on peloton effortlessly slipped past me on the run in to the Ling's Bar roundabout.
I wasn't really breaking sweat. It was bitterly cold out there early morning.
I've never actually measured my half-marathon route. I've called it that in name only.
I did suspect though that it might be a mile or short of the 13 required.
Passing along Melton Road towards Tollerton and I took the opportunity to swing off around the village where I grew up in.
It always seemed such a large place as a primary school kid.
I ran through it in five minutes flat on Sunday.
I went past the old family home, my school and other roadside places where I played football endlessly all year round.
Not much had changed.
The final distance back towards Keyworth was 19.4km - or 12.96 miles.
That will do for me.
My old Robin Hood Half Marathons use to clock in at just under one hour and 45 minutes - I've gained 15 minutes in 15 years or so.
My legs can live with that.
I felt incredibly fresh for the rest of the day. I suspect that I will need the aid of the banister when hobbling downstairs on Monday morning.
The rest of the day was occupied with family duties - seeing my Gran, a cousin of my Mum and her daughter, and then my sister and her three kids.
Another half marathon might have been easier.
Ha, bloody ha etc, disclaimer, disclaimer.
And then DARTS.
An early start on Saturday, transported away from the estuary wilds and back to the Fair City.
Family duties awaited at the other end of three train changes.
I arrived just in time to see Derby kick off at home to Norwich on TV.
I walked straight out of the family home and off to the local swimming pool.
This was a very different swimming experience on Saturday in what use to be very familiar surroundings.
I managed 50 lengths in the Keyworth Duck Pond, the pool that I first learned to swim in. I think I knew what I was doing.
The pool was so so - it was the showers and changing rooms that were wrong.
Fitting for a village swimming pool that I had to suffer the hideous village changing room experience.
Mixed showers, and so no short and curlies shampoo action.
And then a cubicle so small that you can't swing a decent pair of goggles in it.
The temperature in the 'village area' was hovering around 80 degrees. I felt like making my way back to the beauty of Brockwell ASAP.
I spent the afternoon publishing the content from SW9 collected on Friday.
I like to try and turn around school content as quickly as possible. But never underestimate the demands of life offline.
I was on a promise though in SW9, confirming that all of the ACE Christmas celebrations would be online by the end of the day.
Job's a good 'un.
A VERY good 'un.
favourite school, disclaimer, disclaimer...
I had just enough time to bash out what is hopefully the final Brixton Buzz piece on chuffing Lambeth Fireworks.
It's clear that the ticketed event is here to stay. The internal report that we ahem managed to gain access to shows that many improvements need to be made to win back the trust of residents.
And then late afternoon I found myself watching Forest against Dirty Leeds.
Give me a pint of Shipstones and it could have been 1988 all over again.
I wasn't foolish enough to actually attend the match. But a tea time TV kick off fitted in well with my Fair City theme for this weekend.
There was a similar retro feel for the evening entertainment. Back in the day it would have been an afternoon out at the City Ground, and then a mad drive in Johno's Love Waggon over the county border into the City of Death.
I found myself in L****er once again this evening to watch the mighty Diesel Park West, the only good thing to come out of the City of Death.
I usually prefer seeing DPW play in London. There's still a sense of extreme bitterness and antagonism for everything London. It brings out the best in the band.
But sadly their London trips are now less frequent. The safety of the home turf in the City of Death takes a slight edge off the band.
But it was an ACE night, back in the company of the crowd that I use to run with.
I managed to swipe a setlist at the end to add to the almost three figure [OUCH] collection of DPW set lists that I have picked up over the years.
Anyone ever tried running a half-marathon whilst still slightly tired and emotional from the night before?
I'm about to find out tomorrow morning.
The planned lovely lido dip was abandoned before it even had the chance to get going this morning.
Feeling a failure at 6:30am is never a good start to the working day.
But it was out of my hands.
As predicted by Mr BBC weather, the rain started at precisely 6:30 in Sunny Stockwell. My Brompton wasn't having any of this wet weather action.
No worries - a King of Clap'ham Common run instead.
It was pretty miserable out there: dark skies, drizzle and battle weary commuters walking down from Clap'ham North to Stockwell, just to try and blag a seat on the Victoria Line.
I chuffing LOVED the run.
It's the route that I've been doing in London for 17 years now. My pace may have slowed down, but my love of Clap'ham Common hasn't.
A quick shower down back at base, and then I made the short commute to Somewhere in SW9 for the final time in the autumn term.
This is officially the second best day in the school calendar. The final day before the summer break is BONKERS. The Christmas occasion is more celebratory.
It was appropriately Wear Your Own Clothes Day.
I strolled up wearing a pair of loafers, my Ben Sherman slacks and a Fred Perry.
"Is it that you is in fancy dress, Sir?"
...asked Boy Y.
We had a brave and very informative assembly by the Year 7's on the Brixton food bank, and then a morning of lessons.
Post-lunch and it was time for the school Christmas parties. I blitzed each class with photos, and then settled down for the final act of the autumn term with the Christmas Carol concert.
With some very special staff [FRIENDS] sadly moving on, it was quite an emotional occasion.
It was also joyous. The raffle was equally funny and uplifting.
Some half-decent prizes had been sourced for the kids. Seeing the look on the faces of pupils who come from the most challenging of backgrounds being invited to choose a raffle prize was humbling.
I left SW9 glowing.
A slight work frustration for Thursday.
A tech project that I had plenty of enthusiasm for has been met with a luke warm response by others.
Budgets are of course important. Plus not using tech for tech sake.
Where's the learning value?
I totally get that. I also admit that perhaps the learning value won't be found until the project is trialled.
We live in a working world where guarantees and safeguards are needed.
There is a definite shift though in using tech in the schools that I work in. It is an evolutionary rather than radical overhaul.
But it's getting there.
I'm finding that teaching staff now hand content over to me that they have put together whilst I am not around.
I love this shared collection of content creation.
"Careful, you'll put yourself out of a job"
...as the Deputy Head joked to me this afternoon.
I think he was joking, right?
A quick Sunny Stockwell LIDL shop followed straight from school, and then I pondered heading over to Lambeth Full Council.
On the agenda was the rubber-stamping of new Chief Exec @SeanHarriss.
But I opted instead for a bit of school publishing, half a bottle of red and Cafe Bleu from start to finish.
Bloody love that album, Comrades.
I admit to a slight spot of white soul boy foot shuffling around the Sunny Stockwell flat.
This became a blasting out of Life's a Riot, High Land Hard Rain and then the first Smith album - word perfect, every track.
Yep, that kinda evening.
Blame the booze.
It felt like the first day of spring as I cycled off to the pool on Wednesday morning.
We haven't even reached mid-winter yet.
Three layers was excessive. The pre-swim shower was certainly needed.
Only 40 lengths for this morning. I refuse to swim in a pool in a converted gas showroom that blasts out a bloddy techno version of Last Christmas first thing in the morning.
The optimism for emerging out of winter hibernation continued back at base. Breakfast shifted from the wintery Ready Brek back to Bran Flakes.
Detail in blogging is everything, Comrades.
The rest of the day went by in the blink of an eye.
Gardening / working / Gilles Peterson.
The days are getting shorter, and so are these diary entries.
A cricket breakfast to start Tuesday. With the arrival of the Surrey Members' magazine the day before, the first ball of the new season at The Oval can't be that far away.
I'm not sure who I am more pessimistic over for the months ahead - England or the 'rrey.
The swim was so so.
Only time for 40 lengths this morning ahead of work shifts. GLORIOUS sun shone through. The lovely lido awaits for the weekend...
I tried to stack up a story for The Chronic late afternoon. I just don't think that it will hold true.
I asked absolutely the WRONG question in an FoI.
@Darryl1974 meanwhile has been prepping up on in his data journalism skills. I definitely need to join him.
The Christmas shopping was completed in the evening. It took all of ten minutes.
A rather generous Amazon voucher dropped in the Inbox yesterday as part of a deal with a broadband deal for the flat.
I'm buggered if I'm going to drag my arse around the shops.
The tree 'aint up yet either.
Oh - and if you send me a Christmas card that contains glitter then it goes straight in the bin.
A unexpected start to the day with a chinwag with the Pop Genius of this Parish. Fine form, etc, him, not me.
It was something of a more painful experience at the pool. The bruising Butterfly Boy was doing his best to empty the short 20m stretch of water.
I managed to receive a hefty clout to my hand a couple of times.
I refused to give up my ground. The alternative would have been to join the roly poly aquatic ladies (who for some very strange reason were all wearing WEIRD matching gloves.)
I edited METROKNOBBERS early evening, and then listened to it from start to finish once it had been cleaned up.
It's the first time that I have actually given it a full listen. I rather liked what I heard.
Monday evening was a mixture of football, tea, chips and pasties.
A day of chores, a day of household achievements.
But that makes for dull reading.
Tell It Like It Is, etc.
I woke up with the urge to run. I use to feel this way pretty much every morning before arthritis set in.
Swimming is the new running, etc.
But I put on the running shoes to see where my knackered knee would take me. I followed the estuary and ended up in Alresford.
Well I never.
I made my way back to Wivenhoe, yet still had something left in the tank.
How about a trip down to the University?
I wasn't sure what the final distance would be. It felt like more than the eventual 16km to be honest. It has now given me ambitious plans to run the old route of the Fair City half marathon when I'm back in Nottingham next week.
And that's pretty much it for Sunday - unless you want some twaddle about window cleaning, housework, accounts etc.
Plus recording METROKNOBBERS with @Darryl1974 later in the evening. We focussed on the Carnegie UK report on hyperlocals that was published last week.
I just don't get the GIVE US THE DOSH angle.
This 'aint the day job, Comrades.
Sports Personality completed Sunday. Enjoyable, but I miss the cramp old studio setting with Peter Shilton taking golf shots etc.
Back in the pool tomorrow. I'll be aching.
A cricket breakfast to start Saturday. I didn't quite make the 4am start, but sipping hot cups of tea on a bitterly cold estuary weekend morning whilst watching cricket is ACE.
The warm feeling continued during the ride to the pool. What an absolutely GLORIOUS mid-winter estuary morning.
Frost and five layers of clothing aside, it really could have been mid-summer.
An empty pool awaited me.
There were a few issues with the fire alarm as I put the lengths in. I refused to shift.
I came close to entering what may or may not have been the swimming zone. I was highly focussed and cutting through the water, making it work for me, rather than the other way around.
And then out of nowhere, the arse of an elderly lady appeared right in front of my face.
She did't see me, I didn't see her.
It went very dark for a second or so. Now would have been a good time for further fire alarm fuck ups.
A few admin tasks back at base, and then I cycled off mid-afternoon to watch Wivenhoe Town.
It was bloody freezing but I chuffing loved it. Watching bad football is brilliant.
A 2-1 win for the home side.
I let rip with a Pavlovian response of "C'mon Dulwich!" a couple of times. I managed to compose myself, and even managed to celebrate the Wivenhoe winner.
Steady the buffers.
I warmed up back at home with the Arsenal Vs Newcastle match. It really was like watching a completely different sport. I think that I prefer the Wivenhoe bad football experience.
I spent the evening revisiting the Japan back catalogue. I'm contemplating growing my fringe once again for Christmas.
An aborted early morning swim for Friday. The bloody butterfly stroke is not exactly swimming etiquette in an already over-crowded pool.
I did try and persist with all the splashing about taking place. But then the blasting out of some TECHNO Merry Christmas / War is Over bollocks for the roly poly aquatic ladies did me in.
A short spot of mid-winter gardening back at base. I raked the lawn, noting that it is receding in thickness almost on par with my own hairline.
The lawn manages to grow back every summer though
It was a rare working day where the Transpontine / Estuary Wilds stars collide, aka Anna and I both working together from way out east.
I threatened to report her to the internal HR for unreasonable work behaviour.
But the mad cat wasn't interested in hearing my work woes.
Mid-morning and I listened once again to the ACE @CafeCalcio piece on Dulwich Hamlet. It pretty much nails it for me as to what is so special about the club.
I didn't pick up during the first playback on the surprise from the non-Dulwich supporting presenters as to what is happening down at Champion Hill.
For me football is happening. I see some incredibly funny scenes, but I don't view these as being extra-ordinary. They are just football.
It was only through hearing these commented upon by a non-Dulwich fan that I got to think that perhaps our DHFC experience is something very wonky away from any other form of football.
Actually I think my life in general is like that.
I like it that way.
I spent the early evening pinging back and forth a BBuzz piece. It's quite a biggie, it's quite sensitive.
I took the rare step for me in giving the subject matter the final sign off on the story. Remarkably few changes bounced back.
We're hopeful of publishing tomorrow, legal issues, blah blah blah.
And then I started to count down to Christmas. Which for me means Diesel Park West over in the City of Death.
It's a Christmas tradition to see L****er's finest every year back with the East Midlands crowd that I use to run around with.
The gig is next Saturday. I played Shakespeare Alabama from start to finish, and then once more for luck as it was so bloody good.
Brighton Vs Millwall and BOOZE came a poor second to complete the entertainment for the evening.
Up early and restless.
Or maybe that should be the mad cat was up early and restless?
Either way, it led to a 5:30am start.
I actually really enjoy early starts either mid-winter or mid-summer. The world outside is completely peaceful.
And then it was: To the pool!
I've had a run of ACE swims this week. Thursday was no different.
You would think that various factors would influence your internal body voice that decides if it is going to be a half-decent swimming day; food, booze, sex.
I've experimented with all three at various times this week, partly for recreation, partly for research.
The Good Swim / Bad Swim balance doesn't seem to have had any impact.
I had work shifts back at base for a client which I can't decide is my favourite or worst.
The workload and level of detail required varies as much as the random swims.
Thursday was good. I even had a smile on my face for most of the working day.
And then a full on Full Council over at @yourcolchester with @ColchChronic.
I was expecting an hour max pre-Christmas political knock-about. Almost four hours later I left the chamber.
Some fairly major decisions as well - the Great Sunny Colch TURN ON of streets lights, criticism for @firstsite and a useful debate about the NHS.
Plus possibly the most jaw-dropping comment that I have ever heard a Mayor make in public. An apology was later given. But still.
Will try and blog over at The Chronic in the morning.
A blue sky day, and a blue water swim.
I soaked up the sun during the short ride to the pool. The extra energy combined with the pasta the night before delivered a power swim.
Fifty lengths, and a lane to myself as well.
The racist spa has somehow become the sexist spa as well.
I felt incredibly ill at ease and departed.
The day was all set for work shifts and the ODI. But I missed the Sri Lanka innings, and then the bloody rain set in.
Gilles Peterson and the second half of his ACE Blue Note set kept me company throughout the rest of the working afternoon.
The mad cat managed to provide few work distractions for once. Which is just as well, seeing as though I've just put in a hefty Christmas order for cat food and litter crap.
Pay to play, darling. Pay to play.
I finished a perfectly functional Wednesday publishing the content from SE21 earlier in the week, with one eye on the Chelsea match.
A ride along a frozen trail en route to the pool to start Tuesday morning.
I've avoided the cross-country route of late. The puddles have been particularly messy for even my MTB.
But an overnight frost led to a hard trail with the added excitement of ice.
I almost came a cropper on some of the blind corners.
The pool itself was Meh.
TWENTY degrees warmer for the indoor experience when compared to the lovely lido back in Transpontonia over the past week.
I almost fainted.
Work shifts then dominated the day.
Plus PANTS & TING.
Yer man @RobertElms gave Uptown Top Ranking a spin. I turned the speakers up to max.
I spent the late afternoon and evening publishing content from both SW9 and SE21. It may be coming towards the end of the term, but it's one of the busiest periods in the school year.
I then gave some thoughts as to how we can work with @audioboom back in SE17. I was enthused after the meeting last Friday. I've only just round to being able to put together a possible plan.
A good start to the day with a Sunny Stockwell greeting with the very good @garethwyn70, and then a lido car park catch up with @oneeyegrey.
This all sounds slightly seedy. It was far from the case with a Transpontine frost covering the beauty of Brockwell Park.
Um, anyone fancy a lovely lido dip?
The official pool temperature recording was for 7.1 degrees. My man with a far superior thermometer wrist watch reckoned that we could take another degrees downwards off this.
I panicked during the first length and came very close to quitting. The absolute coldness of the water meant that I had to move, and move fast.
By the time I reached the other end of the 55 yard pool I was breathless. My heart was jumping and I feared a panic attack.
Pull yourself together, man.
I made the decision to slow things down for the second length. Come the third and I was cruising.
It's getting close to that time in the lido season when it is almost peak mid-winter swimming. The days are getting shorter and so is the time in the water.
Did we really use to swim 20 lengths+ each morning ahead of work?
Seven seems to be the going rate for the start of December. I was pleased with my ten.
The freshness of the water on my face felt joyous.
I lingered in the water for 30 seconds in the deep end, removed the goggles and the hat and simply took in the rising South London sun.
THIS is what it feels to be alive, then.
The Radio Bollocks piped music in the changing rooms was a minor inconvenience. The conversation was 'buoyant', as one would expect after half a dozen men have just collectively experienced the best legal high that one can have for a Monday morning.
I made the short bike ride to SE21, and then settled in for a day of thawing out and school work.
Anyone for toast?
I spent the early morning with some Food Tech learning, and then speech writing with a different class.
I'm trying a slightly different approach to the way that I work. I always feel slightly fake doing a hit and run as I try and take in as many classes as possible.
Ten minutes in a class and then See Ya!
I spent a full teaching session in each classroom on Monday. It meant that I didn't get to cover as much ground, but this was made up for in quality.
And so a run-around of a day, finished off with football and BOOZE back at base.
A Transpontine pace of life to start Sunday.
I wouldn't call the Transpotine Trek around Clap'ham Common and Larkhall Park pacey as such; but I still managed to out-pace a cycling chap heading up Clap'ham Road en route towards the Common.
He was an old fella on a bone-shaker, natch.
A wash and brush up back at Sunny Stockwell, and then the call went out for:
Or To the Northcote Road, to be precise.
If there's one way to look a right knobber then it's walking around Pram Springs in search of bloody Farrow and Ball paint.
It's been a fair few years since I last walked the mean streets of Nappy Valley. Even the charity shops were out of my price range.
I felt more at ease when back in SW8. Lidl was my luncheon destination.
I paused to catch a few snaps of the Sunny Stockwell Christmas tree. I know that the annual onionbagblog Stockwell Christmas tree post is well overdue.
Time and tide...
The plan was then to tackle the front garden of the flat before the Transpontine sun started to set. But it got a bit blustery out there and so I wimped out.
I had a working afternoon instead.
I LOVE creating content within various schools. The downside is the publishing catch up.
I spend most of my time signing in and our of various video and audio sharing platforms, trying to remember the bloody logins for each school.
Boy Y seems to crop up across all three schools.
I managed to bash out the Style Councillors piece from last night over there.
Still GRINNING to be honest.
So much so that I did an entire run of The Complete Adventures of the Style Council as I went about my work.
Feeling a little... tepid about the lovely lido first thing tomorrow.