Day 2 of the pretty much wall-to-wall of work shifts, dawn to dusk.
Not quite dawn, but 12 hours all the same.
No time for a swim, but I managed a bit of a run instead.
And then I settled down in the desk from the Raj / Colchester and pretty much got on with it.
I fell in love once again with the Cathal Smythe album early morning. It is such a London / summer album.
A brief break for a garden harvest haul was rewarded.
The strawberries are still offering up new delights each morning. But it is the raspberries that have now taken over as the Bran Flakes filler.
There was no sign of the baby hedgehogs, but also no sign of the slugs.
I don't think that these two observations are unrelated.
Other work / life balances for the morning included fanning down a very irritated mad cat.
I finally found a use for Anna's LibDem Welcome Pack.
Predictably @RobertElms opened with the Isleys and Summer Breeze.
My heart melted.
I went outside mid-afternoon to hang some washing out.
Phew. Rock 'n' Roll etc.
I heard some rustling from the lavender section of the garden.
Count them: one, two, THREE baby hedgehogs
We knew about two of them, but not the third. They appear to be looking after each other, wandering around the undergrowth as a trio.
It really was quite beautiful.
Work continued, and so did the summer soundtrack.
On a hot afternoon, the last day of June etc, and this seemed appropriate.
I saw the sun rise as a man, YEAH.
The run of work shifts came to close at 10pm.
Only truly great - or simply silly - riders wear yellow.
I fell into the latter category on Monday morning as I cycled off to the pool wearing the maillot jaune.
I caught the interest of an army of seasonal little flies, all trying to pollinate my lycra.
I deposited them in the pool.
Something of a tense working day was then expected - which isn't normally the case.
We've taken on board a very short term hit and run project with a client. It lasts for three days, pretty much 24/7 with 15 staff members working at any given time.
I've signed up for a complete run of shifts over the next three days.
See ya Monday!
And Tuesday and Wednesday...
It actually wasn't that bad - a bit of a slow burner.
It did raise a smile though when I realised that I was working remotely on the project with a very close pal from the real world
The only distraction in the working day was a family of hedgehogs.
Anna discovered a nest over the weekend. We now have a couple of incredibly cute little spiky dudes living in the back garden.
The mad cat is keeping her distance.
Surrey cricket commentary also livened up the working day.
Not so the endless exchanges regarding a legal matter with the ever mysterious Brixton Green.
Which is about all that I can say right now...
The evening was spent gardening and catching up with Wimbledon.
A LOVELY time of the year.
An incredibly cranky King of Clap'ham Common run to start Sunday morning.
That bloody hurt.
The lovely lido wasn't open until 10:30am, with the Windrush Triathlon Club staging their annual race.
Time was tight for me, and so I had to swap the swim for a run.
I was still aching from the Brockwell Park Run of yesterday. Trying to touch my toes - and failing - wasn't a great start.
But I soon found my rhythm.
Clap'ham was incredibly quiet just after 7am.
A peloton of continual cyclists passed me in tandem from Sunny Stockwell all the way as far as Clap'ham Common South.
I've no idea what the event was. The London to Brighton bicycle ride was earlier in the month.
But Chapeau! all the same.
I picked up the pace slightly for the return journey past Clap'ham North.
I passed a wonderfully camp / butch Trannie, still looking magnificent in the make up from the night before, but walking bare footed and carry some high heels along the Clap'ham Road.
Fair pair, fella / Madam.
I had some BBuzz catching up from Saturday, and then I made the short walk down South Lambeth Road for another rendez vous with le Gai Pensionnaire.
People are starting to talk.
Le Gai Pensionnaire was keen to have another Surry Cricket experience.
Aren't we all?
I blagged him a seat in the Member's Pavilion and we spent a pleasurable day together, chatting, watching cricket and drinking tea.
BOOZE just didn't seem appropriate.
I bailed out at the tea interval, and then had a few more chores back in the flat.
And then a cycle across town, and a disgustingly filthy Greater Anglia train back to over there.
A loud OUCH as I delicately got out of bed this morning.
My knackered knee felt knackered.
This wasn't a good sign ahead of the Brockwell Park Run.
Likewise seeing Madam Pacemaker on the start line wasn't a good sign either.
I LOVE Madam Pacemaker. She has helped me through some hard winter runs.
But I never know whether to hug her or ignore her when I see her.
You can run, but you can't hide, etc.
I was booze free, but not at the peak of my fitness. I explained all of this to Madam Pacemaker. She insisted that we run together.
I did a half-decent job. I dragged her around the first circuit of the Park Run, and then let her push on to do her own thing.
I sagged slightly for the third quarter, but somehow managed a spring finish.
My official time of 22:55 was way off a PB.
And then the lovely lido.
Boy it was busy.
The water was choppy. It is just starting to lose that distinguished Brockwell blue. It's best not to think about the reasons as to why this is happening.
Twelve enjoyable lengths were ticked off.
This may be the final swim of the weekend. The Windrush Tri boys and girls have the pool tomorrow morning.
I cycled back through Brixton, did a bit of summer wardrobe shopping (oooh) and then had some bruncheon back in Sunny Stockwell.
A quick turnaround and I was Brixton bound once again.
This was a BUSY Brixton afternoon.
First up was the Reclaim Brixton People's Assembly.
If I'm being absolutely honest then it was poorly attended. Around 100 or so folk gathered briefly at Windrush Square to discuss gentrification issues and solutions.
What was clear was that there are many different interest groups, but one united aim.
Trying to achieve that aim however is something else entirely.
I then headed over to Somerleyton Road for the street party that wasn't a street party.
It was essentially a Council consultation, all taking place against the backdrop of a closed community space at No. 6.
The mysterious Brixton Green were nowhere to be seen.
I was in need of some spiritual uplifting and so I legged it up Brixton Road and towards The Oval.
It was Day 1 of the Championship match between the 'rrey and Gloucestershire.
It was also Day 1 of the Surrey Cricket Beer Festival.
I had to stay sober as I had theatre commitments later in the evening.
The 'rrey put on a half-decent batting display. It was absolutely beautiful in the South London sun.
I cycled on from The Oval over to The Globe.
King John was the entertainment for the evening. This was a play that I know absolutely nothing about. I still feel the same way some three hours later.
I did a little dance at the end.
That was a day.
A morning spent hissing cats out of the garden.
I hate doing this.
But my poor little mad cat is a runt and sadly isn't going to do very well in Cat Wars.
She slept through most of the hissing, but then came downstairs half awake / still half asleep.
Probably for the best.
My morning garden time was spent harvesting more strawberries and a couple of raspberries. They were GORGEOUS chopped up in my morning porridge.
A mad dash across town on the Brompton, and then I was safely back in Sunny Stockwell for some scheduled afternoon work shifts.
Funky Friday with @RobertElms had me shuffling around the office desk.
I did a brief Lidl run, and then spent the early evening at the lovely lido.
For such a sticky day it was relatively empty. I shared a lane with only two other swimmers.
I then cycled straight from Herne Hill up to Waterloo for the roll out of the midsummer Critical Mass.
The plan was to ride around for an hour or so. In the end I managed almost four hours of partying with Critical Mass
It was mainly a North London ride. I haven't been up to Holloway in years.
Park Run tomorrow morning.
An early start for some work training that was scheduled very late in the evening the night before.
And then just after the Bran Flakes had been eaten, the work training was cancelled as quick as it had been booked.
I made use of the unexpected time with more school work editing.
This took me through to luncheon, and then Cover to Cover with @Robert Elms.
For consideration today was Just Like a Woman - Bob Vs Nina.
The soul within said Nina EVERY TIME.
But Bob was being Bob at his best.
Worked pressed on, and then endless admin.
I'm tempted to give up on all of this end of the month data backing up. Most of it is automated now anyway. I have become rather obsessive over it.
Time to let go.
I welcomed Anna back from South London early evening.
Passing ships, etc.
And then t20 and BOOZE.
A very early morning awakening by a hungry cat.
I gave in and went downstairs to feed her.
She went straight back to bed.
I spent the unexpected waking hours editing and publishing school content.
Three consecutive days in three different schools and the backlog soon builds up.
One of my aims at the start of the new school year back in September was not to stress over the publishing, but to concentrate on the collection of content.
Not all of this needs to be used - just grab it whilst it is there, and then be selective.
But of course I have zero self-editing skills and just tend to publish the whole bloody lot.
I'll have another re-think when we get to the end of the term.
Mid-morning was spent calling out some political bullshit.
I worked in silence once again for most of the day.
That was until sometime around 2:30pm when I briefly put on @RobertElms. He played Long Hot Summer.
My heart melted
Works shifts stopped / started / and then stopped again throughout the afternoon and evening.
And then some work training to end the day, all delivered from the other side of the world, something which always amazes me.
Oh - and a few blockage issues on the garden watering front
An X-rated conversation with Harry the Barber to start off Tuesday morning.
I'm not quite sure how we got on to the topic of blow jobs at 9am, but Harry seemed as knowledgable on the subject as he is with blow drys.
A laboured swim then followed. It just wasn't happening for me this morning.
Forty lengths felt like a chore. Waking up at 5am probably didn't help.
A spot of garden tidying up, and then I settled down for a run of work shifts.
I worked in complete silence for most of the morning.
And then mid-afternoon I caught @RobertElms looking at the Young Ideals Jam exhibition at Somerset House.
Tickets already booked...
More work shifts, further garden 'prodding', and then the England t20 to end Tuesday.
Another early morning spent cloud busting.
To swim or not to swim?
By 6:30am and I thought bugger it. A King of Clap'ham Common run it was instead.
It never fails to surprise me as to how many weekday runners do the Common circuit. They all seem to go the wrong way as well - CLOCKWISE Comrades, every time.
The highlight of the run was a backwards running woman. It was most odd.
My time was pretty much 45 minutes bang on. It's been the same for the past couple of years.
A quick shower, and then I cycled off to SE21 for another school day.
The streets were dry around Herne Hill. I could have done the lovely lido swim after all.
A pretty manic work day followed.
The end game for the end of the summer term is always manic. There are so many activities and projects taking place that need to be completed.
Add in some significant building work and WOH.
That was my work day.
I still came out smiling.
Not so for the commute back to over there.
If heading back over there wasn't bad enough, then a buggered up train line didn't do much to sell the idea to me.
Should have stayed in South London.
An early morning of Brixton Buzz catching up.
As ever, the stories are there - finding the time to write them is the issue.
And then a Brockwell bruncheon.
Truth be told and I necked a bowl of cheapo Lidl Bran Flakes first back at base.
But I like the idea, if not the reality, of a lazy Sunday bruncheon by the blue waters of Lake Brockwell.
And so a swim instead.
I almost had a lane to myself, but was joined midway through by some feathery thing.
Duck? Goose? um, hen?
I'm no good at nature, but I did enjoy the company.
The extra swimming space gave me room to focus on my technique. This was a forceful swim. I found some extra pull on my stroke within the water.
A brief bit of lido sun bathing, and then I made the short cycle up the road to Herne Hill Velo.
Brixton Cycles was staging the annual Maddison meet.
It was absolutely ACE.
A lovely, lovely relaxing Sunday afternoon, with a mixture of rising young talent and some seasoned South London cyclists.
I snapped away for a Brixton Buzz piece, and pondered a return to the track for myself.
I don't trust myself to be honest when it comes to the safety.
As well as the Maddison sling shots, there was a race schedule covering many other disciplines.
The sprints were anything but with some extreme cat and mouse tactics taking place at le Velo banking.
Fun to watch, all the same.
Time was a little tight. I had chores and commitments back at base and so cycled to Sunny Stockwell mid-afternoon.
I never tire of banging on about how bloody beautiful my SW8 lavender garden looks.
But it does.
And then early evening I cycled back out to the lovely lido for the birthday party of le Gai Pensionnaire.
It was beautiful.
My favourite, favourite South London folk, some personal poetry and music for Monsieur Pensionnaire, and CAKE.
I cycled back to Sunny Stockwell on the Solstice evening thinking yeah: life.
An incredibly sad start to Saturday.
I left the flat on time, all set for the Brockwell Park Run.
Out of the corner of my eye I clocked that a beer box had been left outside the flat.
Nice, I thought. Someone has delivered me some BOOZE.
I then saw a postcard attached to the box. I didn't get past the first few words as I suddenly saw the tail poking out of one end of the box.
Inside was a dead cat
Time was counting down to the Park Run start. I was flustered. I didn't know what to do, except to run.
I cycled off to Brockwell, and then remembered very late last night the buzzer for the flat being pressed.
We never answer.
The note attached to the beer box was incredibly understanding. It explained how a black cab had hit the cat outside our flat at midnight.
"We were with the cat through until the end. It was a very peaceful death."
There was no name or contact number. I'm not sure if it was the cabbie or a passing Samaritan.
Either way I was left with someone else's dead cat. The thought of another person trying to track me down to tell me about my mad cat coming to a similar end was heartbreaking.
And so I pressed on with my run.
I actually had a very clear head, both physically and mentally.
No booze the night before, plus a deliberate decision to block the cat out.
Madam Pacemaker was on fine form. We both legged it around the first lap. The halfway split came back as 11:05. My PB stands at 22:09.
The race was on...
I managed BMX Hill with Madam Pacemaker, and thought yeah, this is it.
And then came Cressingham Hill.
This is never normally a problem for me. But I felt the yoghurt and the apple from an hour earlier start to rumble.
I limped around the final quarter of the circuit dispirited.
The cat was still there on my mind. I alerted Anna about it. She decided to leave the box outside for the morning, to see if anyone would come looking for the cat.
What a horrid, horrid thing to find
I tried to stick to my routine.
A ten length dash of Lake Brockwell, some brief Icicle conversation, and then we had an appointment with our painting and decorate fella for a quote.
But yeah. Needs to be done.
Meanwhile, the cat was still sitting not so pretty.
I phoned up the Stockwell vet, only to find that they weren't open until 2pm.
I pressed on with my day.
I caught the tube with Anna over to the City, as she was heading back to over there.
I got off at Bank and joined up with the Anti Austerity march.
It was bloody HUGE.
The Labour party leaflets being handed out raised a smile. The real fun to be had though was with the Class War.
Why march all the way to bloody Westminster when the real problem lies within the belly of the beast in the Square Mile?
I hung around for half an hour or so with the Red and Black bloc, and then walked over to Westminster, only really as it was en route back home.
I didn't hang around in Parliament Square. Too many bloody well-meaning speeches that I have heard once too often over the past three decades.
Where was the call for action?
Back over with Class War in the City.
I kept on walking, through the backstreets of Pimlico, and then I crossed the Old Father at Vauxhall.
It was now 3pm and... the vet was open.
How incredibly understanding the Stockwell vet was. The poor cat wasn't microchipped. We had no way of telling who was the owner.
The vet very kindly offered to to take the cat to the pet crematorium.
This seemed like the best thing to do.
I couldn't but help think though that somewhere in Sunny Stockwell, someone is putting out a bowl of pet food hoping that their friend will return.
A bit of photo editing of the Anti Austerity March, and then I cycled back off to Brixton.
I had arranged to meet ahem some folk about a possible Brixton Buzz story.
Well I never.
It started to piss it down once our business was done. I was on the right side of town for Pop Brixton.
I have deliberately decided to stay away until the hype dies down. The last thing it needs is some loud mouth blogger playing to the online gallery.
I got as far as the entrance though and...
I won't be returning.
I cycled back to Sunny Stockwell.
Saturday evening was spent editing school content, and thinking about dead cats
There was a bloody butterfly boy in the lido first thing on Friday morning.
I think that it's more of a case of envy, rather than the splashing about.
Either way, he was making waves.
PLENTY of waves.
I paddled on through with a respectable twelve lengths of crawl.
The water is just starting to turn. Twenty degrees, and a slight cloudiness as the sun tan lotion and other assorted 'gunk' that the summer season swimmers bring to the lido.
It really is best no to think about it.
A bit of Friday morning frolics in the changing rooms, and then I made the short cycle back to Sunny Stockwell for a school day in SW9.
The achievements of some of the students in the London Youth Games are absolutely great. GOLD medals - the best in London.
Students who are sometimes shy stepped forward and asked me to record them talking about their achievements.
Another trouser compliment followed from another senior teacher.
Blimey - they were £4.99 from the charity shop.
A quick catch up with Anna back in the Sunny Stockwell flat, some garden watering, and then we both buggered off to The Oval for the t20 twaddle.
Surrey were set a steep run chase against Kent.
The inevitable late order collapse kicked in, just as the entire OCS stand appeared to fall over from booze.
I remained dry yet again.
I've got the Brockwell Park Run early tomorrow morning. All of this talk of PB's is just bollocks, but... y'know.
I found out later in the evening that my Vice piece on the Cult of the Derny Rider has been published.
I'm rather pleaded with the way that it looks.
A second consecutive night in bed with my wife in London ended Friday.
What the hell happened here?
Communism and Comrades were on the agenda in Year 5 this morning.
Relax - Animal Farm was on the KS2 reading list.
Job's a good 'un, etc.
I had my own little run in with the class struggle as I took on the Senior Management Team.
The area for conflict?
The use of bloody comic sans font for a very important school policy.
More positive were the rehearsals for the Year 6 school play. They are still just under a month until showtime. I was genuinely blown away by the energy and enthusiasm.
Come kicking out time and I foolishly signed up for the latest fitness thing that the younger members of staff are now raving about.
Insanity is no more - it's now all about Ripped.
It involved an awful lot of shadow boxing.
I was out-boxed at every turn.
I cycled off to the lovely lido early evening for a come down swim.
It was absolutely GLORIOUS.
This is our South London public back garden, albeit one with an outdoor Olympic sized swimming pool placed in one corner.
The Lake Brockwell sun trap was set once again.
How does that happen? Those four art deco walls always seem to radiate the South London sun.
I took my place on the new decking.
Twelve lazy lengths of swimming followed.
I then fired up Our Favourite Shop (again) on the iPod, and fell asleep with within record time.
And then a cycle back to Sunny Stockwell.
I'm about to spend only the second night with my wife in five years.
Had you there, girls
A singing West Ham Wanker in the showers to start off Wednesday morning.
One of the many tales from Mr Wanker is that he was once a show singer in the West End.
Straight outta the London glittering theatres, straight into a shower in Sunny Colchester.
I put my earplugs in as I continued to shampoo the short and curlies.
And then the familiar recent weekday routine followed.
Water the lawn, bed down for work, Late Junction, bits of cricket and being disturbed every five minutes by the mad cat.
Luncheon was taken with PMQ's.
It was surprising how well behaved it all was without the big knobs at the despatch box.
A nodding Will Quince MP has now become a Wednesday lunchtime regular.
And then a run of afternoon work shifts, some gardening, the twaddle of the Labour Leadership debate, and then the delight of the ODI.
Disappearing to South London for a week tomorrow.
Another early morning run out with the Parachute Regiment.
I was cycling along the Trail, the boys in Purple were being put through their paces by the Drill Master.
And quite some pace it was as well.
I didn't like to mess with them. I pulled over, and politely wished them a good morning.
It was also a good morning in the pool.
West Ham Wanker is back from his two week cruise.
"You're looking good"
...I praised him, as we both took off our clothes together.
"I should do. I've had a thousand f-ing shits since I've been back."
Funny old fella.
It wasn't such fun however in the pool itself.
A threesome in the fast lane.
I was the sandwich filler, caught in-between a butterfly girl and a leg heavy free-stroke fella.
Some swims are better than others.
The garden was watered back at base, and then all dried out once again only half an hour later.
I treated myself to the first estuary wilds strawberries of the season for breakfast. They were bloody lovely with my Bran Flakes.
A bit of significant Brixton Buzz action, and then it was heads down for the working day ahead.
I worked in complete silence all day. I got LOADS done.
With the summer solstice approaching, evenings are made for cycling.
I headed out on the road bike shortly after 7pm, safe in the knowledge that the lights weren't needed. I had a good two hours of daylight remaining.
If only the legs had two hours of solid riding left within.
A very, very sluggish ride, but I got around safely.
Tuesday came to a close catching up with the final stage highlights from the Dauphine.
Early morning admin replaced the swim.
I have had a year from hell when it comes to utility companies. Each time I think the first utility issue is resolved, it then comes back to spit at me in the face.
The first al fresco working morning of the summer came close to becoming a reality.
The estuary wilds sun was shining down, albeit interspersed with a few cloud breaks.
Glorious in the full rays, slightly chilly under cover.
I was booted to the upstairs office instead whilst Anna blagged the Desk from the Raj / Colchester.
Monday just morphed into work and general catching up.
The highlight was seeing an absolutely huge hedgehog slowly walk across my freshly mowed garden lawn.
Please do stay, fella. You can do Slug Watch for me each night if you like.
I disappeared down to the Bike Kitchen for almost three hours early evening.
The MTB that I was going to liberate has been restored.
It was a bit of a fiddly job, but the Bike Kitchen folk were incredibly friendly and patient with my lack of mechanical skills.
A Bobby George Boner of a bicycle ride to start off a rather hungover Sunday morning.
Anna and I sped (sorta) past the Great Man's Ardleigh pile.
The flag wasn't flying, and so we don't think that yer man Bob was at home.
Anna then buggered off to play bloody golf, and so I went out for a solo canoe paddle.
It's the first time that I've gone alone. Maybe there's a lonely hearts club for paddlers with no partner?
I still feel slightly uneasy out on the water.
As ever, I completely misjudged the tide.
I was carried out almost to Alresford Creek, and then thought: bugger - I've got to somehow get back in now.
I nipped in behind a tandem canoe (the cheats!) and allowed them to guide me back to the old Sailing Club hard.
I thought that I saw an estuary wilds equivalent of Nessie on the way in.
It turned out to be a floating log.
Some energetic gardening prevented me from collapsing all afternoon with the hangover having never really cleared.
I watched a bit of the ODI, a bit of the England football.
And then METROKNOBBERS with @Darryl1974 - who I think was even more hungover than me.
And then DARTS / cycling on TV.
Up early on Saturday morning, awoken by the spectacular estuary wilds storms.
British Summer Time.
The planned roll out on the road bike was aborted.
And so a run instead.
I'm not sure where that idea came from. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
This was my first serious run [ha!] with the new pair of running shoes.
They didn't fall apart around my feet, which is something.
It was a steamy run.
It was also a joyful run seeing the little baby rabbits bounce around the perimeter of the University.
Yep - I've become a bloody hippy.
Back at base and the mad cat has been a little sheepish of late.
Baaa, meowww, etc.
The poor thing had a run in yesterday with a big bully of a boy cat from a few gardens away.
I think he wanted to get a little too friendly with her.
She spent most of the morning looking worryingly nervous and jumpy. It was a bit heartbreaking to be honest.
Luncheon was spent in the pool with Anna.
We swam parallel for 40 lengths. She pushed me to be honest. She was also the one who was out on the BOOZE the night before.
We cycled straight from the pool out towards Sunny Colch.
Jewellery was on the agenda - his, not hers.
And then an afternoon / evening of BOOZE with @oli and his birthday celebrations.
We caught the train back to base with the bikes, and then cycled from the station back home.
Anna wasn't finished in pushing me physically further still.
A sprint up the big hill and she declared:
"I had you there."
You've NEVER had me, darling.
A tired ride out to the pool, followed by a tired swim.
Some swims are better than others.
There's no such thing as a bad swim though.
I gently rolled in back to base and surveyed the garden ahead of the working day.
Gotta say it's looking beautiful.
This is the best that it has appeared in the five summers that we have been blessed by these estuary wilds golden rays.
I note however that the raspberry situation is soon to be upon us once again.
And so it begins.
Work was flip flopped between @RobertElms and the ODI back at The Oval.
Funky Friday was a treat - half an hour of Bob themed funk for the birthday boy Mr Elms.
Meanwhile over at The Oval and I was reminded as to why @surreycricket decided to pass on the option of sticking with Chris Jordan.
Ta for coming, etc.
Work was even less inspiring than the swim.
Some working days are better than others, etc.
We headed out to Sunny Colch early evening for the re-opening / re-branding of firstsite.
Gosh, it bloody well needed it.
We last went a couple of months ago one Saturday afternoon. The place was dying on its golden arse.
But firstsite can hopefully move forward.
Friday was all about catching up with the old 15 Queen Street crowd and some general Cultural Quarter silliness.
This scene is missed by many. But hopefully a new one can emerge out of the rebirth of firstsite.
An impromptu poppy photo shoot en route to the pool this morning.
I think that we have hit peak poppy season out in the estuary wilds. One of the fields looking down over the Colne Valley is alight with radiant red colours.
Back in the pool and it was another 50 length power swim. I'd forgotten how well the combination of a time trial the night before goes with an early morning swim.
Cover to Cover with @RobertElms was I Live on a Battlefield - Nick Lowe Vs Paul Carrack.
The depth of Nick Lowe's songwriting is quite astonishing. I Live on a Battlefield stands up there with his greats.
The GLORIOUS estuary wilds sun was to strong too resist late afternoon.
I downed tools, headed for the garden and put up the hammock.
I've been promising myself all week a start to finish playback of Our Favourite Shop - released 30 years ago this week.
The moment just felt right.
I made a milky cup of tea, stepped into the hammock and...
...fell asleep before the end of Homebreakers, the first track.
I awoke just under an hour later, slightly sun burnt.
Both have drawn a blank response.
t20 cricket / du dauphine / DARTS took up Thursday evening.
Plus some booze.
Some early morning Brixton Buzz catching up.
I've resolved to at least to try and bash out one blog post per day.
The news list is never ending. But there are some absolute crackers in there.
The challenge is to sort out the worthy, as well as making sure that they are written whilst they still hold some news value.
And then a swim.
Quite a swim as well.
FIFTY power lengths with a lane to myself.
Very happy with that.
I stopped off at the pharmacy on the way back to pick up some treatment for my little problems.
It was the same thing this time last year - a fungal nail infection.
Once again - apologies lido friends and lovers for having to put up with the bloody gruesome mess.
Last year the Colchester chiropodist ground it down.
And then it all grew back.
And so this year I've gone for the full acid treatment. I've been told to expect to see an improvement within the next 12 months.
Learn to live with it, lido friends and lovers.
A bit of PMQ catching up over luncheon, and yep - there he is. Looks like Will Quince has blagged that seat behind the PM for the duration.
I was stuck indoors all afternoon and early evening with the work shifts.
The estuary wilds golden rays just seemed right for some Stylistics.
Summer is here.
It was with a huge sense of satisfaction that I started the process to ditch the bloody dreadful first utility.
My contract comes to a close next month. I've still yet to be billed correctly after being with the supplier for almost a year.
I found out later in the afternoon that Private Eye has picked up on our Brixton Buzz Helen Hayes story.
The new MP for Dulwich and West Norwood was remarkably keen last month to tell us that THERE IS NO STORY here.
It's good to see that Private Eye agrees with the Brixton Buzz approach.
And then a Windy Midweek Wobbler to end the day.
I was turning the big ring at a steady pace, until a time trial boy drew level.
He had the full kit - space helmet, time trial bars.
Bollocks, I thought.
I let him press ahead.
But he wasn't getting free.
I tucked behind his back wheel for around 500m, and then thought bugger this.
I passed him and allowed him to catch my stream.
Except he couldn't keep up.
Ta for coming, etc.
I burned him off and returned back to base with an average speed of 28kmh over a 32km route.
A Tamla Tuesday of sorts to start off the day.
It's pretty much Motown by Numbers, but this TV album from 1986 was my first introduction to get on the good foot with some soul shufflin'.
I've got it on cassette still - CASSETTE.
Sadly no functional tape player in which to play it.
And so I put together a Spotify play list first thing.
I remember playing the tape most mornings to start the day when I first started college back in September '86, all the way through until the following summer.
I doubt if my obsessive musical listening habit will return for the next six months, but it's nice to have a familiar old friend back whenever I fancy a bit of an early morning bop.
The rest of the morning just drifted in work and admin.
Payments arrived, along with some bills.
One step up, two steps back etc.
The water metre is proving to be a bit of a STAR though.
We've saved £180 since it was fitted 12 months ago.
I haven't washed since, to be honest.
Meanwhile - In Brixton Rec Boiler News: Brixton Rec to get a new boiler.
You won't read this type of story ANYWHERE else.
Nope - YOU REALLY WON'T READ THIS TYPE OF STORY...
I did some catching up with @RobertElms early afternoon.
How absolutely delightful to hear Maxwell back with yer man.
I opened up iTunes a little later in the day.
What a bloody mess.
I thought that I had everything organised.
I started the slow process of organising tracks into albums, sourcing cover art and generally doing some cleaning up.
Work shifts / ODI cricket / school work concluded Tuesday.
Up just after sunlight (just) to see Anna off on the first train to South London.
I love this time of year.
Things to do, chores to carry out. The early bird etc can be a bit of a pain, but I'm much more productive as we enter mid-summer when compared to peak winter.
I cycled off to the pool, almost coming a cropper on the endless broken glass patches that currently line the route.
We're in the season of student celebrations for the end of year exams.
Which also mean broken bottles all over the roads.
I had an impromptu Wivenhoe Forum editorial meeting (HA) during the return leg back to base.
Most of the working day was spent in the company of @surreycricket.
Day 2 of the Championship match up at Leicestershire and the ball-by-ball commentary was gripping.
An afternoon discussing the merits of leg byes is how I roll right now.
It then came to my attention that it was 30 years ago today since this TV commercial first appeared.
It still sounds fresh; it looks even more relevant.
I fired up iTunes and played Our Favourite Shop from start to finish, singing along, word perfect for all 13 songs.
Probably the best album from Probably the Best Pop Group in the World.
Most of the remainder of Monday was spent with a Style Council spring in my step.
This was a band for the three seasons of spring, summer and the autumn.
Merton Mick and yer man always hibernated for the winter months.
I managed all five discs of The Complete Adventures of The Style Council.
Keep the Faith.
As ever, I had absolutely no idea where Anna was taking me.
I did recognise the run in though as we approached the lanes that had been freshly laid with gravel just over a month ago.
But to my surprise the gravel had bedded down, and they rode rather smoothly.
Elsewhere and EVERYTHING else around the estuary wilds just appears green.
Most of the ride was undertaken underneath a glorious green canopy of trees in full leaf.
The hippy nature shit thing continued for the rest of the morning. We both did a blitz of the front and back gardens, chopping and clearing up.
The back lawn had been transformed over the past month with Patch Magic.
I'm amazed each year as to how effective it is.
I headed out after luncheon for a brief swim.
The pool was absolutely empty, yet still the legend of West Ham Wanker took hold.
Even with yer man currently out of the country, the conversation in the changing rooms was all about... West Ham Wanker.
Late afternoon was spent collapsing in the hammock listening to the Surrey commentary away at Grace Road.
I dozed off just before the tea interval, and then awoke to find that the 'rrey had lost a further five wickets.
What happened there?
The rest of the evening was spent emptying and cleaning out the shed.
Live dangerously, etc.
We caught the end of Allez Wiggo's hour record.
"What time do you think he will do it in?
For some rather odd reason we caught up with the Marr Liz Kendall interview whilst eating our evening pasta.
Another cutting comment from Anna:
"If the Comrades are going to go with a right wing nut job, then why not choose the MP for Croydon North?"
Good point, well made etc.
We then played a bonkers game of seeing how many artist names we recognised from the Top 40 singles and album charts.
I predicted that I would have heard of five from the singles chart, and hopefully twenty from the album charts.
I was spot on for both counts.
I felt like a High Court Judge.
Booze free from the night before at The Oval and I awoke BUZZING for the Brockwell Park Run on Saturday morning.
I cycled off to the Beauty of Brockwell with time to spare. Usually I arrive at the bicycle racks by the lido just as the race is about to start.
I had time for a gentle stretch, some Lido Icicle catch ups, and then the rendez vous with Madam Pacemaker.
"I had half a bottle of red last night"
...she sheepishly declared.
I felt like sending her off on a pre-race circuit of the park for punishment.
We jostled our way to the front at the start, started off Strava and then legged it.
At least I did.
Madam Pacemaker was caught up in the pack.
I slowed down slightly. We were reunited at the foot of Cressingham Hill.
The rest of the race (oh, it's not a race) felt ACE.
I even managed to stick with Madam Pacemaker all the way up BMX Hill.
We had a fist pump moment to celebrate the achievement. I think that we both felt slightly silly.
And the final timing?
3 seconds off a bloody PB.
And then it was time for the race comedown with a purification in the waters of Lake Brockwell.
Boy - it was BUSY for 9:30am on a Saturday morning.
The rubber boys and girls are still doing their thing. The lazy lido sunbathers are also out in force as well.
Hey hoe - the lido is there to be used.
I found myself trapped behind a Bubble Boy. The ferocity in which he kicked his legs for the crawl created a blind spot for me.
I waited half a length at one point to put some distance between us, only then to be trapped by a Bubble Girl for the remainder of the swim.
I just don't get it.
My crawl technique is all about the top torso. The legs remain pretty stationary.
Still, there's no such thing as a bad swim.
I left Lake Brockwell GRINNING.
A few domestics back in Sunny Stockwell, and then it was time to head back over there.
It wasn't that bad.
Anna and I watched the t20 on Sky through the looking glass of some local pale ales.
And then we ventured out Quayside and straight into the post-Regatta booze fest crash site.
Back at base and the BOOZE followed with the folly of the European Cup Final.
ALWAYS the EUROPEAN CUP FINAL.
Two stars on the bade etc.