This week I headed across to Essex to visit my parents for a couple of days, allowing for trips back and forth across London.
On the way east it was, like last time, exciting to be back in London again. All the familiar roads and places, the new things, all the people – more varied and more interesting than here, sorry Hereford/Abergavenny. Very good. When the walking got too much – thanks to me stupidly wearing uncomfortable boots, plus a gammy knee – I picked up a hire bike to get to Liverpool Street and was reminded how much like a magical teleporter they are.
On the way back west I gave myself a few hours to enjoy London but didn’t actually make many plans. So with hurty feet and knee, and a surprisingly heavy backpack, and not wanting to spend much time indoors with potentially infectious people, I found it hard to kill several hours. Silly me.
I got some food to eat outside at Spitalfields Market, which remains a horrid premium mediocre makeover of its former more interesting self, not helped by the maskless crowds squeezing past each other. Ugh.
I went to Tate Modern but was put off by the half-term crowd funnelling towards the entrance, the virus, and the signs saying that timed tickets were needed (even though I think you could get one on your phone there and then). I have been spoiled by once being able to walk there for opening time and swanning around, members’ card in hand, free of crowds.
When I got to the National Gallery, with a tiny queue and no signs about tickets, I decided to give it a whirl. In the queue an attendant asked if I had a ticket. Er, no? That’s fine, he said, just get one from the desk inside. I went through the metal detector, up to the desk, asked for and received a printed-out ticket… and no one ever asked to see it. I guess I played my part in some essential bureaucratic system, ensuring employment for at least two people in these difficult times.
The gallery was a bit busy so I didn’t hang around for long, pausing only briefly in front of a couple of favourites. Then a cycle to and through Hyde Park and, running out of ideas, a walk north to kill 2½ hours at Paddington Station. I live and learn.
§ We’ve had three very nice guys round at various times over the past couple of weeks making improvements. One removing a cupboard around our boiler and tidying up the remaining holes. One replacing some wall lights with newer ones and 50W halogen downlights with 5W LED fixtures.
And one ventured into the loft, adding more insulation and beautifully boarding it over to make it a more useable space for storage. When we had trouble finding someone to do that I considered doing it myself and now realise what a terrible job I’d have done compared to someone who knows what they’re doing.
And, yes, we’ve done exactly what those Insulate Britain protestors want us to do: insulate our home better to feel warmer, save money, and help prevent global heating. What mugs we are! How could we fall for such extremist ideas?! Fools!
§ We have a wooden “apple rack” in which we store apples from the garden – a wooden frame of a cabinet into which wooden drawers slot, each with a slatted bottom to allow air to circulate.
We’re moving it from the house into the garage and so spent yesterday morning attempting to mouse-proof it. Some sheets of 6mm galvanized steel mesh, some tin snips, and a staple gun all proved very satisfying. The only vulnerable parts are the hard-to-fill gaps on the two sides of the door (which one of the handymen knocked up for us this week). We’ll see how it goes.
§ We started watching Paris Police 1900 this week but after three episodes we may leave it there. It looks great but we ended up too confused – there are a lot of dark-haired white men with interesting facial hair – and not especially gripped by any of the plots. Maybe there was just too much going on to feel involved in any of it.
§ I’m sure there were other things I planned to write about but 🤷🏼♂️