Time passes when you’re something-something. After Lockdown in November it’ll almost be time for April in Paris. But before then: Pigs in Blankets? Perhaps not…

Friday 4

The fire alarm sounds at 0830. Fortunately I had gone downstairs to check the post yesterday and seen the notice saying that there would be a test of the fire alarm system at 0830 on Friday 4th.

This does raise an interesting question about internal communications. In the workplace I’m a big fan of notices on doors. Yes, we can have the internal website, perhaps even Slack, Teams or WhatsApp messaging groups; but everyone has to walk through the fire doors between their desk and the toilets/front door so that’s the best place to stick any important notices.

How do we do that in a block of flats? The same way: but there are so many notices they often get ignored (in the same way that people ignore the fire alarms anyway); and if you don’t take the lift you don’t necessarily see them. And those notices always need updating. How about a screen on every floor, near the lifts (which you have to pass even if you don’t use them), centrally programmed with information? For this development you’d need 31 screens, which someone (owners) would have to pay for.

Printing A4 sheets out and sticking them in the lifts themselves is obviously the cheaper option here.

Thursday 10

I like to think I notice things, but a monolith has appeared outside my corner of the development.

It’s one of Leeds City Council’s direction-finding monoliths, which have been appearing along the river bank in recent times. It’s a bit oddly positioned, on one of the large, shallow steps down to the old quayside/pier (which then rises up on the flat again), but the point is that it will have had to be installed. I never heard a thing.

I can tell when TransPennine Express’s class 68s pass through Leeds Station, I can’t hear someone drilling into a paved area to fix a base in. Scary.

Wednesday 16

Left it later than normal, but the not-so little ones only want vouchers, so I bought Dan’s Amazon gift voucher this afternoon, for which I was offered Amazon Prime. Normally I refuse, but this now comes with Prime Video. And Amazon has this round of Premier League fixtures. It would be rude not to…

Then it transpires that plugging the iPad into my TV results in a picture with black bars top, bottom and at the sides. But only on the live football. And it works fine – meaning, full-screen – if I plug my laptop in instead.

Upshot: we beat Newcastle 5-2 and it effectively cost me nothing. Might give Star Trek: Picard a go as well. Cancellation date in the diary, either way.

Thursday 24

It had to happen: I was out and my mobile phone switched itself off.

In the ordinary way of things this isn’t a problem. However, I was freezing my bits off having made the trip to see my parents (Upper Wortley Cemetery), and I needed my phone to be on as that’s where the bus ticket home was stored.

The funny thing was that at no point did it occur to me that I had my debit card and emergency £10 note in my coat pockets. I’d paid for a ticket online and by gum! I was going to use it or walk home in a cold huff. A long, long walk home. I couldn’t even work out the walking rout in my head as I’d have to cross Armley Gyratory or one of the dual carriageways approaching and leaving it.

But then, as I stood at the bottom of the entrance to the cemetery, I tried to switch the phone on again, and lo! a Christmas miracle. I had 29% battery charge which, while rapidly declining, was enough to allow me to check when the next bus was (3 minutes), take a photo of the new-style bus stop flag (don’t ask) and activate my ticket home. Phew.

Sunday 27

It’s been raining, and raining, and raining. But overnight, so I’ve not been too bothered by it.

It does, however, remind me of the rain we had five years ago, when Kirkstall Road temporarily became Leeds’s second river and the water nearly overwhelmed the lift shafts at Leeds Station Southern Entrance, which I was due to help open a week or so later. This was back in the day when I used to do such things, of course.

These days we’re not even allowed to travel by train unless absolutely necessary; although, I suppose I could use the Southern Entrance for nostalgia purposes next week (next year!). Walk round to Granary Wharf, take the scarily-steep escalators up to the footbridge, sigh deeply, and come back down.

Wednesday 30

The month ends (nearly) as it began: with an internal miscommunication. Notices posted everywhere that for the three days in the middle of this week new heat detectors would be fitted in living rooms and landing areas. That makes about 50 flats per day, which sounds good.

Except: They never were coming in yesterday, so we in Block C spent the day at home for nothing (okay, there’s not much to go out for but that’s not the point).

Then it turns out the detectors were to be fitted to the living areas and bedrooms. I can’t remember the last time I helped generate enough heat in a bedroom to set off an alarm, but there you go.

What they need in 2021 is a really good, professionally-qualified stakeholder engagement person…