Monday 3

I do some strange things sometimes to fill my time, keep my mind occupied and learn new stuff. With some contributions from the contributors to Rail UK forums I finished the First Edition of my map of closed rail stations in Yorkshire. And since today would have been my mum’s 82nd birthday I decided to set today as the publication date.

That’s the whole of Yorkshire, including stations that are still open… around 770 of them. Not the easiest thing to do on a 13.3” laptop screen but there you go.

Obviously there will have been bits missed off, the odd spelling mistake here and there so I’ll wait a week or so before sharing it with you here (although since this gets published at the end of the month I’ve likely done it already).

Wednesday 12

Probably since the first few days of my email account, it has nothing in the Junk Mail folder. I’ve had almost 200 at various points the last few years; the notice than emails are deleted every 10 days as the notice says at the top of the folder not really one to believe. But here I am with zero spam.

Instead of which I get the automated phone calls telling me that I owe tax to HMRC, and if I don’t pay up I’ll be carted off to the clink. As if.

These calls come from mobile phone numbers which can’t easily be proactively blocked; in any case it might be a random call from a recruiter so I can’t ignore all mobile numbers. But you’d think there’d be a setting somewhere that allowed to me to block all mobile calls apart from one in a whitelist. Technically your whitelist could be your Contacts but that makes your Contacts list a little unstructured, if you’re adding random contacts just to whitelist a mobile number.

Monday 17

I didn’t run off to the nearest beer garden when the pubs opened, largely because I live in the middle of Leeds so what beers gardens there are are filled very quickly. But my regular drinking spot opened today, so I joined the rest of the regulars for a few hours. Two bottles of Rekorderlig (£5 each or two for £6.50) and a bit of food.

Know what? I didn’t miss it. I missed the people (including the ones I didn’t know that well) and it was convivial and social but… I’m something of a misanthrope. Hell is other people, even when it’s their round.

Saturday 22

The trouble with Eurovision… one of the many troubles with Eurovision… is that the BBC has built the event around Graham Norton and Ken Bruce’s commentaries. That means it is very, very BBC Radio 2. Our entry wouldn’t have been out of place in the daytime playlist. Sara Cox and Rylan Clark-Neal were lined up as presented. Our results were revealed by Amanda bloody Holden.

If we at least want to get off the bottom then we need a song that is musically sound (to get points from the technical juries) and popular (to get points from the countries). And we need to get it into the charts in other countries so that it’s already popular – that’s allowed, it’s one reason why Euphoria did well back in the day.

But that seems terribly un-British, so of course we won’t.

Thursday 27

Summer is icumen in1, which means a few changes on the river. The swans and their five cygnets have swanned off. The ducks and ducklings have… swanned off as well (you thought I was going to say “ducked off”, didn’t you?) so river traffic is reduced.

Instead I am visited by pigeons.

They fly up to the balconies, perch on the metal balustrade, turn round to face the river… and crap on my balcony. One of them has dropped down onto the balcony itself, then up onto the pots, pecking at some of the plants and making a mess. And crapping on the balcony. And banging into the glass panels when I thrash at it with a poster tube.

I’m going to get a water pistol and keep it near the balcony doors…

  1. The tune for that 13th-century song is the one the mice use in Bagpuss: “We will fix it, we will fix it…”. []