London Life
2020-07-07 22:51:24 (UTC)

Felt like Laurel and Hardy

Wed 01/07/2020
Did some gardening at Barnsbury Gardens with Simon, Danny and Kat and a German blonde, Mali with whom I was able to discuss Frankfurt (where she’s from) and Nürnberg (where she went to college), as I’ve visited both. Simon took a good picture of me with a wheelbarrow yesterday, which I’m going to use as my profile. Afterwards I went to King’s Cross to join Abi, Paul, Katie and Lauren for a drink. I had to wait a while for the info about where they were, but eventually met them under an arch in Coal Drops Yard, where we were sheltered from the drizzle while having access to a take-away bar which did craft beer cans from Manchester, as well as Portakabin toilets. I just caught sweet Lizzie before she went, still working on scripts through the lockdown. Ben was also there for a short time. It was great to be out for a drink for the first time since 14th March.

Thur 02/07/2020
I was off work, as I was supposed to be going to Love Trails. I cycled down to LinkAge in Shadwell to deliver some food parcels for isolated people. It was a good ride, the usual route to Brick Lane, then just the other side of Whitechapel to an area I hadn’t visited before, though while I was delivering the food, I recognised the many huge council estates of Shadwell which I’d seen from the train, and the streets and post-industrial parks behind that, which were places I’ve run through when short-cutting a bend of the river in my longer runs, such as Garnet Street in Wapping. Last time I was here I thought this might be a new street named after Alf Garnett from the 70s comedy programme ‘Til Death Us Do Part’, who supposedly lived in Wapping, but now I think vice-versa, it was the character who was named after the street, especially as the spelling is slightly different, it looks like an old street, and the area would probably not want to celebrate such a character.

I met a couple of other people who were helping: Katrin from Greenwich who tended to talk over me, annoyingly, and Martin, an older bloke without much conversation, who also turned up at Hackney later. I’d got there early, so phoned Jack for a chat. He said it was pouring with rain at home, but there was no sign of it where I was, 8km away. It did arrive a few minutes later, but it was just after leaving the community centre, so we were able to shelter under the roof, as we’d got plenty of time. The first delivery was hard to find after I guessed the direction originally, then took the scenic route through a park. The second place I located easily, but the recipient wasn’t apparently at home, and I only got into the flats because a girl happened to be coming out. The third, typically, was back near where the first was, and I overshot the address before I’d started checking whether I’d got there. I pushed the wrong doorbell which caused some confusion.

I decided to go back along the river and try and find the best route up to the canal at Limehouse, which I can never quite get right when running. I still got a bit confused and it was almost a 10km ride back to the Arc where we were cleaning again. It was a good thing the community centre in Shadwell had given us a curry meal in a container, as I was hungry by then and I just nicely had time to eat it in a churchyard. Katrin was there again, also a chatty new girl Mel from Swiss Cottage, and a tall bloke called Mark. There was less stuff to move this time, and we did the job very quickly while I had some fun with Katrin.

In the evening I ran to Hackney in the drizzle, and when it got heavy I was fortunately just passing Dalston Junction station where I sheltered for ten minutes, arriving late but reasonably dry at the Wilton Community Hall, a task organised by Peter from Redbridge. Toyin arrived a bit later and as usual chatted most of the time, as well as a middle-aged lady. I chatted to Amy, who’s about my age - I think I’ve met her before - and a younger Irish girl (probably Kathy). We were ripping weeds out of a bed, which was easy and very satisfying as everything there was weeds, and we covered the area with woodchip afterwards.

I was meeting Jack at Hackney Downs, to go and get a mobility scooter for his mum. I had a bit of spare time, which I used to look for a park where I could relieve myself. We got a train to Turkey Street, the first my first use of public transport since 14th March – something I usually do every night and at weekends. We found our way through a park and along a stream to her house. She suggested we use a neighbouring station with a lift, rather than Turkey Street. However, when Jack was sitting on the scooter it seemed quite light.

This wasn’t the case at all; it was really hard to lift it up one step of the staircase. We had to take it up one step at a time, and then rest – it was exhausting, I was shattered by the time we got to the platform. It reminded me of Laurel and Hardy with their piano, but thankfully ours never rolled back down again. Jack couldn’t get it to work any more, although he’d ridden it to the station, but we managed to carry it onto the train. We got off at Hackney Downs as we thought it was a direct passage to our line, but we weren’t on the right platform so would have had to haul it down stairs and up again, which I was now too worn out to do. Instead we got back on a train into Liverpool Street.

Luckily Jack managed to get it working and he rode it a km or so to where we could get one bus all the way home. One bus mysteriously wouldn’t stop for us, then finally we caught one which lowered its electronic wheelchair platform to let us on. The driver didn’t want to charge Jack, but I had to point out he wasn’t disabled despite riding a mobility scooter.
A girl couldn’t get on the bus with her bike because of us, but she was happy to wait for another. The final challenge of the day was clearing out the cupboard under the stairs in the next door flats, so e could squeeze it in there. It wasn’t easy to manipulate it in there, up the slope from the street, over the door frame, along the narrow passage and round two sharp bends.

I later found that at 19:00, after all today’s cycling and running, my “body battery” according to my watch was 0%. It was saying that I should stop and rest. Instead, I ran a bit more, did some gardening and pulled that thing all the way up those stairs.