Birthday in the park (03/07/2020 to 07/07/2020)
I was off work again, intending to sort out the flat, but I was still shattered and I had to do an article in the morning, quite a complicated one about boardroom upheavals in the 1970s. I didn't even have time to complete the Top 100, partly because of software problems.
Instead of our usual 3km run, Jack ran 2km there and 2km back with me to help at the farm, clearing earth to enable them to introduce an one-way system to help with distancing. We overshot it at first so ran an extra little distance. We were working with a bloke called Mark, from the Lake District, though I can't usually be bothered to instigate conversation with blokes, unlike with pretty young girls. Steve L, Danny, Toyin and Sally were also there, but we weren't working with them. I did quip in the drizzle with Toyin "every time I see you it rains", as I'd only last met her the day before.
Cycled to Cricklewood to meet Paul, Kat, Danny and Liz from Brent, as well a Barnet councillor, to tidy up the gardens, which have only been there twenty years and used to be railway sidings. We had to be careful for where gypsies had left unhealthy mess. Paul Barnet was asking me if I had a family and where I worked, I’ve never properly talked to him before.
After cycling home, passed newly-re-opened pubs in Kilburn Hugh Road which didn't seem to be experiencing the predicted mad rush. Went out with Jack to Regent's Park to see Abi on her birthday run, but mis-read her map and we were sitting in the only bit of the broadwalk she wasn’t using while she ran round the zoo. Anyway I caught up with her in Caledonian Park for her birthday drink. We don’t need to use pubs in this weather. I had a good laugh with Jacqui and Sally, and talked at length to Abi’s flatmate Grace about Maths. The first thing I said to one of Abi’s workmates was a cheeky question about whether his haircut was a lockdown one or whether it was supposed to be like that; she re-acted to my cheekiness by laughingly formally introducing us. I was also able to join in with her other workmate who says he experiments with flies – I am aware that fruitflies are useful to experiment n, as their generations are so short. Again I checked the football score at 88 minutes which was a disappointing 0-0, but they eventually won with a goal five minutes into stoppage time.
At home, after Jack (who’d stayed on his own at the Stables for more than two hours) finished a lengthy Zoom-call, we watched a boring documentary about some kids learning about unconscious bias, then an interesting one about early Persia.
Felt exhausted as I ran – very slowly – up to Alexandra Palace. I was a bit late because I accidentally told CityMapper I was cycling, but I was there before Louise, who I haven’t seen since before the lockdown. It was quite hard to find any litter, but I went deep into the woods and found that someone had had a picnic in an alcove and thrown their leftovers in bushes. Super-skinny young Rachel was there, and we spoke to a new girl Kate, a Greek Cypriot with a North American accent. Running back down the hill was just as tiring. I then went with Jack – still lugging the mobility scooter around – down to King’s Cross and we sat around in the sun (and wind). This has got less interesting as the lockdown has continued, the novelty has certainly worn off.
At home I watched the EFL football then listened to the Amazing Chart - which had a ridiculous 21 new entries. I also deleted a lot of my sexy-girl pictures from Flickr, though it’s still over 1500. I don’t think I’ll ever get it down below 1,000 so I can start adding again (though if I could, I would waste a lot of time looking for new pictures). I discovered there is a message feature. More than one person told me mine was the best collection they’d seen - probably because I've reduced it form over 4,700 at one time, by deleting all but the best pictures. Certainly when I look at other sexy-girl collections, there are always a lot of low standard ones. I started a correspondence with a bloke called Mike about why it is I like pictures of nude and cuddling girls, despite this not being my preference sexually. I had meant to catch up with my diary, finish the Top 100 which is now two days late, take some different super-heroine videos, and work on an article, but none of this got done. At least I got my exhausted body into bed at a reasonable time, though I’m also well behind with reading the Guardian.
Investigated Buck Street market and Young Vegans at lunchtime, but both are still closed despite the general re-opening of shops. After checking the Stables, we looked at Hawraman cafe, which announced its re-opening on Saturday, but is usually closed on Mondays. Instead we went next door and it was an unexpected pleasure to sit inside by a cafe window for the first time for months - we both had the vegan breakfast.
Without my boss being in today, I was able to finish the Top 100, three days late.
I went to for a "killer-metre" time trial round the football stadium in the evening. Felt very weary and didn't run all the way there. After we'd done the warm-ups I felt even more worn out and when we did a practice run round the stadium I strolled along and came last, but Iman looked really fast, as she did in the warm-ups. I really like her, she smiles a lot, is very pretty and I had a good chat when I first met her at the farm recently. Kike appeared briefly on her bike, but didn't do the trial.
It wasn't a race but I wanted to do a reasonable time. When the others asked me how fast I wanted to do it I said 4:30 minutes; they re-acted with shock, but they were all that fast when we did the actual time-trial. My watch gave my time as 03:49, but Simon recorded the times as:
Iman got off to a good start and I was surprised when I overtook her, and that she never caught me. Sarah and Sally are older than me, but I expected Claire to be faster, she previously kept up with me over the 12-minute course, and overtook me at the end of the third leg that day. It was the first time I'd met Sarah, she's a tall, slim theatre-worker from Archway, I would guess in her 40s. At home, we had some macaroni cheese from Allplants and watched another episode about Iran's history.
Went to pick up eight pies from Young Vegans at lunchtime. I asked when the cafe would re-open, and they said they didn't know, and it was because of the pandemic (which we already knew, obviously). The place was always pretty much a takeaway anyway, with only one person ever working in there at a time. They wouldn't have to make any changes except to put a "one customer at a time" sign at the entrance. On the way back we got a coffee and stew from The Fields Beneath, which we ate in the nearby park. Before hand I did a quick litter-pick for an online task, but then found it had been extended again, to Friday.
In the evening I cycled up to St Stephen's House which is quite a bit further than Northway Gardens. I enjoy cycling but not when I'm late. In the end it was only by four minutes, but I missed the chance to get chatting with Val and especially slim young Jodie, who I haven't met since the lockdown. I should make an effort to get there early for a chat, as this is my main motivation for volunteering. Jodie had to postpone her wedding and restrict it to 28 family members, and her boyfriend has lost his job, but like other volunteers I know, she takes such setbacks with a happy shrug. She kind of invited me to the wedding reception, but I'm not sure how ell I would manage chatting, if we had to socially distance. Today we were moving big chunks of wood, carrying them and using trolleys, and we did a circuit of the gardens afterwards.
It was raining when I cycled back, but I had rain-proof trousers, hat and cape. However I had to get over the horrible North Circular Road and negotiate some other busy ones. I found a way through a park but gave up on it, then in Finchley I was going in slightly the wrong direction, found an alternative direct route through a wood, only to find that it was a rough, winding footpath going up and down. However, it was fast, pleasurable and downhill from Spaniards Road onwards. At home we had pie and potato and saw the final part of the Iran documentary. It was an interesting series about an area I know little about historically, but it focused more on art than history.
We watched ITV London news instead of the BBC, and I was pleased to see an on-site reporter sitting in a micro-mini skirt and sexy, shiny knee-boots, which you don't expect to see in summer, even when it rains. Maybe we should watch that version more often.