Friday, 4 November 2016


I walked into Muswell Hill this morning, through the glorious Highgate Wood, which resembled some sort of film set. Blue skies, bright, dusty shards of sunlight bursting through gaps in the yellow trees. You get the picture. I've written about autumn so many times in this blog recently that I've run out of suitable adjectives.

I was specifically heading to Muswell Hill in search of a cafe with wifi on account of our router at home going down. Today's the big day when we switch to high speed cable broadband, and the old one needs to go before the new one can arrive. I'm not sure it's going to make the blindest bit of difference to our tragic technical situation, but I'll try anything once. Apart from child birth. And meat. Or fish. Or, in fact, anything with a face or a mother.

Muswell Hill is the only place in my part of town with a Starbucks. Whenever I sit down to write in a Starbucks, my computer is bombarded with irritating offers of free wifi, so I thought I'd take finally them up on it. I ordered an English Breakfast tea, and paid for it whilst the lady behind the counter opened hundreds of drawers with a panicked look on her face which said "this won't end well!" Turns out they'd run out of tea. Yes, that's right folks: no tea bags in Starbucks! She offered me Earl Grey. I said I'd rather she hit me repeatedly with a moth-infested flannel, and that was the end of my little mission.

Actually, I found a much nicer cafe down the road with free wifi which seemed a little less chain-like. Sure, the man who served me had teeth which looked like cloves of garlic, but he was very friendly and brought my tea to me. All for considerably less money than in Starbucks. Lesson learned. I shan't rush to Starbucks again. 

I took the bus home. I was in my own world, so didn't notice for a while that we'd stopped whilst the driver attended to a child who was throwing up on the pavement outside. It was a vaguely comic sight at first, until the little lad's legs gave way. The poor thing was obviously in rather a lot of trouble. I felt so sorry for his Mum who was fiddling about with wet wipes and a bottle of water from his lunch box. Who'd be a parent, eh? It must be simply terrifying when your child falls dramatically ill like that. I hope he's okay.

I read an awful report a few days ago which basically said that bands, musicians and actors who want to tour or play in venues in Europe will be brutally hit by Brexit to the extent that it could well end up being unprofitable to do so. Nathan, of course, has earned a few decent crusts by touring Europe with various ensembles, and I can't believe all that is in jeopardy. And if anyone reading this (who voted Brexit) is presently burying their head in the sand thinking it'll all be okay: wake up and smell the coffee, have the guts to say that your decision was misinformed and get out there and lobby for a brighter future. In Europe.

I drove to Birmingham this evening. I always forget quite what a lengthy drive it is. When I got in the car, the sat nav predicted a 3 hour journey. The M1 was chockablock and I crawled along. I'm not sure when they're going to stop titting about with that blinking motorway.

I was in Brum for a quiz. And when I say Brum, I mean Sutton Coldfield in a spa hotel in what appears to be the middle of nowhere. To cap it all, I've been put up in said hotel, which feels abnormally decadent. It's quite a fancy room, although there's no bath, and there are two single beds instead of a double. There's a massive TV, though, and one of those fans/ heaters which is a big old circular ring that you can put your hand through. I've had a lovely cup of tea, a free biscuit, and I'm just about ready to sleep.

The quiz went well. Quiz master, Jack was blindingly good, and, with 24 teams, and a quiz which deliberately went at high speed, I was kept on my toes. We were joined for the evening by a lovely chap called Mark who's actually writing a book about quizzes. He's a very interesting character who's plainly a literally equivalent of, well, me! He wrote a book about taking busses all the way from John O'Groats to Land's End and loves quirky facts and figures. Now I want to make a TV musical about taking busses from John O'Groats to Land's End!

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