Avatar Danger cycle

I recently got hold of a bike, in an attempt to do something energetic at least occasionally, rather than just spending literally my entire life either sitting down or being asleep.

What I didn’t count on was how dangerous it is round here. Get off the main roads and you suddenly find yourself in a terrifying danger zone of army firing ranges and other macho activities that are entirely incompatible with my naturally timid demeanour. A simple bicycle ride in the country suddenly becomes a horrifying scramble through live gunfire and explosions, like a scene from Rambo but with me in a bike helmet passing through the background.

Please find below a selection of pictures to document my emotions during a ride through this difficult environment.

Avatar Train announcement

Bing bong

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard this 17.32 Trans Country Express service to London Central Station.

We’ll be calling at Picturesque Village, Windswept Halt, Dulltown West, Dulltown Central, Dulltown East, a station with seemingly nothing anywhere nearby, Large Commuter Suburb, Long Wait in the Countryside, Several Identical Places, Cheadle, Yemen, and London Central Station.

Our scheduled arrival time at London Central Station is 18.44 this evening.

Please note that some of our calling points today have short platforms and you will need to be in the correct part of the train if you wish to alight. Passengers for Dulltown East and Large Commuter Suburb will need to be in the front eight carriages. Passengers for Dulltown West will need to be in the front ten carriages. Passengers for Large Commuter Suburb will inexplicably need to be in either the front four or rear six carriages. I don’t make the rules.

As this service will be arriving in to London Central Station before 18.43 this evening, daily travelcards are not valid for travel, but commuter plus cards are valid, and ultra saver photocards are mandatory. First class accommodation is available in carriages 4 and 8, and passengers will need a first class ticket and a peerage or hereditary title in order to travel in the first class compartments.

A trolley service of drinks and light snacks will operate on this service from Dulltown Central onwards. If you do intend to buy something from the trolley please note that alcoholic drinks cannot be purchased once we leave Cheadle since beyond that point we enter the London Central Station duty free zone. However, on our final approach to London Central we will be pleased to offer discount cigarettes, perfumes and spirits.

A reminder to passengers that due to current Government regulations it is mandatory to wear spectacles while travelling on public transport unless you are medically exempt.

My name is Carmelita Delasquez, and I am your guard for this journey. If you require any assistance during your journey, you can currently find me in carriage six of this twelve coach train. If you see anything suspicious please don’t hesitate to inform myself or another member of railway staff, or call or text the Railway FBI on 64064. See it, say it, suck it and see.

On behalf of myself and the driver, I’d like to wish you a pleasant journey with Trans Country Express today. Our next station stop will be Picturesque Village, which I’ll begin announcing in about thirty seconds’ time. Thank you.

Avatar No mangoes in the server room

You will remember, of course, that this was some excellent advice from Kev, who is an IT magician and retailer of high-quality wireless abbabs.

I have, therefore, put up signs enforcing this rule at work.

I was just going to take pictures of my new signage and then take it down, but when I actually put it up, I decided I liked it, so it’s now going to stay there permanently. It’s a good rule. Safety first.

Avatar Birthdingtons lunch

Today I became 36.

Today I had the day off work, and we actually went out! We went out for lunch, do you remember that? I barely do. Being able to go out for lunch.

Well we had to drive all the way to Harrogate to do it because we fancied going to Wagamamas and that was the nearest one that was open, but it was almost, almost, like the before-times.

That, and all the waitresses were dressed as surgeons, and there were screens on the tables, but it was almost like the before-times.

Oh, and you had to pay by using your phone via a website because despite bringing us drinks and food for an hour or so, holding the card machine for us to beep would be just too risky, but it was kind of like the before-times.

Aaaand they only had a limited menu, because… reasons, but it was a bit like the before-times.

OK so it was nothing like the before times, but we had a child free lunch out in a nice restaurant with nice food and the weather was nice.

Today I had a nice day.

Avatar Isolation – North-East Edition

You will never believe what just happened to me! The short version is that I am currently being paid to not work. I am at home right now not working. If I try to work I will be shouted at profusely so I am sat not working on a beanbag listening to the radio.

The year 2020 has been a strange one so far and it continues to get weirder the more we slide through it. The outside world is still there, I can see it, through the big windows in the living room, and it looks fantastic. I reckon that for the moment I am going to stay here and admire it from afar. Besides, it looks a little chilly and I’ve got this patch of dry skin on my hands that the low temperature will not do any favours for.

I have decided to try and do one drawing, sketch or doodle a day for something to look forward to and possibly upload on Twitter (the Book of Faces does not deserve my “talents”) for the world to admire. I hope to have a wall of my efforts with which I can look back on and laugh slobbily, possibly sell to some passing rich aristocrat (they’re always using the footpaths round here) and then retire to the country, doing the same thing I’m doing now, but with a little more style, panache and some hot ladies in a hot tub serving hot drinks.

Look at me and be inspired.

Avatar Flexible workspace

We’re all on the lookout for a flexible workspace these days. Somewhere you can just sit down, maybe order a latte, open your laptop and, I don’t know, edit a podcast or grow a hipster beard or something.

The other day, while exploring an area I hadn’t visited before down in the sub-basement of the 1930s part of the building at work, I found an excellent flexible workspace and wanted to share my find with you. Here it is.

As you can see, it’s pleasingly raised above the general floor level, offering a sense of superiority and a view over all the people working nearby (or water heating machinery; I think it was mostly water heating machinery and sewage pipes you could see from here). It also has many useful features:

  • A light, so the workspace has excellent all-over lighting levels
  • A railing, so it’s very safe
  • A calming white/grey colour scheme
  • A red pipe

Obviously I’m claiming first dibs on this, and will be moving in there first thing Monday with my laptop to grow a podcast and edit my beard. But if you want to book a slot yourself, just get in touch.

Avatar The balcony

In my new job, I work on the third floor of an old building that has many useless architectural accoutrements and doodads. They’re all things the architect thought would look nice back in 1932, but which now serve no purpose at all, and perhaps they never did.

One of the useless things is a balcony that runs all the way along our side of the third floor, just below the windows. It only seems to be there because someone decided that this side of the building would look a bit more interesting if there was a balcony on it. It’s a very long balcony – perhaps as long as two or three double decker buses parked end to end, or maybe as long as a fireman’s hose, if the fireman’s hose was the same length as two or three double decker buses parked end to end.

It doesn’t look to me like a balcony that I was meant to go and stand on. It’s not very wide, for a start. You could stand on it, and walk along it if you weren’t planning to swing your arms about too much, but you couldn’t put a chair of any kind there, at least not in such a way that you could actually sit on it. The wall along the edge is only just waist high, so you’d feel a bit exposed on it as well.

None of that means that I don’t want to stand on it. Unfortunately, I can’t, because none of the windows open wide enough and the doors – we have two sets of double doors that would open on to it – are locked. The doors are also blocked by some furniture and other piles of tat.

I don’t know why I want to stand on the balcony so much. It would be cold and unpleasant and dangerous, and there would be nothing for me to do once I was out there. There’s no good reason to stand on the balcony. It’s not even a balcony for standing on. That’s why the doors are locked. They aren’t doors for walking through. But none of that changes the fact that I want to stand on it, just for a little bit, just to say I did.

One day it will get the better of me. One day I will climb out of the window. And on that day you will know I made it because you won’t hear from me for a long time, and it will be because I got stuck on the balcony you’re not meant to stand on, and had to be rescued by the fire brigade. And it will be worth it.

Avatar Ruislip Man

I think I’m on to something big here, but I want to know if you think it’s marketable *finger window*.

I moved to Ruislip back in August and immediately noticed that this large and important suburb was entirely missing its own superhero. I have decided it is my civic duty to fill this clear gap. I am, therefore, going to transform myself into… Ruislip Man.

Here’s my first publicity photo. I think you’ll agree it’s pretty heroic.

Hopefully, once I’ve saved a few old ladies trying to cross the street and rescued a few cats from trees, Ruislip Man will be a household name, paving the way for a lucrative range of spin-off toys, stationery and action figures.

Incidentally, I’m now recruiting for a sidekick. Let me know if you’d like to apply and what your suitably suburban superhero name would be.