I realised last year, as bunting went up at my local shopping centre (Westfield Stratford) indicating it was its 10th anniversary, something quite frightening: I’ve now lived in London for a full decade (less the first few summers and that year I was commuting in every day) and in east London for most of that. To realise that is a third of my life is quite frightening. I was a very different person back then in 2011.

(My corner of London is currently cosplaying as Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games, presumably meaning Birmingham doesn’t have a velodrome that fits the bill.)

A large vertical banner against a blue sky reads "BIRMINGHAM 2022."

On Friday evening I went over to Hampstead Heath for another swim at the Highgate ponds (I guess this is how cold-water swimming addiction starts) and, unusually for me, got the train. Gospel Oak station is nice enough, I guess, but these little glass squares always seem to be mucky wherever they are. I wonder what you’d call this aesthetic. “Public toilet-punk”?

The brick ceiling of a staircase with skylights made up of glass squares.

I’ve been rearranging the balcony to make space for the window cleaners, who we are told will abseil down the side of the building. I harvested a few of those strawberries in the process. To my astonishment, a butterfly began feasting on the coriander flowers partway through the process. No idea what species. It seemed happy, at least.

Weeknotes 2022.30: Ten years later…