(Delayed) Weeknotes 2023.20: A torrent of minor inconveniences

(Delayed) Weeknotes 2023.20: A torrent of minor inconveniences

There seems to be some kind of nasty bug going round. I was dosed up on paracetamol for most of last week & stuck in bed on Wednesday evening. It’s not COVID—all my tests have been negative (even if one of them just produced a purple smudge rather than a valid result because of the sheer amount of snot). I’m feeling mostly better now, and mercifully so—I have a wedding to get to.

We were due to meet with family to visit Scotney Castle in Kent on Saturday, but having already put the journey back three times due to strikes and replacement buses, our plans were scuppered on Saturday morning by trespassers on the railway tracks. Not necessarily the operator’s fault this time, but another infuriating instalment in the saga of what should’ve been an easy rail journey. Eventually, we managed to get there on Sunday—and after a lovely time wandering around the historic house and grounds, had a 35-minute wait on the way back at Frant, a station with absolutely no facilities whatsoever, because it was a Sunday and the trains only run every hour. Make no mistake: this is a result of generations of governmental malpractice and profiteering. And Britain wonders why traffic’s so bad—I’ll give you a clue, it’s not LTNs or 15-minute cities, it’s because many people literally have no choice through decades of incompetence.

The postponed Scotney Castle trip gave me an excuse to go for a swim at the ponds. It was just cool enough to be fresh without being unpleasant. But sometimes you wonder what horrors you could encounter while swimming in open water. The Highgate ponds are probably cleaner than most, being fed by the source of the River Fleet (before it gets turned into an underground sewer) but I still managed to pull a McDonald’s ketchup pot from the water to hand to the lifeguards. Maybe there’s a burger carton that’s now part of a bird’s nest.

On the way out, I spotted a small butterfly on the concrete floor of the changing blocks. My current working assumption is that it was a Small Blue, which would mean it’s an early brood. Hopefully it avoided being squashed long enough to escape.

By the way, I got around to posting a tonne of photos from this year’s spring blossom season. I’m interested in doing more of these photo essay-type posts in future, so we’ll see what comes of that—in likelihood I’m going to be restricted to what Ghost allows me to do, because I’m not starting another Web site just for photography, no matter how many Squarespace sponsor segments I have to skip through on YouTube.