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It's been a busy weekend, and ya boo sucks to people who only have house viewings on a Saturday. Anyway, a skip has been and... actually is still there, though it was supposed to be picked up this morning. Scrap gatherers keep pausing and going through the rubbish for useful items, so rather than it being overfilled, it's emptier than expected.

ccooke's and ruthi's items increasingly have homes to live in, rather than places which they have been put. Also, ruthi found the most adorable card covered in watercolour painted little cartoon mice. It's next to me now.

I feel crap. I overdid it yesterday, I have sinus pain and tonsilitis and I am hungover from getting rather drunk on good whisky. All in all, no complaints at all.
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Today was bright and sunny and warm, not what I was promised at all. I'm really pleased. Another flat turned out to be a fixer-upper, which is not what is wanted. Tomorrow, there will be two more houses and a skip. I do not have to put anything into the skip. I also have to put a picnic together for me and ruthi to eat while we're out.

Ccooke and ruthi continue to be lovely hosts. I don't know when I've ever been so pampered or so well fed. Tonight it was sausages, really good sausages, cooked perfectly, with fried mushrooms and onions and asparagus, and sourdough bread with butter. Followed by coffee. Breakfast is brownies and cream.

I've been working on my castle in Minecraft. It has lots and lots of nooks and crannies, all (hopefully) defended from hostile mobs. Today I put in the monster-infested catacombs under the orchard. The next part is turning the outer earth walls into cobble, and replacing the anti-climb fence with stone stair parapet. It's all built out of stone, cobble, earth and oak wood.
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So, Simon wanted to meet up in London and the place Eric suggested was Federation Café in Brixton Village. I've not seen Brixton Village before. It's astounding. The bright colours of home decor and clothes punctuate the busy ribbons of every form of café and small restaurant possible. It's impossibly crowded and incredibly friendly, especially if you're used to the idea that Londoners are stand-offish.

Federation Café itself actually hides in this background, with plain wooden tables outside, stencilled in black. They do fresh cakes, baked often enough that we ended up viewing two different selections while we were there. There's a limited, tasty selection of savouries. And they roast beans once a day, throwing out what's unused, and they grind beans every half an hour. The coffee is the best I've ever tasted, anywhere. I saved my morning caffeine dose for their coffee and had a little cup of miracles, and then the decaf turned out to also be amazingly tasty, which is a new and lovely experience for a decaf drinker.

The actual social experience was the same as these things always are - nice people chatting about general subjects and a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. A bloke who was trying to read his paper ended up part of our circle, brought in I know not how or why, but kept there by being passed food. We were sharing our cakes - salted caramel millionaire's shortbread, rosewater and raspberry sponge, blackberry and almond cake and goodness knows what else.

On another subject entirely, we watched Horizon last night, me and ccooke and ruthi. The subject was domestic cats, which have been tracked and had cameras put on for a week-long survey. It was great. The talk about how cats are evolving was less so, but honestly just seeing cats' home ranges, and how they cover different shifts, and how cats in a multi-cat household genuinely are social, that was brilliant. I hope this becomes a regular thing, like Springwatch.
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I went looking at houses with ruthi, and today was a really good day for it. One house we went to see was at Ascham End. In that cul-de-sac, and the streets leading up to it, none of the gardens had flowering shrubs or any sort of ornament, and very few even had their garden walls - the most common boundary was an inches-high smear of broken rubble. The house front had been vandalised, as had the 'for sale' sign, and when we looked though the ivy-buckled window, there was damp inside. We cancelled that viewing.

The next house viewing cancelled on us, but by then we'd been spending the between-time picnicking in Tottenham Marshes. Behind us was a gas storage tower, some warehouses and a broken factory. In front, a horse-shoe shape of trees, hawthorn bushes covered in May blossom and flat ground with waving flowering grass punctuated by bees and other insects. It was really very lovely.

We walked around to a quite nice bridge and played pooh-sticks.

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May 2014

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