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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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Ruthi and I got baked[1] and then rained on then baked and then rained on, then baked. Then ccooke caused pizza. There's some clearing of stuff into skips going on, but I am not hugely involved.

[1]Sunshine, not cannabis.
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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'm staying with ccooke and ruthi, who are being lovely as ever.

Today we went out to look at houses. Neither house we saw was at all suitable, but we had a nice outing anyway. All this despite the fact that ruthi was not really having a good day, but she soldiered on.

We scouted out areas around the houses. The second was not that far from Hoe St, so we had lunch at Sunset Café and Desserts, which I can heartily recommend. They do fresh squeezed juices (apple, orange, carrot and probably a mixture of the above), savoury and sweet crepes, sandwiches (paninis, very good) and a nice range of good cakes. We made the most of the place, then checked out shops and got yellow Pakistani mangoes, which had not been in evidence on Wednesday and were suddenly everywhere in large numbers today.

The second house was full of tenants, who had not been warned we were coming to view the place. I felt awful for them - I know what it's like. Still, we looked round and saw what was wrong and what wasn't. They offered us tea and biscuits, so we accepted and watched Pakistan play cricket. They asked for luck for Pakistan's next two games (they were not doing well vs the West Indies), so I said sure, but I hoped England would thrash them at the semis. We parted on very good terms.

Tomorrow's breakfast is going to be a croissant with a sour cherry and vanilla cream filling, and there are plans to take me to a restaurant called Hawksmoor. It's a steakhouse where meat is chosen and then paid for by weight. I'd really like to take Pol there one day, I think he'd enjoy it.

The depression is gone and I am rapidly recovering from the M.E. I think that I was right when I thought that the relapse was because the stomach thing was stopping me absorbing the pills that make the M.E. go away. I'm recovering at what would be the right rate if I'd stopped taking them for a while then gone back on them again, and should be right as rain two months from now.
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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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I've been at home a week. I should only have been home a day, but I ended up not going onwards to London after all. I had a weird combination of ME/flueyness and extreme homesickness. The latter swung it - ccooke and Ruthi are amazingly able to accommodate an MEish and fragile house guest. Even so, I've really mostly been asleep so it's as well I am at home.

Moth's back from two weeks in a cattery. Yet again, she looks slightly healthier than when she went. I'm brushing her more, since I think that must be the key. She's lithely skipping about the place, all grace and fluffy, thick fur and purring. She's making it clear that she loves us very much, but that the accommodation isn't what she's now used to expecting. I should ask them what their secret is, really.

Pol's not happy with the hot weather. He's got a new aircon after the old one died and I am resigned to it taking first place in his affections until at least September.

Oh yes, that's what I meant to do yesterday and forgot - arrange shopping to be delivered today. Oops. If I am quick, that could still happen. And, if I water the strawberries, they might not die.

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