A long week

This week has seemed very long. The reason is that Tigger has resumed full-time working which means that I am without her company during working hours Monday to Friday. This is how it was before the pandemic, of course, and I will no doubt grow accustomed to it again but in the meantime it feels strange and lonely and the time passes more slowly.

Yesterday evening, we had supper out. For quite a while, we have been in the habit of going to Banana Tree in St John Street on Friday evenings, either to buy a takeaway (during lockdown) or sitting in when the rules permitted. We even have a Banana Tree loyalty card! Yesterday, however, we fancied a change and Tigger proposed that I meet her in Leon in Moorgate. Timing would be critical because Tigger would leave her office in the City only at 5 pm while Leon closes at 6 pm. I would leave home around 5 pm too, aiming to reach Moorgate at the same time as Tigger.

The BusChecker app
The BusChecker app

We both have on our phones an app called BusChecker that shows the next few buses to reach a stop of your choosing, with a countdown in minutes. Using this, I chose the bus that should take me to meet Tigger at the appointed hour. Alas, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley” (Robert Burns).

The thing to remember about the electronic displays at bus stops, or the bus apps on your phone that show bus arrival times in minutes, is that these show “nominal” minutes: they represent how long it would take the bus to reach you if it actually ran straight to you at normal speed. In the city, all kinds of things conspire to slow or halt the bus on its journey. As a result, a minute on the app can turn into 10 minutes or longer in real time. Putting that another way, my bus was late and Tigger had a bit of a wait for me to arrive.

When I did arrive, Tigger told me the Leon had closed early so we would have to find supper elsewhere. We looked at a few places and ended up at Pure. They too close at 6 pm and it was already 5:47 by the time we reached the counter… I managed to gulp down my lentil soup and halloumi wrap in the time but Tigger had to finish hers outside. For this we found a bench next to the bowling green in Finsbury Square.

Today, after a lazy morning, we set out for Myddelton’s deli for lunch and coffee.

Crocuses
Crocuses

On the way we passed this garden. Usually, it is plain grass but today it was dotted with crocuses. As I thought, this site indicates that crocuses flower in late winter and early spring. So where did these crocuses come from? Someone must just have planted them recently.

Traffic cones
Traffic cones

For the last couple of days, one side of Claremont Square has been closed to vehicles and to pedestrians. The area was taken over by film makers. Today, the crew had gone but there was a lot of equipment still lying around, including a mobile toilet and these traffic cones.

Myddelton’s
Myddelton’s

When we reached the deli, all the tables were occupied and there were customers in the shop so we waited politely outside. When our turn came we ordered coffee and a couple of their tasty toasted baguette sandwiches.

Myddelton Square Gardens
Myddelton Square Gardens

We found a bench free in Myddelton Square Garden and ate our lunch there. Fortunately, the weather was warm and the sun shone intermittently between clouds.

Blue sky, white clouds
Blue sky, white clouds

The sky was summer-blue though dotted with big white clouds that blocked the sun from time to time.

Pigeon

Pigeon

Pigeon

“My friends”, the pigeons were present in the park, of course, some relaxing in the sun and some searching for food. I photographed these three who close by us. (You may wonder why they all passed from right to left and I wondered that too though I have no answer for it.) Why three pictures of pigeons? Because I like pigeons, so there!

Spider and web Photo by Tigger
Spider and web
Photo by Tigger

On the way home, we encountered this spider, waiting in the centre of a very fine web. While I feel sorry for the poor creature that ends up caught in this trap, I have to admire the web and the skill that goes into building it.

Moth and reflections
Moth and reflections

We saw this moth perched beside a window in an office block. The window was double-, or perhaps triple-glazed, producing multiple reflections of the moth.

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Frequent visitor

This afternoon I received a visit from a small person. He (or maybe she) landed on the screen of my PC and proceeded to walk hither and thither on it. I took a live photo just to give you an idea of him (or her).

The visitor
The visitor

The image is somewhat magnified as you can see. Fans of beetles can probably identify my visitor though I am unable to do so.

I frequently receive such visits and always from a single individual, never more than one, which temps me to think that it is always the same individual but that’s probably unlikely in view of the period of months during which these visits have occurred. This time, I took unaccustomed action and this should determine the issue one way or the other.

The “Liberator”
The “Liberator”

Some years ago I bought this small box with a magnifying glass built into the lid. It’s a 1.5 inch (3.81 cm) cube and I call it the Liberator because I use it to catch any small creatures that wander into our domain and transport them into the back garden where, so I believe, they will have a better chance to thrive. Today, it was my visitor’s turn to take a ride in the Liberator and – I hope – start a new life in the garden.

If the visits are always by the same beetle, then surely, now that I have transported the visitor to pastures new, he (or she) will never again be seen strolling up the screen of my PC. Alternatively, any future visits will be by new beetles, a fact which would suggest some, so far unknown, source of beetles.

When you come to look at things in detail, you realise how curious life is. Here am I, surfing the Web on my computer, gathering information (human-oriented information, of course) from all over the globe; and here is this small beetle, walking up the computer screen, with no concept of what it is (other than being a navigable surface) and totally unaware of what I am doing. Truly, we live in two different worlds though they coincide in some way in space and time. The beetle can never know what it it like to be me nor I what it is like to be a beetle.

I can but hope that his (or her) life in the garden will be successful and happy in beetle terms.

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Take-it-easy Sunday

After the activity of the days in Folkestone and our walks yesterday, we were minded to take things more easily today. The first duty, of course, was the shopping.

In Sainsbury’s
In Sainsbury’s

Before we left for Folkestone, Tigger had planned a “pre-emptive shop” so that we would have plenty of food to come home to. As a result, only a little light shopping was required today and we had soon finished.

Going through Chapel Market
Going through Chapel Market

As usual, I hurried on ahead through Chapel Market to buy coffee at Mercer’s. The market was quite busy with a good turnout of stalls.

Inside Mercer’s
Inside Mercer’s

Mercer’s was ticking over gently and I didn’t have long to wait for our coffee to be dispensed.

The firm selling plants during the year and Christmas trees in due season, the one I said was the stalwart who kept going throughout the pandemic, has not put in an appearance for several weeks now. Have they gone bust? Or perhaps found a better market elsewhere? Strange that they should disappear like that.

Cloudy skies over Myddelton Square
Cloudy skies over Myddelton Square

This morning, the sun had shone, making the world look cheerful. By the time we had had lunch, however, clouds had gathered, hiding the sun. Undeterred, after lunch we set out for our ritual visit to the deli.

The square with St Mark’s Church
The square with St Mark’s Church

Although I have photographed it many times before, I took a quick snap of the church ensconced among its retinue of trees. The Curvaceous Tree is just peeping in on the left.

The Don’t-give-up Tree
The Don’t-give-up Tree

We walked down Inglebert Street and I had to photograph the Don’t-give-up Tree on the corner. It continues to grow, lengthening its branches and furnishing them with leaves. Giving up is not in its nature and it continues to grow as best it can.

The sun appears
The sun appears

While we were sitting outside Myddelton’s deli, the clouds opened to reveal blue sky and the sun shone. It did not last, however, being just a pleasant moment.

Lloyd Square
Lloyd Square

After coffee, we went for a little walk, with the emphasis on “little”.

Through the archway
Through the archway

In Margery Street, we cut through the archway leading inside the housing estate there. I don’t think the public are supposed to treat it as a thoroughfare, but once in a while doesn’t hurt.

Inside the estate
Inside the estate

The blocks of flats form four sides of a square around a central open space. It seems quite a pleasant place to live but only the occupants know that for sure.

Rosebery Avenue
Rosebery Avenue

Wandering on, we came to Rosebery Avenue opposite Spa Green Garden. Another time we would have walked through the garden but today we were not keen to lengthen our walk. I photographed the figure of Victory on the war memorial from a distance.

New River Head Estate
New River Head Estate

I photographed the gardens of the New River Head Estate through the railings. A notice says that the gardens are open to the public on alternate Sundays but they have never been open when we have been there. Either we always choose the wrong Sunday or the permission has been revoked.

The pub vine
The pub vine

We entered Myddelton Passage and looked to see how the pub vine was faring. Some of the leaves have turned brown and some of the bunches of grapes have disappeared. They have gone completely without leaving the stalks behind as would be the case if the birds or squirrels had eaten them. Have they been harvested?

Some grapes left Photo by Tigger
Some grapes left
Photo by Tigger

There are a few small bunches left like this one in Tigger’s photo. Whoever had the others, I hope they enjoyed them!

We now started up the hill for home. It’s not a steep hill but after our recent activity and walks we went slowly. Tomorrow, Tigger is back at work full-time but at least we have the evening to look forward to.

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