New Year’s Eve Update

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, and I haven’t posted any proper blog posts since April. So here’s a bit of an update.

We completed the purchase on our house and moved in around April.

We had a period of 40degC+ temperatures soon afterwards and it was _really_ uncomfortable to even exist during that time. I couldn’t even work in my bedroom during that time, and had all the windows open overnight.

And recently, we had a complete reversal, with temperatures hitting -6degC, and a thick layer of snow. Since the house is not on the main road, we no longer have priority with the gritters, which lead to some nerve-wracking drives on the Saturday when I headed up to morning shopping.

I later found out my former neighbour in the flat where I used to live (still find it strange to say that) actually lost functionality to their boiler during this cold snap (the pump to their boiler broke), so they had to wear like 5 layers of clothes and sit around a portable heater in order to keep warm — travelling to a relative’s house to get showered and stuff.

I also found out that two Muslim families have moved into the two vacant flats since we moved out. This now leaves only 4 flats out of the 12 available that are inhabited by non-Muslims. I am, sadly, not surprised by this turn of events, the local council have been aggressively buying up all the council properties they can, and then throwing probably the worst people into them — heck they even bought and sold one of the flats across to a neighbouring council — so essentially we have a flat in one council that is being used to house people from another council. 1 of the remaining residents is only there because they have a vulnerable relative nearby and will move out when she passes. Another is already looking for a new property, and the other two families haven’t made their plans known yet.

We’ve now gone through over 6 months in the new house and have been getting and going through the new bills. Trying to keep the house warm during the cold spell has been costing me over £15 per day in Gas alone. Thankfully, the cold spell only lasted around a week, and the government’s energy assistance did help with the Electricity side — giving £66 extra per month. That doesn’t help with the Gas costs, but it does mean I can use the space heater (which runs off electricity)

My Yaris seems to be having trouble with acceleration even without ECO mode on, so I’m going to start putting money aside to buy a full EV — maybe a Tesla, Hyundai, or Toyota EV (even if Musk has been an AH with the Twitter purchase, I’m still liking the Tesla interface — I even got to sit behind one this year, even if only briefly)

As with most people, I grew concerned with Musk’s handling of the Twitter purchase, so I picked up a side project a year or so ago: Mastodon.

Back when Twitter had issues with privacy, several projects spawned up: Ello, Diaspora* and Mastodon to name a few.

Ello basically failed and has now turned more into a portfolio site. Diaspora is sort of like a decentralized Tumblr and Mastodon was the Twitter equivalent, so much so that there’s more than one auto-crossposter now that allows you to Tweet to Twitter, and it will automatically crosspost it to Mastodon, and vice versa,

I decided to update my TfL Travel Updates project and allow it to post to Mastodon instead. I have it now posting to https://mastodon.xyz/@updatesbf but I am also looking at setting up my own Mastodon instance so I can experiment and break things on my own setup without messing up or flooding someone else’s instance

Snow

It finally snowed today. And as usual, gritters were not out in time.

The roads turned into slushy, slippery dangerous skidways, but there were no accidents fortunately.

I had to head into Chinatown to pickup my contact lenses from the opticians. While waiting for the bus, two cars got stuck trying to climb the hill (it’s a notorious hill that has caused problems in the past during snowy, icy conditions, even the police got stuck the last time it snowed heavily)

Since the cars were now blocking the road going up, I decided to go and take a different route to Chinatown, and went via the Northern Line instead of the Piccadilly Line like I was originally planning.

The pavements were slushy and there was not even any sign of gritting. The station pavements were gritted, but presumably by the station staff, and not the council.

Even while coming home and trying to climb the hill to my house, my shoes were not gripping well, and had to take small steps to make sure I wouldn’t fall.

Dangerously incompetent, that’s what my local council are.

Training in Quarantine – Day 126

High 20s again today. Went into the office to pick up my phone charger which I left there when I went into the office last time. Even at 5am, the temperature was reading 22degC. Comfortable to walk in at that time since the sun hadn’t come out yet, but the Victoria Line was still baking hot and the stations were pretty dead…

Came back and did my walk around lunchtime, the temperature at that time was around 28degC and my shorts were getting soaked with sweat so I had to change them when I got home.

Training in Quarantine – Day 120

Boy, oh boy, yesterday was a crazy hot day. I went back into the office as they are going to do a deep clean so we needed to make sure all our desks are clear of any personal belongings.

They blocked out every other desk:

And the air conditioning was reduced since there weren’t that many people in the office.

The temperature in the office was a toasty 26.8degC

But the temperature outside soared to 36degC, and nearly tipped the 38degC/100degF mark.

As expected, the heat destroyed Network Rail’s ability to run a reliable service and services out of King’s Cross were delayed or cancelled.

I ended up using the Piccadilly Line to get back home.

On the way, spotted Blackfriars station had a vending machine for alcohold wipes, hand sanitisers and face masks:

The heat in the trains was horrendous. Eventually made it home and decided not to walk, I was sweating enough as it was just taking the train.

Back to today. Temperatures are back to mid-20s so walking is still hot weather, but not as uncomfortable as yesterday.

Rain

After an excessive amount of heat over these past few days, it’s actually cooled down today. Even so far as to have some rain appear. Still rather muggy and humid and temperatures are low 20s even at 10pm.

Saturday and Sunday are set to have showers with low-20s as highs. Finally, I can potentially get back to comfortably running.

Heat

It was forecast to hit nearly 40 degrees C (104 F) yesterday. And it got pretty close where I live…

 

But pity the people who have to use the rail. In the heat, NONE of the rail providers could provide a decent service. They had plenty of excuses: speed restrictions, power line problems, signal failures. My journey home made me wait at Kings Cross for about 30 minutes for a train, and then the gate staff only opened ONE barrier. And it was no better on the underground.:

48.3C is 118.94F. In short, people were travelling in near 50C/120F heat.

And while it was 36-40C here in London in the open, it was only mid-20s in Malaysia

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