55 minus 41: Pics and ponderings…

Posted: 7 July 2019 in 55 minus, London, weather
Tags: , , ,

I joined Instagram a couple of months ago.

Unlike most social media platforms, I didn’t join it to grab the name “@budgie”. I’ve done that on more than a few, not knowing whether I’d use the platform, but fairly sure that if I did want to use it at some point, it’d be nice to have @budgie as my account name.

I’ve missed out on a few, obviously. And I used to use budgie_uk, but for the past few years, as with this blog, I’ve preferred budgiehypoth, a concatenation of my name, and, obviously, the hypotheticals panel I ran for a few years with Dave Gibbons.

Hardly anyone remembers hypotheticals any more, true, but I’m sentimental about it.

So, yes, on Instagram, while budgie – and every possible similar short name – was taken years ago, budgiehypoth was available.

I’m still figuring it out; there’s a lot I like¹ about it, a lot I don’t², a lot I understand³ why they do it their own way whether I like it or not, and some I have no idea⁴ at all why they do it the way they do.

¹ It’s easy, quick to use, very user-intuitive for the basic stuff, very little politics on there, and it’s – probably not a coincidence – very friendly

² the ads are intrusive, it’s owned by Facebook, the learning curve for anything beyond the simplest stuff is huge, and fuck me, more than a dozen hashtags per post is too many, shurely?

³ No clickable URL links inside the posts; cuts down on the fake news for a start, and makes it immediately less oppressive.

⁴ Stories. I have no idea what or how stories are, how useful they are for others, or for yourself.

Anyway, what I’ve been using it for, what I’ve been posting every day while I figure out whether Instagram is for me, is weather shots, from an app called WeatherShot amusingly enough. I’ve stuck with the basic default overlay, which I like. But it means that I’ve taken a lot of shots of areas local to me.

So for today’s entry, some pondering and thoughts about the pics I’ve taken, and where I’ve taken them…

Swiss Cottage

Perfectly appropriate that I took a shot in the rain, as it seems whenever I’m walking through Swiss Cottage it rains (a slight exaggeration, but not much) but also because what instantly springs to mind is the local swimming pool which I visit on an occasional basis. I’d probably visit more if I could afford it. It’s a great pool, and I miss swimming more often.

However, I know the prices are an excuse, not a reason. Even if I could visit every day, I probably wouldn’t, due to my buggered up foot. Its funny; whenever I tell someone that, I normally get two responses:

a) Oh, swimming’s very good excercise (which it is)
b) ‘hurts to tread water, I guess’ (it’s not that)

Nope, the reason isn’t me, but other people. If I’m swimming, or the aforementioned treading water, and someone swims swims past, the wake… well, the wake twists my foot in the water, and I go from ‘this is very nice, isn’t it?’ to ‘ohmygod who poured molten lava on my foot?’ in less than a second.

So, swimming in a pool when there’s hardly anyone about? Lovely. Swimming when there are lots of people around? Not a risk worth taking.


I’ve had an odd relationship with Kilburn over the years. A bookkeeping client had an office there – a hemp importer/exporter – and I always enjoyed going to the client. The area? Not so much. Then there was a girlfriend from my single days (my first set of single days, not the past few years) who lived ten minutes’ walk from where this photo was taken. But despite going to her place dozens of times, I can’t remember which street she lived on, let alone the house.

And though I’d driven though it hundreds of times over the decades, until I moved to Abbey Road, I don’t think I’d actually walked through Kilburn – from Brondesbury to Kilburn Park, though Kilburn High Road – more than maybe twenty times?

This pic was taken from outside Kilburn High Road train station. A few minutes’ walk from here is where I buy my vapes – heh, there should probably be a post about that – and one of my favourite coffee shops. Well, it’s a favourite now; had one of the few bad, horrible, genuinely lousy, experineces at a Costa Coffee there.

And it took a while for it to be sorted out… but, give them credit; I’ve never seen a coffee place, hell any business, respond so completely to a customer complaint. Now, I’m not suggesting that they reacted solely to my complaint. But the difference between how the staff acted, the politeness, the friendliness… everything switched from barely tolerable to flat out excellent in a couple of days.

St John’s Wood

This was taken about five minutes’ walk from my flat, on the way to St John’s Wood Tube. I’ve been in this area for coming up on two and a half years, and I love how down every street, every side road, there’s a story waiting to be told. Down this street, there’s a police station; down that road, there’s a ballet school; down that street, there’s a children’s nursery, the air ringing with laughter; down this road, there’s a charming little spot of green, surrounded by, almost covered by trees.

And each of them looks slightly different in bright sunshine than in the shadows of dusk, or with the rain bouncing off the pavement.

This is still London, but it’s not. It’s a little village in the heart of London, which delightfully reminds me in some ways of Ham and Richmond. A decent park being nearby merely highlights the comparison.

West End Lane

Two shots, taken 30 yards apart, taken two minutes apart. Two entirely different shots that sum up West End Green perfectly. A quiet road, and a quiet green, with people just relaxing on it.

Between Abbey Road and Golders Green, it’s a lovely place to spend an hour or two, walking, pondering, and enjoying the quiet. Both are attached to a main road, but you’d rarely know it. The air’s clean, the atmosphere lovely, and… hell, it’s lovely.

Teddington Lock

I’m back in Richmond, in Ham, every week or so, staying with close friends, crashing over the night. This, however, wasn’t a visit for that. I was attending a comedy gig at The Anglers. I’d even already taken my weathershot pic for the day, and had no intention of doing another. But as I walked over Teddington Lock, I glanced up, saw the scene above… and come on, how could I not take a pic of that?

I spent four years in Ham, ten minutes’ walk from the Lock. It remains a huge puzzle to me why I never spent more time taking photos of scenes like that.

Marlborough Place

And this is now about as close to my place as you can get. Have walked down this road any number of times, and it’s only ever a ‘problem’ when my foot is playing up. (there’s a more than slight incline). When it’s hot, there’s almost always a breeze; when it’s raining, no matter how hard, the walls on the road provide a break from the worst of it, and the walk is the perfect length to listen to one of my favourite [short] podcasts.

And I get pics like the one above.

Something different again tomorrow.

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-fifth birthday on 17th August 2019. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

  1. marypicken says:

    I think 5he 5hing about hashtags is that people follow a range of different ones. So if you want to grow a following, you spread the hashtags as widely as you can wh8le still keeping them appropriate.

    • You’re probably correct. It’s just something that rankles, seeing a pic, with maybe a three word description, but with 50 hashtags…

      Though, no doubt, give me three months and I’ll be doing something similar. #sigh

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s