I took a few boxes to the local charity shop. We had a load of things sitting in the living room that we’d used in the old flat but which we don’t need or have space for here. It’s nice to have the space.

The shop doesn’t take electrical items, so I still needed to offload those. I put three things on Freecycle, and had 130 replies within an hour. That was a lot of work to sift through. There’s no easy way to do it, but I prioritised people who lived locally (more likely to turn up, rather than those thinking that something would be nice and then realising that they can’t be bothered to trek an hour across London) and who wrote something that connected.

Here’s a good one:

Hi Paul! I would be very keen to pick up your blender and put it to good use - hoping to make some soups for the upcoming winter. I also live in SE16 and can pop by whenever is convenient for you - please let me know if it is still available, thank you!

And here are some examples of messages that didn’t make the cut, that seemed presumptuous or lazy:

Please confirm how to collect

Yea plz thanks U

May ihava please

And there’s the person who responded to all three ads with the same message:

Hi can I have this please

Hi can I have this please

Hi can I have this please

Too busy attempting to acquire every item on Freecycle to do anything other than copy-paste the same message? That’s not good enough.

I don’t know how other people do it, but my advice to anyone trying to get something from Freecycle is to write a message that lets the other person see you as an individual, who will benefit from the item.

L—’s parents came for tea on Sunday. It was nice to see them, and they didn’t seem too horrified by the chaotic state of our house. It’s good to get an external perspective.

Our hot composter seems to be thriving, at last. We bought it in October, on the recommendation of L—’s colleague, so that we could do something more useful with our leftovers. We’ve been slowly filling it up, and it’s finally reached the fill level at which it can actually sustain itself. A few weeks ago, I was worried that it wasn’t hot enough, but after giving it a boost (achieved by burying a plastic bottle of hot water in the top layer for a day) it’s really taken off despite the cold outside. It’s doing well on its diet of vegetable scraps, shredded paper, and leaves from next door’s tree, and we’ve not put any food waste out for collection since we got it.

I narrowly avoided harm from the most stupid and entitled driving I’ve seen in a long time. On Saturday evening, it was dark and raining. I was cycling home along the physically segregated cycle path on Lower Road in Rotherhithe, when I saw two headlights coming straight at me.

A black cab driver had decided that they were too special to wait in the queue of cars, and elected to take a detour by entering the cycle lane. I had to squeeze to one side to avoid being hit, because the taxi took up most of the two bicycle lanes.

This isn’t just a bit of painted tarmac: it has raised pavement on both sides, specifically to keep it safe and empty of cars. The nice thing about the segregated cycle paths is that they’re safer. Well, they’re supposed to be.

I bet the driver still complains about “cyclists running red lights”.

I’m still more worried about the dystopian response than I am about the omicron variant itself.