A variety of leaves and twigs, with three snails. All have their necks
out and their eyestalks extended

Snails feasting at dawn in Russia Dock Woodland

If I’d known how much time and effort sourcing materials for house renovation takes, I’d have hired someone to make all the aesthetic decisions for me. This week, I had to take a couple of tiles to the tile shop to see whether the tiles they had in the shop were the same colour as the ones we’d ordered, because we had to raise the level to accommodate the height of the flush mechanism.

They were indistinguishable, even in daylight, so there’s no problem, except for me wasting more of my time dealing with this endless nonsesnse.

We might need to get new windows in order to pass building control. Building control is like a vampire. You invite them in to approve one change (opening out a larger door aperture to the garden) and they suddenly complain that the upstairs window doesn’t open wide enough. But if we change one window, would we want to invest more money in ugly white uPVC? We’d have to consider whether to replace all of them. And the bedroom window is a bit warped, so it will need replacement at some point, and there are only four windows to change, but is that expensive? Cheap? Good luck getting a straight answer out of anyone.

For now, it looks like the builders have managed to adjust the window to open wider, and we might not have to think about it for a few years. On one hand, doing all of it now would be less disruptive, but on the other it’s even more time without a place to live, and it’s even more money.

Do we want to replace the radiators? I don’t know, but I wish someone had asked us weeks ago, rather that, yet again, having to make all these decisions at the last minute in a rush.

My advice? Never renovate your house. Just sell it and buy one that doesn’t need work. It isn’t worth the financial and mental burden.

I replaced the disk in my laptop. The one that was in there (256 GB) was a bit skimpy for my main machine while I’m homeless. I found a 1 TB NVMe disk, made by a reputable maker, for a reasonable price. It’s not the fastest, but the faster disks are faster than the maximum speed of the connection in this laptop. After several attempts to clone it (using an external USB-C NVMe case) I gave up on cloning something that would actually have the correct configuration to boot with full disk encryption, and decided that just installing Debian afresh and cloning my /home partition would be quicker.

It was.

It took me less than two hours to have a working and configured system, thanks to the detailed installation log I made last time, and the fact that I had kept it updated with additional packages.

I had a bit of trouble with the t64 package transition (especially annoying as it fixes a problem that only exists on 32-bit systems), which rebooted me into a bare console, but the combination of tasksel install desktop gnome-desktop and aptitude’s constraint solver fixed everything.

I watched Civil War at a sparsely-populated screen at Peckhamplex early on Thursday evening. It’s not really a film about Civil War, it’s more about war journalism. I thought the last half hour seemed a little rushed and betrayed the protagonist-limited narrative up to that point, but I liked the film and the sparse use of music in the soundtrack.

One of the trailers was a lengthy attempt to rehabilitate the Phantom Menace, which is being rereleased for reasons beyond my understanding. I’m pretty sure it’s still a poor film, and I’m not going to spend money and sit through it again to find out.

I took a quick tour around the Expressionists exhibition at the Tate Modern on Friday. I’ll go back again when it’s less busy. There’s a lot of Kandinsky, but the pieces that most caught my eye were by Franz Marc and Lyonel Feininger.

I was right when I said that the eighth floor Members Room would never reopen. The old page that listed it as “temporarily closed until further notice” now redirects to the page of the old Members Bar, now rebranded as the “Granville-Grossman Members Bar” to placate the family of the donor after whom the old room had been named.

There is, however, now a new members bar on Level 1 that isn’t (yet) perpetually full like the other one. I enjoyed reading a book with a coffee and a piece of cake – although only after I had trekked all the way up to the old bar, found it full, and made my way back down again.

Today was International Dawn Chorus Day and I got up early for it. I made my way to Stave Hill for 04:30 for a Dawn Chorus Walk around Russia Dock Woodland. This was organised as part of Soundcamp London. I missed it last year, even though it’s extremely close to our house, because I only saw the posters after it had happened.

This year, even though we’re not in our house, we’re staying not far away with a friend in Rotherhithe, and it only took me a quarter of an hour to get there. We heard and saw 28 different species, including a couple I’d never spotted before (chiffchaff and dunnock).

This afternoon, I saw a carrion crow pecking at a dead pigeon. They really are all dinosaurs.

Currently reading: Blood in the Machine by Brian Merchant.

I originally pre-ordered this book in October, but the first run sold out. When it finally came in, the bookshop didn’t tell me, and returned it, and I had to order it again.

If I’d just ordered it from Amazon, I’d have had it ages ago, but that wouldn’t have been in the spirit of a book that draws parallels between the systems that the Luddites were fighting against and the behaviour of today’s big tech behemoths.