“The Swindon Plaque” says a lot about this English town

This isn’t particularly breaking news, but for those of you who may have missed it (or needed reminding about the wonders of Swindon, the town I live in), may I direct you to our council’s recent attempt to celebrate the district’s invaluable key workers.

Ladies and gentlemen, this plaque:

Have you spotted the mistake? Trick question, the whole thing is a hot mess.

Apparently the Covid 19 pandemic apparently started in 2019…I’m sorry, what?

I’ve heard all manner of conspiracy theories about Covid 19, but the one about it starting a whole year before the start of the UK lockdown? Now that’s something.

The town I live in, the town I pay my council tax to…seesh.

And on that note, I’m off to get myself a very strong cup of coffee.

(Full article can be found here (BBC News). Alternatively search for it online, there’s a lot of high-quality journalism out there.)

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Alice Likes Honey

A new thing I’ve discovered, honey sachets!

I am fully aware of the existence of both honey and sachets but the two together? Ruddy marvellous.

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Alice Takes on the Pudding Van

Someone abandoned their catering van on my housing estate. And I was not happy.

Look at it! It’s massive!

Naturally, I applied a very level-headed attitude to this. That’s right, I sent a ranty email to estate management. It went something like this:

WHY IS THERE A MASSIVE CATERING VAN PARKED IN A VISITOR SPACE? I’VE CHECKED THE REGISTRATION PLATE (“XXX XXX” for your reference) AND IT’S NOT TAXED OR INSURED. IT’S UGLY AND CLEARLY BEEN ABANDONNED. I PAY MY MANAGEMENT FEES, SORT IT OUT!

(The caps are a reflection of the shouty voice in my head…I may have also left the last bit out.)

Estate management responded, saying thay they’d located the vehicle’s owner and told them to move it within the next 48 hours.

48 hours came and went, the van unmoved.

I wish I could say I became tolerant of the pudding van’s presence, but when you’re facing onto something like that every time you go to make a cup of tea, it’s very hard to let go. (Plus, you know, me.)

Whilst waiting for the owners to be chased up again, I did a little investigation of myself. By in investigation, I meant be super nosey.

There weren’t any company details on the van and the only online presence seemed to take me back to a deactivated Facebook page, from when it operated out of Pershore some 56 miles away.

Instead of hard, concrete information, I had to deal with statements like this:

It reads: “Feeling stressed? Stressed backwards is desserts”

I don’t know what bothered me most; the font, the words or the fact that it’s annoyingly true. Everything about it grated on me more than the sugary sweetness of the food it claimed to provide.

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Update: I drafted this post in September 2021, however in June 2022 the van disappeared altogether. I assumed it was at local festival but it never came back and I haven’t seen the van since. No idea what has happened but the problem of the Pudding Van seems to have sorted itself!

I’m totally putting it down to my ability to moan, that or my top-notch judgemental stares out the window.

(And as for why I’m not posting this until now…well, I forgot I’d written it.)

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Alice’s Historic Image of the Week

I don’t know if I’ve shared this before but even if I have I’m sharing it again.

This was in York Castle Museum, as part of an exhbit on exercise through the ages. Originally produced to highlight the importance of cycle safety, the whole overdramatization of scenario is hilariousand (even though I am the first to accept it does feminism no favours).

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The Elizabeth Line: An Alternative Review

Here’s a quick run-through of what happened when I went on London Underground’s newest service, the Elizabeth line.

The first thing I was aware of when I descended the escalators at Paddington was the whizzy LED signs.

I don’t know why, but I found them mesmerising, like a lava lamp. It was also 7:30am and I hadn’t had coffee, which I acknowledge may have been a contributing factor. Nudged by another commuter in that classic “get-on-or-move-on” fashion, I hopped onto the next Eastbound train.

Now the thing is…well, I wanted to illustrate that even though it was very busy at Paddington station the train was pretty quiet. But, equally, I didn’t want it to be obvious I was taking random photos of the train. You can see my predicament. So what do you get?

A slightly burred picture of a door.

It really was a classically Alice dilemma.

Oh, thumbs up for the seat coverings by the way.

And the floor? I mean, I wouldn’t say I’d be eating off it, but by London standards it was fairly squeaky.

I just wish I could say it was seam-LESS! (Get it? Because there’s a joining line? Well, I thought it was witty).

And here’s a photo of Custom House, before a-la-mosh pit I got scooped up by corporate commuters and funnelled toward the ticket gates.

*Then Alice did actual work stuff at the ExCel conference centre*

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On leaving the ExCel I was running back what felt like the thickest black jacket in the hottest day. To say I was a bit toasty was an understatement, I was effectively drowning in a pool of sweat and free pencils.

Honestly I was so relieved to be somewhere with air conditioning and seating I forgot to take any photos. Minor detail.

It was probably owing to this (realising at Bond Street I hadn’t taken any photos and unable to, thanks to the copious amounts of free pencils filling my hands) that I became very obsessed with scoring a selfie with the Underground sign at Paddington. That, and in part because of the very strong coffee I knocked back before leaving the ExCel.

Ten attempts later (not kidding), I settled with what I got and shambled upstairs to find out the outbound train I’d been racing to get was actually a very slow train so ended up loitering around Paddington for 40 minutes for the train which, it turns out, all my colleagues were on as well. None of them were interested in my pencils, only moaning about the cleanliness of the toilets at Paddington. For a whole hour.

So yeah…

The Elizabeth line! Clean (enough), mesmerising signs (if you’re suffering from caffeine withdrawal) and just enough air con to stop you gagging on the stench of someone else’s body odour. What more could you want?!

Oh, and it’s actually super quick to get places. Minor detail.

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“Cleaning-Up the Microwave” (a Chemical Fume-Induced Song)

From the makers of That’s When the Cleaning Fumes Got to Me, I present me, cleaning the microwave with equally questionable methods.

If it’s not the fact I forgot to turn the mircowave off (apparently it’s not safe), it’s the realisation afterwards of the potential effects those fumes were having on me.

But still, at least the microwave is clean now.

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Reactions to “Chicken Con Carne”

Less than an hour after I upload my last post, Alice’s “Chicken Con Carne”, my phone buzzes. Two separate messages, one from Mumma B and the other from brutally honest mate Laura. Wishing we well? Asking what I’m up to? Nope, expressing concern over my grasp of international dialogue and my hands. As you do.

That’s right, I did indeed study Food Technology and the Spanish language at GCSE, with respective grades of A and B (I even won an award for my cooking). Where did it all go wrong? One word, University-catered-halls-of-residence-slash-studying-hard-slash-it-was-around-this-time-I-discovered-GoT-and-daytime-TV.

It gets worse. I visited Mumma B the other day and she’s given me a knife, that is how concerned she is. It must make her the first parent in history to thrust a knife into her daughter’s hand and beg me to take it. She even smuggled it into my handbag when I tried to leave it behind.

(The best bit? The video was recorded months ago. The face on Mumma B when I told her? Priceless.)

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“Six-Year-Old’s Lockdown Song to Missed Friends” – Two Years On

I cannot believe it’s been two years since I first heard “Six-year-old’s lockdown song to missed friends” (catchy title, I grant you).

What do you mean, you haven’t heard this song? What the heck is right with you?!

Say what you want about the first UK lockdown in 2020, but the local news reporting was at the very top of its game back then. Slow news month? Pfft! I don’t know what you’re taking about!

I can’t find the video on YouTube, okay, so you’ll have to trust me this link is safe and click on it to have a listen for yourself:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-52403189

And please don’t ask me how much time I spent trying to find this on the internet. An unhealthy amount, that’s what. (And an amount that could well have put me on some police-watch list).

Ah, April 2020. As I recall, around about this time I was spending 90% of my day rocking back and forth with a half-eaten packet of dry cream crackers in my hand. With this song stuck in my head.

Those were the days.

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The Cat’s Playing Hide and Seek, Again

When you spot her…

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My Best Bernie Saunders Impression

Completely uninentional; I went furniture shopping (I say shopping, it was more middle-class browsing) and somehow ended up looking like Bernie Saunders.

It’s not like I was even trying!

Bernie at the 2021 presidential inauguration, this is what I’m comparing myself to.

Image credit: Vanity Fair

I guess that makes me one step closer to being an old, white, American guy…

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