>I teach in Brum twice a week. This used to be an hour-long ‘dash’ up the M5, but now it’s 3.5 hours each way on the train. I still like working with the students, but the travelling is difficult. I was meant to work on the next radio play on the train this morning, but spent most of the time with eyes-closed trying to rest in a state just short of sleep (the snorer’s mode). Tonight I must work – I lay awake last night while the play played in my head. This is a rarity for me and needs to be valued (and written down).

The men from the water company came yesterday and replaced our historic lead communication pipe with trendy new blue plastic. This increased water pressure by a factor of 2 and should hopefully reduce our ongoing poisoning (the levels of lead are over 4 times the current safe limit – 11 times next year’s limit). We still have to replace the indoor lead. We have quotes ranging from £750 to £3,500. Welcome to London.

The electrician comes next week to make the earthing legal and add a few bits and pieces. We have mortgaged the cat to pay for it (on a variable rate damnit). I can’t see the Halifax being in a hurry to repossess a neutered ginger tomcat mind.