Saturday, 14 May 2016

Mass Observation - One Day Diary - Tuesday 12th May 2016

I wrote this account because I was taking part in mass observation where large numbers of people write about their day.  Last year I wrote about a day off from work, spent in Ashdown Forest.

According to the Mass Observation people's tweet ...

Some great #12May16 diaries coming in! Common themes include: reactions to the , weather, #SATs, social media, childcare 

Mine focussed much more my journey from Uckfield to Birmingham and back, mixing the way I used technology with observations about the countryside I saw from the train window.

Oxted Station - on the way home
I tweeted some of my observations. My most popular tweet of the day was about a visit to a new and very friendly cocktail bar (Ben's Place) on the way home from Uckfield station.

... had a fabulous Margarita at @Bens_Place

One Day Diary

I live in Uckfield, Sussex with my Mother. I am 53 years old. I am single. I work as a training consultant.  This wasn’t a typical day because I did a round trip to Birmingham to run a virtual session, which means that my day was so much more focussed on travel than usual. Usually  I work at home, or travel to Birmingham and stay overnight in a hotel. 

Got up. Mum got me coffee.
Dressed in reasonably smart office clothes. Blue and white jacket, red white and blue shoes, white top.
Breakfast comprised yoghurt and a papaya with lime.
Left home and walked to the station about a mile away.  Got cash from the bank machine on the way. Also bought newspaper (Guardian) and Private Eye from independent newsagent.
At Uckfield station purchased ticket from lady at ticket office. Nice that she knows my usual routes as well as I do. £65.80 for return to Birmingham International via London.
Caught London Bridge train (Southern).
On way, noticed that woods were really blue with bluebells. Think I caught a glimpse of a purple orchid on the embankment.  Browsed through cartoons in Private Eye and browsed through the Guardian. Interesting article on the election of the new London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. It said that Greater London was created in 1963 in the hope that the “blue donut” of the outer suburbs would overwhelm the then “red” centre. Then talked about how control has switched to and from Conservative and Labour. Private Eye cover lampooned the Prime Minister’s scare tactics on European referendum.
At Hurst Green, got off train.  Usual crowds of school children needing to get on the train. Two very polite teenagers in wine red blazers got off at the same time as me.  I walked along the platform to get a seat near the front of the train. Noticed that a cherry tree on the other side had dropped pink petals, which were lying in drifts along the platform.  Picked up free Metro newspaper. Main story about  Boris Johnson (former Mayor of London) hitting out at Prime Minister, David Cameron, about Euro referendum.
Browsed Facebook and Twitter on my Samsung Smart Phone, noticed tweet about Mass Observation. Tweeted about what I was doing. 
Got onto Victoria train.  On the way into Victoria, noticed that Battersea Power Station no longer has its chimneys. It looks very wrong like that.
Followed crowd through Victoria. Two heavily armed Police Officers. Both tall and watchful. One had beard.
Down the steps into the underground. Went through automatic barrier.  Not very crowded.  Went to Victoria Northbound. Train came quickly. Some holiday makers with baggage amongst commuters. A few younger men wearing shorts. Some people listening to music through ear-bud type headphones. A few people wearing the more fashionable chunky headphones.
Got off tube at Euston. While on escalator noticed young Muslim woman in robes wearing a bright pink set of the chunky headphones.
Got on 9:43 Virgin train to Glasgow, in order to get to Birmingham International.
Fire up laptop and start clearing down inbox. Two business men joined me at table. The man sitting next to me let me plug in on his side of the table.
Glance out of the countryside from time to time. Very green and lush.
The man next to me bought £8 Wifi access for 24hr.
Stop at Milton Keynes, group of businessmen opposite leave, an elderly Scottish couple came in with a younger woman. They were helped by Virgin Staff.
Fields bright yellow with rapeseed crop.
Wind turbines seen towering over fields.
Announcement for shop includes apple and contactless payments.
People riding horses in the sunshine.
At Coventry, start packing up my laptop. Then wait by the door for the next stop.
Leave the station through automatic barrier, which swallows my ticket. Must remember to keep the other half for expenses.
Walk past taxi rank and pause to look at the flowers on a small grassy area. Daisies, Cowslips, buttercups and forget-me-nots.
Walk quickly along to business park. Very hot.  At entrance to business park, I notice fabulous blossom on tree.  Blossom very good this year.
Get into office. Exchange a few words with colleagues.  Mainly about the issues that stopped the Customer’s virtual conferencing software working with my home broadband. Then go to meeting room so I can do a test run on virtual conferencing software.  Deal with new emails while waiting.
Test run successful. Also discussed next steps.
Go to get a snack lunch at a nearby garage. On the way noticed lovely Hawthorn blossoms and green alkanet.  Took photos and tweeted one.
Lunch comprised Salmon sandwich, mango chunks and a Can of Coca-Cola. It cost £4.59. Tweeted picture of lunch for mass observation.
After eating lunch, I print out some training materials and prepared for this afternoon’s virtual session.
2  pm
Ran the virtual session to share information about changes to computer system with offshore trainers.
3:45 pm
Finished virtual session; sent reference guides to one of the participants and sent an email with a query to one of our own experts. I gathered up my stuff and walked to the station. Noticed blue flowers by the roadside.
4:25 pm
Just managed to catch the 4:20 Virgin train to Euston, which had been slightly delayed.  Shared a table with people connected with the Open University.  I opened my laptop and started working through questions that people on the virtual session had asked.
5:05 pm
Stopped at Milton Keynes. The Open University people got off. More people got in. Only just enough seats so much shuffling and getting in and out of seats.
Later, I look up and see narrow boats lined up alongside a canal.
5:40 pm
Got to Euston. Escalators to Northern line are being refurbished so very crowded getting down to the platforms but not too bad once there. A Busker was playing an electronic harp. Gave him a pound.   Tube train not too crowded. Nearly everyone had a seat.
Got to London Bridge main line a couple of minutes after the Uckfield train left. Waited for the next East Grinstead train.  Bought a snack to eat on the way home. A roll with bacon, brie and cranberry plus a bag of crisps cost £5.  Waited for some time, then the boards showed the East Grinstead train was coming into platform 10. 
As train drew out of the station, ate roll while looking back at the buildings. Could recognise the Gherkin and the Walkie Talkie. Saw top of Tower Bridge.  Seems that the old, familiar landmarks are being swamped. Read the Evening Standard until Oxted where I got out.  News full of politicians bickering about EU referendum.
Waited at Oxted until 18:37 Uckfield train.  While on train completed the questions I had been dealing with earlier.  When I finished, enjoyed looking over countryside in gold light of low sun.  Noticed progress had been made on lengthening some of the platforms.
Got off train. Strong smell of wild garlic as I left the station.  Walked up hill as far as Ben’s Place, a new cocktail bar, Ben’s Place. Had a Margarita before walking home. Staff very friendly.
At home, greeted Mum and we went into the garden to look at her new plants. Loved walking on the damp grass in my bare feet.
Used personal laptop to check some TV info for mum. Checked train times for Sunday. Tweeted about my cocktail, which was retweeted by bar. Played round with Twitter and Facebook for a bit. Had a chocolate drink.
Went to bed.