There was an ugly start to the new year — waking around 9 am as a hairy arm appeared around the bedroom door and Marko lobbed a small — but exceptionally noisy — alarm clock onto our bed. It was a Christmas present desk calendar/alarm clock that I’d put the batteries into yesterday then left on my desk in the spare room — not realising that it had pre-armed itself with a 7 am alarm. Mark had belted it into submission, then decided on revenge by resetting it and lobbing it in to visit us. We managed to placate him with strong coffee, scrambled eggs, and the assurance that the initial alarm had been accidental, and not part of some fiendish plot to destroy his sleep.

The first housework of the year consumed the rest of the morning, then due to the total absence of edible material in the flat, Jo and I headed up the street for groceries and lunch — foolishly assuming that there would be cafés open. It was like another end-of-the-world movie scene, a few people wandering up and down the street, hunting in vain for somewhere to eat. All the pubs were shut, and only two other shops seemed open. It was either Silvio’s or Spargos for lunch — cheap good pizza with table service, or pretentious bad food in a noisy, self-service style… No contest really, Silvio’s pizza it was.

Derelict Pier, Brighton UK

While we were cleaning up, Jo found a newspaper cutting that she’d kept for me. Apparently there’s been some big storms in the south of England and half the derelict pier at Brighton has fallen down. From the photos in the paper, it looks like the outermost half of the pier has collapsed completely. There was money earmarked for its rejuvenation, but the summary is that its too badly damaged and might have to be completely demolished…