Treasure Hunt Report – we won. Quite convincingly as it happens. And most of that is down to Alex.

Seven activities to complete, most of which require photographs but some problem solving also. We were given two hours to complete all the tasks and were ultimately forced to split up in order to finish them. For once, I don’t want to provide spoilers on the off chance any readers feel like taking part but there was definitely no time to waste and legging it up and down escalators requires a wee bit of stamina. Racked up over 28,000 steps on the old pedometer tho’. However, it was good fun and solving the tricky clues does imbue a sense of satisfaction and smugness. Prizes – London Underground branded tat! I took the socks, the notebook and a keyring – not exactly Long John Silver’s treasure chest but all ok. The Hunt was followed by a late dinner at Hermann Ze German. Good food, good beer, good times – except the table of doddering old gits (read middle-aged types with excessive beer-guts, brown shoes and a noticeable lack of wedding rings) sat opposite us who took thirty minutes just to decide what to order.

I ultimately decided to brave the crowds on Saturday given the attention-whore parade (I hate and despise the Pride March – long suffering readers will know why) although I decided to leave it until late in the vain hope that most people would have dispersed and the centre of London could get back to normal. I also took the one route into the West End I thought would be free of traffic (without going too far towards the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street. Alas, the hordes were still out, the streets replete with confetti trash and members of the public covered in badly designed stickers. Once again, gay pride means being a waxed, plucked muscle queen who has to be louder than one’s neighbour or some tenth-rate Ru-Paul knock-off. So glad this is the net product of what I spend much of the last fifteen years supporting. 

As I’m still not quite finished GTA IV, I couldn’t justify buying myself an Xbox One just yet. I just _knew_ that if I did, I’d set it up and start immersing myself in Batman, GTA V or Wolfenstein (those are my first three planned purchases) and not finished the backlog of games sat in the cupboard. Though it was very tempting. Hamley’s was its usual mish-mash of gawking tourists and beleaguered London shoppers. And still no Pam Poovey dolphin glove puppet in the marionette section.

John Lewis clearance sale – some lovely televisions. Almost bought one…until I checked my bank balance online which made for thoroughly unpleasant reading, as well as a shock as I was convinced that I’d managed to put aside a good chunk of cash this month. Damn those Talisman expansion packs, damn them all to hell. Sufficed to say, I have fewer fiscal problems than the Hellenic Republic but am faced with an important psychological barrier as to spending. It prompted the need for an emergency financial review at home later that day which threw up more questions than answers. Put simply, gonna have to throttle back a bit on spending and more yellow stickered items from Tesco. That aside, my current TV set is coming up to eight years old which is exactly how long the previous set lasted before it conked out so it’s less of a frivolous expense than first imagined. 

Sunday I spent the entire day trying to finish off GTA IV. Quite easy in the morning given the torrential rain but when the clouds parted and the sun shone down, not so easy. And despite all that time dedicated to it, NOT FINISHED YET! Even if I cut out all the extraneous stuff, the main missions are very involving. However, I am fairly certain one more evening will do it given how all the plot lines are beginning to converge. Also managed to get my first six-star wanted rating by accidentally crashing a helicopter onto a roof on Burlesque and then raining grenades down on the crowd. As the police couldn’t get to me (helicopters were kinda stuffed and more than one got shot out of the sky by yours truly), I survived five minutes and got the achievement. Great fun. Oh, and I finally wiped out humanity with the Deathcap Fungus on Plague Inc. Bring on the parasites…

Looking ahead – pay day tomorrow (great), 36 degree temperatures Wednesday (so sleep-deprivation will be endemic to the city on Thursday), one week’s leave on Friday and a nice, quiet weekend. Here’s to a sedate calendar.