Writing these is fun.
Tantalisingly close to finishing another part of the project today. Testing always takes by far the longest, which can be frustrating but making good software excites me more than piling on features. So it continues. I can't tell you more than this.
Britain hasn't been this politically volatile for quite a long time, so after work I walked to Westminster to see if there was anything interesting to gawk at. I walked down Whitehall from Trafalgar Square, past Downing Street (which branches off to the right - the west), to the Houses of Parliament. Under most circumstances, the entrance to Downing Street is heavily guarded with a large gate and many machine-gun-wielding police officers. You can just about see the entrance to 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's residences and offices. Today was Prime Minister Theresa May's first day in power, so there were cars entering and leaving the street, with heavily tinted windows (it was difficult to identify who was in the car, but you could easily figure it out if you were tuned into BBC News 24), carrying the members of her new Cabinet.
On the north-west side of the junction with Whitehall there was a small crowd of left-wing protesters chanting anti-Tory slogans and shouting at the ministers' cars as they passed. The crowd were either holding home made placards or ones produced by the Socialist Workers Party (Trotskyists), which despite having experienced an exodus of members after the attempted cover-up of a rape committed by a prominent (and still unnamed!) party member, still seem to produce the majority of left-wing placards, which are then picked up by people unfamiliar with the organisation's murky internal workings, making the party seem much larger than it actually is. It was common practice for someone to try to smash up their stalls at the annual Fresher's Fair at my old college (I miss those days).
On the south-west side of the junction were apolitical gawkers, lollygaggers and curious tourists. This side was quite jovial - we may not have had a common political objective but we were united in our curiosity. Someone was streaming the live news on their phone and shouting out the names of the ministers in their cars, which they occasionally got wrong. A very serene and serious man standing next to me corrected them. This might have been his job. This was the corner where journalists entered and exited Downing Street, by foot.
On the east side of the junction, facing Downing Street on the opposite side of Whitehall, were yet more protesters. Early on there was a group of Brexiteers with banners and megaphones proclaiming "We are the 52%", calling upon the new PM (who had supported remaining in the EU - everybody assumed that the faction that won the referendum would seize power of the Conservative Party but this didn't end up happening) to invoke Article 50 as soon as possible. Next to the anti-EU crowd there was a group of Kurdish protesters, with YPG, Rojava, PKK and PYD flags. They were requesting that the PKK (which has organised a ceasefire with the Turkish government) be removed from the list of terrorist organisations, as well as generally requesting that the UK help Kurdish people in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran.
Later on these two groups were replaced by a man in a green and orange outfit (with a large Star of David stuck to his front) carrying a portable loudspeaker (which was playing Irish folk music - which he would occasionally dance to), two placards describing a conspiracy theory involving Boris Johnson, Brexit and Biblical prophecy, and a group of quite scruffy looking men with megaphones who were also shouting about something or other.
I didn't see much in Westminster itself - I had the suspicion that I walked past about 20 Members of Parliament without noticing. That's one thing I'm kind of proud of about British politics - you can be a prominent British MP and take the tube or bus to work if you feel like it. It's not like the USA where a senator or congressperson is constantly surrounded by aides and guards. In addition to the sheer violence of the act, and the way its political (far-right/white supremacist) connections were constantly glossed over by the media and other politicians (Nigel Farage stated that his party won the referendum "without a shot being fired"), this was one of the things that really shocked me about the murder of Jo Cox.
Opposite the houses of Parliament is Parliament Square. This is often the end point of political protest marches. If you walk south from there along Millbank you'll find a small park which was cordoned off today and occupied by about ten gazebos, which were being used by news teams from the BBC, ITV, Sky and many foreign networks I had never heard of. I couldn't recognise anyone. Only journalists were allowed in but for some reason a man with a large placard saying "ATTACK ON IRAN WILL LEAD AMERICA RUSSIA INTO WORLD WAR THREE IN IRAQ". I'm pretty sure he was allowed to remain there because he would have been too much hassle to kick out. Sometimes that's all you need to do to be noticed, I suppose.
In the quest to decide what I want to do with my life, I wrote down a list of priorities on a sheet of paper. I couldn't decide in the end which ones mattered most to me, but most of them required me to improve my communication. Writing still seems to be the medium of choice for getting your ideas across and even media that don't consist of written words often involve writing as an intermediate step (screenwriting, speech-writing). Even when speaking, it helps to be able to organise my thoughts. Public speaking and conversation are next on my list, by the way. I enjoy talking to people I don't know, but London has quite an anti-social culture. I think this is mostly a good thing but it does mean I have to go out of my way to find people to talk to.