New social sciences building had a wobble
I’m no expert in multi-million pound building projects, but I’m pretty sure that on a list of ‘Things You Don’t Want to Happen’, unstable foundations ranks pretty close to the top. Which is exactly why half of the £65 million Social Sciences building had to be torn down in July, and now probably won’t be finished until 2022.
Now I do feel sorry for everyone who was looking forward to using the building, and the builders who now have to go through six months of deja vu, but it was hard not to laugh when this was announced. Just imagine the scale of the sigh when they measured the movement and realised they had to do it all again. You could probably hear it in Leeds.
It feels like when you make a Lego set (other brick-based construction toys are available), and halfway through you realise two of the instructions pages were stuck together and you have to unbuild everything to put it right.
I’m a Celebrity moved to Wales
This year’s Monarch of the Jungle will actually be the Monarch of the Castle, as ITV announced that I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! will take place in a Welsh castle this year instead of the usual Australian jungle. Obviously this is a sensible precaution because of the pandemic, but it will take some of the magic out of the show.
The location is Gwrych Castle near Llandudno and while looking at pictures of it, I wish I was on I’m a Celeb this year; it looks lovely. I was worried that it would seem really odd and the camp would just end up looking like a damp DofE weekend, but I think it will just be different.
The castle is also apparently haunted, which adds a pleasingly supernatural element to the series. I’m imagining Alexander Armstrong doing his dishes and a Victorian Count coming up behind him to recreate that scene from Ghost, and I would definitely pay my TV licence to see that.
Sainsbury’s revamped queueing
Quietly, at the beginning of August, a pillar of British identity showed the first signs of rot. Sainsbury’s trialled a queueing app which let you log in to a virtual queue from your car, or at home, to wait for your shopping slot. This avoids the socially-distanced lines snaking around the car park, yes, but this could be the beginning of the end for the queue.
Queueing has always seemed to be a strength of Britain, allowing us to go to warmer, nicer places on holiday but still tut at the shambles of a line for the bus to the hotel.
I like queueing. It’s become a strange escape over the last few months as you get out of the house without having to pretend that you want to do exercise. Also, at a ticket counter or checkout, you can rehearse what you’re going to say when you get to the front, so that you don’t blurt out some kind of socially-awkward “fleurgh” instead of words.
It should really be taught in schools as part of a heritage thing, if anything. The “British Values” they teach now seem a bit pointless anyway. It’s all about respecting other people’s cultures and giving everyone a voice. That’s not British Values, that’s just being a reasonable, nice person. British Values should be queueing, bus seat etiquette and that little nod and smile everyone does when they pass someone on a slightly narrow path.
World’s last Blockbuster turned into an Airbnb
In Bend, Oregon, one of the last bastions of 90’s culture stands proudly against the tide of the internet. The last Blockbuster store in the world has just opened its doors to overnight guests on Airbnb for around £3 a night. You stay in a makeshift living room in a corner of the shop with a sofa, a huge TV, and the entire Blockbuster stock to choose from. It looks glorious, but sadly for all fans of late-night classic Disney marathons, it’s only open to bookings for local residents. But it did get me thinking, and naturally I’ve drawn up my top three list of the Sheffield shops I would most like to spend the night in.
A surprise entry at three is Blacks which can be found in the Moor. The outdoors shop has a top-floor ‘show-field’ with a range of tents which can be your accommodation, and you can find everything you need to have a full camping holiday in there, without being battered by the weather.
Although the same can be said for Go Outdoors and Decathlon, Blacks beats both of them simply on proximity to Nando’s.
Debenhams takes the silver medal position because I remembered that it has a bed somewhere in its depths, and a selection of bedding to suit all tastes. Obviously, a bed is infinitely better to sleep in than a sleeping bag, and Debenhams as a whole has a lot more to do and explore during your stay, therefore it walks into the second spot.
No surprises at the top and no real explanation needed either. Fully-furnished rooms, endless hide-and-seek possibilities and a downstairs garden means I wouldn’t just spend the night there, I would happily live in IKEA.
Image credit: Ognyan Petrov