Monday, November 19, 2018

Monday

The weather seasonally cold and dull. Anton knocking on the door this morning, to pick up his car and a bag. He had run over.

I was up early to plan my next steps. I worked on a bit of writing. Tidying up and making a list seems to help. I am heading for a squeaky period financially. Spending lots on house repairs, then having to turn work away when Janet was dying has left the Kenny coffers at a very low ebb, just in time for my tax bill. In my line of work, this is not a good time to pick up freelance. However the only thing to do is work at what I can work at, and stay tranquil.

I went to the gym this afternoon, and had to drag myself through it. I only did half an hour's trundling on the cross trainer, but with the walk there and back, it is a good deal better than nothing.

Having reached an impasse with work, and Lorraine home late, I did some reading. Finished my Aickman collection, Compulsory Games, and am now reading an interesting book called Unforbidden Pleasures: Rethinking Authority, Power and Vitality, by Adam Phillips.

Lorraine home late, and we watched Vera, known in our house as 'Your Mam's dead pet'.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Game with no name

Up and at em', well kind of, for a Sunday. Breakfast of bacon and eggs and toast and baked beans, then a drive off to Sainsbury's. It is weird how much I like going to Sainsbury's with Lorraine.

Then a bit of zooming about the house tidying things. Lorraine had some work to do, and we cooked as Anton and Anne and Klaudia and Oskar came around for their tea. Oskar is beansprouting and I foresee a time, not long, when he will be able to loom over me and gain an unrivalled view of the area of concern. He is already almost as tall as Klaudia. Cheery to hang out with my Godbairns and chat with Anne. Anton went and sat with Lorraine in the kitchen, making a nice pork roast with lots of veggies.  As we sat down for food, Oskar got a sudden headache and retired to the gold sofa till it was time to go. Anton saying he still had to go to school tomorrow.

Klaudia, Anton, Lorraine and I then played a nameless card game Klaudia had invented on holiday in Bulgaria. (Anne can't be doing with card games.) Anton wants the nameless game to be called Anton. It was a surprisingly good game, and we played several rounds of it till it was time for everyone to go.

Lorraine and I sat around drinking sparkling mineral water, and watched a Scandinavian noir shop show till bedtime. I spoke to Mum and glimpsed Mas too on the iPad.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Dark fish, evil rummy

Saturday, and surprisingly perky considering last night's shenanigans. Woke up to find my short story, The Dark Fish, had been uploaded by Matthew the editor, who had been hard at work at 1am. Forced Lorraine to read it in bed, and went around saying the word Horror but only employing the first 'o' vowel sound.

Lorraine and I chatting lots this morning, and putting things in their right mental boxes. Lorraine needs to say thing out loud to manage them. I perfectly understand this. My own speciality is venting in a self loathing, depressive and angry way, which depresses anyone in earshot, but leaves me feeling cleansed and happy.

In the afternoon we scooted into town for some shopping, then Lorraine and I popped into The Bottom's Rest for a pint of Harveys. Beth met us there from work and we went back to the flat.

A cheery evening with Beth and John. We ordered a curry takeaway from around the corner, and John and I went to collect it. We bumped into a cheery Innis in the street. Home and we discovered it was all wrong. When we returned, the apologetic restaurant folks, gave us a free bottle of wine and a half a cobra each while we waited, and a sheaf of poppadoms extra. They were clearly having a nightmarish evening, and as we left a group of lairy lads that were hanging about by the bus stop, had migrated to downstairs in the restaurant, and were to be heard roaring downstairs.

Ate curry. Beth's birthday this week, so much Beth-lead debate about whether she was allowed to open her presents now. John was firm on the matter. Played John's evil rummy game till we all got tired and John had won. Then Lorraine and I hopped on the bus home. A lovely evening.

Matthew at Horla the Home of Intelligent Horror found this image to go with my story. I like it.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday night out

Up and early working, before bussing off to my glass class. Spent the two hours getting led cement into one side of the window, a process a bit like grouting, and then using chalk dust, called whiting, and a brush to polish the glass on that side. Then I tidied up the grouting bits by holding the window up to the light.  Next week the b side, and then I'm done.

After this, a coffee with Yvonne, Adele and Frances. Chris having hurt his back this week. Enjoyed having a laugh with them. Then I bussed home again, said hello to Sonia and did a bit of this and that on my computer, and had a cheeky doze.

Walked over to Anton's house where I ate some of his pizza and chatted with Anne and Klaudia and Anton for a bit, before we pushed off into town. Had a a pub crawl, popping into many and various pubs, perhaps most memorably Bar Broadway in Kemptown, where musicals take centre stage. The screens in the bar had ornate gold picture frames, and featured songs from Cabaret and also The Spice Girls. From there we went to Patterns, a club and music venue. There we saw Mattiel, and her band. For complex reasons this was the third time Anton had seen Mattiel this week. He has a WhatsApp group set up with pals from work, and has delighted in posting pictures of himself standing next to the singer and sending them to the jealous pals.

She had good material, and her band was excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed the gig. We even spoke to her a wee bit afterwards, were I snapped a pleased with himself Anton. Home by cab after a splendid night out.

Anton and the singer Mattiel, Mattiel and her band onstage.




Thursday, November 15, 2018

Horrific

Theresa May presented her deal with the EU today to mass Tory resignations. Essentially Brexit is a national suicide attempt, and May is trying to make that suicide slightly less painful. Many rabid Brexiteers want it to be more deeply damaging. Meanwhile the populace, bitterly divided by the lies they were told,  doesn't know what the hell is happening or who to trust. The closer we get to Brexit the madness of the 'taking back control' lie further reveals itself.

And breathe.

For me personally a rather good day. I did some writing. I sent stuff off to Michel and Pat and Perky. I went to the gym. I returned and did some more work, and then I got a note accepting one of my short stories to appear on a Horror story site called Horla. This was a bit of a boost. The story is about an astrologer and is called, The Dark Fish.  I wrote it in 1986, which I went through three rounds of revisions with the editor of a magazine called Panurge, before he finally rejected it. I tried it several times elsewhere with no luck, and then filed it. Reading short stories lately, I dug out some of my own, and re-read The Dark Fish again, and saw easily how it could be fixed and did a rewrite last week. A bit of progress in a year of roadblocks.

Lorraine home late, and tired. Fed and tended to her before she went to bed really early.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Meeting and reading

So off to Hampton today, (standing room only from Preston Park obvs.) where I had a lunchtime meeting with The French Bloke and Pat. I was early, so sat in a cafe and had a cup of tea and a bacon roll for £4. Then I ambled off to sit by the river where I sat for ten minutes in the unseasonal November sun and looking at waterfowl. Then into the agency, chatted with various folks, and then Michel took me to a pub called The Jolly Coopers which dates back to the 18th Century.

Enjoyed catching up with Michel and then Pat, and I talked them through a powerpoint presentation of the thinking I have been doing about waiting rooms. They seemed quite intrigued and positive, and we will talk more about it.

By the time the train had come at Hampton Station it was already 3:30pm so I made off to Kings Cross. Here I idled by walking around the area and having a lengthy coffee and blueberry muffin before going to Housman's radical bookshop for the launch of An Outbreak of Peace. We heard four poets (I was one) and four prose people reading. A bit of a schlepp just to read a single poem, War Diary in 1/72 scale, but it was worth it, and I met some nice people. Including having a chat with a woman about Guernsey. Good to meet Cherry Potts the editor of Arachne Press and her partner Melanie (I think), and listen to a wide variety of contributors.

Managed to leap onto a fairly early train, and be home via taxi in time to chat with my lovely wifey before bedtime.

Below a snap of a thunderbird puppet me, reading my poem, and the view from the bench where I chilled out for ten minutes. Pat and the FB work in a restful and creativity provoking area.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Out of the mire

Lorraine working at home this morning, which was nice. I worked on some writing, and sent some emails. I trundled on the cross trainer at the gym, my first time back for ages which explains the sumo business in the mirror.

Madeline copied me on a note wrangling with relatives in her role as Janet's executor. Thank God I am out of that mean-spirited mire now.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

They Shall Not Grow Old

Up fairly early, and left Lorraine to snooze after bringing her tea. Trace up shortly followed by Lorraine. Pleased to see they got on well right away. We sat chatting in the kitchen, then immediately after 11am, which Lorraine wanted to mark in silence, we made off down into Kensington Gardens to a cafe called Iydea, for a rather delicious vegetarian breakfast (Trace had a vegan one) and we discussed all manner of subjects including the idea (or should that be the iydea) of vegan cheese as Trace has a hankering to own a vegan cheese shop. This followed by a spot of looking in shops, and then we walked Trace up to Brighton station, had a final cup of tea there  and said fond farewells. Lorraine really liked Tracey, which was nice.

Sauntered home through the park, and then I read a Robert Aickman story, and had a Sunday afternoon snooze on the gold sofa. Lorraine had some pesky work to be getting on with. I cooked for us. In the evening was a remarkable film on TV by Peter Jackson, which was colourised and repaired film from World War One, with recordings of the voices of the chaps who were there. It was called They Shall Not Grow Old, and it was rather brilliant. At the end the film talks about how the veterans returned home, and nobody much wanted to hear about what had happened. I can easily imagine this.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Retracing

Lorraine up early and off to the school for a morning event, then in the afternoon she travelled up to London to go to a reunion of the people she started nursing with back in the early eighties.

I however, did a few bits of writing, and emailing folks including Robin, who had sent me a copy of her booklet A Guide TO Getting Published in UK Poetry Magazines, which is a generally good wheeze. then sauntered down to Brighton Station where I met Tracey, who I had not seen for some ten years, she having been living lately in California, and dodging wildfires.

Talked about a good deal with her, such as her time in Hawaii, and working for an IT startup in California, and experiences working for a non-profit organisation there too, and colourful descriptions of the characters she met there. She is now back in the UK for the time being. We spent the entire afternoon and evening just talking. Tracey on the hunt for CBD oil, which was found in Infinity Foods, then we walked down to the sea, to get our cobwebs blown off. Then tea in the Mock Turtle, followed by strapping on the nosebag in Terre à Terre. Trace is a vegan. I opted for a vegetarian fish and chips, very high end, with squeaky halloumi cheese instead of fish. She had something to do with high end cauliflowers, but asked for extra chips and we shared a chocolate cake dessert.

Walked home, just got home as it started raining heavily and thundering. Quite a stormy night.

Tracey going to bed at around 9:45, perhaps there is only so much talking to Peter Kenny a person can stand.  I waited up till Lorraine came home, watching Match of the Day, and sipping a bottle of beer. Had another bottle of beer when Lorraine came home. She'd had a fun reunion in London, and I looked at photos of her pals before we crept up to bed.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Holding my window up to the light

So a little work on a story, and then off to Stained Glass again. Finally today was able to hold my  window up to the light, having soldered everything into place. Very pleased with the results, and I thanked Ben for all his help. Next week will be all about cementing the glass into place, a bit like grouting tiles. Still a big moment for me. I do like the results. It will also change with different light conditions. You can't see really from the photo below that the clear looking glass is actually tints of yellow and green, for example.

Coffee afterwards with Rick, Yvonne, Adele and Frances, and after they went I did a bit of work in the cafe, before going for a stroll along by the sea and onto the pier, before catching a bus back to my neck of the woods, and taking a long walk to make sure I had walked my thousand paces. Home, and Lorraine shattered after a hard week. Lorraine called for a curry, and I snuck out and collected it. A stormy night outside, with wind and rain roaring up our road. Happy to be indoors, tucking into food and feeling safe and warm.

Below holding the window up to the light for the first time; some white sea.


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Evening stars

A good day's work today. Looking again at what I have on my hard drive, and deciding to get this brushed up and sent off. Prompted by reading Jeremy and Louise's collections of short stories, I remembered I have had a couple of short stories published, and have a few more in the hard drive.  I imported them all into Scrivener, my writing software to see what I have, and was surprised at how good some of them were. So I am getting myself organised to get some of these sent out into the wild.

In the evening, I dodged the rain and loped own to the Evening Star where I met Richard Gibson, Steve Cartwright, and their pal Nick for a few beers, and a young Irish guy whose name escapes me now. A cheery evening of real ale and chats about all manner of subjects. I always enjoy their company, and will make sure I do a bit more of this. Richard and Nick were drinking a third of a pint of some really strong brown beer that smelled of marmite. I had a sip of one of them, weirdly lovely.

Richard took a snap to send to Glen in Greece.

Home again, walking through the dark park, and smelling of real ale, crept into bed beside my lovely wife.

Below, not a pretty sight. Steve, Richard, myself and Nick.


Tuesday, November 06, 2018

London Calling

Off to London today, finishing Jeremy Page's book of short stories, London Calling on the way there. I loved it, and as Jeremy is about my age, (and had gone to Warwick too) I completely identified with some of his work. I sent him an email saying how much I'd enjoyed it. Also enjoying Louise Tondeur's collection, Unusual Places which I dip into from time to time.

I arrived at Victoria time to to pop into Tate Britain, where I at last got to use my membership card again. I glanced around at the Edward Burne-Jones exhibition, but I found I wasn't much in the mood for pre-Raphaelite malarkey. I went into the Turner Prize 2018, each of the artist doing a video installation, so utterly the wrong thing to pop into for a cheeky twenty minutes. I did get a proper laugh at some work by Charlotte Prodger, film of a stern of a ship at sea which made you feel woozy, looking at the sliding horizon. Suddenly there was voiceover, but so risibly pretentious that it made me burst into laughter. Luckily I was alone.

Upstairs for the Frasier and Niles Crane moment... Into the members area for a cup of coffee. I sat down with a sigh, and took out my book. I found myself within earshot of a woman talking without relentlessly to her silent friend like the mouth in Samuel Beckett's play Not I.

I walked along the river, passing the houses of parliament, and a borderline violent lucky heather seller. I watched in fascination as she grabbed at people, staring into their eyes. She did so to one Chinese man shouting, hospital! Hospital! At him.

I made my way to the Salisbury, where I met Mum. Had a quick drink and a chat there, before we mooched off to Gerrard Street, where we, with the help of Google, pinned down which building had been Ronnie Scotts when Mum worked there as a young hep cat (it was number 39).  Mum then bought me lunch in the Four Seasons, where we chopsticked down some tucker. I had a really nice chat with Mum.  I was moaning about being a bit in limbo at the moment, and she pointed out that I should enjoy it as I will soon be busy again. This was sage advice.

I decided to go home early in the afternoon rather than track anyone down for a networking booze, as my prime candidate was unavailable.

Home, and Lorraine had a much better day at work today. I rustled up some food and we watched Masterchef. Tom staying tonight, and we all chatted for a bit. Time for a early night.

Below a Pre-Raphaelite strip cartoon, the lone voice of reason on Whitehall, approaching the Houses of Parliament, and the mad woman scaring poor tourists into buying her heather.








Monday, November 05, 2018

Nicely gothic

Monday, and out of bed the wrong way. Feeling anxious to get on with things, but what those things are is not entirely obvious. Spent the day attempting to get a grip. Lorraine off and into work not exactly with a song on her lips either.

A walk this afternoon which helped. I sent a happy birthday note off to Richard, now back in Guernsey. And I bumped into Simon Bottrell, who was looking extremely well after having had a nasty heart attack last year. In fact I have never seen him looking so good, and he seemed much happier and healthier than when I last saw him. He told me he was exercising all the time, and is managing his stress really well.

Started reading the book of short stories by Jeremy Page, called London Calling. Really good.

I wandered about the park brooding on how well I was managing things. Walked back by the side of the church, and my eye was caught by these fallen yew tree berries on the top of a tomb. Nicely gothic.

The evening continued with explosions. Lorraine sad we have not been to a display.




Sunday, November 04, 2018

Catherine at The Geese

Lorraine had lots of prep to do today, so we got up early. Some of it I could help her with a bit first thing. She broke off at lunchtime, and we walked down to The Geese, and met up with Catherine and Tanya, Wayne and Tim.

Rather a nice Sunday roast, and excellent company, good to talk to everyone. Among Catherine's many talents, she is expanding into some sort of financial coaching, and asked Lorraine if she could experiment on her. The pub was very busy, and after we'd eaten our really nice roast dinners, we had to move off. Lorraine went back home, and I went off to have ice cream with Tanya and Catherine. Tin and Wayne made off to The Marlborough, and were tempting me to go with them. But in the end I just wanted to be home again. I am finding that I only have so much socialising in me at the moment, even with people I like lots. Walked home in the balmy still too warm for the time of year day, and had a quiet evening with Lorraine.

Below Catherine on her birthday.



Saturday, November 03, 2018

Pottering and revenge

Excellent text from Carl today, saying 'For the first time I can remember, I woke up this morning knowing I can do anything I want this weekend. Absolutely no regrets!' He sold his care-providing business, and is not on call at the weekend any more. I'm really pleased for him.


Lorraine and I got up late, after teas and breakfast in bed and lots of talking about a thorny problem she is facing. Then a spot of housework and some pottering about, we potted up the second acer tree we bought last week, and took bags of garden rubbish to recycling, one full of rose stems which did a surprising amount of pain to my thumb, and then lurked in the garden centre up near the racecourse, I wistfully looked at tropical fish for a minute. We spotted the purple berried plant again, that looks like it should be in an episode of the first Star Trek series.

A quiet day. I slept in the afternoon and read another Aickman story, and in the evening I popped out to Red Chilli for a takeaway, and we snuggled on the gold sofa and watched Wild Tales, a DVD of a movie John had bought us, containing hilarious and violent short stories about six violently uninhibited revenges. Loved it. 

Friday, November 02, 2018

Glass and centaurs and astral twins

Up and a bit of my work, and a bit of tidying, before zooming off to my glass class. Another enjoyable session, where I did lots of soldering. Coffee afterwards with most of the class, and hung about chatting with Chris at the end.

This done, I simply slipped around the corner to call in on Helen, and we listened to the entirety of act two of the Centaur opera, to which she had done lots of work, really sounding convincing now. Perhaps it was having been to Glyndebourne recently, but it helped me imagine it being sung on stage more easily too. Good to see her for a while, and escape into a world of music.

Then I walked home. Lorraine having a bit of a wretched week at school for various reasons I won't go into here. Home, however, and we caught a cab and zoomed off down past Preston Park where a big fireworks display was going to happen, down to the Station pub in Hove again, where John's band Body Talk was playing again. Always nice to see Betty and John, and I enjoyed chatting to Ed and Matt.  It was a quieter night than last time, I suspect due to the fireworks parties going on. But I still managed a bit of wild interpretive dance, and later others joined in too.

It had been Dawn's birthday recently. We packed up her present at home, then jumped into the cab without it, which was a bit annoying. She and David seem to be getting on well, and I enjoyed talking to David. He was taking Dawn to a Wishbone Ash concert. Wishbone Ash Live Dates was the first album I bought. David is my astral twin, born on exactly the same day and year as me, so no wonder there was a bit of an overlap.

Lorraine and I cabbed home again. A cheerful night. Below another shot of John's mysterious kit, and my never-ending window. Just the bottom bit to do now.





Thursday, November 01, 2018

Monkish

A pinch and a punch. Spent all day monkishly writing to ten agents about the kids book again, this time incorporating my learnings, man, from last weekend in bloomsbury. A couple of brisk walks just to clear my head and get away from my desk.  Lorraine home a bit late, after another hard day. I cooked excellent meatballs to go with pasta.

Below, they are setting up a bit of a funfair in the park, and in the walled garden with puddles.



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Ghoulish

Up early. Sent a long poem into Island Review. Did house stuff. Worked on book proposal. Then off to Hove to meet Madeline at Janet's house. We tidied the place up, and went through boxes of documents to see what was what. Lots of academic papers Janet had written, and lots of stuff for making embroidery. Tried to make the place look welcoming and inhabitable. Then Madeline brought me lunch nearby, in a lovely tapas-style meal in Fourth & Church. Nice to get to know her a bit better.

Then back to the house, and pleased that it gave such a better feeling when we walked in. The man from Uden called around for a valuation, one of three Madeline is obliged to get. Anton had recommended him as being a gentleman.

A bit more tidying and identifying things in boxes. Sad to be going through Janet's stuff like this and coming upon photos of her and Ken in happy times. Fond farewell with Madeline and then home to continue work. Spoke to Betty about possibly doing some cleaning in Janet's house, but for some reason I was quite pleased we decided against it. The idea of Betty alone there made me feel odd, which is ridiculous. Probably been reading too many horror stories lately.

I spoke to Anton, who said the man from Udon had called to thank him. Anton hilarious about going to meet white coated tinnitus specialists in London, with a group of intolerable fellow sufferers.

I got copies of anthology called An Outbreak of Peace, 'Stories and poems in response to the end of WW1' edited by Cherry Potts, which has one of my poems in it called War Diary in 1/72 Scale.  I also got a copy of London Calling, stories by Jeremy Page.

The streets alive with little children, and both houses either side had halloween decorations up so were thronging with excitable tiny witches, skeletons and and ghouls of all sorts with their parents. One of the parents Lorraine and I saw later was a spider thin man dressed in black lycra with a ski-mask style hood covering his whole face. He was being, I think, The Slender Man and I found him genuinely creepy.

Lorraine came home early after a hideous day, we sloped out to chat in the Preston Park Tavern, a refuge from the tiny demons where we had excellent fish and chips, and pleasantly served, with a judicious single beer each, before returning home at about 7:30, with the halloween stuff still going strong.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

No dramas

No dram day: sent load of emails, then began work improving my children's book proposal after the weekend's session at Bloomsbury. Watched a Netflix documentary about the Black Panthers.Walked to Smiths in Churchill Square to spent my £15 Smiths token. Couldn't decide what to buy, so walked back again. Lorraine had a hard day at work. Looked after my wife. Went to bed.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Wife and colleague

Off this morning to Bolney in Lorraine's car for the school inset day. Lorraine and I presented the branding work on the school vision. Strange to be making a work presentation with Lorraine to the school's staff and governors. Enjoyed having a warm up session first, where we all played two games for ten minutes. Got talking to one of the new governors, a retired GP called Tony, who was interesting. I asked him how he avoided being psychically drained by his patient's problems. He said that you had to learn to be a mirror and not a sponge.

Lorraine drove me to Hateful Heath station at lunchtime, and I trained back to Brighton, and went around to Janet and Ken's house. Remembering only with a few attempts, the door code. The house mostly empty and the painting I had long admired with a posit with For Peter written on it, and Janet with a heart. Took this back on the bus. A old man asked me if it were a print or an original, I said original. I explained the circumstances of me coming by it, and he told me his wife had died three years ago and he missed her every day. He has many original paintings, and when I showed him this one with the the sticker, it made him feel odd that it had his name, also Peter, on it too.

Home and emails about Janet and Ken's affairs (this continues steadily) and one from Robin too about a new publication.

I ate early and read another story by Robert Aickman, as Lorraine working late then going to have more reflexology on her feet.  Tom came round to stay the night, and chatted with him. Lorraine arrived looking fairly relaxed. She had fallen asleep while her feet were being done. An earlyish night all round.

Below the painting Janet left me. It has always reminded me of the forests of British Columbia.