Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A slow motion tussle

A good day today. Able to work on poems on the train, and then slide around the circle line reading more Lowell poems. Lots to do this morning, a lull then a bit of a rush at the end. The work Lidya and I have been doing went down well, which was a relief.

A walk in Hyde Park at lunchtime. A completely different experience, being sunny and mild. Saw people feeding parakeets from their hands. Also saw herons and cormorants, not feeding from people's hands.

Left a bit late. Got into a slow motion and completely silent tussle with a man on the circle line who sat next to me, and proceeded to lean on me as if I were a wall. Had to fend him off. On the train to Brighton doing a bit more on my laptop, and reading more Robert Lowell. I find his work enjoyably readable.  Home by cab tonight, and Dawn was there so I had a chance to tell her I had liked David. Cats being weird at the moment, because they are being left alone a lot. Lorraine had found a packet of dreamies that had been bitten through and robbed. Immediate suspicion fell on Calliope.

After Dawn left, one more Cylon episode and then sleep.

Below a parakeet, a Henry Moore and a photographer and a heron.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Bit of a strange day. Woke up at five full of doom, better when I woke up again. Lorraine dropped me at the station, the train was a bit delayed but otherwise I simply read and enjoyed my Selected poems of Robert Lowell, which I have not done for years. Enjoying his poems much more these days, although his attitude to black people is nasty. It is all part of my attempt to refresh and increase my knowledge of US poetry. Have a great hunger for reading poems at present.

Scottish fisherman on the train, just as we approached Victoria carping loudly on his phone about Brexit fisheries negotiations and planning a protest.

Into work, and feeling oddly nervy this morning. I was given a job to do for the nice CD here. Found myself working with a good Spanish art director called Lidya on some concepts -- but also had to biff some work from my lovely French clients, which I don't like doing. A ten minute walk at lunchtime, which did wonders for my mood and perspective. I had a positive afternoon.

Reading Lowell on the way home again, sardined on the train. I was next to a man who had an appalling tic, head bowed, rubbing his face, eyes, forehead, scalp, and brushing his lap in an unbroken cycle. After 50 unrelenting minutes of this next to me I felt like screaming. Being compelled to do it yourself must be awful.

Walked home, and then started cooking, and spoke to mum very briefly. Lorraine sore throaty and not herself, we resorted to Masterchef and Cylons on the gold sofa before an early night.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Cold stroll

A lousy night's sleep, coughing again for a couple of hours. Sluggish this morning. Lorraine dropped me off at the station, and the train headed north through the thin scraps of snow. Read a short novel on the train today, Yasmina Reza's Desolation which was essentially the last monologue of a raging old man and was pretty good.

Bumped into Mark Dawson just outside my office, he is working across the road and we said we'd meet up for lunch.

A really annoying day at work. Waiting all day to be briefed, with nothing arriving. Bored, but frustratingly unable to get on with any of my own stuff.

However I took a full lunch breaking, walking in the face-hurting cold. Went to Hyde Park, and walked by the Serpentine. Lots of noisy bright green parakeets, which seemed a bit incongruous in the last bit of the snow besides the native birds.

Feeling somewhat frustrated by the end of the day. Good to be on my way home. Very cold in the wind coming up the hill from Preston Park station. Lorraine in a few minutes after me having had a swim.

Below a jay in a tree, and a Henry Moore in the park.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sleepy Sunday

L and I lurked in bed till midday, eating breakfast and drinking tea. Thin snow on the ground, but cold. We'd bumped driving off to see Mum this afternoon, because of it.

I finished my review of Jane's book, and then, as the weather was looking okay, Lorraine and I made off for her to join a reassuringly middle-class gym between her work and home. They gave her a gym bag and we had a coffee. It's a pleasant place surrounded by trees. There is a restaurant and a pool and so on. And a bar too.  The weather minibeasting again from late afternoon with snow again. It is amazing how easily you can get used to snow. We got home before it began again.

Home and cozy and watching Cylons. We are getting towards the end of the Battlestar Galactica series. It's great.

Below, a underwhelming beast first thing.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Day of the mini beast

Weather that has been dubbed the mini beast from the east arrived today. Quite a lot of snow falling this morning in Brighton, and then it resumed in the evening and settled.

Lorraine and I tucked ourselves onto the gold sofa and watched The Kite Runner which we both enjoyed.  Also watched The House of Small Cubes, a lovely short animation by Kunio Kato which won an Oscar. Lovely thoughtful symbolism done excellently.

Spoke to Mum who advised us against braving the mini beast. Snow falling still in London.

In the evening, Lorraine and I popped around to see Rosie and Innis, who are off to Brazil for three weeks, mixing business with pleasure. Rosie doing some education work at a conference with a British School, while Innis, poor chap, has lined up some work shooting photos of Brazilian models on a beach.

Then we met Dawn and her new boyfriend David over some pub grub in Shoreham. Clientele a bit noisy it being Saturday night. I ate a spicy bean burger, Lorraine and Dawn had Fish pies, and David had vegetarian fish and chips, which is fried halloumi in batter with chips. More importantly L and I both liked David, and found him interesting and likeable. A man with a hinterland.

Drove home and the mini beast was snowing again. Miraculously, there was a parking spot right outside our house. Happy to be home, and an early night.

A still from the House of Small Cubes.

Friday, March 16, 2018

My Friday

My weekday off! Friday has now become 'My Friday' in my mind. Walked off early to Stained Glass this morning, passing two men in top hats. Enjoyed stained glass, but slightly rueful that my design is so complex. Now getting to the bits where I am overlaying glass on glass, which requires sections of wide heart lead.I am liking everyone involved in the workshop these days. There is only one woman, Yvonne, who I am warming to lots now having found her difficult at first. She is very creative, always making pottery, teaching children various stuff in schools, and doing design work. She is very chatty and told me she was bipolar, but her medications keep it completely under control, and creativity is her great release. If she can creative she stays well. A feeling easy for me to understand.

Pretty washed out today, after having drinks last night, and my throat back to being spiteful. A quick coffee with my interesting fellow student, Chris. Noticed on the bus home lots of gulls sitting on top of bus shelters in town for some reason. 

Home and I showered, taking sensible precautions against lead then to work. I have a new batch of poems suddenly mushrooming up, a sort of more optimistic compliment to the poems in Sin Cycle with a working title of Nine Salvations although this sounds too religious. However I was quickly overwhelmed by tiredness this afternoon, and sat on the gold sofa and watched Brooklyn 99 and re-read my old copy of Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, complete with my marginalia that dated back to my final year as an undergraduate. Saw online that there is a more recent translation, but I looked at it on Amazon, where it gives you a glimpse of the book's innards, and the translation was dreadful. The Consolation is part poetry and part prose, and the poems have suffered over the years at the hands of tin eared translators.

Lorraine came home in her old car, which we parked on the edge of town, then walked back home chatting then had a cheeky scrambled eggs on toast before going back to the village hall near where she works for a pub quiz night run by the friends of Bolney, except not in a pub. Benches of contestants and mostly annoying questions on trivia. We didn't didn't come close to winning this year, and the winners contained a finalist for this year's Mastermind. Lorraine and I both tired, and escaped as soon as it was humanly decent. Home, and quickly to bed. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Moscow and Berlin

Liking the feeling that Thursday is the new Friday. Off to work in tired but happy mode, playing with poems on my laptop. The day okay, went for a mooch around at lunchtime and went to Moscow Road, where I used to go to the Moscow Arms back in the 80s, and now called the Phoenix. It was popular with all kinds of folks, including Aussies and Kiwis. I have a memory of going in there with friends I'd made when I worked at Casio Warehouse. One of the guys was a bearded Australian teacher on a gap year, who on entering the pub, which was rammed, simply had a pee against the fruit machine in the middle of the pub. I'd never seen anything like it.  Nobody seemed to notice either.

Home and straight into The Evening Star, where I met Glen, over from Greece, and Richard and Steve, and a few other pals. A cheery evening, and my first drink in a pub for a few weeks, and fine real ales they were too. Good to see Glen and hear about Greek life. Also had a long and fascinating chat with Steve about his experiences working in the US embassy in East Berlin at the beginning of the eighties.

Home, dead beat and sore throated, but having enjoyed a drink in pub. The site of the Moscow, now the Phoenix. Altogethery in the pub, and a bromance pic of Richard and Glen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A glimmer of pep

Slightly more pep in my step today, got off the train at Hassocks and waiting for my connecting Victoria train listened to the birds singing in the fields and gardens nearby. A lovely interlude. Then up to the smoke. Waiting on the westbound platform of the Circle line, the platform man kept repeating, in his unplaceable accent, "Step away from the YOLO line."  which made me laugh somewhat. Finished The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie on the tube. A perfectly-formed little book.

Work not too bad. And got away promptly. Home and Lorraine out at a leaving do for her old boss Chris. Dragging my sorry butt through this week. Nice to simply sit on the sofa and enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching several episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  Lorraine home late. Looking forward to the weekend when we have time to talk. She played me a message from an excitable Beth, who has just taken her first driving lesson.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wifely tupperware

Finally got into The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and read most of the book on the train today. I like Muriel Spark. She is funny and unsentimental. To work, and feeling a tad more lively, despite the evil throat. Read an article in the Guardian about the evils of lead. Obviously I am using lead at the moment in window making so this made me a bit concerned.

At lunchtime, I opened the tupperware Lorraine had packed for me. It made me feel loved from afar, via the medium of flatbreads and fruits. A walk at lunchtime along the canals. After the afternoon was done, home and walked back from Brighton station to find Lorraine had cooked a delicious ratatouille. All well.

Below. A barge called Starcross.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Unsinging hero

So to Preston Park this morning in the new car, but feeling heavy and ill and without a joyful song on my lips. Texted Bob on the train, wondering if he were okay after the Russian shenanigans in Salisbury.  To work, without incident, and apologising for being curt on Friday. Friendly folks to work with and a wee stroll by the canals at lunchtime. However, I felt more lively as the day went on. Anton called. Left slightly late, but walked home from Brighton station. Utterly happy to be home with Lorraine and boof onto the sofa.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Beware the wuss of March

Lorraine off to an all day teacher's conference. I tried to do some writing, then made off to Hove Town Hall. Trying to sort out the parking permit for the new car, but I didn't have all the information. After, I nipped over to see Janet and Ken, who were expecting guests. A cheeky cup of coffee with them, and then a bit of a chat with Janet's pals before I went.

Teeming with rain, and interlude of non stopping buses. Unaccountably tired and sore throaty this afternoon. Snoozing, till Lorraine came home and we went out for a drive... To Sainsburys. I love going to Sainsbury's with Lorraine, which is weird. She'd enjoyed her conference. We stayed in tonight. Cylons. Why am I always draggy wuss in March? March never brings out the best in me.

Friday, March 09, 2018

A relief

Up early, phoned doctor and then tried some writing. Then walked to the stained glass class. Soldering and cutting bits of moss green glass, and wide heart lead. I am feeling increasingly relaxed in this class. But I had to leave early to go to the quacks.

A new and slightly scary Greek doctor, with opinions. Various tests and was given pills but not antibiotics which are not needed in my case. Overuse of antibiotics is something for which I have invented campaigns f so I understood why.  Home and drank lots of water, and miraculously found I could pee normally again. A relief. Still coughing too.

Sonia told me about her latest holiday, in Switzerland for a bit, then at two o'clock, I settled at my desk, only to be phoned by the people in Paddington wanted me to work all afternoon. An offer I declined, which was annoying and a bit worrying that I had reneged on something. A not terribly productive afternoon after this. In the end I gave up and watched Precinct 99.

Lorraine home in her new Qashqai. It being late and rainy, we didn't go for a drive in but, but nevertheless sat in it for a while, and phoned Betty and heard her voice inside the car.

Then we nipped around the corner in the rain to pick up some food from Red Chilli and have a single beer in the Park View. Only drink of the week. It was a thing of glory. Then home and ate happily on the sofa. All's well that ends well.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Paddington is bearable

So off up to Paddington today, to start a new and quite lengthy four day a week stint. Unfortunately I had an unexpected flare up of prostatitis. Stealthy doctor phone calls. Doctor agreed to see me first thing tomorrow. If I became unable to pee at tall (prostatitis can interfere with this kind of thing) then I had to take myself A and E. All this not the ideal backdrop to a first day.

People there so pleased to see me and friendly that quite enjoyed the day despite this. I've been parachuted into an account that needs help and the clients are a bit huffy. But I can sort this out, and it felt fine to be back (Paddington is bearable). Quite late home, and walked back from Brighton station. Reading Jane's book on the train.

Lorraine had Dawn, Angie and Sarah around having a women's night in. I said howdy, squeezed Lorraine, and left them to it. After a few bits on the computer, I went upstairs to iron shirts. It was International day of Women today. The ticker tape screens in the train had quotes from women on them to celebrate.

A walk around the canals at lunch time. I find this very soothing. Here is some water.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Loose ends

Practical, tying up loose ends today before my big stint starts in Paddington. A bit of a heart sink committing myself to work there till the summer, but it will make the second half of the year  comfortable, and it is only four days a week so I am hoping this will take some of the relentlessness out of it. I am only tinkering with poems at the moment, and the agent's standard rejection I got for my children's novel today didn't leave me feeling particularly positive about my own writing. These moods pass. The key to being published these days is to be a celebrity first. I think the only celebrity avenue still open to me is crime.

Enjoying dipping into Jane's Guernsey Legends book very much. Will start reading it tomorrow and will review it on my other site shortly.

So sending the smidge of work for my French friends, then a bit of shopping, subscribing to poetry magazines, laundry, shopping and trying to look after Lorraine, who is having a very demanding week. Tomorrow.

Below a smiley on a postbox.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Boot on a fishy plinth

Lorraine still struggling with the school, which has no water and so can't have kids in. Luckily, the water went on tonight, after she had organised portaloos, and the water company had finally delivered bottled water.

Feeling a bit fed up. The previous night was another coughing one. Did a bit of French work and fiddled with poems, but my brain is not working well. Enjoyed binge watching Precinct 99 which Anton alerted me too, undemanding cop fun in New York.

Then contacted by Lynne in Paddington, who wants me to work there into the summer, starting... tomorrow. I declined to start tomorrow, but agreed to go up to the smoke Thursday. Brilliantly, they are okay with me doing four days a week.

Received a copy of Jane's and Frances Lemmon's Guernsey Legends from Steve Foote at Blue Ormer to review. Lovely looking book, with gorgeous colour plates.

Otherwise I saw a boot on the top of a fishy plinth.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Dawn of the Bronze Age

So, so long Beast from the East. It slipped off northwards. Noticeably milder when I got up and fed the cats and made Lorraine and I tea and breakfast. I had a decent night's sleep too, which was splendid, and so I felt more robust than yesterday. The snow in the back garden, crisscrossed with fox prints and cat prints melted during the day. We stayed in bed till late, with one of the heaters breathing the smell of scorched dust into the air.

Lorraine has constructed a big chart stuck onto the fridge called 'We can do it', plotting the year's weightloss. The plan is to drop half a kilo a week. Weighed ourselves again this morning, and we are doing well. I have lost about three and a half kilos in the last two weeks, quite remarkable considering that this last week, I did little exercise other than Olympic freestyle coughing.

In the afternoon off to a Nissan car dealership and we bought a Qashqai. Nissan scorn the letter 'u' obviously. A car salesman who was cheery enough. Lorraine sitting with the salesman and me in the back had a test drive. I'm actually quite excited that Lorraine is getting a new car. It has wee cameras to help with parking, and built-in satnav and bluetooth stuff so you can play things from your iPhones and DAB radio among other things. It is a car for the 21st Century. And it has a colour too... A kind of bronze.  Lorraine really relieved that we have finally decided. She will pick it up next week, handy as her current car is literally a write off as repairing it will cost more than the car is worth.

Home, and we switched the boiler on, which kicked back into life. The condensation outlet having thawed. Pleased by this, but it does beg the question of the point of a heating system that stops effing working at the very moment you most need it.

In the evening off to Cuckfield to attend Jess's birthday party. Enjoyed myself there,  as I had spent the week coughing and talking to very few folks. Also drank some beer, which I had not done much of for a while now and spoke at great length to a couple called Trevor and Natalie. Obviously I warmed to Natalie straight away when she said how much she loved Guernsey. Please to see Andrew, now recovered from his op and talking of holidays.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Colder than a postman's knees

Another foul night's sleep. Went to bed at 10 and lay there coughing continually for three hours. Eventually slept in exhausted snatches between coughing fits. Feeling grumpy this morning, a mood not improved by our boiler not working. We think it is because the condensation pipe is frozen, but as this is impossible to reach, even with ladders, without first dissembling our wee garden shed, so we simply deployed our two plug in heaters till it is warm enough for the heating to work again. Gah, Catch 22.

A chat with the postman as I was leaving on the house and I commented on his shorts (I was wearing three jumpers, hat, gloves, coat etc.) He said you just get used to wearing them, and you soon warm up doing your round. He also said that it had been colder yesterday, than he could ever remember in his 30 years as a postie. It was minus seven when he arrived in the wee hours for work.

Bussed to Evolution Arts, Ben urged me to speed up if I am going to get my piece finished. Nice chatting with Ben the tutor, who is a patient and thoughtful person.

Powdery snow started this afternoon, as I bussed home. The streets quiet for a Friday. I was going to go to a cafe, but just wanted to be home. Worked comfortably in my study with one of my heaters, the other a plug in radiator, soon warmed up our living room. Lorraine home, having closed the school early this afternoon. She kept her school was open all week.

My French pals have given me another wee job to do for next week.

Still coughing lots this evening. The pharmacist said it is lasting about two weeks. On that count I am still only half way through. Worrying about Lorraine now who is sneezing and coughing.

An unremarkable snap just before another light dusting of snow on Osborne Road today, but perishing cold guv'nor.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Wery cold

Gah. Bored now. Hacking cough, sore throat and general wanness all still in place. It feels like such a screaming waste of time. I seem to be good for a couple of hours in the morning to do work, but my ability to focus soon ends. Effing cold today for Brighton. Sloped down to buy some bread, and by the time I got home I was a wery cold gentleman, wery cold indeed. The cold makes me want to read Dickens.

Bloke at Choice Cuts was someone who had left. I asked if he was back, but he said he now works in tree surgery. But it was too cold for that this week, so he offered to help out back in the shop. Presumably because he didn't want to be left out on a limb.

I had a salad sandwich for lunch. Watching Precinct 99, an Anton recommendation on Netflix. Quite fun.

Very pleased to see Lorraine get home in one piece. I don't like her having to drive in this weather. She has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, especially when considering all the safety implications of keeping a school open or closed.

We had salad and fish and cous cous for dinner. Nothing complements a Siberian weather front like a nice salad.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Nothing to fret about

Thank God, I managed to sleep a bit last night. Only a few real coughing fits last night. Feeling brighter as a consequence. Lorraine able to get to school today today too. I caught the bus into town, and picked up a prescription. The pharmacist at Ross told me there's a lot of the cough from hell about.

Although it was cold because of the Beast from the East, the sun had some warmth in it. Got a bus back to Fiveways and walked home on the snowy streets just happy to be out and part of the community again. Worked on some poems for a hour or so while my brains were still working. All I want to do at the moment is read and write poems.  

Heard from my French clients, after another prompt from me. They don't hate me, and one of the first ideas I sent them they liked. With nothing else to fret about, I spent the rest of the day able to rest and recover.

Turns out the damage done to Lorraine's car by the person who slid into her will cost more to repair than the car is worth, so it is effectively it is a write off. We are about to get a new car anyway, but Lorraine was going to give her old car to Beth and John. Boo.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Slipping off to nowhere

Another exhausting night of coughing and feeling positively ill again. The world white this morning, as the 'beast from the east' had delivered a thin blanket of snow in Brighton for breakfast. More like the Lapdog from Lapland. Lorraine up early to go to school, but due to the snow and ice, and the steep camber on the road meant she was unable to escape and had to abandon her car touching a neighbours. She left a note on it, and a bit later, another neighbour showed up having run into the back of her. Everyone involved teachers and no harm done. Later she was able to drive off the car, and park it nearby.

I got up early and finished a certain amount of the French work, sent them what I had (several concepts) and told them I was too ill to continue. I heard nothing from them afterwards so have no idea how this went down, fretting a bit about this. But spent the rest of the day dozing or lying on the gold sofa and really happy Lorraine was at home, and looking after me nicely. She cooked a quorn shepherd's pie tonight with loads of healthy vegetables. Vitamins to the rescue.

Anton popped in briefly to get a paper signed, wearing his white coat and looking like he was about to take Stalingrad.

Below the situation first thing this morning. More snow followed, falling in thick clumpy flakes, and for a time around midday it was lying quite deeply. But this is earlier, the kitchen window view, and from the big bedroom at the front, where you can see Lorraine's car temporarily parked in the middle of the street.