Sunday, May 20, 2018

Open houses

Strangely hungover this morning. Lorraine however, awake early, and brought me a cup of tea in my footballer's mug. Very slow to get up. I made fried tomatoes on toast and brought back to bed. Then eventually up, and doing what Lorraine called paperwork, which was chiefly scowling at computer screens. Drove into town to collect money for our Cordoba adventure which will start on Saturday. Be nice to go to Spain. I've been to Portugal, and to Barcelona once for a gruelling stag weekend. But I'm looking forward to it.

Home again, and armed with Euros. Then Lorraine and I sauntered through a few open houses. A gorgeous sunny but not too hot day. Fewer houses open than usual. Saw one painting that was fairly good of the side of Tate Modern, and some amazing embroidery by Agnes Chevalier the embroiderer I'd bought some work from once for a present for Lorraine. Lorraine bought some gifts for people at school, and then we zoomed home.

Beth came by for dinner and a chat. Clem from next door dropped in to discuss decking and we agreed for him to go ahead.

Lorraine had cooked an excellent chicken tagine with pickled lemons, and we ate it in the kitchen with the sun streaming in. Watered the garden, and after Beth went, Lorraine and I watched the new episode of series two of the Handmaid's Tale. Grim stuff, but stylish and beautifully acted by Elizabeth Moss and the cast.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Chelsea socks

Lorraine up early today, to give Beth a lift back from the station to her flat and then to work. I got up and sought out my Chelsea socks, and tinkered with poems for a while. Breakfast later, and then found myself watching the Royal Wedding. Found myself drawn into the pomp and enjoying the acknowledgement of black people in it. Spotting Camilla - look it's Jane! Lorraine particularly enjoyed a fiery speech by an American preacher Michael Curry. I still say off with their heads though, although the Brits do market themselves as a heritage industry quite well.

After this Dawn came around, and had a cheeky cup of tea and a catch up with us. Nice to see her.

Then off to Anton's house for some food (home made wings with woof woof sauce, pulled pork and some lovely salads and so on). And the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United. It was a dire game but Chelsea won it, with a penalty scored by the best player on the park guv'nor, Chelsea's Belgian maestro Eden Hazard. Naturally, flashing my ankles emblazoned with the Chelsea badge, I was watching it with Anton, the GodBairns,  Klaudia sporting her Manchester United top, and Oskar full of Man U inflected opinions on the game, as well as Anne and Lorraine (who slept through much of it) meant that Chelsea's victory was greeted with more long faces than a pack of greyhounds. Still we had a really nice time, and the food was great and beer was drunk. All well.

Lorraine and I sloped down the hill to the station, where we cabbed home. Liveliness in the taxi queue, with two homeless people abusing one another (one of whom was about to get into a taxi with a takeaway).

Below, found myself being offered Clameur for a snip at just shy of £58.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A people day

Up early and working hard on the French stuff straight away all morning. My pals there said they loved what I had done, which always makes you feel good and valued. A fast early sandwich and watched Lorraine (the morning TV show starring Lorraine Kelly) and today's episode featured royal lookalikes. Spotted Jane of course. There was an item at the end of the program where some designer had suggested what clothes the royals should be wearing. Jane was modelling clothes on TV, which is something new to add to her list of accomplishments.

Had done and dusted by two o'clock. A chat with Sonia about something she'd read in the home country about worms that burrow in people's eyes having visited Africa, and then I walked over to Hove to see Janet and Ken. Scored some hazelnut brownies en route. Nice to chat with them.  Janet always so full of ideas. Ken looking well too.

Back home and a quick discussion with Clem who is going to re-deck our back garden, with excellent stairs and so on. Lorraine home, and extremely tired. I think she has whatever it was that was making me feel exhausted midweek, plus she has had a shattering week with SATs tests and so on at school. Today was tea to celebrate the royal wedding. I say bring back the guillotine.

I went out and scored some Friday night curry, and had a cheeky pint of Harveys in the Park View while waiting. Back to Red Chillies and found myself sitting with Philippa from next door. Nice chat with her about Japan, as she had been there with Harvey her partner before they had the baby.

Lorraine and I watched a film called Hunt for the Wilderpeople -- which we both enjoyed.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

White flowers

A day of solid work, but from home. Still feeling somewhat tired and underpowered, but took two short walks plus an hour's walk at lunchtime to do my paces. Working on an interesting, but challenging brief but from the comfort of my own home, so I can think. Luxury.

Spoke to Janet today, whose birthday it had been yesterday. She got the flowers we sent. Her sister Ann who I had met,  had died last week in Canada after a long illness.

A beautiful day, and at lunchtime I walked up to Hollingbury and through the backstreets home. Views towards the downs and to the sea. Lovely blue sky and fresh air. I've missed working in Brighton.

Below a path by white flowers of cow parsley and a may tree into the sky. And a snap from our kitchen window.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wednesday weekend

Feeling somewhat unwell, tired and grouchy this morning. And as there was little for me to do in Paddington, I was released back into the wild at lunchtime for the rest of the week. This might have been a bit galling, however, it worked out very well as it allows me to do the much more interesting work for mes amis fran├žais on ebola, of which by coincidence there has been another outbreak this week. Gleeful about not travelling in tomorrow.

Lorraine out with Beth tonight, and I was happy to lay low quietly. I even snuck around the corner to buy fish and chips as I couldn't be bothered to prepare food.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


A busy Tuesday.  Trying to tinker with poems this morning, but my brain not joining the dots properly. No lunchtime walk, instead I had sushi to eat in payment for presenting to one of the nicer clients, the presentation went well, and I nodded and tried to radiate my enthusiasm at the right times. This being done, the agency was scratting up for work for me, and I found myself proofreading German documents about drugs. Sub-optimal given my inability to speak German. Still, it is work, and I can recognise the difference in shapes of words. Bah. Bolted work as soon as possible.

Found out I did not a winner one of the poetry pamphlet competitions I entered, which came as no surprise, as the collection was hastily assembled. The far stronger collection has not yet been ruled out yet. Left work late. Texts with Keith and planning a meet up with him and Pat next week. Walked back from Brighton station, where Lorraine was already home and putting together a stir fry. Happy to be home, though feeling tired.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Catfights and an old face

An alien ginger cat broke into the house last night resulting in a tremendously loud cat fight at around 4:30. Lorraine sprang up. I dragged myself out of bed eventually, and saw a ginger cat bolting out of the house. It must have made it in through the microchip catflap hot on Brian's tail

A fitful doze. Both up early, and Lorraine spilling things inside the fridge and then spilling soya milk over my trousers. Lorraine dropped me off in time for the 7:17 into London. Bumped into my old art director Mike, who I dubbed 'the gnome' on this blog when I was trying to keep everyone anonymous. Good to see him, and we were able to have a chat on the tube. Mike looks unchanged, despite it being ages since we spoke.

Work okay, though it seemed I was about to be released back into the wild for the week, but some work was found, and I ended up working through lunch (only ten minutes' lunchtime walk,  chiz) and left work a bit late. Heard from Sarah B who had sad news about her mother. Otherwise a not too eventful day, luckily. Home and Lorraine a bit cheesed off from a poor day. Spoke to Mum this evening and told her about our trip to Folkestone, where my great grandparents had lived and mum visited lots as a child. Then L and I sloped off to bed. Just dropping off to sleep and Betty phoned and there was a leak upstairs which was dripping nastily into her flat. Poor thing.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Folkestone with family

Off to Folkestone today, via Ashford where we picked up Pat and Maureen and Ken. Enjoyed visiting Folkestone, where Lorraine had attended a sixth form college, and visited lots as a child. It is also part of my family lore too, with mum's grandparents living there when she was young, and lots of her summer holidays being spent there. We parked by the harbour, and I had haddock and chips (and mushy peas) in a harbourside fish and chip restaurant. Pat and Maureen ate huss.

Lots of seafood around there. We strolled down to the beach with the arches, which I know Mum played in as a child. We saw three planes flying in formation, a spitfire, a hurricane and a twin engined plane I didn't recognise, even after Ken had used his amazing camera to get several shots of them in the air. Ken really throwing himself into photography with gusto and doing lots of experimental shots while we were there. A brief mooch about the old side of town, before Lorraine drove us back to Ashford, along the seafront for a while, and over the military canal, which I didn't know anything about. Ken said it was built to counter the threat of a Napoleonic invasion.

Back to Ashford, where Basil is limping about but much recovered from her injury jumping down from a fence. Cups of tea and then back into the car. Home, and a few jobs to do, including returning the contract for the anthology of poems based on the theme of war I've been included in, and some stuff to do with finalising Telltale. Spoke to Toby too, who now has dates for zooming over to England in July. Really looking forward to seeing him.

Last day of the premier league today. Chelsea lost dismally, and confirmed their 5th place finish. Doesn't bode well for next week's FA Cup final. Their manager set to leave soon, in a typical Chelsea backstabby way.

Below some of my Folkestone snaps, Ken sent me some of his too, which I shall add soon.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Handle spiders

Up fairly early and taking bags of garden litter to the tip in Hove. Lorraine carefully spreading sheets inside her Qashqai, and looking with horror at a colony of tan coloured baby spiders that had appeared around the handle of the rear door.  Once this drippy bag stuff done (in the rain) off to Waitrose looking like bin men, and bought stuff in preparation for this evening's night in. Strange how much fun doing stuff like this with Lorraine can be.

In the evening Rosie and INnis came around, and we watched the Eurovision Song Contest, and drank some drinks and picked at lots of finger food. Eurovision not something I have watched much in recent years. The usual mix of camp, histrionic guff,  and a few earworms including the bouncy Israeli winner who duked it out with the Cyprus entry. The UK song was only moderately bad, but was voted down anyway because it is from the UK. Even a stage invasion by some fool shouting about Press Nazis wasn't enough to create sympathy among the European voters of Australia etc.

A cheery night.

Friday, May 11, 2018


Working from home, and fairly busy. Some French work about diseases that jump from animals to humans for my pals in Paris, interspersed with some hairy-chested crowbarring of the decking, and carrying of bags of garden rubbish into the front garden. Peering underneath the decking with Clem my next door neighbour. Cats immediately exploring and popping their heads out of the missing planks like meerkats. After this outbreak of manly stuff, chatting to Sonia about the glories of communism, and how everyone worked and nobody was idle. She liked working with animals most, and cows have strong personalities.

Lorraine home, and we mooched off to pick up a curry and slurp a single beer in the Park View and chat. Was really in the mood for that curry.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Reflecting on Thursday

Bless this not working in London on a Friday business. Thursday really is the new Friday, after a busy day at work with barely a break at lunch. Coming home on the train and Lorraine phoned saying the bad thing that I had been thinking. She was waiting in the car at Preston Park station, and we drove home, then sauntered down to the Park View, where it was too busy, and then mooched around to the Preston Park Tavern and had food and a cold beer with my wife. A lovely way to end a Thursday.

In my ten minute lunch break a snap of reflections on water.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Businesses, various

More Janet Sutherland's Bone Monkey on the train. Poetry that really speaks to me. Work presentation today, and I found myself drifting into comedic mode, which I probably need to reign in a bit. A call from my French friends, saying they had won a French pharmaceutical marketing prize, Empreintes 2018, for a campaign I had created for them about animal health and rinderpest last year. I also have a spot of new work to do over the next week or so for them on a really interesting brief.

London Grip nicely and speedily reviewed the Truths anthology here. Otherwise I went for a saunter at lunchtime, just wanting to be outside at present. Home. All well, but Lorraine fighting off a bug and a bit tired after her pilates. Both of us eager for sleep.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

An empty court

Still gorgeous this morning, and unwillingly to work, whining at Lorraine in the car before she dropped me off. Into London without incident, and work fine despite straining at the leash to be outside. Sloped along the canals and other places at lunch. After work, looked at poems in the train. Some of my own, which I decided were unsavable, which is always freeing thing.  Really enjoying reading Bone Monkey by Janet Sutherland at the moment. I love her poems.

Home, and the air cooler by the time I reached Brighton. A salady dinner with Lorraine, and we found ourselves watching some kind of Eurovision song nonsense on TV for a while. An early and sensible night.

I found myself under the motorway in a crowded with schoolboys skateboard area and two empty basketball courts. I snapped one of the courts, below, and noticed later that someone had painted Fuck Basket Ball on the board, which spoke to me of some would be ball player's thwarted ambition.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Happiness is a back garden

The hottest May bank holiday weekend ever apparently. Warmer here than in all kinds of places further south. Lorraine and I spent it very happily working in the back garden, making stern decisions and taking plants out, and planting the purple flowering magnolia Anton gave us among other things. We repositioned the composter, and we did a lot of shovelling of compost into the garden. Lovely chocolatey stuff it was too. Lorraine miraculously got the lawn mower to work, which although a good thing was also faintly annoying after I had given it a bath of WD40 and had several bouts of wrestling it using foul language and brute strength to no avail.  

There was an interlude of our next door neighbours igniting a barbecue which Chernobylled into our garden. When the worst of this smog cleared another neighbour began using some kind of soil flattener, which made a noise like a WW1 tank. He then laid artificial turf for his twin boys to scuff footballs on. Eventually, however, tranquility descended. After hard toil and shovelling in the garden, we sat happily in the sun for a bit. We even played a game of Scrabble outside. Even after the rigours of yesterday, I was compelled to have a beer, as Lorraine sipped a spritzer. A great feeling of happiness today.

Below, a frog in our sunken bucket. I was nearby trimming the bottom of my ferns, when I heard a plop, and there was this face looking up at me, and seemed quite happy to be photographed.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Three amigos

After breakfast in bed with Lorraine, I caught the train to Blackfriars to meet Bob and Carl who were siting outside the national theatre. Carl's Friday was 'a stolen day' after a short story he wrote years ago, where he spent his time wandering about his multitude of old London haunts.

The three of us quickly settled on a plan, which was to walk eastward along the Thames, a journey to be punctuated by moments of refreshment, first in Doggetts. Bob asked about the pool table, and there hadn't been one there for ten years.

Then we sloped into the Tate, where Bob insisted he didn't want to see anything with saggy white strings. Instead we went to see the The Shape of Light 100 years of photography and abstract art, which seemed mostly composed of black and white prints with squiggles of light on them, and other abstractions. Very few paintings, one being a Mondrian, which Carl pointed out, matched his socks (see below).  I had gained free entry with my Member's card, a Christmas present from Lorraine. After a while we noticed that Bob was malfunctioning and increasingly hangry as he hadn't eaten properly since yesterday lunchtime. Grabbed a snack, and Bob gradually returned to normality.

Walked towards Tower Bridge, the scene before us one of sunny gorgeousness, and people walking along in hundreds in a distinctly holiday mood. Those days when the weather is nice, transform London. We considered crossing the river and going to the Prospect of Whitby, but eventually stayed south, ending up in Rotherhithe, a places I'd never been to. Perhaps it was the gorgeous weather, and good company, but I really liked it there.  We stopped at a few pubs, but the last two were amazing. One was called The Ship Rotherhithe, and the other called The Mayflower. In the latter we got talking a Yorkshireman, and a woman from Finland, who were just about to move to Finland.

Caught the overland train one stop to Canada Water, and connected with the Jubilee extension, and sped back to Southwark. The tube shrieking in the tunnel as it was going so fast. We walked towards Waterloo, and popped into Vaulty Towers, where I'd been with Anton not long ago, before strapping on a Mexican style nosebag at Wahaca restaurant. No grasshoppers like I'd had in the real Oaxaca in Mexico of course, but very nice and Carl paid for it too.

Fond farewells with Carl and Bob at Waterloo, and I made my way home. A bit of liveliness with a group of angry young lads at the taxi queue, one of whom had obviously been punched in the nose, judging by the tasteful spatters of blood on his teeshirt. Slipped into bed next to the lovely Lorraine, and drifted into an innocent sleep.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Blue skies

Gorgeous weather, and feeling unbelievably happy to just get up and work on my own stuff for a while, before walking through the park into town. I got a haircut, then some earrings for Lorraine, and returned back home, through the park again, picking up an excellent bunch of flowers, even the florist was impressed with her own work, she asked me if there was a special occasion and I said Friday, which seemed to win me brownie points.

Then an afternoon doing bits of admin, billing, chatting to Sonia, and attacking the lawn with shears, as the pesky lawnmower won't work despite me spraying it with WD40. A backbreaking business.

Clem from next door came around, armed with a beer to discuss the decking and the new stairs we want in the garden. He was full of good advice and the prospect of changing the garden was suddenly all doable, which was great. He is going to lend me a big iron spike to break up the old decking and in with the new. Apparently it is very therapeutic destroying stuff.

Lorraine home, late as she had stayed in school to avoid motorway queues. This made worse by a Brighton versus Manchester United game this evening. Brilliantly, Brighton won, securing their continuance in the Premier league.

Lorraine and I toddled around to Red Chillies when she arrived home, ordered some curry, and sat in the Park View sipping a pint of cold beer, before picking up the food and repairing home. A happy evening, and the prospect of a long weekend.

Below blue sky with yellow things and pink things in Preston Park.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Jenny Wren

A deep sleep at Mum and Mason's house. Woke up and soon the sound of classic FM from below, as Mason was up early and eating one of his breakfast soups, with plenty of black pepper. Coffee toast and a cheery chat with Mum and Mas. Most of the way to Stanmore station, I realised I had left a present for Lorraine from Mum and Mas behind. Went back, and Mum was in Kings Drive to palm me the suspicious package. Because of the redevelopment there, I looked afresh at the Synagogue's high walls and barbed security wire - what a world we live in.

Enjoyed the easier commute. A bit rudderless today, working alone, and not inspired by the work. Joints hurting and having little energy. Lunchtime just increased my straining at the leash feelings. Bolted for the door at home time, as the rest of the agency had its weekly meeting. Four blessed days of freedom now. Happy about that.

Home to Brighton station, and met Lorraine climbing out of the Qashqai fresh from the gym. She liked the presents from Mum and Mas. Lorraine happy to have me home, as I was to be there with her. Even the cats seemed pleased.

A snap of the tourist barge Jenny Wren, a name I love, turning in the canal at Little Venice.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Godfather on a car horn

Up at a hateful 5:20 and off to work, walking to Preston Park after kissing Lorraine, and leaving her in bed and talking about getting another sleep cycle. Enjoyed waking Calliope up, instead of vice versa. Into Paddington and arrived at work at 8:10 after a smooth journey. Into a cab with two suits and off to a Regus building beyond the western fringes of London, passing through Hammersmith, and many and old stomping grounds, including the agency where I met Mark Dixon (founder of Regus) several times. He reminded me a bit of Mason. I walked around one of his Regus centres with him in Chiswick, and remember the rigid terror his presence provoked in his staff.

Today in the Regus offices we met up with a couple more of the agency team and we presented to a pharmaceutical client some of the ideas I'd been working on. The pleasant client gave us the benefit of his opinions and we left after a couple of hours. During the meeting a car outside was playing the theme to The Godfather on its horn.

Eventually we made our escape in a small cab with a man who kept talking, as I was in the front with him. Half the year he grew olives in Spain apparently. He said his wife had 'naffed off'. Can't say I blame her. We drove past Grenfell Tower. It is mostly wrapped in plastic. Driver said the residents wouldn't take places unless they had gardens. Amazed that I let it pass without giving him the benefit of some of my opinions. Idiots abound. He had the window open on the motorway, and Dan in the back got a small stone in the face.

A quiet afternoon, luckily, as I was rather bushed. Left work like an eager young greyhound after a leveret and pausing only to buy some beer, made it to Mum and Mason's place in good time. A cheery night having dinner with them. Mum and I listening to a bit of jazz together too, and generally shooting the breeze. All good fun. Earlyish to bed though, as I was pretty tired. Spoke to my lovely Lorraine, wrote this blog, and now am intending to recline in the arms of morpheus.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Angry old Rasta

No rain as my lovely drove me to the station, but oppressed by work this May day morning, having had something of a re-brief on a job, and only one day to fix it. But on the train I had an inspired twenty minutes, and fixed all the problems. Meanwhile Justin the art director had come up with a new visual approach, and so we cracked it fairly quickly and easily, and I left work on time, having expected a late one. However now they want me to present the thing, and I will have to be up at stupid o'clock tomorrow morning. Still, all's well that ends well.

Otherwise not much to report a bit of a walk at lunchtime, where I chatted to Mum about my visit tomorrow. As I finished the call, a spiteful old grey locked rasta on bicycle called me a shit, because he thought I hadn't got out of his way on the towpath with sufficient alacrity. What is wrong with everyone? Travelling into London etc. it seems that people seem to be on particularly short fuses. Home, nostalgically buying a magazine called Uncut which, this issue, was all about mighty prog legends Yes. Lorraine home when I got in and the lovely had cooked me comforting spaghetti. A bit of TV on the sofa together, and getting prepped for tomorrow. My shoes needed a shine. A decent shirt needed an iron and so on. To bed.

Below a glimpse of silver graffiti on a wall from the stationary train; waiting for the entrance to the tube to be opened due to overcrowding below; a glimpse of the canal.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Poles Apart

Stormy rain this morning, and bloody cold again. A wretched way to start a Monday. However my journey was smooth as anything, and I started work on a new theatrical idea. Sitting on the same table as another woman muttering irritably at her emails. This woman didn't have the excuse of noise cancelling headphones.

Lidya, Spansh art director said the weather was 'very disgusting and uncomfortable', which made me laugh somewhat.

Into work, kicking my heels all morning, then a meeting just before lunch, which meant I had a mere 20 minutes walk, and then a dispiriting meeting afterwards, which looked again at the work I'd done last week which everyone loved, and now the goalposts are all moved, and we have a day and a bit to come up with new ideas, when we have squandered days on doing things that weren't quite right. Nobody's fault, but a tad galling. However, I did find out that plans are afoot to pay one of my invoices, which is deeply welcome news.

Left work late, and hurrying outside the tube at Victoria and crossing into the main station, I came upon two poles knocking the crap out of each other.  As I reached them, they were tangled on the floor, one bleeding from a cut on his forehead. There were several others there too, and we managed to pull them apart. At this point I left, not wanting to be drawn further into the melee than I already had been, announcements being made in the station for available police to go to Terminus Place as I walked through it, so I hoped it all hadn't kicked off afresh. 

Felt a bit shaken once on the train, but regained stiff upper lip, and caught up with some outstanding correspondence thanks to the wifi on the train, and it being a later one, not being too crowded.

Lorraine picked me up at Brighton station, as she had just left the gym, and we repaired home ate, and as it was a school night, had an early one.

Below, darting out at lunch I photoed the Hello Spring message in the cold and rain because I am so satirical.