Friday, September 23, 2016

Fantastic Friday

An amazing morning's work, suddenly I could see answers to poetic problems I'd not been able to solve for ages, and was full of enthusiasm to get poems sent out. For some reason if the poetry side of things is not going well it tends to increase my dissatisfaction with the world, but after this morning I feel convinced that I am back in the game, and can suddenly see faults and fixes, that had eluded me. Quite bracing really. Not something that is easy to communicate or have obvious immediate outcomes, but generally good.

For the first time this week, the tiredness and sluggishness wasn't so present. Did other more practical stuff too, like some billing and general much needed admin, as well as hiring the Marlborough for a couple of days in December. Having the mental autumn clean. Sonia around too, and a nice chat with her.

Then in the afternoon I walked over to see Janet and Ken, back now from hospital and sleeping on the ground floor. Janet is getting good support, including someone providing night cover so she can sleep. It is a bit disorientating for Ken though, waking up downstairs and not knowing where he is quite.

Walked home and after a while of sorting some last bits out, simply went to the pub, where I availed myself of a pint of lager, while reading a book by the poet Judy Brown, who I met last weekend. A nice way to spend an hour before Lorraine and Betty arrived and we had a bite to eat, and a cheery chat about the week and so on. After this, Lorraine and I sauntered home to watch Orange is the new black before bed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Darting into the sun

Although low on energy, I felt positive and got lots of stuff done. A lovely day, I sauntered around the park for bit, before popping in to the local Sainsburys, after a few hours of writing, and wandered into the walled garden. Noticed ruddy darters around the pond. It's good having looked things up in advance. There is a curious satisfaction to being able to think 'ruddy darter' to yourself when you see a dragonflyish thing zooming about.

Worked in the garden today, and sorting out the Telltale reading. In the process of doing so picked up another reading for me to do -- in October 2017! Forward planning.  Also contacted about work and generally having the sense that there's lots going on or about to go on.

Lorraine out doing her governors meeting tonight, Beth out too. I had been due to see Anton but he was unwell, so I guilty bought myself a bag of fish and chips from Jenny's down the road, and watched the movie Watchmen, which was based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore, which I had read on holiday several years ago. Not fantastic, but some of the strength of the book came through.

In the walled garden.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rain proof

A poor night's sleep. Got up however with Lorraine and began writing poems, then after talking to Mum and Janet (Ken should be home tomorrow) I walked down to Preston Circus with Beth. She went to her gym and I walked off into town to  buy a new anorak to replace the one I left on the train the other day. I got an identical one to the one I'd lost, and am pleased that I am again rainproof. Not that it was raining at all.

Then wended back to the new cafe next to Betty's gym called Plenty. Treated myself to a coffee and a pain aux raisins  and started work on We Three Kings.

Home and feeling dog tired, but trying not to sleep. I read the essay Black Orpheus by Jean Paul Sartre, and then cooked, as I didn't want a replay of Lorraine returning home in a 'hangry' mood as she had done the previous day aghast that there was no food prepared.

A happy evening, but as we were both really tired. Listening to part of a Kermode and Mayo podcast, before sleeping. Hearing them bickering on the radio is curiously soothing.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Recovery position

Monday morning, and the feeling that I should be rushing about and feeling almost guilty as Lorraine drove off.  Somewhat hungover after the previous night with young thespians. Awarded myself a much needed day off doing nothing, apart from trying to sort out some tiresome Telltale stuff.

Also heard from Jane that Richard had been chosen to represent Guernsey for National Poetry Day. An honour, and richly deserved. Trying to read books of poetry on the gold sofa (recovery position) and falling asleep. Boy am I tired.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Free at last

Yay! My first day off in seven days of various kinds of slogging, and mercifully not having to travel by train anywhere.

Anton swung by in his BMW convertible with the roof down and drove Lorraine and I off to Steyning to collect Dawn. Nice to be cruising around like this, but sitting in the back on the motorway buffeted my head, and worried at 'The area of concern', aka my bald bit.

We went for a short walk in the woods at the bottom of Chanctonbury Ring, which I enjoyed, despite still feeling the after effects of the ghastly throat and cough business  and laboured going uphill. I also have a slightly lurchy ear thing going on, which doesn't help. Among other bits of personal gossip, Anton and I had a long discussion about Tolkien, he's contemplating doing a degree on it.  I recommended he download the The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and he had just started to listen to it. It is larded with Tolkien references, and is set in Dominica and New York.

Back to Dawn's house to sit in her lovely little garden and drink tea. Dawn's broken arm is now a good deal better, but she overdid it yesterday. I smacked my lips at her and Lorraine at one point, as they were gossiping in the kitchen and trying to connect a speaker to bluetooth while making tea. Dawn said she'd pour it over my head, and then made me sit on a chair to get a better view which promptly sank into the lawn with my weight on it.

Home and then a bit of house stuff for a while, before I simply fell asleep for a blissful hour. Then, getting up, Lorraine and I booked tickets to Guernsey, and went to the Preston Park Tavern with Betty for sunday lunch.

Then Beth and I walked down the hill to the Hare and Hounds, where we met up with Dylan, Kitty and Beth's pal James and discussed the December show which is now booked in at The Marlborough, where Beth and I have done stuff before. I really enjoyed seeing Dylan and Kitty again, having spent so much time with them in the first half of the year. Everyone is up for doing more work, and we discussed the next play, We Three Kings, which I am just about to start writing.

Below Anton and Lorraine in the front of his car. I was in the back with hair like a dandelion clock. Some trees.



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Tyrannosaurus

Up with the sparrows again, and hauled off down to catch a train to Farringdon. Amazingly the train not delayed or cancelled. I walked then to Red Lion Square to the Poetry Book Fair where Telltale has a stand. To say I was not in the mood for this today is something of an understatement.

I did see a few folks I knew, and was pleased to snap up a copy of Noir, Charlotte's book and have a  few chats with her.  Was on the stand with Jess and Sarah from Telltale. Jess's pamphlet was on sale today, and sold like hotcakes.  I also heard a few very good poems read during the course of the day. I'm beginning to wonder if I am wired differently to other people. The things people seem to be lapping up as being profound and moving, I'm finding banal and facile.  It's making me wonder if I'm just not getting it, or am out of touch. Sat next go Jeremy from Frogmore for much of the day. I like him, and it turns out we overlapped at Warwick by a year, him being a couple of years before me.

A reading in a nearby pub afterwards, with lots of good poems and others I secretly Tyrannosaurused. Jess, Sarah and I read too. I was almost staggering with tiredness by now, but I did okay I think, but to be honest I was past caring.  And made for the door as fast as possible.

Walked to Farringdon, then yet another terrible two and an half hour journey home, the worst bit was having finally got a train to Brighton, it suddenly terminated at Gatwick, we all had to get out and cross to another platform to board a Brighton train, was shouted at to hurry by a station person and I invited him to fuck himself in a Tyrannosaurus voice. The train pulled out with me on it, but leaving half the people of the train I'd been on fuming and still on the platform.  To Brighton trying to calm my anger after the sweary incident, and then finally, at long, long last a cab home to Lorraine and Betty dog tired but very thankful.

Below Sarah and me, summoning enthusiasm.






Friday, September 16, 2016

Released back into the wild

Trains still hateful. More energy today, and I managed to cut through work I was doing with the loquacious Trevor like a knife through butter, rather pleased that I have still got it. Nice to have been teamed up with Keith again in this stint, usually enjoy my times at Tavistock Square, and pleased to see how well Slug is doing there.


So happy to be on my way home. Went to the Preston Park Tavern with Lorraine for a bite to eat, before coming home and going to bed fairly early.

Almost finished The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao today by Junot Díaz which I think is excellent book, and refreshingly different to my recent reading. Listened to it playing patience on my laptop, this gets you into a mind numbed state that allows you to block out the endless commute.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Streak

So tired this afternoon I could hardly think. Suddenly given some work to do with a chatty friendly art director called Trevor. Managed to summon an idea in the afternoon, but it was like pulling hen's teeth.

Luckily my stock was high as the agency finally got news that the pitch I'd worked on with Fernanda for them had succeeded. Much cheer in the agency at this, and a glass of champers at the end of the day and a few drinks before I made my excuses. I seem to be on an impressive pitch-winning streak at the moment. Home and early to bed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Light sabres

Trains hateful. But I felt reasonably okay considering the night before. Went for lunch with Keith to the Marquis of Granby where I drank a pint of soda and lime and met his pal Kin Ho from Hong Kong who is a really good photographer, and a really likeable guy.

Saw this hanging in the pub, which I thought was really fun. The green and red lights worked on the light sabres.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pits and pints

A long and hot day. Into Tavistock Square for the morning where Keith and I presented our thinking so far, then made off to Charterhouse Square in the an afternoon meeting with Matty, Mark, Helen and Jo who journeyed from  Chiswick. Arrived early so phoned mum as I paced about the square. Afterwards discovered it was the site of an old plague pit.


A long afternoon of discussions, which were then moved to the pub after work. I had eaten very little and spent the evening chatting to new clients. Long journey home, and arrived a bit before midnight where I ate a fried egg sandwich before crawling into bed unsuccessfully trying not to wake Lorraine.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Long haul

A Monday that felt like a Tuesday, given that I'd worked most of Sunday. Lorraine drove me to the station, where the train was delayed. A grim and philosophical laugh with a fellow commuter saying how he'd given up expecting the trains might work properly.

Work. Salad lunch, a few laughs with Keith slogging on the carabiner stuff, and I left in good time. Got to St Pancras and my train was cancelled and other were delayed. Long journey home. Finished Sapiens and found myself rather despising the book. Opinion stated as fact gets really tiresome after a while.

Home to my lovely Lorraine. Watched an episode of Orange is the new black. Getting to Sunday, my next day off, seems like a long haul.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Thinking of the money

Lorraine and I working this Sunday. Me on cat fleas and worms, for my French friends, and Lorraine on school work. Working at the weekend, and thinking of the money.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Woofing it

Lorraine and I finding it difficult to get up this morning. The sore throat from hell seemed to be trying to stage yet another comeback. However Lorraine and I had a really nice day. A bit of gardening, mowed the lawn and Lorraine poked in a few plants. We then sprawled about doing little. I slept heavily for an hour this afternoon.

At tea time we walked down to the Joker (in the rain obviously, berghaus lost in Bedford) where we met Anton, Anne, Klaudia and Oskar as a belated celebration of Anton's birthday. Got off to a bit of a sticky start as when we arrived a party of 56 French people had turned up and so every seat was taken. They all left after about half an hour, mercifully so we were able to get seats and baskets of wings. I had the usual woof woofs.

Heard the astonishing tale of Anton's head injury while in Bulgaria with Anne and Klaudia and Oskar. He'd been going down complex slides into the various pools of the resort all day. On the last go, with Klaudia the little boat thing he was on overturned and sent him out head first into the shallow water. Klaudia bravely and cleverly had the presence of mind to pull him up out of the water as he was a bit stunned. Eight stitches and a large medical bill.

However good to see everyone. Had a good shout with Anne about wide ranging subjects (the music was loud). Oskar now mad for football, and styling himself on Ronaldo, including adopting hair products. Both of my godbairns seem to have shot up over the last few months.

Lorraine and I home at a reasonable hour. We watched a bit of football (Manchester United losing against Manchester City, which was fun) watched a bit of Orange is the new black. Yep.

Below Oskar and Klaudia momentarily absorbed in cyberspace.




Friday, September 09, 2016

Interlude with a veteran

Greatly uplifted this morning by an old chap from Toronto who sat next to me on the train having got on at Gatwick. He was a former Canadian infantryman, who was 91 and had just got off the plane and was making his way to Aldershot.  Helped him sort out his onward journey. He was so cheerful and articulate that he turned baleful commuters into a friendly group. He was a big reader, and seemed mentally bright as a button. Obviously thought Brexit was a mistake but some bloke sitting opposite us said firmly, 'it'll be all right'. We passed a field of unicorns at that point.  The Canadian, however, had to wait a year and a half after the war ended before he could be shipped home, so got to know England well. He was back to revisit memories of being 20, a taciturn nephew in tow.

This put me in something of a good mood, not even completely dispelled by leaving my Berghaus wet-top on the train, and realising about twenty seconds after the train had left the station. Gah.

The day seemed long. Working on the carabiner job with Keith. Was beginning to be a tad sick of carabiners. Hugely pleased to unclip from the carabiner and eff off home listening to Sapiens on the and playing patience on my laptop. It's okay, but not in my opinion quite as brilliant as people are saying it is.

I met Lorraine and Rosie at the Sussex Yeoman, where I drank a much needed beer, followed by another much needed beer and some food. Later we were joined by Betty, then Innis and his mate Graham who I'd not met but liked. Lots of chatting, enlivened by a puppy which Beth and Rosie drooled over, then a cab home.

A poor photo with my new phone of Rosie and Lorraine.


Thursday, September 08, 2016

A dab of green

Up a little later today, being in Edgware and feeling a lot better than I had been feeling at the beginning of the week. Toast and tea with mum and Mas. Mas looking out at the green of the tree in their front garden and telling me that when he had his cataracts and went almost blind, people asked him what he missed seeing most. The girls? No it was the colour green. Mason's story resonated with me as I love green too. Anyway he sits at home, and gets lots of pleasure from seeing the sunlight catching the lime tree outside.

Walked to Stanmore and tubed into town. Apparently a fight on a train further down the line baked things up a bit. I had packed a teeshirt to wear into work today, but I decided it wasn't fit for purpose, so I bought another green shirt from fatface at Euston, as if I had been doing a 'walk of shame.' I changed into it in the shop. Nice bloke there.

A lovely day, and at lunchtime went out and sat outside a pub with Keith, Karam and a few others in the sun. Hot and the first time I had a lunchtime pint for a long time. A slightly trying afternoon, which ended with me presenting the work Keith and I had been doing, which went okay.

Pleased to be home, albeit late. Lorraine even more late so I cooked. Spoke to Janet, who was concerned about Ken, still in hospital. He had phoned her saying that he wanted to come home, not really understanding why he was there or remembering why. Upsetting for her.

Some grub, and then happily watched an episode or two of Orange is the new black before bed.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Snogging up to Stanmore

Feeling a bit vile than I was on Monday morning, that's for sure. Off into work. Thames link, whose trains I ride on to get to St Pancras have got a new train for the 7:22 I catch. Rubbish new  train, with not enough legroom and no little flip down tables and designed to have more room for people to stand in and sardine than actually sit. This country is going to the dogs.

Val phoned from Paris about a job which I will have to do at the weekend. Phoned up the theatre people who have been too disorganised to pay me yet. Beth had been onto them, but I called them too, just to make everyone feel hunted. My patience is beginning to ebb.

Still enjoying working with Keith. He's mercurial, passionate and funny. I've always liked him. And he's a good art director too, which helps a good deal. Got some rather good salmon sushi from a place called Itsu at lunchtime.

Off after work to Stanmore station, and enjoyed walking to Mum and Mason's house, and escape the tube, where two teenagers spent the whole journey snogging in the carriage. It seemed quite odd to see it, I'm sure there was more of that sort of thing going on when I was a lad.

Nice evening, chatting with Mum and Mas of them, marvelling at their new TV (long overdue, although Mum rather misses the stopgap one that Ben lent them that only had subtitles and no sound). Snapped back some spaghetti bolognaise and slugged some wine, and went to bed early. A nice evening.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Drippy face

Back to work for Lorraine, and for me the start of two weeks up in Tavistock Square. A horrid night of not sleeping, awful throat and coughing. Felt like death warmed over on the train, where I started listening to my new audiobook Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.

Pausing to score some strepsils, I went into work to discover I’d been teamed up with my old pal Keith. Good to see him, and a relief to know I’ll be working with someone I’ve worked with so often before. He was making me laugh with a story of pursading his partner to let him on a cable car, and then once aboard remembering that he is terrified of them, and clinging to the floor on all fours, and then having to be restrained from leaping out onto a treetop to escape. Then forcing his partner to walk down the mountain afterwards.  The work we’re asked to do is a thorny brief with not much elbow room, but we have time to work it all out. Keith worrying at his ear, which was painful and slightly deaf, and me having lost my voice. A right pair.

A turn around Tavistock Square at lunch, looked at Virginia Woolf’s dripping face and then back to it, eating a sensible salad at my desk.

Managed to get through work, and due to a cock up on the trains actually arrived back in Brighton early (a much delayed earlier train became a fast one).  Lorraine picked me up from the station tonight. I’d missed her.

In other news Richard’s blog, unerringly readable and interesting, has a couple of my poems on it today.


Home with Lorraine, hasty food making then unashamedly watched more of Orange is the new Black.

Visiting the statue of Virginia Woolf again today. Finding comfort in her drippy face.



Sunday, September 04, 2016

Toying with fish

For Lorraine and I the last day of freedom. Chats with Mum and Janet. My voice going and feeling generally poor today and in need of sleep.

Due to the absence of Sonia who is taking another of her lengthy holidays, Lorraine and I conducted a big tidy up this morning. Then to the Garden Centre to look at plants. I found myself magnetised by the aquarium shop too, toying with the idea of keeping fish again, but if I do I want to do it excellently this time, with lush planting which necessitates CO2 being piped into the tank to promote plant growth, amongst other things.  Also weirdly attracted to tradescantia houseplants.

Otherwise, news from Beth that John had shaved his bushy beard off.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Obsessives

Throat still an abomination against human decency. Went into Brighton with Lorraine and upgraded my phone to an iPhone 6s. This business of getting it reasonably painless (although you always suspect you are being sold a pup) and looking at the slightly larger screen is a thing of joy.

A spot of shopping with Lorraine, and we then repaired home for an afternoon of doing mercifully little, apart from obsessively watching Orange Is The New Black. Lorraine and I clinging onto the time we have with each other before everything kicks off.

Friday, September 02, 2016

At large in London with Bob

A day of birthdays. Anton, off to a wedding, and Bob, who I went up to London to meet. I met him at Trafalgar Square, and having arrived early I paced three times about Nelson's column, and I successfully summoned him.  We went off to the Nell Gwynne for a cheeky beer, where a man stared me in the eyes as if I were on TV for a while. Very odd. However a good chat, then we went to the Courtauld Gallery where there was an exhibition of Georgiana Houghton's work. She lived 1814-1884) and was a spiritualist medium, and did abstract watercolours, her hand guided by various spirits. Her work reminded me of outsider artists. This and other pictures looked at, Bob interrogating  A Bar at the Folies-Bergère by Manet, when I told him the reflection of the girl was in the wrong place.

From there to pubs, briefly to the Bank then to The Seven Stars, which is a splendid pub behind the royal courts of justice and legal folks go there. I sat in there alone for a bit while Bob popped into a tailors where he was having his trousers adjusted. And experienced a kind of timeless moment, in the little low ceilinged place, with hops hanging down, and its posters of old English films, and Bleak House characters lurking about. Then to have a nice indian meal near St Paul's cathedral before I hopped on a train home at Blackfriars.

Home to Lorraine. I've been fighting a nasty bug lately, and my throat felt shredded by the time I got home in fine rain. But I'd had a good day with Bob, always nice to lurk about in some of our old haunts. Bob in good spirits, and plenty to chat about as usual. His daughter Millie was having, at 12, her first date today (an afternoon cup of coffee with a boy). Nice to see Bob phoning for an update.

Below a sculpture on the plinth at Trafalgar Square (the strange ribbon, with stock market results on it in real time) two shots inside a momentarily empty Seven Stars. I did a 'joint selfie' of me and Bob, but by common consent it was too appalling to show.