Saturday, February 17, 2018

Chichester and old friends

Up and out today. A gorgeous sunny spring day. After collecting a phone charger Dawn had left at a pal's house, off to Steyning to collet Dawn and Lorraine drove us to Chichester. Went to the Cathedral there which has a few gorgeous windows, and a window by Marc Chagall, which I didn't like very much, but that may have been because it had little light passing through it when we were there.

A cup of coffee and an eccles cake for me in the cafe, and enjoyed chatting with Dawn and Lorraine. Dawn cheerful at present and has been dating a nice man. Chatting later it seems by coincidence that he has exactly the same birthday as me.

Then we went to The Pallant House Art Gallery which has a lot of twentieth English Art in it, some of it quite interesting. Several pieces by Graham Sutherland, a Lucien Freud and this piece by Ceri Richards I enjoyed. There was a big exhibition of Leonard Rosoman's work called Painting Theatre, which was interesting but brought out my inner Plato as making art about another art is at too many removes from reality.

Sauntering back through Chichester's pedestrianised town centre, I bumped into Martin Buchan, an old friend from my Chiswick days, who still lives there. Not seen him for years, and it was odd to bump into him there. Good to chat for a bit. Said I would look him up in London for a proper chat.

Drove home via Steyning, and then went off to meet Matt and Reuben in the Hare and Hounds. Very loud in there of a Saturday night. Good to see them both, especially Matt who I've not seen much of lately. A bit of a catch up for a hour or so, then Lorraine and I pushed off to The Shahi to have a curry. Enjoyed this a great deal, and I drank more beers there too, so my top hat was slightly askance as we walked home.

Below Matt and Reuben, inside the Chichester Cathedral, street art near the Pallant Gallery, Dawn and Lorraine, the lovely South Trancept Window, the Chagall window and views outside the Cathedral.












Friday, February 16, 2018

Nibbling glass

Walked over to Evolution arts today, and enjoyed working on my stained glass. Receiving lots of encouragement from Ben Conti the teacher and the others who are liking my design and colour choices. I've been using different thicknesses of lead too. Ben teaching me lots and being very supportive. Finding I enjoy using pliers to nibble bits of glass to shape, and using the glass grinder to reduce the size of a piece by a smidge.

Had a coffee with Chris, the retired teacher, afterwards. A thoughtful, interesting man, who has also written short stories and done travel writing for magazines. He travels lots now, and went to Brazil towards the end of last year and said it was quite dangerous, due to economic reasons, and he told me about seeing a man waving a gun around in the street near the coach station. He said he was interested in how geographical and historical factors influence national character, and we had a conversation about whether national character exists or not.

Bright sunshine today, and a gorgeous light on the see when you glimpsed. I repaired to my reg'lar Starbucks, via the Pavilion gardens where I ate a sandwich keeping an eye out for gulls and pigeons. In the cafe, I worked on a poem for a few hours, before walking home again listening to Rabbit, Run. Home, and with little energy, I finished watching the last episodes of BoJack Horseman, which is an excellent series on Netflix.

Lorraine home from working in school, and we finished yesterday's delicious chicken and ham pie. Neither of us feeling like going out tonight, so we spent yet another obsessive night in with the Cylons.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Bathrooms and big pies

A gorgeous mild springlike day. Sprang out of bed early as Russ Shed, a plumber came to look at our ensuite bathroom which is need of help. We both liked him, and he seemed thorough and knowledgeable. A porridge breakfast after he went, and we found ourselves weeding the front garden before we zoomed off to Burgess Hill and Hateful Heath to look at bathroom furniture and tiles. A Japanese style toilet in one of them. After this, we hung curtains and lampshades from yesterday. Varieties of house business.

In the evening Beth and John came around. Lorraine cooked a giant chicken and leek pie as a special request, and we had a really nice evening in, eating pie and playing endless games of cards. John and Lorraine won the euchre, and Beth and I were very encouraging and pleased for them. Then Uno at some length, while listening to music and drinking various drinks. A really cheery night, till they caught the last bus home and we sloped happily off to bed.

Below a sign in the tile shop.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

End of the Kentish Adventure

A bright start, and Lorraine and I boofed downstairs at The Milk House for a decent breakfast and coffee, before we started to pack up. I slipped across the road to a strangely unfriendly village store to buy some toothpaste. We checked out. Luckily Lorraine was on the ball and stopped the place from mistakenly overcharging us. Turns out we yesterday walked only metres past Lake Chad, which is a former millpond renamed Lake Chad in 1908 when the son of the landowner mapped Lake Chad in Africa.


On with our drive through lovely Kent countryside towards Ashford. Here we stopped off at a business park not far from Pat and Maureen's house which was composed almost entirely of car dealerships. We went into the Seat one and looked at one or two year old Leons and Atecas, and then off to a Nissan dealership to look at Qashqais. Used car salesmen are up there with Estate agents and lawyers on the weasel front. Then to another lot where we walked about in the cold wind and peered at cars till we decided we had enough and went to Pat and Maureen's for a cup of tea. They were watching curling on the winter olympics and looking after their neighbour's dog called Nick. Nick very protective of Maureen. Nick likes biting people, and had a go at an workman who called around the other week to its owner's house. It was eyeing my calves too, and I wasn't sad to see the back of it.

Later we went out to Dunelm Mill in the rain to look at curtain fabrics and bought some curtains and a lightshade. And returned home to eat the excellent cottage pie that Maureen had prepared. Lorraine's nephew Pete is moving out of Pat and Maureen's into his own flat this week with his girlfriend Charlene. He was pleased and excited by this, and we bought him some glasses to take there.

I was feeling a bit chilled and tired today, and despite wearing two jumpers and Pat draping a blanket over my legs I found it hard to get warm. 

Home on the motorway, pouring with rain and busy. The cats pleased to see us, having been fed by young Erin from next door. Nice to be home. Had a hot drink and watched another episode of Battlestar Galactica before bed.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sleet but no serpents

Up fairly late at The Milk House and down to get our full English Breakfast, which was perfectly nice. Then gradually got ourselves ready for a walk in the countryside, donning walking boots and so on. Shortly after we set off it began to rain, and we endured icy winds, sleet and rain and lots and lots of sticky mud. There were two signs about adders too, though I suspected these were motivated by a desire for people to keep orf moi land.

We were following a local walk on Lorraine's iPhone, which suddenly shut down. We then followed it on mine, which also shut down just as we became lost after following some directions which had no correlation to the place we were in. Because we knew the direction Sissinghurst lay in, we were able to make our way back anyway, finding a decent path at last. Some lovely countryside, despite the weather. Both of us frozen and wet through, despite our wet tops, by the time we reached The Milk House again. A big shower in the room, so we both crammed in and had a hot shower, which helped somewhat. Once peeled out of her sodden jeans, Lorraine's legs were bright pink with the cold for some time after the shower.

Was called by Lynne from the Paddington folks, and it seems I will be working there again soon.

A relaxed afternoon in our room, resting and reading books. I'm reading a good book called Nine Gates, Entering the mind of poetry by an American poet, Jane Hirshfield. After an early meal, a few pints and a game of scrabble by the log fire downstairs, before heading back to our room.

A few freezing cold sights on our walk, with a few sights and Lorraine squelching across muddy fields before my iPhone gave out. Beth, seeing the bottom snap on my Instagram account, said Lorraine looked like a scarecrow.






Monday, February 12, 2018

Breaking away to Kent

Up unexpectedly early as Erin from next door came to feed the cats though we were still at home. Up and packing for a two day mini break in Kent. Weighed myself this morning and am the heaviest I have been in a few years, which is quite depressing, although I did eat all the wrong food in abundance last week.

Went to look at cars near Patcham. Stopped off at one dealer that Lorraine had been to before. It emerged that she had been given a test drive there before by Dave Carr, which made me laugh. We saw a Ross Car-ter today. I sat in the three types of car that Lorraine is looking at. Both a bit stressed as it is lots of money even for a second hand car. We are narrowing it down.

Then back into our own car and Lorraine drove us to Sissinghurst. A beautiful sunny day, and East Sussex and Kent looking extremely beautiful. It is designated of course an area of outstanding natural beauty. Down treelined lanes and through old and lovely villages. We arrived at Sissinghurst at a pub called The Milk House. Our room is called The Churn, and was more inviting than it sounded. The bar and restaurant very pleasant too, great news for the diet which I must start any day now.

A quick walk in the cold but bright afternoon before we returned to The Milk House. I had a much needed snooze, and then we had a drink in the bar below and a nice meal. I had potted goose and sea bass and Lorraine had tomato and parmesan soup followed by pork belly. All good.

Below a winter orchard, and the wall outside the churchyard nearby in sunlight.



Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sleepy Sunday

Lorraine and I made plans about everything we would do today in bed this morning while eating Quorn sausage sandwiches. Then we fell asleep again till one PM. Not much time to do anything other than zoom off to Sainsbury's and the run about the house tidying up in preparation for our next door neighbours Harvey, Philippa and eight month old Magnus coming around. A pleasant chat with our new neighbours and a quick glass of wine before they set off on the four second journey home.


Lorraine and I then had Sunday dinner and relaxed by watching more Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, known in the Kenny household as the best SF telly series ever.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Laurels in the rain

A busy day today. Up early with Lorraine and put spade shovel, fork and a watering can and off to her school. We joined a handful of Bolney volunteers and quickly planted 40 laurel bushes along the back fence of the school. This job done, the volunteers left and Lorraine and I then soldiered on in the rain  sweeping leaves and doing a few jobs around the school that Lorraine has no time to do usually.  Then planting children's ten mile an hour please signs along the little lane that leads to the school, this done home to much needed hot drinks and chicken and ham pies I bought at the butchers. 


We walked down into town to delve in two cramped cloth shops full of gorgeous colours for the curtains in our spare room. These cloth shops exhausted, Lorraine suggested we repair to the Basketmakers, where we had a beer and an early dinner. Then we walked to The Duke of York's to see the film The Phantom Thread, which was enjoyably full of silences and significant looks. An interesting character study.

Then we walked home in the rain, and were pleased to be there. A good amount of walking today. My weight, however, seems to be steadily increasing the more I walk.  

Below Lorraine in a cloth shop.




Friday, February 09, 2018

Using a different part of my brain

A bit sluggish this morning. Off to my stained glass group this morning, after I got up early and finished the design for what I wanted to build. Then walked off to Evolution Arts while listening to Rabbit, Run, by John Updike. You can see that in the shot of the worktop with my design in black lines. It will be mostly shades of grey, with a pale Victorian yellow background, and  two small chips of red in it to make the green sing.

A good session, with Ben being very helpful, and a quick cup of coffee with Mick the former electrical lecturer afterwards, before I walked home and got on with thinking about poems and doing a bit of billing. I find these classes are opening up a section of my brain which has been dormant for a while, the one containing practical ability, common sense and so on. As a complete beginner it is quite nice to be in a situation where you are learning everything from scratch, such as how to cut bits from the different coils of lead, and the sheer fitting of things together like a big jigsaw. The task I accidentally set myself is quite technical, however, with overlapping glass, but with Ben's help I hope I can get there. I find myself really liking glass as a material and feel uplifted by the colours.

Out in the evening to the Preston Park Tavern with Lorraine for a quick bite, before returning home to watch more of those binge-able Cylons in Battlestar Galactica.


Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Walking and thinking and eating lots of chicken

Woke to a dusting of snow which soon disappeared after sunrise. Worked on poems, and sent off some poems. Pretty clear now about which poems will be in Sin Cycle. Walked over 14 kilometres by the end of the day some of it in the evening, and a few walks during the day thinking about what I was writing, or listening to Rabbit, Run by John Updike. I've never read or listened to a book by Updike before. Reflective of the times and attitudes. Excellently written but I find it hard to warm to the central character.

Met up with Anton in the Great Eastern, talking among other things about the meditation he has been doing. I am attracted to the idea of Anton in a lotus position thinking about the gateless gate.  He's enjoying it and doing it at the Buddhist Centre. We then followed a hot tip from Betty and walked to East Street. The smell of skunk drifting in the streets. We found a cafe called The Bok Shop which served hot wings. We ordered lots of wings, but when they arrived they were wings and thighs and bits of legs. Anton and I scarfed these, (or I overate on mine, and Anton left half of his). I then walked to a pub where Anton knew there was a pinball machine and we played this for a bit until the machine wouldn't give us its ball back. Then to the Earth and Stars for a last beer before our fond farewells.

Walking home, I gave into curiosity as I passed the Mitre, the time travelling pub I have a strange fascination with. Four drinkers at the bar, three men and a woman. I took a stool, and was greeted in a friendly fashion by the locals as I drank a pint of Harveys. But there was an undercurrent of sadness there, and the woman had just lost her husband. I continued on my way, happy to be home and slip into bed beside Lorraine and happy to have such a lucky life.

Below the view from our bedroom this morning.



Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Horseplay

A full day. Did a fair amount of writing this morning, and then went for a long walk for a couple of hours. Also had a hair cut (the less hair you have the more you need it cut etc.) and bought another copy of Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience. This with the pictures and the words facing them.

In the evening Lorraine drove us down to Hove where we met Beth and had some dinner at the Regency cafe. I had superior fish and chips, and Lorraine had fish pie, and Beth had a seafood platter. Full of Chinese tourists for some reason.

Then we walked along the seafront to the Brighton Centre to see War Horse the theatre show based on the Michael Morpurgo children's story. The show worked very well, and the sets and costumes were really good. The story had its heart in the right place, but I thought the pace a tad slow, probably due to playing to such a huge hall. I'd never been to the Brighton Centre. A nice way to spend an evening in the week, a rare school night out for Lorraine, and I am very pleased I saw it. The life size horse puppets were amazing, interesting how the people puppeting them became less visible after a while.




Monday, February 05, 2018

Sunlight breaks into my office

Somehow twisted my neck which set off referred pain into my head. Got up in the middle of the night and microwaved the bean filled bag that Maureen gave me, to drape like a heavy slug over my neck. I spent much of the day be-slugged while I worked on Sin Cycle. Now I have Sarah's comments too, I am now making my final tweaks. Weirdly, there are several parallels with Songs of Innocence and Experience which I haven't read for years, although one of my poems is a reworking of an old poem of mine inspired by The Sick Rose, a picture of the Blake's engraving which I posted yesterday.

Otherwise a quiet day, and Lorraine working late. Maureen phoned me up to talk about curtains. She said I wouldn't understand it but she told me anyway. Glenice phoned to thank Lorraine for birthday flowers. Meanwhile I did my 10k paces in three walks. Not snowing in Brighton as it was in much of the country, but there were occasional odd sleety or snowflake in the air but nothing with any gusto, and bright sun from time to time too.

A bit worn out by my painful head by the end of the day, and binged on episodes of BoJack Horseman  again, which is as sad as it is funny. Lorraine home, and once fed, we watched another Battlestar Galactica episode before bed.

Below glimpsing the downs on my walk. I had half expected them to be white with snow, but obviously they weren't. Also as I worked late this afternoon, low, orange sunlight came into my study for the first time. The sun getting a mite higher and moving west. Strangely lovely.



Sunday, February 04, 2018

An innocent Sunday

Up fairly early for us on Sunday, after quorn sausage sandwiches. Lorraine and I had a longish walk and a good breath of fresh air and popped into a garage to look at second hand cars and spoke to a cagey second hand car salesman who we didn't warm to. A relaxed afternoon. I read Blake's Songs of Innocence & Experience for the first time in decades, much more intrigued by the Innocent ones than I remember, which the more you look at them, the odder they become. I have a book with Blake's pictures in them too. He was an unusual cove, and all the better for that. Lorraine working this afternoon, and I snoozed and cooked roast chicken and spoke to Mum and Toby who may be coming to blighty in the Spring.

Below The Sick Rose as printed by William Blake.




Saturday, February 03, 2018

Sorting Saturday

Up reasonably early for a Saturday. I sloped down the road to buy a chewy brown loaf and made Lorraine and I breakfast of egg and bacon sandwiches. Anton called around for coffee as we were finishing them, and to get some official documents witnessed. He has been to meditation and enjoyed it, and was generally in a good mood.

While Anton was here Sarah called around with the young Zach, who briefly dazzled us with his mathematical skills, to drop off  Sin Cycle with her comments.  Zach a delightful boy, and was impressed that Lorraine was a headteacher apparently. Anton left soon after, with shopping to be done. He and I will go for a beer on Wednesday all being well.

I had a look a bit later at Sarah's comments, she had put much work and thought into it, as she does everything, all in her very characteristic handwriting. Once you tune into it, it becomes legible and all the more exciting for having deciphered it.

I then had another slightly manic bout of The Big Sort Out today, and caught Lorraine up in my enthusiasm, and we threw pairs of old shoes, and unwanted clothes to be recycled. It is a weird irony that having thrown out some shoes I rediscovered some shoes that were really comfortable and warm and new. It is one of life's ironies that when you throw out stuff you gain things, like how I have to go to the barbers more often now I have less hair.

After things were sorted, we had a bit of downtime before bussing down the hill into town to meet Penny and Steve in Indian Summer. Lorraine and I were a little early, so we had a cheeky in the Druid's Head first. A really tasty meal in Indian Summer, and nice chatting with Penny and Steve again. I drank Tusker beers in there which were nice too.

Lorraine and I bussing back home again, and were home in time for Match of the Day. A happy day.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Progress

Up early with Lorraine and worked a bit on my design for my stained glass window. Then I walked and bussed over to Evolution Arts.

A bit apprehensive, having come away feeling somewhat frustrated last week. However, this week I got lots of help from Ben. He helped me make a few tweaks to the sizes of all my bits in the practice piece, and I filed ends off lead, and used a glass grinder to slightly reduce the size of my green glass circle. Best of all I did soldering for the first time in my life, and found I was quite good at it. I lack confidence doing practical things, so anything like this feels like a victory. The thing soldered together, you then have to apply a kind of concrete to all the places where the lead meets the glass. This sets and makes the piece stronger and holds the glass in place. Then you have to tidy it up with extra scraping and then brushing. Once you start brushing the lead with the concrete in, the lead starts turning dark. Came out of the lesson feeling that I had gained skills, and really cheerful.

Afterwards I went for a coffee with Mick, one of the guys in the group. He's about ten years older than me, and a former electrician and then lecturer in being an electrician. Likeable chap. Then I went into another cafe to do some work for a bit.

Popped around to see Janet and Ken. Janet upset because Rossi their cat had died this week. These animals are like members of the family, and it is hard when they go. Hus was there too, making raised beds in the back garden. We had cups of tea and chatted for a while. Nice to pop in.

Then I started walking home. Jumped on a bus for a bit, then walked back up through Preston Park as I wanted to make sure I had my ten thousand paces again today. Home and at my desk again. Time to do a bit more, but my brain was empty.

Lorraine home and we went to the Preston Park Tavern, which was really busy. Lorraine making me laugh with some of the bizarre stuff the kids were up to today. Then we went to the Park View, and this was really busy too. We had a quick beer in the Park View then bought some fish and chips from across the road, and then ate them at home, watching the Cylons obsessively before bed.

Below a quick snap of the practice piece in progress. Still needed to be cleaned up and the cement tidied up, but getting to this point felt like a bit of an achievement.





Thursday, February 01, 2018

Taking a breath

The day seemed to zoom past today. Got up fairly early, Lorraine having brought me a cup of tea in bed, and I wrote some bits, reworked some copy as a favour for Catherine, looked at the cover proposal for the Telltale anthology and made suggestions, was contacted by Fernanda and did a smidge extra on the work we were doing yesterday. I had plans of perhaps going into London on the weekly pass I bought, but ran out of time. Instead I went on a two hour walk down to the sea and around and about, wearing my flat cap because it was cold. Forgot to take any snaps, but it was good thinking time and I easily passed my ten thousand paces.

Nice to be sucking in the sea air after being working in corporate goldfish bowl offices for three days. Holding onto my hat on the pier, which is undergoing some maintenance, and men were welding things in the strutty bits underneath over the water.

Home, and cooked for the lovely Mrs Kenny, added food and judiciously added a glass of beer when she got home somewhat frazzled.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Last day of a short stint

Up and off again. Last day in my three day stint. Another day in a goldfish bowl meeting room. One of the advantages of being older is that people cannot be certain that you are a person of no importance. A couple of times people came to the room, clearly wanting to turf me out, and I just gave them a Paddington stare through the glass and they thought better of it.

Worked on the train to get everything sorted in time, and despite various IT pains at work (they asked me to bring my own laptop, but their guest Wifi blocks you from sending emails sometimes), started the day running around with a memory key.

Spent the afternoon with Fernanda, after our first thoughts had been scorned by some suit, who insisted on replacing them with idiocies, which due to his seniority within the organisation, apparently we had to run with. I reminded myself I was only there for a few more hours. Released back into the wild by Fernanda. She is a breath of fresh air, with an original mind and a beautiful design sense, and this was I think the third time we had worked together. Didn't have much time to chat about anything other than work, although she did tell me she came to work in her pyjamas and nobody noticed. From the goldfish bowl meeting room we watched the big full moon rise of the buildings, and it was beautiful.

Robin's first layout of the Telltale anthology came through today, which looked splendid. Quite pleased with one of my two poems in there. The photo I put on Instagram on Monday was reposted with my permission by the Kings Cross account. I like Instagram much more than facebook these days.

Off on the train up to Mill Hill where I walked to the Jolly Badger Harvester Mum and Mas at the harvester for dinner. Quite cold tonight, about 5C.  I drank beer and Mum and I ate the ribs of some shrew-like thing, which I'd augmented with half a sparrow.  First time out for Mas for a while, and he seemed well disposed towards a burger, natchos and fries, with a cold beer. Various chats, before it was time to head for home. I walked back to Mill Hill train station, and had a long faux first journey home. Walked up the hill under the super blue moonlight.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Industrial Luxury

Trying to work on the train, but it was too full, and pesky faux first was full too. Bah. Into work and working alone for most of the day in a different office a bit like goldfish bowl, which at one point I was forced out of. Fernanda busy most of the day, so did most of the work and drawing up solo.

A nice walk at lunchtime, and  chance to see some light. Walked along a bit of the nearby canal, and past gasometers that had been repurposed as swanky private properties. Not much to report in the afternoon other than steady concepting.

 Slow journey home. Home, and oddly desperate for a beer. Lorraine had cooked me a chicken curry which I had with the Cylons and a couple of tinnies. Sweet.

Below taken with gasometer 'industrial luxury' apartments. Each of the columns had the stamp at the bottom of them, which I rather liked.



Monday, January 29, 2018

A dancing fountain

Up with Lorraine and off to London. To St Pancras, in faux first. Heading for a tasteful modern redevelopment around the back of Kings Cross. I was early, so found the canal and on the other side of it was St Martin's. Outside were dancing fountains, which suddenly sprung up as I looked at them, catching a man cycling past. I took a snap of them, their jets undulating in waves.

I had a walk at lunchtime, and bought a sandwich and ate it sitting by a jukebox in a waiting area in St Pancras.

Then into the office, where Fernanda grabbed me from reception. A clean and attractive office building, very swanky if soulless. Spent the day in a meeting room looking at a grey wall coming up with ways of selling a kind of medical packaging. Nanda had to go off and fix lots of problems for most of the day, so I was left mostly to my own devices. Nice to see her though, in those times when we were together.

Then off home in the evening, and home to Lorraine and eating more of the turkey pie Lorraine had made brilliantly yesterday. Yum. To bed, after a nightly dose of Cylons.

Below a student walking through the dancing fountains in Granary Square.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Muddy fun

Lorraine and I off to Trading Boundaries today, and bought some really colourful cushions and a gorgeous patchwork quilt for the big bedroom. They suddenly brought the room alive. Always like it there, and ghosting about upstairs seeing all the Roger Dean prints.

After this Lorraine and I went for a walk around Lake Wood near Uckfield. However it was incredibly muddy, but we had our boots on and squelched around enjoyably enough for a while. Good to get some fresh air. There is a small lake there with is very atmospheric, bordered by small caves and unusual rocks.

Home, and then Lorraine started working on her bits and pieces for school, and I did some work on poems, and other bits and pieces, including speaking to Mum and arranging to come and meet her and Mas on Wednesday. Also girding loins for working in London next week.

Lorraine made an amazing turkey pie, which we ate while watching Cylons in the evening.

Below a detail of a pen drawing of the Tales Tom Topographic Oceans cover Dean did, and a shot of a branch reflected in the lake.