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A bit of fun!

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To bed feeling shattered, and then was woken shortly before 1.00am by a party in the garden next door. Then someone knocking drunkenly on the door next door, and the thunder and lightning. Missed hours of the night, and got up and drank some chamomile tea and so on. Eventually back to sleep and woke up at nine. Got up and brought Lorraine some tea.  Off to see Jewell today, to do a deep tissue massage on my back at 11am. Both painful and blissful, and we had a really good chat. Lovely to catch up with her for the first time in almost two years. Like seeing an old friend.  Felt lots more upright afterwards, and headed home. An afternoon of work for the team in Germany, and bloody pleased to be done with it. Also a smidge of work for the mes amis in Paris too, when I followed up with them. Done by 5:30 today, which was excellent. Then Lorraine, Jade Sam and I mooched into town for fun. Walking with Jade and she was so excited about going to see a Marvel movie, it really made me smile. Sh

On work and wildflowers

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Lorraine lying in a bit, not having to go to school. I had to get up and start work at 7.00am with my German pals, and work for ten and a half hours.  Somewhat end of tetherish today, and the Teutonic tentacles keep dragging you back into a mire of goalpost moving. Still, mustn't grumble, eh? And they are all very likeable. When not working, walking. Having decided I don't know the names of the wildflowers, I am now obsessed.  I was bent over some white flowers, and a randomly passing bloke said ' common yarrow '.  I then used an app I downloaded, which is useless in the field as it were. Simpler just to take photos and then work it all out later. Wild flowers are my official new craze, although I am feeling a tad resentful that everything I am finding seems to be common .  Bloody exhausted this evening, and reasonably cheerful in the knowledge that I don't have to get up with the sparrows tomorrow, even though I have to work in the afternoon again. Below. The white

Slogging along

Up early, several meetings with the German team including a nice medical man called Herman in Cologne -- and the afternoon bashing out copy and then chatting to the creative team. Hot, bothered and tired by late afternoon, another walk up to the hill fort, bought some salad bits, and then did more German work. Slogging along. The people are absolutely lovely, but I am feeling drained.  As I wrote to SJB (Sarah Barnsley) all I really want to do at the moment is a) nothing, and b) write poetry. She said she was gripped by such excitement about writing her forthcoming poetry collection she couldn't sleep.  Then I made a complex salad with lots of ingredients, grilling halloumi and making couscous and then mixing that with few bits of gently fried green beans, garlic and chilli. Worked fine I thought. Lorraine home late, and we all ate. Jade having emerged from a long and thorough rest up in their rooms seeming cheery. I drank a single cold beer, watched a little TV 9 (Lorraine multita

Work and wildflowers

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Lorraine back to work for a full day again, despite not feeling particularly perky. All day on the German stuff, and presented what I had done to the team who are mostly in Munich early afternoon.   I presented quite a bit of stuff, and it went down well as far as I can tell. An evening stroll over the hill as usual. I noticed lots of wildflowers among the long grass, and the meadows are now turning golden. Scorching hot still, and I chose to walk under trees as much as possible, till you get to the bald hilltop of course. Stuffy in my office late afternoon, but as my window is north west facing, I don't get much sunlight till the afternoon. Lorraine tired and needing bland food when she got home. Jade returned and lay low with Sam. Below a few hill fort wildflowers ... I think I need to learn all their names. A newly-golden field looking towards Brighton's Amex Stadium.   

Pathless

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Monday, and the heat has set in. It is so called Freedom Day, another asinine decision by the government where anti maskers and others can cast aside all protection just as the infection rates are escalating out of control. Admittedly deaths and hospitalisations still lower than they were, but the country is set to become a petri dish for new variants. Other countries are watching closely.  A briefing from a friendly team in Munich -- a tsunami of details and no clear path. A meeting last thing, it became clear they want me there to work out what to do about it. Not exactly the last job before my hols I was hoping for.  Otherwise I went for a walk up to Hollingbury Hill, there was thunder to the north rolling along towards Lewes. Some lovely clouds, and great to hear distant thunder, which I love. Lorraine off to work, and back home in the afternoon still feeling a bit rough and slept all afternoon. It seems a new prescription can bring on feelings of nausea for a bit. We watched a ter

Poopers

A scorching hot day. The day of Robin's long awaited garden party, but Lorraine and I had to poop it at the last moment. Lorraine felt unwell with some sort of GI problem, she slept all afternoon, clearly shattered. I looked momentarily at catching a train to Eastbourne -- but  the only option was going via Victoria which was ridiculous and would have taken hours and after my hellish ride back from my dentist I am in no hurry to ride trains. But as we didn't know what Lorraine had, I wasn't going to risk mingling with others.  So poor Lorraine slept this afternoon, clearly out of sorts but with no temperature although she had felt hot this morning. I had a day doing not much, apart from my usual walk up Hollingbury Hill which I greatly enjoyed. Early to bed, with a spot of mosquito whacking. 

Laughs in the Park

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Up this morning, and into the car to pick up a chest of drawers from Innis's late pal Grol's son Tom who is clearing his house on Muesli Mountain. The drawers are going to Beth. Both Lorraine and I thought Tom seemed a lovely guy. Then we zoomed off to Lidl in Hove and mooched about in there buying a few bits and pieces, and some boxes of wine that Lorraine is going to give to her staff.  In the afternoon, I went for a walk up the hill, just to ensure I reached my walking target.  This evening, Lorraine and I strolled down to Preston Park, home of the pop up Brighton Comedy Garden, to see a four standup comedians: Stephen K Amos, who hosted, Shappi Khorsandi, Reginald D Hunter, and Alan Davies. The event was outside with people sat in pairs in little sprayed boxes dotted all over the field. Quite an odd experience, and not like being in a club at all. But nevertheless great to see some live performances. All four seemed rusty to me, especially Alan Davis. But I laughed lots. Re

Of excellent dentists, outside beers and cycle paths

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Up early and made several amends on the stuff I was doing for mes amis in Paris, and then sent this off as a pdf to Val. Then I nipped down to Preston Park Station and made off to Kew Bridge to see my dentist.  Amanda messaging me from NZ for the inside skinny on the Nintendo Switch games that Lorraine likes, as she has just got one too. Quite busy on the way up. I read poems from Finished Creatures, and the latest PN Review on the train for a while, but just felt like rubbernecking out of the window. I arrived a bit early at Kew Bridge so was able to sit by the river, and look at the flotillas of Canada geese and other riverside delights. A beautiful day. Sauntered up to the dentist's office and Lucinda herself opened the door and told me to go straight in, even though I was early. No nasty surprises, which is what you want, and just a bit of scraping and polishing. As I was leaving I told Lucinda how much I appreciated how calm she made me feel over the years. I have not had a mo

Haymaking

Busy day. More cat concepts for the French agency, chats with David about winding up my Ltd company.  I like David and he speaks human, a noble trait in an accountant. Also uploaded the latest episode of Planet Poetry, which required last minute stuff with Robin, but we both felt a sense of accomplishment. Wrote to Rishi to let him know. Zoomed off across the park to pick up a prescription at lunchtime. Only half the pills as I have to have a blood test now, and a phone in consultation in the next couple of weeks. Walking back I saw a young black man wearing what seemed to me to be traditional African clothes and a man-high stick performing some sort of ritual with a woman in the rose garden. Brighton, eh? I was curious but had to hurry home for work again.  Lorraine out this evening at a work related thing, so I did dinner early, and then went back to doing a bit of French stuff, and had an early evening walk to get to more than 10k. Also confirmed that I will be working with Germans

Stockshot cats

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Working hard on concepts for the French agency, and enjoying the job, which was to do with cats. and I could simply get on with it without having factor in any other people. Happily looking at dozens of pictures of cats on stock shot libraries. Facetimed Mum, and spoke also to Mas and Ben who was there. Walked my 10k paces. Prepared dinner. Keeping a weather eye on Lorraine who is feeling a bit wobbly as she heads for the last furlong at school. It is becoming less wet and rubbish now. Here is the view from the other side of the Hillfort, you can see the Brighton Amex Stadium at Falmer near the University. I like the tiny people dots walking down the hill. I am lucky I have such broad horizons under 30 minutes walk from my front door. 

Wrapping up

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Made good progress on a poem first thing, and then did some final recording with Robin for the season finale of Planet Poetry. We will be back in late September. We have done 17 episodes in all, which isn't bad. Robin a bit stressed about her party this weekend, but otherwise cheery. I spent a fair amount of time editing afterwards. Received a copy of Finished Creatures magazine, edited by Jan Heritage, with my Mezquita de Córdoba poem in it, I wrote after falling in love with the interior of the Mosque there . Pals like Antony, Tess, Charlotte, SJB and Louise all in it, so I was pleased to be part of the club. My poem, as is SJB's is printed sideways, so as not to interfere with the line length, which is nice. It arrived in a beautiful envelope with a bookmark placed in it on the page of my poem, which struck me as a very Japanese style attention to detail. Went for a long walk, and was phoned by Valérie while I was by the side of the hill fort, briefing me on a job to be sta

Sluggish

Felt sluggish and struggled to achieve anything. Lorraine working from home first thing, before heading off to school to start the penultimate week. I had an unappetising smorgasbord of frogs to dine on accountant/business stuff/ podcasting preparation/billing the agency for the last job/a Sainsbury's delivery/hoovering and chatting to two chirpy young ladies from Dusty Dolls Cleaning, who come around to give the house a once over. I squeezed in a couple of walks too, however.  No footie tonight, so Lorraine and I sat on the sofa, Lorraine playing her Nintendo, and me rereading A Year With Swollen Appendices , by Brian Eno while sipping a ginger beer. It is one of the few books that have been a lasting inspiration. And I channeled my inner Anton, and rebought it from Amazon in its 25 anniversary reissue in a hard cover, with gold and black ribbons, and the appendices printed on pink paper, and today read what he was doing in January 1995, which included recording an album with Davi

Only a game

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Lorraine, Beth and I off to Kent to see Pat and Maureen. Good to catch up with all of Betty's news in the car. Among other things she has taken to embroidery and made a lovely thing for Maureen, pictured below by tracing a letter from her laptop screen and then ornamenting it. Maureen very chuffed with it. After a tasty lunch of chicken salad, and a delicious apple and apricot pie which Maureen said she made for me, we all settled down to watch the Men's Final at Wimbledon. Pat and Maureen love their tennis. It was a good game between Djokovic and Berrettini. Both players were interviewed after the game, and they both were very sportsmanlike and complimented the other player handsomely after Djokovic ground out a win. Good to see a bit of decency. Lorraine drove us home in time for European Cup Final between England and Italy.  England scored in the second minute, but it was all tense and downhill from there. After over two hours of stress it ended with England losing on penalt

A quiet drink

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The job I'd been doing with Keith ended today... Not with a bang but a series of minor amends that left us twiddling our thumbs a lot during the day. A bit of a downbeat ending.  I went out for a drink with Anton this evening, a little pub crawl starting at the Shaky Head, then The Eddy to The Caxton, where Anton and I were accosted by a very drunk woman who began swaying over us shortly after she walked in.  During the evening we had been talking a good deal about clothes, as this is Anton's new craze, which I have found myself enthused by too. Anton was sporting a stylish white linen jacket. The woman observed that we were gay and embarked on personal speculations, at which point I told her to stop talking to us.  She fell into a crumpled heap, and had to be helped to her feet saying she wasn't a bad person  and we had to reassure her that she wasn't and so on as she was manoeuvred to the door and released back into the wild. Anton said, as we had an absolute bloody f

England win the semifinal shocker

Work from eight. A bit later, presented to strategists, creative director and  two suits, a plonkingly negative and unimaginative woman who hated the creative work we had done, as it wasn't the kind of work they usually do for the client (the same client they are about to lose because of soulless predictable creative). How this person is employed by a creative agency is a genuine mystery. As we began presenting Keith texted me to say that he 'could not be fucked to talk to these idiots', so I had to do it. The other was a charming geezer who had apparently stepped out of a time machine having entered it in 1992, and had not yet had a chance to catch up on how marketing and advertising has moved on since then.  I told them they were making me feel like the UK in the Eurovision song contest, and amazingly they liked one of our ideas as 'a wild card' to take into the pitch.  After the rest of this delightful day, walked up to the Hillfort, then came home and cooked. We

Ambushed in the night

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Night sweats. Woke up, perhaps from a bad dream, bathed in sweat, and weirdly panicky at 4am. Half asleep I was convinced I was going to croak it. However, it was just some strange sort of night anxiety. After a while I felt fine, and Lorraine soothed me back to feeling normal. Horrible. Managing anxiety is fine during the day, as there are steps I have learned over the years to make sure it doesn't get out of hand. But when you wake up in the middle of a panic attack, it is more difficult. In the no rest for the wicked department, plunged immediately into a difficult, long and pressurised day of work. Managed a couple of walks one at lunch and one at 5pm.  Then recorded a little with Robin, at six. We decided to bump the Rishi episode till next week, which took lots of pressure off me. Watched the Euros semifinal this evening. Italy v Spain. The Italians rode their luck to win on penalties. And so to bed, hoping for a tranquil night.   Our birdbath a dish of red algae blood again.

Thinking outside the box

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Desk manacles clipped back on. All day slog with Keith, then once we were done, a bit more editing on the Rishi interview. Vacant and tired this evening. Little to report.  Have now the perfect sized box to contain Calliope on my desk.

Hungover with Wonderwoman

Positively hung over after last night's aquavit festival. After Lorraine and I had a late and substantial breakfast, I spent all afternoon editing my interview with Rishi. Lorraine worked on school reports. Rain fell outside. In the evening we watched another Marvel film with Jade, called Captain Marvel, who is a superpowered woman, able to fly, project light and power and have fisticuffs with everyone and be a general badass. I rather enjoyed it as I sipped my glass of sparkling water on the sofa.

Village day, footie, and Oskar shocker

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Rain but nevertheless off to Bolney village day on the green. Once we were over the downs it wasn't raining. I did my Dennis Thatcher/Prince Phillip impressions while trailing the VIP. Fun though, lots of dogs Lowry style, little stands, little fairylike children dancing around a maypole. We bought a very boozy Christmas cake, and I made small talk with folks about the weather and so on as Lorraine progressed around the place. Lorraine was working on a stall where people threw beanbags at piles of cans, which was fun. Next stand along Sarah and Dan had boules and we were chucking them at a stump with a hole in it, containing a tomato, and the aim was to explode the tomato. Despite my recent boule action I failed in this despite repeated attempts. We won two bottles of wine in the booze raffle too, cleverly going back late to discover there were few tickets but lots of bottles remaining.  Then home, and into a Cab off to Anton's place. Drank beer and ate beautiful lamb kebabs, a

And start again

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Friday... Waiting...  for meeting that didn't arrive till lunchtime.  When it came it was a complete re-brief.  The other two teams are not available next week: so Keith and I have three times the work, but half the time.  A gaping hole in the strategy which I pointed out in the briefing, so didn't win any popularity contests. But at least the new brief was based on thinking that we had done, so we have a good chance of getting it all sorted. I had a short walk this morning. Still feeling underpowered, but definitely better than I was earlier in the week.  Read an atmospheric and claustrophobic short story by Hilaire after work. I sat briefly out in the Taverna sipping a beer after I had called Mum, who was okay, but busy and bogged down with little things. When Lorraine came home she ordered a Red Chilli curry, which I nipped around the corner to collect. Jade in London. Sam shooting things on screens upstairs.   Downstairs it was a bit of footie, and an ominous display by Ita