Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Good news from Mum

Best news of the day was that on the way back from work, and walking up the hill I called Mum, who told me that the surgeon had called her, and they are going to do a new technique on her pancreas, rather than remove it. An oblation, which will require only a few days in hospital, and possibly see her released back into the wild the following day. This seems a really good solution, and means a lot less disruption for Mas too, when it happens, and I will be there to help.

 Work poor, and Keith and I in a low energy frame of mind. For all kinds of reasons I’ve not enjoyed this gig. It’s the people who are by and large pleasant, and I am fond of Keith, but there is something about a climate of disorganisation that pushes all my buttons. I have a deep problem with irrational authority. Scoring the days in the yellow padded cell.

 Home and very happy to be there and discover my lovely wife, who had just got back from pilates, and Betty in the kitchen. Griddled mackerel and a surprisingly delicious salad Lorraine had made using uncooked cauliflower as one of the ingredients.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Auditioning Matt

Horrid news from Manchester this morning of a bomb attack at a pop concert, spent the day dipping into reports about it. Isis, who claimed responsibility, described the victims as crusaders.  Many of these crusaders were little girls.

Bad night sleep due to a nipped nerve transferring pain to my head. Headache all day. Couldn’t find my wallet in the morning, but thanks to Lorraine made my train. Worked on an idea in Faux First Class.

Keith in rage mode all day. We slipped out at lunch and I bought some scamping pads – usually I can liberate some from the agency I am working with, but I have been using my own as this agency doesn’t seem to have any. Keith and I paused for a pint on the way back, which briefly took the edge off everything.

Text from First Matie on the way home. One of her colleagues was found dead, which is really upsetting for everyone in her agency. Sitting next to someone obnoxious person on the way home, who literally pushed my arm off the middle arm rest as he arrived.  Was all I could do not to slam my laptop into his head.

A cloudy but warm day today, emerging from the tunnel surprised to see Brighton swathed in mysterious sea fog. I spoke to Mum briefly. She still hasn’t heard from the hospital about what they want to do with her, after promising someone would call. Frustrating for her.

Then into Brighton where I met Betty at the station and we went to The Duke of Wellington where we met Matt. He did a good audition, showing quite a bit of comedy potential, and we have offered him the part in our play. Betty and I very relieved he did well – and as Matt is one of Kitty’s friends this works out doubly good.

Taxied home with Betty. I reheated some delicious grub Lorraine had cooked (at home post Charleston) and as I was scoffing this the Tobster called. Chatted to him for a bit, and then gratefully sloped off to bed.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Buzzes of happiness

Monday, and feeling little buzzes of happiness, in the thought that this will be the last Monday for a while, when I’ll be commuting up to London, at least on a daily basis. A fine day it turned out to be, when Keith and I emerged blinking from our yellow padded cell from time to time for meetings or to sport our shades sauntering to Waitrose. A bad headache in the afternoon.

 Eager for news about Chelsea, who were crowned Premiership Champions at the weekend, and have the FA Cup final to look forward to. John Terry their long serving talisman, who seems to be roundly disliked by anyone not associated with Chelsea retired from the team too, with a ‘shoal of silverware’ one commentator said.

Home, by faux first class, although I couldn’t help noticing that it was sweltering in there compared to the rest of the train. If I were paying for it, I don’t think I’d be best pleased. Lorraine out with work pals tonight, Beth at John’s. I cooked up some chicken and noodles, and watched some episodes of Frasier, like the comfort of being with old friends, till Lorraine came home.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


A slow start. But eventually up to make breakfast. Rosie arrived as I was grilling things with a small dog called Ivor, which was Shitzu cross. I suggested it was crossed with a disappointing circus. Cats unimpressed.

Out and doing some gardening, I cut the ivy hedge, which made my nose stream, mowed our tiny lawn and Lorraine and I pulled up a few weeds and tidied up generally and discussed things we’d like to do in the garden if only we had time.

 Then off to the Duke of Welly, where we had our traditional rehearsal room where, armed with a camera and new tripod, we shot some bits for Beth’s show reel and possibly to turn into some kind of advertising for the Edinburgh show, which is all too soon. While there I got the migraine spangles, but after 20 minutes of messed up vision, felt not to much the worse for wear. So much so that after we left the pub garden, populated by a girl with blue hair and fishbelly white skin, Lorraine and I walked back, and stopped by the Shahi, and had an early dinner, with the sun falling into the restaurant, and we both felt summery and cheerful. Home to gird our loins for the final push next week.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday mooching

Thank God for the weekends. Calliope had the decency not to wake me at 5:30. A slow morning. Lorraine fed the cats and made tea, and a little later I went round the corner to buy chewy brown bread and make us bacon and egg sandwiches to be eaten in bed.

Then up and mooched into town, popping into quite an interesting Open House on London Road near the viaduct. One of those places that didn't have the 'me too' mindset of doing what everyone else is doing.

In town we bought a camera tripod, from a cheery red haired youth at Currys. Then home in a taxi, where we snoozed briefly before we got ready to visit Derek and Lesley. A cheery night, where I ate lots of lovely food, and because I was in such nice and thoughtful company found myself in a bit of a loquacious mood. I really like Derek who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of various branches of folk music.

As Lorraine and I walked through town passed some folks dancing outside the Brighton Tavern, and then discovered that The Foundry, a pub I'd wet my whistle at a good few times had closed. An amusing message pinned outside it.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Blue shoes

A bit of a sleep in this Friday, as I was staying with Mum and Mas. A quick breakfast with them, and tea before I set off with fond farewells. Tubes delayed today, so I was almost late to work. I legged it from one platform to another at Wembley Park, leapt aboard the tube, and must have looked a bit worn out. A young woman in her twenties asked me if I wanted to sit down. I thanked her, and declined, resolving there and then to shave my beard off. An appalling moment.

Friday, so Keith and I in fairly good spirits. Even had a fish finger sandwich and a pint of beer at lunch together. Keith shivering in his customary teeshirt as it was strangely cold today. Home, in the luxury of my faux first class, and up the hill. I met Lorraine outside our house and we toddled off to the Preston Park Tavern, where we met Beth. A nice bite to eat in there, all sharing what had gone on in the week, and then home. Feeling very happy that it is the weekend. One more week to go. Joy!

Below some blue shoes that are in the agency I am working at. No idea why or what they were used for.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stretchy time

Basking in my first class train wheeze still. You can tell it is a good idea, as travelling train staff use it, like the three drivers talking about a colleague who Missed Shoreham. How can you miss Shoreham? etc.

I worked on work stuff again, and finished the work I'd been doing so I could send in once I got to work. A busy morning, and a less busy afternoon. Keith and I going off to Leon to eat at lunch. I had some species of chicken and rice with bits of salad. Afternoon with one meeting. The weekend beginning to seem a logical possibility. Time stretchy, appalling work longueurs hating the time I am spending there, and then so hideously fast in other ways.

After work, sloped up to Euston Square tube. Walked through Tavistock Square and took the snap below. Plenty of rain today. Tube to Stanmore and walked to Mum and Mason's in the rain. Off in the car to Amaretto on Edgware High Road. They were friendly to Mum and Mas there. Mas and I ordered Americana pizzas and had some Peroni beer, and Mum had some wine. Home in the car, and I sat with Mum for a while, Mason popping in and out of LA CSI, some kind of cop show.

Early to bed, as I was yawning my head off. Spoke to my lovely Lorraine who had taken a course in Japanese flower arranging with Miss Mole's Flower Emporium, which Betty and Sam had bought her for her birthday.

Below Tavistock Square in the rain.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

1st class

Ah the glory of first class travel at standard prices. A brilliant thing, and able to do work on the way to work, which made the day less stressy. Arriving at St Pancras without a cricked back and bruised knees is a thing of glory. Lots of rain today again, this is good news for thirsty gardens but perhaps less wonderful when you are dancing through puddles. Work not entirely bad. Had  a few laughs with Keith.

Reading the Matthew D'Ancona Post Truth book on the way home, which is dovetailing nicely with reading I've been doing about postmodernism lately. And linked to a kind of personal ah-ha moment too regarding my writing. 

Home and Lorraine and I had a gorgeous stir fry and watched a couple of episodes of Frasier. I never tire of that series, and we saw the one where Frasier is trying to find some peace and quiet and having been driven out of work and home, says he is going to the park to read, but it is raining so ends up at Cafe Nervosa, whereupon Niles walks in on him. "What fresh hell is this?" Frasier mutters.

Googled Richard in the Guernsey Evening Press, and a nice photo of him reading at his book launch, which I've stolen below.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Advice comes overnight

An amazing thing happened on the way to work. I enquired about first class tickets, as the standard seats are cramped, literally too small for my legs to fit in. I was told that the last carriage away from the front, a first class carriage, is decommissioned, i.e. not first class. It is a well kept secret. On board I still wasn't sure, but I tweeted Thameslink and they confirmed it. So I got a first class seat for nothing, and was able to do some work of my own, and arrived at the other end not aching and stiff. An epic win, as the young un's say.

Work tiresome as usual, but had a few laughs with Keith. And at least their threat to seat us with everyone-else has fallen through. Went out at lunch to Waterstones and bought a few books, which was nice. Started reading one on the way home, called Post Truth by Matthew D'Ancona.

Home again, and found a copy of Stone Witness, Richard's book hot off the press. Looking forward to reading this in a moment of tranquility. Betty at home today, and cooked for me when I arrived, and then cooked for Lorraine who arrived even later after a governor's meeting.

Below was struck by the latin motto In Nocte Consilium on this doorway on Birkbeck College in the University of London, which I sauntered past on the way to the bookshop. The University of Google says it means 'advice comes overnight' or 'tomorrow is another day'. It was something closer to the first which caught my imagination.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A fringe evening

Really had to drag myself out of bed and off to work this morning. Thank goodness for Lorraine. Once at work, meetings, most of them unnecessary as far as I was concerned. Worst thing was that they were threatening to remove Keith and I from the yellow padded booth we've been working in. It's one of the bits that makes everything bearable. Only two weeks to go now, but it seems like a hell of a long time today.

Home and all the way to Brighton, where I met Beth down by the clock tower and we went for a bite to eat in Leon, and then made our way to see a bit of a ropey play in the Rialto Theatre. Loved the theatre itself however, and its little bar. Good to get a bit more of the fringe in, however. One of the actors in the play is someone we are thinking of assimilating into Brighton Blonde Productions, and a pal of Kitty's. Nick seems a nice chap, and we thought has potential, and we are going to do some work with him this weekend. A cheeky cold beer after the show (it was a very humid day) and Beth and I had a chat with Nick then I caught a taxi and was home in no time to Lorraine.

Below a picture of Keith with his laptop, with a decoration chosen by one of his twin girls, in our padded yellow cell.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Tea in an English garden

A more peaceful day today. Got up and attended to a few must-do admin bits. Booked tickets for the theatre visit with Klaudia.

Then walked down the road to join Lorraine, Rosie and Dawn who were lurking about in nearby Open Houses. Mooched about looking at art, though nothing calling to me this time, and really enjoyed chatting with them. A very deep conversation about life and self worth in one of the gardens while eating cake and drinking tea. I find myself with an excellent wife and excellent friends.

A bit of a Sunday night shadow descending though at the thought of going back down to the salt mines tomorrow. Not long now though. Only two more weeks of the current job.

A big kerfuffle in the back garden today while I was working in my study. Beth and I watched Brian and the next door ginger tom Cactus screaming at each other in the garden. They had got to the point where they stood frozen in front of each other. Meanwhile a large fox walked around them, sat by the pot in the garden and watched them till it got bored, and the cats pussyfooted away from one another.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sofa, so good

A slow start, but woken by Calliope at an infernal 5:30. As a consequence felt dog tired and grumpy for most of the day. Some of the day given over to going into Brighton doing some shopping, and then Lorraine and I caught a cab down to Beth's pal's Ainsley and Millie's flat where, with the help of a man with a van, who was very pleasant moved a large and heavy sofa. General grumpiness not improved by carrying the bastard thing, which got wedged several times, down six flights of stairs to the van, and then up two flights at our house to store it in Beth's room. This is one of the things that she has earmarked for her new flat with John, when she moves out this summer.

A repairing sleep on the gold sofa, and woke up feeling refreshed and altogether more cheerful.

Lorraine shattered still and so did not come with me to see the Shakespeare Heptet in Kemptown, an event I wrote about here. A good time, and very pleased to see a very healthy audience for them. Great to see Steve, now mobile after a nasty leg injury. Steve and I, then Maria Grazia went for a drink in the Black Dove afterwards. It was late when I headed for home, after midnight. Brighton still busy as an anthill.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Done at last

For the first time in what seems like a month a Friday arrived.  A text from Klaudia this morning, so I can firm up our golden ticket trip to the theatre. Otherwise working on the train as we had to present some ideas first thing. During the day it was suggested to Keith and I that we would present our ideas at regular intervals. We did so finally at five thirty, but only to brief another colleague who will present them on our behalf. Keith and I both quite worn out by the end of the week.

First non-sushi lunch of the week, by coincidence an outbreak of fish worm hysteria in the press. Went intead into Crush, where I bought a Japanese style chicken curry with undercooked wild rice.

Marie the Danish art director had her last day today, and dropped into the little booth Keith and I have adopted in the basement, to say goodbye. She showed me some of her pictures on Instagram. Earlier another colleague called Robin showed me his images on Instagram too. Seems I must have Instagram, as all the hipsters say it's the only Cyber place to be. I joined it and found lots of people I know on it, including Betty who said she had mixed feelings about me being on Instagram.

Straight to the Preston Park Tavern where Lorraine and Betty were outside in the back, under a heater having a cheeky drink. Lorraine talking about cars, and looking at cars lots on the way home. We went home, ate there and watched the final of Masterchef. So happy to be home, and another agency week is done.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A sniff of freedom

Started listening to The Power and The Glory today by Graham Greene as an audiobook. But it's not really ticking the Knausgaard box.

Into work, with actual work to do today, and briefings on other stuff for next work. Felt quite relieved as I negotiated my end date at the current agency. I've only two weeks after this one before I am released back into the wild. Sniffing the ozone of freedom today, I can't wait.

Otherwise a 'Britain's facing drought disaster' screamer on the front page of The Express this morning. As Thursday is the new Friday, we fancied going out for a bite tonight, so Lorraine and I popped over to the Preston Park Tavern, from where we could comfortably watch the heavy rain.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017


Just noticed this is the 4,444th blog post on this blog. That's a ridiculous amount, and sadly little happening today.

Lorraine and I sluggishly out of bed this morning. I listened to Knausgaard on the train. Into work, and had a busy morning which passed quickly, and a slack afternoon which dragged and left me thinking about all the bazillion other things I could be doing which would be more fun. My laptop is still alive, however, so I was able to write a post on my other blog over lunch. I left work early, and was early for my train which was then cancelled. Late home, but speaking to mum as I was walking up the hill from Preston Park station. The doctors did not phone her today, as they said they would. And Mason is having a tooth out tomorrow, but because of his blood thinners this has to be in a hospital. Their new bathroom is being installed.

Almost full moon low on the horizon as I was heading home, and talking to Mum. Lorraine had cooked when I got home, and dinner was ready, even though she had been to her Charleston lesson. Both of us resisting the urge to drink boozes. Early to bed.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Another Monday

Thank Goodness the French didn't vote for the fascist Le Pen in the presidential elections, choosing a weird wunderkind banker instead.

A poor night's sleep, and slightly wussy with an upset stomach first thing. Then going to work clinging onto the idea that (after today) I only have two more Mondays to do at this agency for the time being. Little for Keith and I to do, other than very small bits. Feeling edgy today.  I was briefed on something towards the end of the day, that was of course needed urgently.

A walk at lunchtime in Russell Square. Spoke to Mas, Mum out and then later off to The Royal Free. Meanwhile a new bathroom is being put in. When I eventually caught up with her this evening, she said it seems she will need an operation on her pancreas, as they have found pre-cancerous cells. She is philosophical about it, and I suppose it is good that they have caught this early. Still it means more hospital, which is not ideal for her or Mas. She will learn more tomorrow.

Otherwise, listening to the Knausgaard book and enjoying it on the train.

One good thing is that I am writing this blog on my MacBook Air, which after being left upside down for four days appears to have made a miraculous recovery. A Lazarus Laptop.

Happy to be home with Lorraine, watching cookery programs on TV.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Open Houses

A nice day today. Up early thanks to Calliope. After breakfast I mowed our tiny lawn. Then we walked around and about some of the local Open Houses. Chatting with Lorraine about the art on show. Lots of it quite nice, but always decorative. None of it seems really engaging with  anything other than pleasantness. One place I found someone who was different. This was in the Church of St John the Evangelist, which I walk past most days on the way back from the station. Interesting work by someone called Annelies Clarke who at least to have ideas in it. Lorraine and I sat in the Church and had some cake and a cup of tea. Really enjoyed mooching about with Lorraine and trying not to spend money.

Spent the evening working on my computer.  Then Lorraine cooked nice food, and we drank some wine and did not want to go to bed.

Below a strange piece by Annelies Clarke, I think, strange faces on sheets ascending into the space of the church.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Parade day

Early breakfast, and then out into town, to watch the children's parade. Always lots of fun, and reminds me of how great Brighton is. This year on the theme of poetry in motion, and so many parents joining in. Lots of drumming and music too of course. We saw our former  next door neighbours in the Old Church Hall on the parade with their sons, and Lorraine saying howdy to a few teacher pals.

Then off to the Marwood for a coffee, and we did shopping looked at tea plates, which Lorraine had a pressing need for but we couldn't find the perfect ones. I bought my yearly pair of shades, destined no doubt to be sat on or lost, and Lorraine went into Specsavers to sort out her specs order.

Then spontaneously off to Kommedia, had a bite to eat and a drink of lager and watched the afternoon showing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, which was great fun. I don't much like superhero films, but this is fresh, ironic, visually surprising and puts being entertaining front and centre. Lorraine really enjoyed it too.

Below some snaps from the Children's parade.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Truthfulness and old friends

Listening to Knausgaard, which certainly passes the time. Really enjoying the truthfulness in his writing. It is one of those times when you read something at the right moment for you.

I obviously couldn't do any or my work as my MacBook Air is upside down at home drying out, its fate in the balance like the hanged man in the Tarot pack. Clearly I am over-attached to that laptop, but its potential demise simply makes everything difficult.

As the fates would have it Keith had been given one at work the previous day, so he had his own and the work one which he doesn't like. I was able to use the work one. We spent the day doing uninspiring things like seeking images on Getty.

Lunchtime we went to The Marquis Cornwallis where we bumped into Slug, and Karam and a couple of others creative chums. Had a single pint with them, then back to the office to brief an illustrator this afternoon.

After work, having left Keith to brief the illustrator again, I went back to the same pub for 20 mins, where I met old chums Pat, last seen when we flew down to Cornwall for Andy's funeral, John Perkins, a former close colleague, a lovely man with Jersey connections who I last worked with in Hammersmith ten years ago, plus Slug and Karam again. Great to see all of them, albeit briefly.

Zoomed off to the station, just making my train. Dropped my stuff off at home, and walked to the Preston Park Tavern on Havelock Road, enjoying seeing the sea on the horizon and feeling distinctly cheery. Met Lorraine and Betty in there and we had a couple of beers and some grub, before sloping off home.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Tea in the air

I had downloaded Karl Ove Knausgaard's A Man in Love, being the second part of his My Struggle series, and listened to it as an audiobook with enormous enjoyment of the way to work and on the way home. I remembered what Toby had said when he told me about Knausgaard, that it was like being inside someone's head. Sometimes annoying and banal, but other times amazing how be can make the trivial transfixing. Really enjoying it.

A strange day with bits of work to do, but the main work about establishing exactly what Keith and I need to do.  In the morning we were in the office lift and were chatting to a woman who had poured a pint of water into her MacBook, and was hurrying it down to the IT department upside down.

In the afternoon, as I was handing my cup to a man who collects cups at the end of the day, a colleague called Neil arrived to talk to us. Momentarily I clipped the cup I was handing to the cup man, and a ridiculously small amount of beautifully targeted tea flew into the keys of my MacBook Air to doom it. I went to the IT department and asked advice. They said to keep it upside down and let it dry out for three days or more. But I had already done everything wrong by turning it back on after I mopped up. Cursor weirdness started and everything was going left on the screen (which was clearly sinister).  If it doesn't miraculously cure itself in drying out, I will have to pay hundreds to have it fixed.

At home, Lorraine and I booked a couple of days in Guernsey timed for when I finish this bout of  freelance. Hopefully we will be able to celebrate with Richard whose book Stone Witness should be out. He emailed me today, pacing about like an expectant father waiting for the boxes of his new book to be delivered tomorrow. Exciting stuff.