Monday, May 26, 2003

Back from Anton and Anna's wedding, via a short spell in Brighton. Am finally relaxing a bit.

Mrs Kenny and I travelled to Salisbury on Thursday. Infuriatingly, I realised on the train that I'd picked up an early draft of the wedding poem I'd written for the event. Fortunately I was able to get a copy of the final version from the registrar just before the wedding. Thursday night was spent in Philips House -- a huge house in its own grounds. Walked in the side entrance through and then through a bookcase door into a huge high ceilinged room with many big oil paintings of old worthies, a log fire and a view over rolling grounds fringed by trees and with the distant glitter of a small lake. Here's a photo of the house.

Philips House



Many happy reunions with Anton's family, and I enjoyed meeting Anna's parents for the first time. We rehearsed the ceremony for the marriage the next day. Which involved walking down flights of stairs to a landing where they would be married. This took several attempts to get it right. The couple who were the custodians were running about being very hospitable and serving some mouthwatering food. The host very friendly although later and a bit worse for wear he got over-enthusiastic and started racing about in a Fawlty Towers style and at one point squeezing Mrs Kenny and others in what I thought of as an over-familiar way. Then Nick and Suzie gave Mrs K and I a lift back to our pub hotel. I managed about two and half hours sleep and fell to working on my speech at 4.30 in the morning.

Next day the wedding was not till 4.30pm but Anton was in dire need of attention. Nick and I found him lurking in his bedroom, with Trotski the intrepid cat, looking like he was about to have root canal work done without anaesthetic. Of course when the ceremony was over he was transformed. The wedding went very smoothly, Anna looked beautiful, the ceremony was moving and beautifully staged, and at the end of it I did my poem about them paragliding which seemed to hit the right note judging by the warmth of the applause afterwards.

The wedding breakfast was great although my nerves were a bit shredded by the time it came for Nick and I to do our speeches at 9.20. They went well, especially Nick's, I felt I was slightly under prepared and slightly drunk. Then outside for a wonderful firework display. And chatting with lots of old pals, and Nick and I smoked some fantastically expensive cigars. Particularly enjoyed seeing Loretta again, who I'd not seen for a couple of years.

Next morning grimly coming to concsiousness in the dismal pub Mrs Kenny noticed that the toilet was leaking. This turned into a catastrophic leak which was pouring through the bar below. We got up and later the owner confronted us, and said that I'd told her that I'd knocked the cistern. I'd not even used the cistern and certainly had told her no such thing. She then wandered about muttering about this and making phone calls to people about how I'd "knocked" the cistern and now had denied it. This made me feel furious but Mrs Kenny said I was overreacting. Fortunately there were Brian and Loretta and Sarah and Frase there as we waited for breakfast, as I was feeling vulnerable, hungover and liable to explode.

Frase asked for a new head when asked what he wanted for breakfast.

Then we travelled from Salisbury to Brighton and looked at lots of houses and stayed with Janet and Ken. I felt a bit of a zombie by then with tiredness. But we saw several houses, one really nice house -- and then went back to Janet and Ken. Stayed up talking about culture, politics and books -- Mrs Kenny heading for bed at the lightweight hour of 9 o'clock -- but I had a second wind and roared till midnight.

Sunday we travelled back home. Finally today I am feeling relaxed. Stupid work tomorrow and another tsunami of slog. But had a massively enjoyable swim today.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Finally a chance to catch up. Very preoccupied with work in the last week, and had to go in yesterday too. Which makes this blog a bit tedious though... I can't really go into what is happening other than tales of trying clients and a deluge of work. Dull reading...

Some respite was provided by going into Soho on Wednesday to work on a TV ad. It was an "adapt" -- overseeing the recording of a few voice overs and then off to another suite to add phone numbers and so on to the ad. You find yourself having earnest discussions about whether a telephone number should appear at 19 seconds or 20 seconds. This is my televisual legacy... A lost second of a telephone number on a tv ad. Fortunately "the client" who was with us, was actually really nice -- and we took her to wagamamas in Lexington street. Tried to be charming etc. but still cringing internally from my remembrance of talking to her one night and she asking me how old she was. I said 40 instantly. I guess she's about 35 so my statement obviously went down like a cup of warm sick. I just don't understand how this happened. I'm usually so good with women.

Today I have to do some stuff on my site, think about work, clean my aquarium, and work on my best man's speech. Went with Mrs Kenny to Sainsbury's for the first time in ages, now she is able to drive again. There must be something a bit peculiar about me because I love shopping for food. I had quite a few years of scraping by on next to no cash, so I still get a buzz from being able to not worry about what I buy in the supermarket.

Had a good night with Young Nick who was down from Manchester and we went to the pub to brainstorm our speeches and this helped a good deal.

Andy's partner Ali is going to have a baby tomorrow -- an elective caesarian. I met her on Friday, and she and Andy look so perfect together it's quite astonishing. Typical of an art director to hook up with someone that completely complements him aesthetically.

While another friend's wife is also pregnant -- they've had to use a sperm donor. Complex emotional area in the last case for my friend which demanded a few beers and a chat on Friday night.

Meanwhile I have restarted swimming again -- and have been three times this week. Went early on Thursday morning when it was very empty. I was treated to the sight of a woman in the communal showers soaping herself with the top of her swimsuit down. She glared at me as if it were my fault when I surprised her, which wasn't exactly fair.

I have done a little cycling too, so I am feeling marginally less unfit than of late. I have invested in a cycling helmet too, which is of course sensible, but looks somewhat uncool. Paul at work has worked with people suffering from brain damage so takes it upon himself to hector people about helmets. It worked.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Survived Anton's stag weekend. Friday night was good -- it just being Anton and I wandering around Brighton dropping randomly into bars and ingesting a Chinese meal in about fifteen minutes. Back to his place and we listened obsessively to reggae and earnestly talked nonsense till late.

Woke up feeling decidedly ropey the next morning, with the sinking knowledge that half a dozen guys were going to want to go mad for it that very afternoon. Anton who was on the phone to Anna had to break off his conversation to hurl up his headache pills. After he and I had drunk lots of coffee, Young Nick and then the rest of the boys duly turned up and we set about drinking our way around Brighton all over again. I find these cat herding sessions quite difficult. Maybe it was because I'm the oldest of the group I appointed myself the sensible one and negotiated for us when the need arose. Fortunately we all made it home safely and I spent the night on a lilo waking up intermittently and seeing with clarity that I needed to not to do this again for a while. And reflecting on how Brian, one of our party, chose the stag to come out to me too -- but there you go. I felt proud of him.

Next day Brighton pier was on fire again and Anton Young Nick and I went to see it smoulder after the others had left. Anton looking green as we walked past a fish and chip shop. Eventually I got my act together enough to leave. As it was Sunday the train appeared to go via Cornwall to reach London. I reached home and Mrs Kenny after what seemed like an eternity. I felt sordid.

I brought an album called happy sad by Tim Buckley in Brighton on a whim and have been spellbound by it since.

Work has been unspeakable since Monday. There has been a rearrangement of my part of the agency. Politically I don't know if this is good or bad thing yet. But where I once had space and clarity, the office has now lots more people in it and I am surrounded by crates full of junk. I feel demotivated. Still, I attended an excellent session today brainstorming embarrassment.

Bicycled yesterday and swam today in an attempt to redress some of this weekend's abuse.

Managed to finish the poem for Anna and Anton in time for the registrar to approve it for their wedding. It must not mention god. Also have a poem on Poetry Superhighway this week in their holocaust rememberance day issue.

Stupid home computer not working properly and have been unable to receive email for some time -- although the server is now dribbling ancient email at me. I'm certain some has been lost for good.

Bed calls now with some force.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Intense four days at work. I discover I have a slightly different job, and am not sure if this is a good thing yet. Otherwise have been clandestinely writing the poem for the wedding -- but have negotiated a few extra days from fierce women in registry office. I am just about to leave for Brighton again to stay with Anton in preparation for his stag night out tomorrow. Liver and kidneys already squirming in anticipation.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Just back from Brighton, where we stayed with Anton and Anna in their new house in Brighton. Such a cool town, lively and artistic. Can't wait to move down there too when someone eventually buys our house in Kew.

Neck glowing attractively as a consequence of lurking in the sun this bank holiday afternoon. Was with Mrs Kenny, Anton, Anna and Trotsky in Brighton. Trotsky is cat. She likes flies, loathes seagulls and enjoys car rides and comes when Anton whistles like an only slightly aloof dog. We spent a couple of hours this afternoon sitting in their back garden watching Trotsky scrabble about clumsily in a almond tree, and trying to decide whether they should go for the blanquette or champagne at their wedding. The decision process involved bottles of each and an inexplicable desire for pizza.

Interspersed between hanging out by the seaside and going to bars and restaurants, we talked about the poem they've asked me to write for their wedding. I think I have a plan now. But although I am an attention seeking egomaniac, I get twitchy at the prospect of stepping into the middle of the actual wedding ceremony and reading a poem. If it is all wrong it will be a minor disaster. I have now four days to write it before it has to be faxed to the registrar. Yikes.

Otherwise I went for a bike ride in the sun on Sunday morning along the Thames. I almost got bicycle rage as I've never seen the tow path so clogged with people and other swine on bikes getting in the way. Don't they understand that this is for me alone?

Then fiddled about with AnotherSun for a few hours. Arghh! It takes so long.

Depressingly I am also ballooning to sumoesque proportions again. No surprise after all the drinking and eating I've been doing lately untempered by any exercise. Thin gruel is what I need from now on, thin gruel with an occasional water side-dish.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Saw my Mum and Mason last night. Mum gave me two CDs full of painstakingly-assembled correspondence and photographs from her father's family -- who were living in India during the days of the Raj. This is a photograph of Mignonette who is my great-grandmother. As a boy I was always fascinated by the exoticism of this photograph -- what's below is a detail of the bigger photo which is of a group of people gathered on a veranda somewhere in northern India about to go to a fancy dress party.

Looking forward to studying all the other pieces -- although Mum said there are some really depressing bits, especially the correspondence of Ella (my Grandfather's first wife) as she was dying of TB.

Mignonette



I was pleased to see Mason bearing up well after his mother's recent death. When someone dies in their late nineties after a full life the fact that there is no sense of the injustice can help.

Otherwise we had a good time guzzling Mexican food and drinking Sol beers. On that note I have put on weight in the last couple of weeks where my heavy cold has prevented me from swimming so I need to get surging about again as soon as I am able.

Have finally found some time to work on AnotherSun again, and slowly have been preparing new material to add to the site.

Mrs Kenny really happy about her book deal -- it's fantastic news. At this stage organising the illustrations and photography is probably the most difficult bit to do.