Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Back to work today via the quack. Trotted out my bestiary of minor ailments, and I'll have to go for a routine blood test tomorrow. As expected the lump in my arm was not dodgy but it's nice to have a bona fide quack say that.

Taking a more dispassionate view of work today, which is my new policy. I had a water-and-food-only lunch with Michel at the Riverside. Black pasta and crayfish. Very nice. Michel has sent off to the States for a fuel injection system for his pimpmobile. Nice. Also told me how the delightful Eva was decorating at the weekend at their flat and shortly after the roof caved in due to a burst pipe above.

After lunch I called the estate agent and made my offer on the property I saw at the weekend. Second time around it seems somewhat unreal, and as she hasn't got back to me I've no idea what has happened.

Then I stepped into a time machine where, on disembarking at the very desk I had been sitting at, had conversations about starting sentences with conjunctions and why contractions are okay in junk mail. Ye Gods.

Walked home after work along the river. Sat in the evening sun in St Peter's Square talking to Maddog on my mobile. Very pleasant, and I am feeling quite cheerful.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Another day of enjoyable self-imposed isolation. Woke up at an astonishing 11:15am today. The longest I'd slept in for as long as I can remember. Spent the day pottering about getting myself organised for moving. Given that I will be in Germany later this week and next weekend I needed to get myself organised a bit as time is running out before I will have to move out of my flat.

Have resolved to put in an offer on the property I saw on Saturday. The more I think about it, the better it seems.

In the evening watched a dvd I'd just bought Wings of Desire. I love this film, I find the gradual transition of the Bruno Ganz from being an observing angel to a participating human extremely moving. A film I can watch time and again.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Thankfully feeling somewhat perkier today.

One of those days which -- like a few lately -- make for dull reading but were actually pretty enjoyable. In fact I went for a walk of what my trusty pedometer tells me was 11.33km, or 13,656 steps. Walking is very good for me. As I was walking around through Chiswick and down to the Thames and across it to Kew and back along the river path. I realised that I’d been getting over anxious lately -- especially work, and flats falling through and so on. By the end of my walk I had definitely felt clearer. I think I’ll do it again tomorrow, God knows I have plenty to get clearer about.

Bought some DVDs today because I fancied a quiet night in. Got Buffalo 66 which I really enjoyed. Surprising use of Yes music in the film score. Coincidentally I also watched the DVD of Yes unplugged today. I enjoyed this too -- if only because they had to rethink some of the standards and breathe a bit of life into them.

Arrived at a rough first draft for my Ontario poem. It’s derivative and sentimental and I doubt I’ll try to get this published. On the up side I quite like some of this, and I’m thinking of it as a “loosener” -- i.e. a wayward first attempt -- hopefully I will be writing again soon more fluently.
I’ll park this poem here for a few weeks now. Time is the best editor.

a colour sketch

Somewhere off Deviation Road, Ontario
On the farm, sometime after thunder
Your brother’s kite poised in the air
Like a quaver escaped from its staves.

Miraculously the sky has been restored
To its original renaissance blue
And you crouch low by the canola
To juxtapose the sky and singing yellow

For the field is told of in the dance of bees
And is full of their murmuring industry.

By the red gates in the weathered fence
Primary colours exude on your paper,
Balanced on a barrel near the barn, and are
Investigated by dogs and a critical donkey.

Everywhere are fields, groundhog-dotted, while
Down the track is a sea of wind-blown wheat.
And you, you foreigner, even you know
Something of the forested escarpment

Some spirit in the deer-haunted dark nags at you
Like the mosquitoes do when you move in its gloom.

And your trouble, like a big bird stationed in the sun,
Wheels away as you walk among trees
After all, it’s always there and it’s always nothing;
Some quick shadow of a city and work and lost love.

You learnt euchre half a turn of the world away
And you play it now with new-found family
And respectfully you deal-in the gathered ghosts;
Your Grandparents from half a life away.

You turn up joker so you look at your brother,
His wife and her family. It’s your call; a blind call:

Hearts you say. Hearts.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Still brooding hypochondriacally.

Today I went down to Brighton to look be shown more properties this time by a useless
Saturday guy who was late, didn’t have the right information with him, and ran out of time. This left me seething, having dragged myself down from London. He left me at the last property and I spoke with the owner at some length. This last property was a distinct possibility, so the journey wasn’t wasted. Felt somewhat tired after all this and went home again without dropping in on anyone.

Despite myself ended up watching a bit of the Olympic games today. I can’t bring myself to care about who can throw a stick further than someone else, or can run in circles faster. But it seems to be important to some people.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Another day of feeling ill, although less washed out than before. Was solitary today, sneaking out early to buy some food rather than gnaw at my own flesh for nourishment. Other than that spoke to one or two people on the phone and received a couple of texts.

In between sleeps, I have been working on a poem for the first time in ages. Really enjoying writing it. It's about Dick and Joan's farm in Ontario and is a compensation for my photos only being in black and white. It is a kind of colour sketch really. And I'm writing it just for the fact that thinking about a sunny day on a farm is better than thinking about feeling rough listening to heavy rain in London.

Otherwise I read some of Mary Oliver's poems in her New and Selected Poems. These were leant to me by Tracey. Not sure what to make of them yet, although I already approve of the fact she is a nature poet and has appeared to have damned the torpedoes and written what she had to write.

Also read some of a version of the Gilgamesh epic in a verse version by David Ferry. Enjoyed this so far too. Muscular stuff.

Reading and playing dratted tetris (which I have discovered a week or so ago and am now addicted to) are keeping at frustration at bay. I hate being ill, and being ill on your own is doubly boring. Spoke to estate agents in Brighton, and will creak off there tomorrow to have another session of looking for somewhere to live. I'd like to be able to sort this out quickly. The idea of having no fixed abode in a month is not an appealing one.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Rattiness explained by being ill. Have been feeling ill and out of it all day. Very sleepy and achey. Listened to the radio and ventured out only once to get some chinese food. Read, and in between bouts of feeling wussy fiddled with a poem.

Spoke to Anton briefly. His new diet is curry only. He's found that by eating curry every single day this week he has lost weight. Can't wait to try it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Decidedly ratty today. But sat in with the Dutch contraceptives people again and they were positively happy, which was cheering. Otherwise ratty. I'm finding that people are largely in the wrong today. All of them.

On Monday I had a splendid time with Michel and Matt and others, and ended up crashing at their place. But this has led to more self-recriminations. I seem to be drinking too much at the moment.

Took a day off work yesterday feeling out of sorts. Haven't taken a day off work through being out of sorts for a long time. Found myself cleaning the bathroom and floors, and wasting time and listening to the radio.

Toby arrived in torrential rain, and after a bit we went out to Tandoori Nights. There are few proper curries to be had in Canada. Always sad to say goodbye -- but walked home after seeing him to the station feeling pleased to have spent so much time with him lately.

Received some excellent photos from Ontario on Monday from Joan. Pictures of dogs and fawns and other images that bring the great outdoors to a stuffy Hammersmith office. It's ridiculous but I'm getting itchy feet already. But I do have a trip to Munich planned for the week after next, which will be my first time in Germany.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

A good weekend. On Friday I received the surveyor’s report about the flat I want to buy. It is riddled with damp and not to be touched with a bargepole. Brooded on this somewhat over the weekend and have decided to pull out of the deal. This means I am looking at the prospect of having no fixed abode in October. However am very relieved I did not already buy this place -- and curiously feel right about this falling through.

Spent Friday drinking again disgracefully. I travelled up to north London in the evening and zoomed off to my folks, where my brother is staying too having zoomed over from Canada. Had a good time celebrating Mason’s birthday. On Saturday I simply hung out getting over my second hangover of the week, and going to a second hand bookshop with Toby. Felt like we were the Crane Brothers (from the TV show Frazier) as we peered at their literature section. I bought a book of guitar tunings and a translation that I hadn't seen of the epic of gilgamesh. In the evening we went out for a very moderate drink in a pub near St Albans called (I think) the Prince Harry. Then Toby and I were joined by mum and mason and we strapped on the nosebag in a pizzeria.

My family are great at lurking about with, and I enjoyed this on Sunday morning too. Mason cooked enough noodles for an army. After gorging on these I had a good journey back to sunny Chiswick in the afternoon and have been writing lists about all the stuff I have to do tomorrow. Bah.

Mindful of it being an interesting passage in my life at the moment. I feel happier than I have felt for some time since my marriage broke up last year, and am now really looking forward to making a new start in my life. The flat falling through is just a blip. I feel that the tide has turned at last.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Had a brace of drinks with Katie, French Bloke and others. Carried box of stuff to bus stop with Kate and headed for home. She already looking chilled and relaxed not having worked for a few days. Suddenly felt a bit sad as the bus drove off. Realised how much I rely on Katie for emotional support and friendship at work, and have done for years.

Decided to call Martin for a drinks, as I was in a drinking mood. Ended up back home where we played guitars (with me howling too) and drank beers until very late. Great to catch up with him and to jam. Wonder what we’d sound like if we were both sober and able to play?

Woke up with a bit of a headache and feeling somewhat sheepish about the neighbours.

One of those days when I’m suddenly aware of how good some of the people I am working with are. Today seemed to mostly be about congratulating people for excellent ideas. I quite enjoyed this.

Eating sushi at lunch as wretched canteen food no longer acceptable. Went for another swim. This is the third time this week, which is good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Entering a bizarre Kafkaesque world of trying to organise finances for buying my flat. Discover, for example, that my bank has no address for me. And cannot explain how they have mailed me. The cheque I thought I enclosed for my solicitors at the weekend has also mysteriously evaporated. However, I appear to be making gradual progress.

I have been leading a healthy life, swimming again yesterday, getting early nights and avoiding boozes. Meanwhile, by day I work on cancer treatments, cats and dogs and a concept involving the Invisible Man.

Meeting Kate after work today. This will be good.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Day started well, with me springing from Anton's sofa early and making Brighton Station in plenty of time. It transpired that I had the wrong ticket though, and after a heroic effort to get a right one I missed my train. I faced an hour's wait, so I caught another train which took me to Blackfriars and I was only about 25 minutes late in the end. And the journey was quite enjoyable.

Work was uneventful, although it felt odd without Katie, and my art director is on holiday too so I have been rattling about somewhat. Slipped out at lunch to buy sushi from pret a manger and sloped off after work for a swim. The pool was busy with lots of men attacking the water and creating fountains and splashy surges. I prefer slow and steady myself, as it is more relaxing that way.

Home, and listening to Gorecki.

Friday afternoon proceeded well until 5pm when my computer crashed and I lost my afternoon's work. Hurriedly left before I killed myself, and headed off to Brighton. The train had four carriages only and so was very cramped, but fortunately I had a seat.

Trotsky swiped at me through the banisters in greeting as I entered Anna and Anton's house, but one sight of the catfood brought a rapid change of mood. After catsitting duties performed, I nipped off down to Seven Dials and scored what turned out to be a vile takeaway curry while talking to my mum on my mobile. Opted for an earlyish night and discovered that Trotsky had already claimed half the bed.

I had vivid dreams about a tiger during the night, which I think is a good omen, and nothing at all to do with Trotsky scowling at me from the duvet all night.

Saturday morning, and I decided to walk. Posted some stuff to do with buying the flat into the solicitor. Then ate a hearty breakfast by the sea and ended up walking what my pedometer told me was 16km along the seafront and around and about in Brighton. Felt like I needed time to myself and a bit of exercise, and this was a great way of doing so. The next day I walked another 10km or so.

Nothing beats walking for processing lots of thoughts. Walked near to where Tim and Rosa lived in Hove before they died of aids. Reminded how Brighton is one of those places that has crossed my path several times in my life, and it seems inevitable that I should wind up living there at some point.

But for this weekend I felt like a tourist, walking past beach huts being lovingly painted in gaudy colours, wandering on the remaining pier (which vibrates horribly when the fun fair machines of torture are going full blast), milling about in the lanes buying second hand books and a teeshirt, and watching people fishing from the old harbour wall. Saw one guy catch half a dozen mackerel in five minutes. Had visions of myself doing the same soon, and reliving my childhood fishing off the white rock in Guernsey.

Sunday evening saw Anna Anton and baby Klaudia return after a gruelling journey from Manchester. And we set about drinking beer and ordering more curry. Meanwhile Trotsky bit Anna in the ankle in a very premeditated way, and I felt compelled to explain that I hadn't been abusing it or anything. That off my chest, we ate and listened to Anton's records on his beloved deck.

Decided to stay overnight, as the curry was delayed, and the beer had made me feel tired. Suddenly sleep seemed exceedingly big and clever...

Friday, August 13, 2004

Suffering from the effects of Kate's leaving do. A mob of us drank enthusiastically outside the Blue Anchor all night, and consequently I felt extremely shoddy by the time I reached work this morning. The effect was made worse I think by the fact that my tube home last night didn't stop at my station. I got off at the next one feeling decidedly irritable, and decided that it would be big and clever to run all the way back home. I simply do not run normally because I have dodgy knees, and a physique more sumoesque than fleet but managed to make it, wheezing horribly.

After feeling dreadful all morning, mobbed off with the gang for lunch today where, almost unbelievably, I drank two bloody marys which have made me feel temporarily better. Kate looking green at the gills but Andy and me presented her with her leaving gift in the Riverside Studios.

I will miss Kate enormously, but as we are friends in real life as well as at work it's not like we won't see one another.

Now I am looking forward to creeping off to Brighton tonight where I am catsitting Trotsky, and having an extremely quiet and restful evening. Trotsky has largely ingored me lately, but now she will have to buck her ideas up and be a bit friendlier or she'll have to live off sparrow takeaways.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Had vivid dreams about a haunted house last night. Looked this up in my dictionary for dreamers in the middle of the night to no avail.

An uneventful day, full of people, but I was in an introverted bubble of tiredness. In idle moments I made a little time for hypochondria, as I have been feeling drained and have had a strange taste in my mouth.

Woke up to see my favourite client (a delightful French woman) to present concepts just after lunch. This made me have to blow out my lunch date with Olivia, who has now left the agency to go back to Milan. She gave me a bottle of wine and a little thank you card. I felt a bit rubbish as I’d done almost nothing for her other than listen for ten minutes.

I felt a strong sense of some sort of missed connection. Feeling a bit jaded, I went for a swim after work and felt somewhat better. Bought some cod and pak choi and made a nice if unorthodox stir fry when I got home, the aroma of which lingers with surprising persistence.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Finally back to my blog. Dragged myself off to work late today in teeming warm rain. Main business of the day was having a big meeting to show concepts about female contraceptives to some Dutch clients. This time they appeared to like our work, as opposed to looking like they were eating cactus sandwiches which they did the last time... This took up the morning. After, one of the art directors showed me a drawing he'd done of me during the meeting, which of course looked like a huge lummox. Bah.

The afternoon was more leisurely, and I did little of note apart from talk to Olivia from Milan, whose English needs work, but is still streets ahead of my tatters of Italian. She has decided to go back to Italy so I am lunching with her tomorrow. She said she wanted to keep in touch by email when she goes back to Italy which I was rather flattered by.

Later, went to a talk in the agency about interactive television. Uncharacteristically I could not keep my eyes open. I was sitting in the front row and jerked awake violently at one point. Good job.

Got a note from Romy. I'd sent her some photos from my recent trip to visit her and my brother in Toronto. When we were out there we spent some time with Romy's aunt and uncle on their farm in Grey County. They live on a road called Deviation Road and surrounded by beautiful land. I took gaudy shots of the blue skies and yellow rape fields (canola they call it). Was disgusted when I slipped the film out from my camera at home to find it was black and white. But there were some good shots.

About to slide off to bed, after a sensible night in, listening to some jazz and enjoying a glass of sparkling water, compensating for the several impromptu beers with Matty boy and Paul Minett in the North Star last night. As he was showing me his agency in a rucksack again a woman who was sharing our table started chatting him up.