Sunday, September 19, 2004

Little to report… #1 hobby is still paranoia. However this is abating. Doomy feelings off and on recur, and funny how this makes you notice things like a few groceries costing £6.66.

Boiler stopped working at the beginning of the week and had to wait 4 days for it to be fixed. This forced me to shower after swimming and at work and wash up with boiled kettles of water. Needless to say kettle stopped working after a few days too under the extra strain.

Unbelievable how infuriating this was, and how frustrated it is easy to become over how people are prepared to lie to you about when they are coming to fix the dratted thing.

Talked to a woman about mortgages this week for an hour and a half. This made my head explode. But at least I am becoming clearer on the subject. Otherwise house stuff seems to be progressing as far as I can tell.

Went out several times with various friends during the week. Met Katie, Gavin, Sarah and Fraser in the White Cross in Richmond. Had a nice beer too in Ealing with the delightful Florence and Eddie, some new friends. They had both given up smoking recently so were a bit twitchy. I am so pleased I don’t do that any more.

After guzzling some oysters with Matty boy on Friday night, I had a relaxed weekend travelling up to my Mum’s place. Took a long route through north London going on the 83 bus from Alperton to Kingsbury, which went past my old school and was my school bus as a kid. Amazing how much things have changed. Alperton looks very Indian now. I was astonished to see a beautiful temple being constructed there. It was lovely. And then the new Wembley stadium arch is an impressive new element to the skyline now. Felt nostalgic as the bus passed Copland, on Wembley High Road, my old school.

At my mum’s Mason played me a tape of Le Diner de Cons. Marvellous film. Set up is that a group of friends each bring an idiot to lunch on a Wednesday. The person who brings the best idiot receives a prize. What a fantastic premise.

A pleasant walk this morning with my mum discussing life the universe and everything.

As a footnote to the last entry...Gallingly received a text yesterday from last girlfriend. Deleted it. Bah. I no longer have a heart.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Went out with Paul and Matty Boy on Thursday night where Paul made public the fact of his immanent fatherhood. Naturally we needed several beers to discuss this. He also is in touch with my ex-girlfriend and said he’d also seen her mother, who was a very nice woman. A kindred spirit in fact. He’d told me this on the phone when I was in Germany, and it has been niggling me somewhat. My ex-girlfriend has been, quite understandably, avoiding me somewhat in the last few months.

After some thought I sent her a note suggesting we meet up. I’ve not seen her for about six months, and not spoken to her for about two. What I wanted to do was to say goodbye, as we don’t seem at all to be able to follow our plan of remaining friends, and I will be moving from London soon. This was rebuffed. I was made to feel like some kind of stalker for even suggesting this. I resolved to not contact her ever again, and found myself acting out something from a novel I’d written (which did not see the light of day). She’d given me a box full of pressed flowers, one for every day when I was away. I’d kept this token till now, but decided to throw it into the river from Hammersmith Bridge as a symbolic act of closure. But instead of it sinking or being carried out the damn thing floated merrily upstream towards where we’d first met. However it did feel good. I also deleted her from my mobile phone, this struck me as quite funny, quite childish and quite modern.

This contrasting with me seeing my ex-wife at a party on Saturday. It was down at Anton’s again (as part of his never-ending season of birthday celebration). My ex-wife and I are on very good terms and it was really nice to be chatting to her. I showed her the details of the house I am hopefully going to move into. It always feels a bit painful and strange seeing her though. We were in a party in the afternoon and surrounded by babies and friends who were feeling a bit awkward as many of them hadn’t seen us since we’d split up, and there we were chatting like old friends.

Meanwhile the dreaded sea monster is still pursuing me. She now no longer works with me, but and sent me an email saying that she has been lurking in Brighton. This is making me feel seriously hunted and I would rather gnaw my own hands off than reply to the note.

I am desperate to get to Brighton however, which will help me in my feelings of a having a new start. Have spent a long time licking my emotional wounds and am frankly tired of it now.

Meanwhile have been surrounded by affection and friendship elsewhere. I have such excellent friends. I had a good time on Friday going to a leaving do, where Paula and I Nick, who was leaving, and Tracey were left at the end having a good old goss.

Last night went out with Maddog. Gave him his birthday present of a hardback Rilke which he seemed to like. It’s great going for beers with Bob, on occasions we both splurge out our concerns and then feel a great deal better. Had a great night, despite the misfortune of ending up in one of those dreadful west end curry houses called the Spice Bazaar.

I had to send two of the dishes back. They simply had no food in them. The small side dish of okra was literally half empty, with more onion than okra in what was left.. Likewise with the lamb madras, a thin content free gravy with literally four or five exceedingly small bits of meat. Repellent restaurant, repellent staff and almost inedible food even when, with encouragement, they produced something like a fair portion.

Monday morning. Time to go to work. It is raining heavily outside. Oh joy!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Beautiful walk into work today. 15 of my 30 minute walk is by the river, and it was fresh and sunny this morning. Just a touch of autumn in the air this morning.

Work was fairly galling. One of the worst bits of agency life is raging politics, and I feel that I am falling foul of it. Felt somewhat sorry for myself today again. I despise myself when I am like this -- a misery. However I went for another swim after work which made me feel a good deal better.

My lovely landlady, who lives in Ireland, phoned me with the option of being able to stay in the flat for an extra month. This is great news as it simplifies my move at a stroke. Brilliant.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Good news today, my offer has been accepted for the house in Brighton. Very happy about this, but this time I'm not counting my chickens. And this evening I have been brooding about organising the move, packing, storage, utilities, mortgage etc. etc. all over again. It will be great to be able to call somewhere my home soon. Got a surveyor lined up this evening which is good. The one I used before is on holiday.

Mercifully, work was quiet and uneventful. A friend's partner had a masectomy yesterday, which put my restless feelings in perspective.

Woke up early this morning and was reading Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals for what seems like the hundredth time. It's such a lovely, escapist book. I went to Corfu a couple of times and still there are glimpses of Durrell's idyll among the tourist hellspots.

Another day shunning drink in pennance for my immersion in the Munich beer lake. Still restless this evening, and went for an evening walk which helped.

Monday, September 06, 2004

So... Had a splendid time in Munich. Went down to Brighton on Thursday morning, met Anna Anton, Christian, Jane and Brian. Anna's parents were there too, on duty to look after baby Klauds. Drank Champaign and shortly climbed into the stretch limo that Anna had organised to take us to Gatwick.

The flight to Munich took something like an hour and a half. We took the train from the airport into the city centre where we stayed in a hotel called Hotel Germania. Once arrived we sped out into the city. It was beautifully clean and the centre was extremely attractive. Had an evening meal in the Rathaus. This was the first of the sausages and beer. The Rathaus is the town hall, and we ate inside a beautiful courtyard. After many beers Brian got talking to a German woman who was somewhat worse for wear.

Brian, who explained who the two couples were and then for reasons best known to himself introduced me as a cross dresser known as Annabel. This something of a surprise to me, perhaps even more so because the German woman completely believed this. She shook hands with me after saying goodbye Peter and Annabel.

The Friday was a lovely day. Wandered around town rubbernecking, particularly enjoying the Viktualienmarkt, the food market which smelt of a mingling of lovely cheeses, aromatic sausage, flowers and the fresh smells drifting up from the colourful fruit and vegetable stands. Also the whiffs beer coming from tables of the Beer Garden. This led us to slipping into the nearby Hofbrauhaus which was apparently the venue for an early Hitler rabblerousing speech and a punch up, referred to as the Battle of the Hofbrauhaus. We sat in the garden drinking lunchtime beers and picking at sausages.

After attending to the above, I left the others and found my way to the modern art gallery, called Pinakothek Der Modern. There was some of my favourite artists there. Especially Klee and Ernst, plus Max Beckmann and other Neue Sachlichkeit painters. Fantastic to see paintings I'd only seen in books. There was an exhibition of recent American art too, but I found this dull. Was wandering alone in recent German art when my mobile went and I got in trouble. Apparently it was verboten.

Joined the others again in the Augustiner another immense Beer Hall with a nice garden for more drinks. Lurched back to the hotel before we set off again. Had food in Frauenplatz. When I say food, I mean sausages. Had an immense platter of sixty sausages on a bed of sauerkraut. We all felt sick after this and retired to the Hofbrauhaus where we had an immense Stein of beer. These emormous glasses had the effect of making me feel that we'd all shrunk to hobbit size. There was a traditional Bavarian band playing and the place had an amazing buzz about it. Crept home in taxis after.

My pedometer told me that in between drinking beers I'd walked 15km, which slightly balanced the damage I was doing.

Another terrible night in the hotel. Couldn't sleep and it was quite noisy as I was near the stairs and opposite the lift. Things were going around in my head such as whether the tough negotiating stance I'm taking on this new property is the new one. Worse though, Paul, who'd phoned me in the gallery had, when I'd called him back, talked about my last girlfriend and this sent me into a churning gloom about my love life. I had to get out of bed and write it all down before I had any peace.

Saturday was another beautiful day. I felt like death in the morning but improved as the day progressed. We went to the Olympic park and to the BMW museum (which I was forced to go to because I can't drive, and don't want to drive). The others all enjoyed it however. Then we zoomed up the tower nearby which was about 200 metres high and had spectacular vertigo inducing views. Satisfyingly, Anton was even wussier about this than me.

We then went for a pleasant walk ending up in a peaceful beergarden and eating ribs and drinking more beers. Then another walk and more beers, and then another walk and yet more beers. Yep. It was all about beers and walking.

In the evening we repeated the night before except I would rather stick needles into my eyes than eat another sausage at this point. We did have an incredibly tasty apple pancake at the end, which everyone loved. Then off to the Hofbrauhaus again. This time the place was absolutely pumping. The band playing some traditional tunes and some utterly ghastly ones. Such as the birdy song, and una paloma blanca. But these people from Munich seem to know how to enjoy themselves. Singing and lurching around, but all in a peaceable way. Joined in by drinking more fishbowls of beer to the point where I could not drink another drop, and found the whole prospect of beer appalling. Felt a sense of massive exhaustion combined with an immense bon homie for Anton, Anna, Christian, Jane and Brian.

Taxi home again. The drivers getting lost and arguing with each other at a traffic lights.

Another 15km, and another terrible night's sleep.

Felt dire the next morning. The others looking fairly cheery. Got a taxi to the airport and, unbelievably, Anton insisted on a beer once we'd arrived and gone through customs. I could manage about three sips.

The journey home was fine, and it was a relief to be back. Felt dull with tiredness so the only thing was to have an early night, not drink and sleep blissfully.

This morning back to work. Spent much of the day struggling with Caples entry forms. Had sushi for lunch and went for a swim after work. Drank mineral water at home tonight.

Spoke to the estate agents and things may be okay, and they will go with my offer. Fabulous.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Felt full of manly vigour today. Had some blood taken first thing then went to work feeling fine.

Saw a fox dead in the gutter on Fulham Palace Road this morning.

In the afternoon went for a meeting in the Cotswolds to see my charity client. Nice meeting. Stopped after in the lovely town of Burford, beautiful old stone fronted buildings. Sat on the sloping main street with Mike, Emma and Penny and 14 wasps. The other three flapping wildly at them, Mike succeeding in batting one incredibly hard with a teaspoon so that it flew like a bullet at a screaming Emma. Another dived into Penny's coffee and she dragged it out and squashed it. We noticed a bulging bottle suspended over the front of the shop with a slop of poison in the bottom, and full of dead or dying wasps.

Felt like I was witnessing a wasp holocaust. But managed to force down two scones with strawberry jam butter and cream.

Negotiations proceed with the property I put the offer in on. At an impasse tonight, but still looking promising.

Phoned my mother who said that Mason had the operation on his eye yesterday which was painful. But at least it's over. Spoke also to Janet who was asking how I was getting on with my move to Brighton.

Tonight I've been packing and getting prepared for Germany. Here I come!