Monday, January 31, 2005

Had a nice journey into work today. I ran into a coach and found myself sitting opposite Reuben, had a great chat all the way up to London. He was making me laugh with descriptions of charities...As in "Great! A tsunami".

Work was quiet so I didn't have much else to do but brood and practice my stage school smile. Went for a solitary walk along the river today at lunchtime which helped keep things in perspective. Now I suppose my own conduct in the past will be reflected in how others treat me. So far people are being quite kind. When setbacks happen the best thing is to reflect and look to your own conduct, which is sometimes the only thing that one can control.

Due to a fatality on the railway network my journey home took three hours door to door. Could have done without this. Cooked and then went for a walk for an hour till 11pm. The sea barely rumpled tonight.

Have picked up an information pack from the medical people which was sent to my work. It came complete with a jar which was supposed to be the receptacle for three "bowel movement samples". The covering information said there were further instructions -- but there weren't any. Collecting my own "bowel movement samples"... bloody hell. What is life coming to? There is no way I am going to improvise.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Mostly pottering about in the morning. Started writing a couple of lines in the morning over breakfast about my grandparent’s clock which I stored under the stairs in a cardboard box. This week I moved it and despite it not having been wound for over a year it struck continuously for several minutes, muffled away in its box, The sound took me back to being a child listening from the bedroom in Guernsey to the clock downstairs in the dining room as it pared away at the scary night hour by half-hour with its chimes.

Saw Anton and Anna again this morning, Anton thoughtfully bringing me a stand for my stereo equipment and the turntable he has lent me so I will become hooked on vinyl again. Baby Clouds squeaking cheerfully and crawling around the floor. It is impossible not to have your heart melted by that little thing. They dropped in again after shopping and we had coffee. I really like being in a place where friends can just drop by. A bit later Janet and Ken came round to look at my place for the first time. Ken wearing his hat looking quite striking. They were off to a reunion of Janet’s family. It was great to see them.

Other than that I worked on the house and went for an hour or so walk around town. I seem to be getting a bit nippier at walking up the steep hills of Brighton.

Feel more reasonable about the work business now. I will have to be practical and swallow my pride and that’s all there is to it. Not exactly relishing next week however. And if that weren’t enough I have the medical exam coming up on Tuesday.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Went into work this morning, gave a presentation to a client and left again. There was an all agency meeting at lunchtime and I wasn't about to be humilated in front of everyone.

Had lunch and a few drinks with Paul who talked some sense into me about not quitting and leaving myself with my financial trousers around my ankles.

Home to Brighton. Went down to the sea for a while trying to walk off the anger. Came home and drank tea and stewed in my own juice.

Am in poor spirits tonight. The agency is having one of its spasmodic and ill-considered reoganisations. This time I have fallen foul of it, and it seems I will have to resign or face complete humiliation. I wrote my resignation email today but have decided to sleep on it. I have creatively led the part of the agency that has grown the most over the last two years, however I was told today that it needs "real leadership" and have effectively been demoted.

After enduring a conversation of breathtaking hypocrisy with my boss this morning, I was put off my stroke and went on to have a very poor day indeed.

The evening though was a little more fun. Went out with some ex colleagues including Paula. It was very good to see her, something about Paula makes me feel very reassured and grounded. She was telling me about a recent and very powerful Reiki experience. I listened with interest having been on a Reiki course for a weekend several years ago and I found it good in that it prompted me to think about healing. I also experienced some quite odd sensations, however I began to lose faith in it after a while.

Rattling home on the Brighton train full of curry and a few beers I found myself in need of a hug. I began thinking about Indian mystics who dole out hugs full of unconditional love and decided I needed one of those. Oddly, none was forthcoming.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

When I returned to work yesterday I discovered a plot. I find that Hazel, a new young brainiac suit, had a brilliant idea that they should send me to private health clinic for the "Rolls Royce of checkups" so I can write an article about it. Naturally this is inspiring intense hypochondriacal dread. When I explain this to various colleagues they say things like "good, that will add interest to the article" and so on.

Have begun to really enjoy my commute. Bizarre really. Have been re-reading Discourse on Method by Descartes for no good reason. Strikes me reading it for the first time in 25 years just what a strange project his policy of doubting everything was. Like this from Discourse 4:

"... considering that all the same thoughts that we have when we are awake can also come to us when we are asleep, without any one of them then being true, I resolved to pretend that nothing which had ever entered my mind was any more true that the illusions of my dreams."

A tiny bit of snow in the air as I scurried to the station this morning. Once aboard, did some work, outlining a brochure on erection problems, and a few thoughts about female contraception. Quite productive time even though I was half asleep.

When I arrived at Glamoursmith I went again to the back cracker as I am still in continuous pain. The new woman gives me no confidence and seems at a loss what to do to help me. This is a bit depressing. However it was lovely to escape along the river for 40 mins.

Had a link sent to me by Anne Wright, a new Canadian cyber friend. You'll find some excellent pieces of her art work by clicking here. Well worth a visit.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Took delivery of my washing machine only to discover that the plumbing is inadequate at home. Had John the plumber take a look and he will have to put in a new pipe, so I resorted to hand washing today. Also had another look at my Klimt picture. It has been scratched and broken through in one place. It doesn’t look too bad, but I know those defects are there and I don't think I can live with that. The good news is that it is perfect for my room. I may have to buy it again.

However otherwise been busy in my guestroom/study with a new trade-sized bucket of white paint.

Seem unable to write anything other than this blog at the moment. I had a look at the stuff I was working on over Christmas and I now think that is all trash. Not even reading properly. Have been a cat on a hot tin roof and unable to settle to anything.

Paul called to with some gossip about my agency. It is amazing how people who don’t work in my agency know the news faster than me. Back there tomorrow.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sunday night and feeling cheery as I have no work tomorrow. Tomorrow, if the gods of white goods are with me, I will take delivery of a washing machine which will quell the evolution of those things rustling in my laundry basket.

Have been taking walks at lunchtime by the river, and the sea in the evening. There must be something about water. I read a book last year which suggested that humans went through an aquatic phase in our evolution. I can believe it.

Have had a pleasant weekend. It was Baby Klaudia’s birthday today, and celebrated on Saturday going out for lunch with Brian, (who is also Cloud’s Godfather) Anna and Anton to a restaurant called The Strand. They attached a little chair to the side of the table for Clouds and we tucked into some lovely grub. Me and Anton both opted for scallops on a bed of vegetarian haggis which was exceptionally good. In between courses Clouds was passed around the table for squeezes. Then she was put back in her chair and focused her energies on depositing things like florets of broccoli, serviettes, and spots of drool from the table onto the floor.

That morning I had bought a framed print of a Gustav Klimt painting of a birch wood. I love his early landscapes; they are on the edge of abstraction but still fairly naturalistic. Amazing use of pattern and colour. I got it home and it looked excellent over my mantelpiece: I had found the focal point of my living room. It waited for me to return from the celebratory lunch and some more shopping before launching itself from the mantelpiece. Its glass burst into a thousand pieces. After cursing and grinding teeth etc. for a while I went to find my vacuum cleaner. This refused point blank to work. As I realised that objects were in revolt I knew that any further activity would be futile and left in disgust.

Evening spent with Brian, Anton and Anna. Anton evangelising about a new and fabulously expensive arm he has for his record player. This talk was illustrated by playing lots of his records which sounded to me exactly the same as with the old arm.

This morning I awoke early, swept up the thousand pieces of glass and painted things white. Oddly the vacuum cleaner, not moved from where I had kicked it last night, returned to life. Beautiful morning. Back up the road to watch Baby Clouds open her presents and eat some birthday cake. We all went for a short walk in the park and watched Clouds enjoying the swings. I bought her a wheeled wooden snail that she seemed to enjoy.

Spent in the afternoon walking happily about town in the sun buying essentials like organic chicken and a thing to stand my toothbrush in.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Three days of commuting and all is well.

Yesterday returned home and went out with Anton to test a few more of the local pubs. In one I got mistaken by two women for a man called Brendan. I replied that Brendan must be a handsome devil but the ladies were both rather drunk and ridiculed me for having a plant growing out of my head. I happened to be sitting with a mother in law's tongue plant behind me. Bah.

Nevertheless had a splendid night with Anton as usual, but it was cut short with being a school night. Enjoyed going to one slightly seedy pub and watching him perch uneasily on a stool eyeing a large dog which settled near his feet.

Work not yet driving me crazy although people are beginning to suggest I do some actual work. An affront which I am of course resisting. Had a brainstorm today about naming a website which will concern itself with erection problems. French Bloke turned up for it and it soon descended into ribaldry and farce.

Trace has organised for me to write another article about taboo, this time for a pharmaceutical magazine. All this good for the ego if nothing else.

After catching an earlish train from Victoria and was back shortly after seven and had a restrained and tea-sipping evening. I did a bit more painting and defrosted some Guernsey Bean Jar which of course was a thing of beauty and a joy forever. After this industry I took another night walk down the twittens to the sea. Twittens is the Brighton name for the kind of alleyway I live on apparently. I wonder if this makes me a twit? Very mild night tonight although windy.

Stood at the end of a breakwater that had a sign saying no diving from this groyne which resonated with today's brainstorm somewhat. Watched the waves slapping into it and the clouds scudding across the moon and found that life was suddenly in some sort of perspective.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Not used to the train timetable yet, so the journey home was a lot more tedious than it should have been.

Went out for a walk after 10pm. Walked down to the sea and crunched about a bit on the pebbles. I can’t help feeling I’m acting suspiciously doing this. Behind my back the good people of Brighton were mostly indoors, or to be glimpsed through windows of cosy pubs rather than eccentrically lurking.

On this most crowded corner of a crowded island it was good to get my face blown coldly and watch the white tops of the waves race in out of the dark. A little scrap of wildness. I stood for a couple of minutes to look at the half moon on its back in a dark and cloudy sky and listen to catamaran masts and wires chinking urgently in the gale.

Worth every hour of the commute I’d say.

Delighted to speak to Shaila today who is alive and well despite being in Phuket at the time of the Tsunami. Got back to work and there was an email in my in-basket from her.

Otherwise the commute from Brighton this morning was splendid. Being back at work was fine and not traumatising. There was a photocopy of an article I'd had published in a junk mail magazine on my desk, which despite it being brutalized by their subeditor, was a good omen of something or other.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A day of rest for me today. Saturday evening spent being taught to play backgammon by Anna and Anton, and between accusations of cheating we all drank too much wine and ate Anton's excellent home made pizzas served on his pizza paddle.

Sunday dawned beautifully. Seagulls yarping outside. Got up early and walked off my hangover by the sea. Spent several hours simply walking, and took in the Aquarium which I really enjoyed. Particularly absorbed by the cephalopods and the King crabs which the notice said were living fossils. I know how they feel. Then off into the lanes shopping for CDs.

I did almost nothing all afternoon, till in the evening I went up the hill for supper with Janet and Ken and talked among other things, about Flaubert, US foreign policy and Brighton Council's policy on waste disposal.

Home and am happy in the thought that I am surrounded by friends.

Work tomorrow and the dreaded commute.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Brighton Palace pier today with my mother and Mason, who'd come down to look at my new house. After we went for a bite to eat and a walk.

A little before sundown the sky was smoking with flocks of what looked like several thousand starlings. These eventually began roosting under the pier. As we walked along the pier towards the funfair at the end, there was noisy singing underfoot.

Exquisite sunset, with the thin slither of the moon and the sky putting on a dazzling performance. Shortly before it got dark the sea turned an extraordinary lavender colour.

After this excitement we slid off to a pub called The Black Lion on BLack Lion Lane and drank warm mulled wine.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Went with Anna down to Klaudia’s childminder, also called Anna, so I could meet her should I need to pick Klauds up in an emergency. Baby Klauds reacted in horror at being handed over to the childminder. I felt really sorry for Anna because it was clearly upsetting.

Anna the childminder, however, I thought was a really nice woman, taking time to reassure Anna, and looking exactly like a childminder should and squeezing the babies reassuringly. As well as Klauds she was looking after another baby with a shock of red hair called, I think, Lily. Apparently everyone calls her Paul Scholes however because she is the replica of the Manchester United football player.

Painting over the cerise and grey abomination of the bedroom; the green hallway, and over the green splashes I made on the white paint yesterday.

A cooker and fridge were delivered today. And at lunchtime an amiable plumber and his mate came to connect it. Everyone pleasant and cheery and very helpful. When they’d gone I looked around in the shops at various bits of furniture, and bought another couple of cheap blinds. Stood by the sea for a while just loving the waves and the light, eventually the cold compelled me to eat a Cornish pastie.

Next went to the supermarket and bought eight bags of provisions right from basics like salt and pepper all the way through to a pomegranate which I left in the back of the taxi I caught home.
Cooked the first meal for myself in months. Really hot chicken and vegetable curry laced with lots of fresh chillies, garlic and ginger.

Spoke to Janet and Ken who have just returned from the New World. As I now live under five minutes away from their house I shall visit them tomorrow.

My mum and Mason are coming tomorrow too. Mum seems really excited to see my new place.

Fixed up my CD player tonight so I have tunes again. I am listening to Innervisions by Stevie Wonder and feeling quite mellow. All is well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Really enjoyed today. Read the Guardian and had a nice breakfast in a café down in Trafalgar St. Then bought some nice green paint called Bramble Hedge to complement the wood and the white of my downstairs room. Wandered into a rug shop and had earnest conversations about rugs too for a while. People are friendly in this town and are much happier about taking time to talk than Londoners.

Later walked down towards the sea to score some blinds and a shower curtain from Habitat. And then cheerfully employed myself painting and fixing stuff while listening to BBC Radio 4. Gradually some order is asserting itself from the ghastly mess, and I am liking what I am seeing.
Got a call from Katie today who said she was thinking of writing a book about the Forest of Dean, and a pleasant text from the French Bloke.

In the evening I did my now-traditional clamber up the hill to Anton and Anna’s house to eat and be merry. Although Anton has been ill for the last few days, so the wine drinking was left to me and Anna. Happily watched the inanities of Celebrity Big Brother on TV, interrupted only by Anton roaring at Trotsky as she ripped up their new Persian rug with her claws.

Just freaked myself out a bit reading my entry for 22nd November.

Move to Brighton finally accomplished. Not without the theme of delays and frustrations continuing to the last moment. On Thursday, the day the house became mine at noon. The contemptible vendors were so disorganised that they didn’t quit the place until 5:20 pm. I got extremely stressed and angry that afternoon. However Anna distracted me by taking me for a walk in a local park with Baby Klauds.

When I finally gained entry it came as big relief. Am really happy with my new little house. It is down a picturesque little alley called Camden Terrace. But there is lots of work to be done. The rooms were painted in bizarre colours. Turquoisey blue, brown and lemon yellow in the main room. Three clashing greens and one blue in the kitchen and so on. Next day the delivery people were moaning and unpleasant too. However it is now all over. So far I have spent most of my time painting things white to establish a blank canvas and let the colour of the wooden floors assert itself.

This morning I bought a cooker, washing machine and fridge which will be delivered later in the week. This a comparatively painless process, greatly helped by Anna and Anton. They have also fed me large meals every night and driving me around and showing me places to buy stuff. On Saturday Anton and I had a few beers in several of my local pubs: The Caxton, The Duke of Wellington, The Tin Drum and another with loads of pots hanging from the ceiling. We played a game of pool and generally hung out. A great night.

Flashes of real excitement and happiness amid all the painting and decorating. Yesterday I enjoyed standing by the sea for half an hour with my back to Brighton and watching the grey waves surging in past the west pier, which looks like a sculpture made of giant spent matchsticks since it burnt down (twice). A cold wind was blowing in off the channel but it was a bracing antidote to paint fumes. Blew the cobwebs away as my Grandmother would have said.

Walking back from the beach I encountered half a dozen Rotarians waving buckets and wanting donations for the Tsunami appeal. I am very worried about Shaila my old friend from school days. We’ve seen each other a couple of times in the last couple of years, and we went out for a meal a month ago. I feel fairly certain that she told me that she was off to Phuket for her usual Christmas beach holiday with her husband and two boys. We don’t keep in regular contact but I have texted and emailed her and heard nothing. I’m hoping that there is nothing to fear.

On a happier note I talked to Toby tonight and he was telling me little about his trip with Romy to Cuba just before Christmas and then their journey back out to good old Deviation Road in snowy Ontario just after. His teaching job is becoming a bit easier thankfully. And they are looking forward to moving into a new place in Toronto. Also spoke to my Mum and Mase who will come to inspect my new residence shortly.

Off to bed now as I am shattered from hard work and the sleep deprivation that comes with my dratted back pain. Must get that sorted.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Grabbing a few minutes at work. I am feeling really excited now! Will be zipping down to Brighton tomorrow, and picking up the keys to my new house. As far as I can tell I have done everything I need to do, other than physically be there.

Tonight I am meeting Maddog in the Blue Anchor by the river for a few quiet beers. I have eleven days off in a row now. All is well.

Monday, January 03, 2005

2005 finds me in very good spirits. I have been quite self-centred lately, and have really enjoyed a little quiet time.

The tsunami of course is on everyone's mind. I was on honeymoon in Sri Lanka and knowing one of the places really brought it home to me. The destruction wrought on people's lives doesn't bear thinking about. But there are so many running sores in the world, especially in Africa.

My friend Fraser has also been much on my mind, being in hospital due to a recurrence of the heart problem he had earlier this year which required him to have a valve fitted. When I was visiting him the other day it was impossible to ignore the photos of his beautiful one year old daughter. I am comforted by the fact he is a strong and positive person and is in good hands.

I have been writing again, which has come as a great relief. Working on something called The Secret Life of the Mighty Thor, an early version of which is on my Sixth Fingers site. (A site I need to completely revamp). Have transformed the rambling early draft into a radio script. Also working on a secret project I am calling The Pamphlet.

Have enjoyed my time staying with Mum and Mason, especially lurking companionably up in the loft with my Mother. Me struggling with The Mighty Thor or playing pacman (current inane obsession, 25 years after everyone else) as my mother painted glass, cropped pictures to fit her new portfolio, and generally went about the business of being artistic.

Living with people again has been fun, although I am very much looking forward to moving to my new house in Brighton on Thursday. I can't believe this is going to happen, on the 12th day of Christmas too! The next week or so is going to be busy especially as I have to go into the Agency tomorrow and the next day.

What a good start to the year.

The solitary blot on the horizon at the moment is my back. I have been in continual pain for weeks now. It is at its worst at night and sometimes it is impossible to sleep. It has been responsible for making me miss Anton and Anna's new year's party too in Brighton. Although I'm certain my liver and kidneys have been squirming with gratitude.

I shall go to my new chiropractor again tomorrow. My heart sank when I met her last week as she is light and willowy. If you are going to have your back cracked it should be by a woman who looks like an East German shot putter with a voice like Frank Bruno. She was a tryer though, folding my arms and legs and flinging herself at me in an attempt to pop my wretched vertebrae.

Have read little, although I have had plenty of opportunity. Not been able to find a reading book. Although I read The curious incident of the dog in the night time by Mark Haddon within half a day, and enjoyed it immensely. I'd never read anything like it, and it was a fascinating glimpse into the mind of someone with Asperger's Syndrome. Read some of the Bond book Goldfinger out of curiosity. Trash of course, but an insight into a certain side of masculine fantasy I suppose. The casual racism and was particularly offensive too. Got too bored to continue and skipped huge chunks of an interminable golf game between Bond and Goldfinger.

For golf, as everyone knows, is a good walk spoiled.