Sunday, July 31, 2005

Zero energy. Achieved nothing other than idling, and when I wasn't idling I was loafing. And when I wasn't loafing I was sleeping.

Wrote a quick and overdue letter for Anna this morning for the charity she has become involved with.

Made chicken soup.

Shuffled outside only to deadhead flowers as instructed by Janet as she left yesterday.

Messaged by my beloved early this morning, who was awake in the middle of the night.

Noticed the heated debate evolving around the picture of Louie below. Proving that, at best, dogs are provocative and controversial.

More arrests today after the failed bombings in London, some even in Brighton.

Laundry, shopping, cleaning etc. today. Made time to walk by the sea which was rough, windy and exhilarating.

Lovely evening with Janet and Ken who came down to the twitten. Lots to catch up on. Janet has resigned from several boards recently and feels much freer. She was looking very well I thought, although she will be going to BC to see her sister, Anne who has been ill with cancer. Ken cheery as ever, at one point bursting into the kitchen, where I'd ducked in momentarily, to sing a verse of Shine on Harvey Moon.

Talk too from Janet about a party for Ken as he is 75 at the end of November. He has just had a story rejected by the BBC. They were making me laugh with Janet trying to be rational about it far too early, as Ken still in the raging stage all too familiar to writers.

Food I cooked turned out well too. Chicken stuffed with lemon, served with butternut squash, potato & parmesan mash, mushrooms fried with bacon and fresh sage, plus asparagus and carrots.

Spoke to MJ who had been slaving in the heat all day selling stuff outside her home and talking to dozens of people, one or two of them who even bought things.

Stormy sea at Brighton

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Strange night, having been woken by seagulls, who are incredibly noisy and mad at this time of year. Nor do they sleep.

Ten minutes of ransacking house and failing to find vital information for MJ, then and had to leg it off to the train. Nothing to read, battery ran out on my iPod shuffle, but instead enjoyed a wave of optimism about life, and me looking forward to MJ, Jack and Kate being here, and thinking what a good thing this will be for all of us.

Racing into Glamoursmith, then off to Soho with Sam the director and Sandra the head of TV to record the voice over and sort the sound out on the ad. Cool to be in Soho and out of Glamoursmith for a bit. The actor was called Cal and a pleasant enough guy who did a good job for us. Now that the ad is coming together I am really quite proud of the job we have done, especially impressed with Sam's work. Ate pizza in the studio and was called by MJ while we broke for a bite.

Then back to the agency for more slogging. Then...Hurrah! Found the vital piece of information I was missing by the photocopier at work. Finally able to send the stuff off to MJ.

More slogging, then Pat and me ended up alone in the works bar having a couple of drinks and talking about how fantastic it would be to have a time machine.

Home at about 10:30 eating Chinese food and caught up with MJ who was exausted after a day at work with Ryan one of the children she looks after who was being extremely difficult.

She is also getting ready to sell some of her belongings tomorrow.

Bed... an entirely magnetic notion.

Recording voice over for the TV ad (a frame of which you can see over the sound guy's head).

Friday, July 29, 2005

Had to get into work ultra early today. Took Toby Kenny a cup of tea at 7:00 pm shortly before I left, and said a quick and non-drawn-out goodbye as he was flying home to Canada today. Dazed and tired on the early train. Armed police very visible this morning, even in Brighton. Must have seen two dozen policemen at Victoria, as this was a Thursday the day on which the recent bombings and attempted bombings have occurred.

Got a note from Weezer this morning "Hello, Please look at this beautiful face, and tell me that you have the desire to knuckle him in the snout! Louie was very disappointed to hear that you don't like him!" This due to punch a dog day concept. Louie pictured below... I think people must draw their own conclusions. Although Louie is very sweet.

However it is a fact that when I was a child, dogs made my life a misery. For example when I was about seven and innocently walking home from school and a dog put its paws on my shoulders, with its criminal face panting in mine, and did something unspeakable to my socks.

Much slogging again at work with Mike. And running about trying to get stuff ready to send to MJ. One piece of vital information missing, however, just as I thought everything was ready. D'oh.

After work went off with Ash and Phil to meet Paula, Arno, James and Marcella at the Bombay Brasserie to strap on the nosebag. We all used to slave for years on a particularly arduous account together, but it forged some lasting friendships. My lovely MJ called while I was there. After, I was toasted by everyone on my engagement.

Home on the last train, grateful to discover that the Tobster hadn't set anything on fire in my absence.

Paula and Ash in low light in the Bombay Brasserie

Low light conditions with Phil (L) in the Bombay Brasserie.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A photo of her Louie sent me by Weezer with a demand that I clarify position on dogs after recent dog punching scandal...

Execrable day. Hard at it all day, while pathetic Lilliputian agency politics rages and diminishes everyone within its ambit.

Nice bit was escaping in the afternoon to present some work to my favourite client, Florence, who I'd not seen all year. She is getting married to Eddy next month. I told her about me and MJ. A moment of humanity in it all.

The pathetic fallacy of rain and greyness all day.

Evening much better. Meeting Toby Kenny at Victoria and returned to Brighton. Had a walk and a chat, and a nice spot of Thai grub. Messaging MJ, who sent me a link this morning for the Saints Bay hotel, which she had discovered in her researches. She is exceedingly wonderful.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sluggish start today. Took my computer on the train and worked on a poem for the cancer pack. Into work and slogged all day, pausing only to go to the bank and stand in interminable queues.

After work was collected by Little George and went to the Blue Anchor. She is somewhat in crisis having left university, is without an art director, having boyfriend problems, and has been in her own words sitting about in her joggers for a month. Naturally I did not miss the opportunity to dispense lofty and sagacious advice.

Much amused by Weezer today who sent me a link to the Dorothy Puente cookbook. On the back: "DORTHEA PUENTE has been accused of a lot of things... being a bad cook isn't one of them". This I found very funny, although MJ informed me later that her researches had revealed that the author was a Satanist.

Some unusual gentlemen in the US and no mistake.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hard at it at the junk mail coal face... Pat (L)and (R) my partner Mike the Gnome

Andy. My former art director.

Bizarre...from Weezer

Monday, July 25, 2005

Reading Shambhala, the sacred path of the warrior, by Chogyam Trungpa this morning on the train. Much better than pouring over newspapers going on about bombs and terrorists. When the term Warrior is used it "is taken from the Tibetan pawo, which literally means one who is brave". One thing I enjoyed reading this morning was this...

"The key to warriorship and the first principle of Shambhala vision is not being afraid of who you are. Ultimately, that is the definition of bravery: not being afraid of yourself. Shambhala vision teaches that, in the face of the world's great problems, we can be heroic and kind at the same time. Shambhala vision is the opposite of selfishness. When we are afraid of the seeming threat the world presents, then we become extremely selfish. We want to build our own little nests, our own cocoons, so they we can live by ourselves in a secure way.

But we can be much more brave than that."


Thus uplifted got on with the business of the day. Trying to work out if I was afraid of who I am. I don't think so.

Work, a bit of a slog alleviated by MJ sending me links to a house in Brighton and then calling.

Michel said that poor Max had taken the day off work being incredibly upset as her friend had died suddenly at the age of 42.

Got a letter today at work from a man in Croatia about my article in European Pharmaceutical Executive on Taboo medical subjects. A pleasant suprise that someone read it.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Slow start with hangover. Sudden onset of mini winter this morning with cold and rain. Up late, Toby shuffled into kitchen, to make coffee. Toby: "Why is the kettle on fire?" Went into kitchen to see him struggling with burning kettle in the sink. As spots of melting plastic dropped here and there it became clear that he had warmed electric kettle on the stove.

In the afternoon we rallied to be out and about in Brighton again. Went back to the mad orientalist Pavilion, which I'd visited recently. Amazing place, full of dragons and serpents. Toby really enjoyed it too. After he left for London and I sloped about quietly for the rest of the day. Talking to Janet later and arranging to see her and Ken next weekend.

Brass band playing in the park by the Pavilion.

Sadder and wiser this morning after drinking too many of those fiendish and unpronounceable Polish beers in The Tin Drum yesterday.

Had spent a nice day lurking about in Brighton with Toby, pausing to eat down by the sea at Al Fresco. Brighton looking especially pretty in the sun this afternoon as we walked about, with me detailing, for Toby's benefit, the many splendours of Mary Jane.

Discovered that Brighton Museum is home to one of my favourite paintings, Early Morning by Dod Procter, which I last saw in the Tate in Liverpool with Carl.

Then fatally, we met up with Brian, Anton, Anna and Baby Klauds in the Tin Drum, where those wrong Polish beers were drunk. Klauds crawling off at high speed outside every few minutes forcing constant retrieval. Later we all went back to Anton's place where we summoned another curry, this time quite a nice one.

Got home and burbled to my beloved MJ until she suggested that bed was a good idea. Struck by the deep wisdom of this I obeyed.

Texts on Saturday morning from Sarah who has had a son, 8lbs 2oz, with considerable amounts of swearing but no anesthetic apparently.

Early Morning, 1927, by Dod Procter. Dod short for Doris.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

A moment's passing anxiety on the train as we pulled into London. Reading about the latest bombers and how it was only incompetence that prevented them from doing further harm. Another busy day at work but quite fun. Then off to meet Toby at Victoria and then home to nice, safe old Brighton.

Toby and MJ talking on the phone, with Toby telling her his story of living next door to Dorothea Puente, a female mass murderer in Sacramento, who ran a guest house and killed nine people that are known about burying them in the back garden, which Toby said stank in hot weather.

Then the two of us sloped into Brighton for a walk down to the sea and pier then a few beers and a curry which was a bit indifferent but was fun nevertheless. Really good to have a night out with him, talking of many and diverse matters.

Home and more talking, this time to my beloved MJ before drifting happily off to sleep.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Sam mid wrangle over the TV ad that I wrote and he directed.

New concept... dog punching. As visualised by new colleague Mike after me ranting about wanting to knuckle the snouts of dogs

Badly organised this morning, talking to my neighbours and deadheading roses before I got on the late train. Had started work early on a poem for work for a cancer pack. But I'm not sure it will be used. Work itself when finally reached quite busy.

Looking at rough edits of the hospital ad and continuing tiresome conversations about it. Looking fairly good though.

Enjoying a Thai lunch at the Ruen Thai near work when young brainiac Hazel got a call from her flatmate that there had been three more bombs. Quite a nervous and sick feeling for a moment, and a gloomy realisation that this would might be a protracted campaign against London.

Everyone hurried back to the office, to the sound of police sirens. It turned out that one of the incidents was at nearby Shepherds Bush.

Mercifully nobody was hurt this time, and the attempts were bungled. Called and missed MJ, who had already phoned me. Spoke to Mason who was worried as Mum and Toby were out and about.

Journey home suprisingly easy and it was lovely to talk to MJ who was pleased that I was okay. I love her, and she loves me and all is well with the world. I am an exceedingly lucky man.

Took a Chinese takaway to Anton's place, as Anna was out. Then watched Anton fetishistically stroke "our" new record cleaning machine after we took it out of its box. Anton airily handed me the instructions to read but naturally I couldn't be bothered. As he couldn't either we put it back in its box.

Watched the first episode of new Gervais comedy called Extras with Anton and Anna but kept falling asleep. Down the hill like a somnambulist.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Another crap day in London

After work, where I saw the first rough cut of the ad, I hurried off to meet Toby Kenny and Mum at the Apogee just off Leicester square. Good to see Toby looking relaxed and cheery. From there plunged into Soho with them and ate at Pulcinella's round the corner from the French House, to which we retired briefly after the Italian grub. Talking about MJ and her tastes and Toby told his story of seeing an Egyptian Mummy sitting on a porch in St.Martin's parish in Guernsey, which I am sure that MJ would enjoy. Toby was with his pal Danny at the time in the pitch black and when "it" moved Danny screamed.

Good night out with plenty to catch up on. Left, however, in plenty of time to get home due to the disruption to the tubes which still continues after the bombs. Slept like a baby on the train. Got home and spoke to the marvellous MJ.

With Weezer's help MJ is having a sort of engagement party at Northport. Weezer wrote asking for photos of me to make some species of Peter Kenny effigy, which I rightly refused on the grounds of me not showing up in photographs. She also wants to visit Chanctonbury Ring, which is not too far from Brighton, and has the reputation of being haunted and sinister and is therefore catnip to that Weezer.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Feeling a bit ropey today, went into work and left early. Popped into the quack where I sat in my usual chair. Bah.

Nice things today were that Joan sent me two emails full of the fresh air of Ontario. Relayed a story from her sister Gail about a Lynx.

"My sister, Gail, used to teach in Northern Ontario with a couple who now rescue injured or abandoned wild animals. A few years back a baby lynx was brought to them by a trucker who found the baby on the side of the road. Its mother had been killed. It was only a few days old and as tiny as a kitten. They successfully raised it in their house with the help of their dog. When it got too big for the house they kept it in a shed before releasing it to the wild. It took several months to get the lynx to leave on a more permanent basis. It kept returning to them but eventually away she went and stayed away.

Here's (part of) Gail's email from a camping trip they were on last week in Northern Ontario:

Jon also told us about Buffy, the lynx. One year she came back with her baby. However she left the baby on top of the ridge and came down to have a play with their dog and to come into the house and visit them. Then when they gave her food she would go back up to the ridge and share it with the baby. She stayed for about 6 days like that and then disappeared. They haven't seen her since.

I often think about that lynx. Like to get into her mind and know what she remembers of her rub with humans."


Picturing this, along with stories of baby otter feeding, and of Joan taking photos of a newborn donkey and a then snake in her PJs while rembering DH Lawrence, was a nice antidote to reading about terrorists while travelling on the tube. I post the pictures below.

Also, much to my surprise, was emailed out of the blue via Friends Reunited by Tess, who was my girlfriend when I was 16 and who I haven't seen since my early twenties. Seems to be my year of being contacted by old friends.

Lots of talking with MJ as ever about many private and diverse matters. She is a wonder.

Buffy the Lynx

A snake came to my water trough
On a hot, hot day
And I in my pyjamas for the heat
Well, there I was this a.m. in my p.j.'s having a flashback to grade 11.... And all because Dick came in from the chores to say that Lily (pictured below) had just finished having her baby. Snake snapped on the path.

Newborn donkey foal on the farm

Joan's sister Gail's friend feeding an adopted otter which comes indoors at night and makes chirping and duck-like noises

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A stupid sore throat and a high temperature have enforced a couple of days lying low.

Left to my own devices I have slept a good deal, written to Joan out in Deviation Road who sent me a pic of the wonderful pinkie as well as congratulations to me and MJ on our engagement. Idled around listening to music and reading Prevert. His poems are often like cinematic incidents: somebody collapsing in a florist and their money rolling on the floor. Paroles is the name of the book, but I didn't realise that as well as "words" this also means "passwords". Some of the material being written during WW2 and the occupation.

Toby Kenny has surprised us by flying into London and staying with Mum and Mason, which is great. Really looking forward to seeing him.

This morning, however, Anna and Anton called for me, and we went into town for breakfast followed by a short stroll down by the sea. We passed Mama Cherry's place, recently featured on TV with chef Gordon Ramsay and were looking at the press cuttings by the door, and the lady herself arrived to let herself in. Very pleasant woman -- and the restaurant now doing brilliantly.

Talking to MJ of course and missing her horribly. One piece of good news is that Jack and Kate now have school places here too... All is well.

Klaudia and parents looking like E H Sheppard drawing from Winnie the Pooh.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Fulham Palace Road with the cars (for the most part) not moving during the two minute silence.

At noon yesterday the nation ground to a halt for two minutes to remember the victims of last week's bombings conducted, it transpires, by British citizens from Leeds. A bunch of sad and nondescript lads too.

The idea was for the two minutes of silence to be held on the streets as a kind of gesture of owning London again. The people from the office spilled outside, as if it were some kind of fire drill. I stood on the nearby Fulham Palace Road instead, which for the most part stopped in the two minutes. One or two people walking and a few motorbikes moving through the otherwise stationary traffic.

More importantly for me and MJ... Yesterday MJ told the children that they would be moving to England. Jack ran away for twenty minutes and Kate burst into tears for two minutes. But by the end of the day MJ seemed quite reassured that they were okay. It may be that being presented with something that is no longer negotiable will be better all round.

Funny note from Johanna, after the plane missing episode, about MJ needing to be dragooned. MJ indignant of course.

MJ an alarming correspondent yesterday, subjects included the sensing of ghostly presences looking over her shoulder, and getting so angry with her gnome of a lodger that she couldn't breathe. Most alarmingly of all was the fact that she sent me an email with a DOG on it.

Went to bed early last night due to a slight fever. Woke up after nine hours of sleep feeling somewhat better this morning. Slipped off to my dentist down on Strand on the Green who gave me a good scraping and told me my gnashers were in good shape. Nice to walk along the river there near where I used to live. Very beautiful.

At work... and now back to writing about co-morbidities.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Long day today... We contrived to miss the ten to six train from Brighton by a few seconds. MJ making the kids laugh (with stories of parrots and swimming hamsters) among all the grey-faced early morning commuters, but a series of sluggish trains and long waits in the aftermath of last week's attacks meant that we also missed the check in for MJ's flight by a few minutes. MJ, Jack and Kate then had to lurk in the airport all morning before boarding another plane. I had to get to work, so it was horrible to say goodbye under such circumstances.

In the afternoon I went to Great Ormond Street where our fundraising ad is being shot by the highly-talented and offensively young guy called Sam. All early signs are promising. Impressed again by the hospital and its staff. I really hope this ad works for them.

Afterwards walked through a hot London in the rush hour till I hopped on a bus to Victoria. Strange looking down at Oxford Circus at newspaper hoardings still talking about the bus bomb half a mile from there.

Home latish, ate cold pizza and cherries, and then up the hill to Anton and Anna to babysit Baby Klauds. Anton had his new job confirmed today, so the threat of not having a job is not over both of them now. They went out for a meal leaving me to read Prevert's Paroles in a bi-lingual version. Really enjoying it. After a while Klauds started crying and I went upstairs and fed her milk, which she consumed like a mad sort of engine, and then walked about with her copiously drooling into my teeshirt till her parents returned.

Home and spoke to MJ briefly, sad that she was so far away again, before I headed gratefully for bed.

London bus

Monday, July 11, 2005

Odd sort of day. Felt like a character from a US sitcom being kissed goodbye and called "honey" by MJ as I set off for work. Very nice to be made coffee first thing and have her lovely company.

Odd too travelling in London this morning. I am not given much to patriotism, but I felt very proud of London this morning. The fact that people were just getting on with it, after being badly scared last week by the bombing. I thought there were marginally fewer people on the tube this morning, and people were altogether less rat-racy and elbowy than usual.

Work a bit of a blur. Feel quite tired and my attention was elsewhere. MJ took the children to see a school this morning, for example. Will have to work really hard for the rest of the week.

Home and after we ate the pasta that MJ had cooked, Jack and Kate had prepared a mini party with drinks and food in their room. We played cards and then MJ, Jack and me took it in turns to read The Twits to each other which was great fun.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A small but very cheery first party in the twitten. And what better reason than to celebrate the marvellous Mary Jane and me getting engaged on Wednesday? Much scooting about in the morning, Mary Jane sourcing a decorated cake from Malaysians as well as party hats and poppers and balloons, me scoring boozes and roasting chickens and hoovering in a frenzy while MJ was out with the kids.

Lovely afternoon and evening. All attendees tending towards the loquatious even before they started glugging wine. General cheeriness and the weather not offending civilized values. This enabled folks to sit in my yard and unltimately spill into the twitten.

Mum and Mase enjoyed themselves, chatting to MJ and Jack and Kate. First Matie, Matty Boy arriving together full of cheer brandishing bubbly, emergency cider and flowers. Anton ingratiating himself with my Mum who was, unfathomably, calling him a "hero". First Matie braiding Little Kate's hair. In fact Kate the Smaller was holding court in the back yard playing a card game with flexible rules which often favoured her. She is amazingly confident and funny for a seven year old -- a born performer.

Mum telling a story ghosts on Herm Island to a deeply interested MJ. French Bloke funny as ever, but forced to be nice to me (at some personal cost) when I was galling him about Barnsley. Max a picture of blooming wellbeing -- unlike the internationally-famous Baby Klauds who vomited spectacularly on Anton. From this I derived some enjoyment, till I had to mop it up. Anna being a force for reason and rightness encouraged toasts from me and MJ.

Nice to see Spooner and Alison pop in with their lovely, but chicken-poxy nippers, nicely giving MJ and me a John Ashberry book.

Mark and his wife Carol came too which was great. It gives a gathering long roots when one of your pals is someone you've known for approaching 34 years and we grew rather sentimental by the end of the evening.

Their excellent children Melissa and David played with Jack and Kate in a gradually escalating frenzy of balloons and party poppers. As it got increasingly rowdy/enjoyable the experienced Mark said there is only one thing to be done in such circumstances, and pulled the door firmly closed. Later when I slid in to seize some finger food, Jack advised me that they were having a war.

Lovely to be doing something so fun with MJ. We are really lucky. We seem to attract fun, encouragement and the goodwill of so many people on both sides of the Atlantic.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Our cake... courtesy of hasty Malaysians.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Terrible attacks on London today, with the death toll standing at 38 dead as I write this, and hundreds injured. As I was on holiday I didn't travel into London as I normally do today. Horrible to hear of such despicable actions in so many familiar places. Obviously this was alarming for everyone, and Weezer phoned us from NY to check Mary Jane and the kids were okay. And we sent emails to reassure the children's father and others too.

Naturally not the kind of experience I would have wished on my visitors. This made worse by the fact that there was a bag left outside Brighton Station. With everyone on high alert a community police officer knocked on the door and told us to stay indoors. The end of the twitten near the Station was cordoned off, and the suitcase was tackled by an army remote control device and later there was a loud bang of a controlled explosion.

After everything settled down we went into Brighton and did some shopping. MJ loving the Lanes and the shops there. Later I prevailed on Anton and Anna to look after Jack and Kate for a couple of hours, allowing MJ and me had a bite to eat in the Tin Drum. Then after collecting the children, home to watch the Futurama DVD Anton had sourced for the children.

Mary Jane and I made some time to go shopping for an engagement ring in the Lanes. Lots of lovely shops there and quite quickly we found a ring in a shop called Magpie in Meeting House Lane that MJ fell in love with. It was a delicate ring, in a rather classic style in what I have learned is called a marquis cut. I forced her to look at more rings but she had already made her mind up.

As the owner and maker adjusted the ring to child's size we slipped off for a glass of cava and some Spanish food, which we ate outside in the Lane.

Having collected it from the jeweller, we had a few comedy minutes with MJ pretending to be patient. The brooding got too much and I was compelled, once we'd walked around the corner to the little garden outside The Friends Meeting House garden, to drop to one knee and propose.

She accepted. Which was nice. Especially as she claimed later that I was trying to torture her by withholding the ring for my own sick amusement.

Thence to the beach to meet Jack and Kate and the marvellous Anna, who had made sure the kids had a great time in the park, on the beach and in Pizza Hut while we were shopping. It started to rain heavily and we retired to bar to play table football and drink coffee.

When the rain stopped Anna left us, and we four went on the merry-go-round down on the beach and then onto the pier, where we all bruised ourselves on the bumper cars.

Jack and MJ then went on some stomach churning rides together while I scored candy floss for Kate. I wish I had a photo of her burying her face in a pink cloud of sweetness.

In the evening we sloped up the hill and Anton made us pizzas. Anton getting Jack to help him. But while everyone else gorged on them they failed the Kate test, making Anton go into a dark place of pizza-based doubt.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Kate looking lovingly at her toy pet snake, Bob.

Jack and MJ looking identical on Brighton Pier

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Saturday morning... Running about getting myself organised today for the immanent visit of MJ and the bairns.

Thursday and Friday passed in a blur. Met a well and cheery looking Bob (aka Mad dog) on Thursday night in the West End. Quick speech from Bob about how beer didn't agree with him due to chemicals used to clean the pipes, and how he hadn't had a drink since June 10th. Then he fell on his beers like the armies of Mordor. Went on to scarf some Chinese food in Soho.

Arrived home very late, having been woken in the train by a nice man at Brighton station who, when I told him he was a very nice man, hurried quickly away. Ended up talking to Weezer and MJ till about three. Friday therefore a bit of an endurance test, with me feeling somewhat queasy on the morning train. Spent a happy hour, however, listening to actor's voices creating a shortlist for the voiceover of the hospital advert. When you sit there listening to a hundred or so samples they all begin to blur one into the other. But we have selected two that would be just about perfect. Thinking of selecting a Scottish voice which, for an English audience, doesn't instantly locate the speaker in a particular socio-economic group.

New revelation for commuting too... Got an iPod shuffle, which is a mini iPod and can carry about 120 tunes at a time and was £69 and is brilliant. A real boon when you are travelling up to 4 hours a day. Haven't had a walkman for a few years now and it is so nice to have music again in the state of being inbetween places where I currently spend so much of my life.

Bob drinking a large beer