Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another day in bed with cooties

Feeling got at and moany. Temperature now dropping below 100. Slept sweatily most of the day and feel horrible.

By way of light relief got a poetry rejection after six months from Ambit. I have sent them work off and on for twenty years and have never got anywhere with them. The editor told me not to give up which was nice. But there comes a moment in a man's life where not banging your head against the same wall is a good idea.

You'd think that sitting in a chair wouldn't be a danger, but I coughed and in doing so managed to painfully put my back out. Unbelievable.

Spoke to Anton and Mum. Texts from First Matie. Spoke to Sarah too who has contracted what she calls cooties (which are germs) I think she got them from me, and it is clearly a computer virus.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Today's blurg...

Is from bed. Feeling horrible with flu and a temperature currently at 102, lungs on fire and body aching like mad. Don't like it.

Got a card from Sarah with an octopus on it. Listened to Radio 4 and slept.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The greased poet

Went for a swim today feeling very tired but decided that I had to do something as I am getting badly out of shape. Greased myself in Vaseline before I went for a swim, and bought a swimming cap too. And waddled out looking like a complete idiot. Labouring along with no zip in the pool too, but was pleased to have done it. Skin survived okay too.

Left work on time to get to Brighton Poets. Boss raised eyebrow, which infuriated me. Made my way to the event which turned out to be as poor as last time's was good. Sparsely attended, and an execrable singer songwriter by way of half time entertainment. Read four poems which I nevertheless enjoyed doing. I did get talking to a few people however which was good but by the end of the evening was feeling decidedly rough.

Home and a quick chat to Sarah before bed.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Some useful introspection

Had a bit of an "ah-ha" moment this weekend. One of the things I realised, sparked in part with conversations with Anton and Sarah, is that I have a poverty mindset. These days I have a good job and own a home but I was pretty impoverished for most of my twenties, when I was going through my penniless-poet-starving-in-a-garret routine.

To this day, some part of me is afraid that my career and life will catastrophically fall to pieces and I will return to the years when I used to sweat over whether I could afford a bag of groceries.

Every fear has a reason for being. And this one keeps me in work and stops me squandering money. The cost of this fear, however, is that it associates putting effort behind what I really want to do with my life with anxiety and poverty. Just like last month when I did a poetry reading, I was surprised how I associated it with being poor - as well as the deaths of one of my best friends and his wife. Once I actually did the reading however, all the things I enjoyed about it came flooding back.

Unpicking all this stuff felt very liberating. Although I had to work through a mess of frustrated feeling to get there. This not helped by my computer getting a galling virus which erased all the music stored in my iTunes, and accidentally smashing a pate and two glasses.

I worked on a prose piece called Pop, however, which I've had for a while. I am now editing it and trimming off all the flab, and it is taking shape as a short story to be proud of. I also went for a couple of hours brisk walk in intermittent rain on a Sunday afternoon, which much improved my mood.

When I returned Anton called me: Anna and the bairns were at his mum's house. So we took advantage of this having a few early-evening drinks in several local pubs which were full of a relaxed Sunday vibe. Good fun drifting from place to place listening to different music, or musicians, and chatting.

Then home to my last, and most cheerful, chat of the weekend with Sarah. And fairly early to bed.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A random elephant

Fairly tired today, and kept my head down at work. Not much to report other than feeling a bit jaded. Worked through lunch and scooted off from work a few minutes early in the company of Trace who has been in the wars lately. She fell from her bicycle a couple of weeks ago and banged her head badly (typically it was the one time she was not wearing a helmet), and now she has a work crisis going on.

Met Reuben on the train coming
home and had a cheery, Friday chat over a can of beer. Home and had a lengthy IM session with Sarah talking, amongst other things, about 1980s English pop which she was mad about. Then had a phone call from Mum who is investigating having prints made of her pictures.

And now bed is calling like a siren...

Below examples of essay answers
from an email sent around today. Here are two that made me laugh. Especially the elephant.

Two shots of the Ark

Here are two snaps of the Ark which is quite near my work. An amazing building part of which looks to me like a dinosaur head above the rooftops. I went for a walk past it the other day, it is fenced off and inhospitible. I think little if any of the space inside is rented. Very odd.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Back in the swing

Spent some time today at work with Mark, another writer, coming up with names for a high profile entertainment business in the centre of London. (Can't go into any detail here naturally.) This was quite fun and, in the unlikely event that one of them sticks, it will be cool to have named something famous in London. I like brainstorming so that anything can come sluicing out. After about an hour we'd generated about 70 names. Many of the utterly appalling and bizarre.

This was a nice distraction from working on a stultifying brochure about ISAs and Unit Trusts, which also forced me to learn about them in soul-withering detail.

After work yet another leaving do in the revamped Distillers which has become the bar of choice for the agency (not that there's much choice). Lots of chatting and general networking. Saw American Craig and the excellent Bei Li who'd been doing some freelance together. Also saw a cheery Taranjit who I'd not seen since she and Matty boy broke up.

Home and skyped with Sarah till 1.00pm. Bed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A sprinkle

Back to work today. Now that my holiday is over, I feel healthier than I have done for days.

Doing a poetry session or mini course at work seems to be back on the agenda again. If it comes off, it will be very interesting.

Quite busy today. And I noticed one of the sprinkles that Sarah had enclosed in my Valentine's package on my sweater at work at 6.00pm. I had been walking around with a little red heart on me all day. I am such a sweet man.

In the evening met up with Marja and Sarah Freems for our regular gossip. However we went to somewhere called the Ebury Arms in SW1. Nice enough place, the food very good indeed, although served in parsimonious "nouvelle cuisine" portions. Also I was sitting opposite the girls on a sofa which reduced me to hobbit size, having resisted placing the undeniably wee Freems on it. Both Marja and Freems are fairly quiet talkers and it was a noisy place, so much of the evening I was straining forward with my face hovering above, for example, a scoop of pâté the size of a premature quail's egg, or a sparrowy piece of guinea fowl.

Lovely to see them again, and catch up with the gossip. Fraser is doing okay these days, which is good news, and Sarah was pretty cheery and gave me instructions on what I should do about work. Marja, meanwhile, is going through a few life changes, and is planning to move house. Was amazed to hear that her eldest bairn, Matilda, is now eight. Tempus fugit etc. but funny how seven years after leaving IBM so many of my closest friends are from that time: Anton, Anna, Brian, Reuben, Kate, Sarah, Marja and Louise. Amazingly good fortune.

Left in proper time to get home at a decent hour. And had brief and cheerful communications with Sarah before gratefully hitting the hay.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cappuccino Mirabilis

Another day's vacation, and still feeling a bit wussy. Anton phoned first thing sounding poor with a massive headache and fever. So perhaps it is something doing the rounds. Either way I go back to work tomorrow and we've done none of the dragon walk which is galling.

Instead I took a walk down by the misty sea and still felt a bit spinny-headed and tired crunching along the stones. Despite this it was good to be out. From there went to the Sanctuary cafe. Discovered there's another poetry night next Monday so I'll go there to inflict shock and awe. As the excellent rapper Common says: "Even actors and ball players be knowin' my rhymes", and it's only right that the bards of Brighton should be knowin' mine.

While I was there, I had a good cappuccino and the miraculous zap of caffeine precipitated a reorganisation of my life. One of the first things I wrote down in my Moleskine is that I should have zero tolerance for not trying. I need organisation and persistence, and I have made myself a commitment to do something every day towards changing my life. Then I wrote lots of lists and brain dumped for half an hour, and felt a good deal better about everything afterwards. Believing change possible is in itself the biggest step.

When I got home in the afternoon I started to work on my plan. I want to write myself a brief, a bit like the creative briefs I work from in the agency. I also dug out the How to Change your life in 7 days book, only because I remembered it has a fairly sensible (and standard) template for change.

First you define what your big dream is, listing the what you consider the most important things in the world, then you have to complete this statement "If I could be, do and have anything in the world, I would..."

Then the difficult bit. How will you know when you are succeeding? You then have to set yourself key goals against a timeline. The steps to change are what I am finding hardest to define. But thinking it through is a very good exercise.

Afternoon interspersed with IM chats with Sarah, which was a good thing. Otherwise not too much happening. But at least I felt a bit better today and much more cheerful. I expect I'll be almost back to normal at work tomorrow.

Below Brighton seafront as a grey as anything...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Migraine and road drills

A day's holiday today. And a general feeling of wussiness on Sunday evolved into migraine. Woke up in astonishingly bad pain in the middle of the night. For a few seconds I was convinced I was dying. However once I was fully awake things were okay. Went onto the NHS Direct website, which works as a kind of triage system for hypochondriacs, and it told me that my headache was safe to manage at home and not call people out of their beds at 4:00am.

Ate pills and then tried to sleep again. Imagine my delight when the heavy digging machinery started some 10 feet away from my head a few hours later. Typical that the one time I've had a migraine since I've been in Brighton, it coincides with infernal, house-shuddering banging immediately outside my window.

Had to renege on the Dragon walk today, which was more than annoying. Anton went on another walk on his own. I lurked about trying to recover. Enjoyed watching a DVD of Peter Brook's Lord of The Flies, between the crashing outside, made in 1963 in black and white. Lovely cinematography though. Black and white really helps some films, being able to suggest a desert island without being too distracting.

Found these two rather nice videos by The Guillemots and John Vanderslice on You Tube. Bought the CDs they come from at the weekend, and these are on heavy rotation items in the Twitten as I seem to be going through an intelligent but undemanding pop phase.

Talking to Sarah has been nice, she always manages to make me feel profoundly cheery. Bob called too, saying he has to go to Scotland and asserting that Edinburgh is built on the plan of a Union flag, which I find unlikely.

Frustrated to waste a holiday, although excellently I have another one tomorrow. Not being as productive as I'd like at the moment: I want results. And sitting at home with a throbbing headache is a waste of time on all fronts.

Still it gives me the opportunity to moan, which is to be credited.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Piggy biz

Grrr-ing over a standard rejection slip I got today from Poetry London which took a snappy five and half months. Spoke to Sarah this morning, and after spending a lot of time laughing, I felt much cheerier.

Then I went for a walk down by the sea. It was an interesting day to take photographs, as the light was pearly and diffuse, and the sea calmer than I have seen it for some time.

Felt very happy just walking along taking photos. All kinds of people-watching to be had - like the jazz musicians up towards Hove (something slightly absurd about seeing a double bass, trombone, and guitar next to the sea) or the boules players, or skateboard kids.

After two hours or so I felt quite tired - a bit ominous considering we start the mystical dragon walk on Monday. Anton was saying today that the River Arun had actually changed its course and now meets the sea on the site of an old village.

Katie called me, she is back from South Africa and sounding cheerful, and has a sparkly new engagement ring. Major goss over a beer now on the cards.

In the evening went up to see Anna and Anton and to eat some Chinese grub what with it being the New Year. Turns out Anna is a boar like me. This year is the year of the fire boar too, so Anna and me should be kicking butt.

Saw young Oskar today, his face has changed in the last couple of weeks, and despite him teething and having a cold, he was very smiley, he is a good baby.

Ended the day as it began, talking to the delightful Sarah.

Calm sea and pearly light in Brighton

Below an impromptu gig by a band called Decoder in the street, and some shots down by the sea including the burnt out old pier.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Liberation of the Loafer

Awoken by immense crashing and drilling at 8am immediately outside my bedroom window in the Twitten. Not to mention violent cursing during some sort of argument. It was the workmen come to dig everything up to replace leaking water mains.

Reflected that there might have a better day to attempt a lie in. After scowling past the workmen and buying bread and other bits of shopping, and collecting a package from the post office, I returned to have an utterly idle day.

When I was a student I was once on the University radio station (as dinosaurs savaged each other's heads outside) to broadcast a manifesto, called The Liberation of the Loafer. The only thing I remember from it how the protagonist, mid idling, watched a fly traverse the difficult terrain of his corduroy trousers. Probably best left in the dustbin of history.

Snoozed later (the workmen evaporating at 1.00pm curse them). And did lots of talking to the delightful Sarah by IM. And revelled in doing nothing. Two CDs arrived today: the Guillemots From the Cliffs, and the other by a someone called John Vanderslice called Pixel Revolt. Both very enjoyable in a murmury sort of way.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday is the new Friday...

...when you are taking Friday off as a holiday that is. Was late for work, but got into the character of someone who has been conducting something mysterious, but supremely important. And on sitting down I conducted my vital junk mail business quickly and with ruthless efficiency and brilliance.

In the evening I met Lakshmi, who is a pal of my friend Aimee. Lakshmi has moved from Dubai where she knew Aimee, after studying in Indiana in the US, and then back to Dubai, and now finds herself in London. She is a very nice person and we had a lot to chat about. She surprised me by saying that PG Wodehouse was her favourite author. Not the obvious choice for a woman in her twenties brought up in Dubai.

Almost as soon as I met her I could see how her and Aimee fit together, both being chatty, spirited, and good fun. We met in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese which is one of my favourite haunts with Mad Dog. It was rather full, but, fine, then we went to the Punch across the road and ended up in a restaurant called The Ming Court, which was not minging. A nice evening and I came away thinking I had made a new friend and would get her meet some of my other pals.

Just as well that I wasn't working. When I got to Victoria at 11:30 the next scheduled direct train to Brighton was at 1:00pm. I had to travel to East Croydon, and wait there for 25 minutes before getting a connecting one. Home at about 1:25am. I was listening to The Hobbit, but kept nodding off. The late late crowd on the train all asleep or completely dazed. One such was the man who showed his mobile phone screen to the ticket collector, before digging a ticket from a coat pocket.

Home and messaged the lovely Sarah before sinking mercifully into my bed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valen'ine's day

A cheerful day. I already had a card and dragonfly pressies from Sarah so sprang from my bed happy in the knowledge that I had an admirer from afar. I sent Sarah a card and some chocs which, travelling under a benificent star, arrived today in Tampa. As a goddess of love, today is Sarah's day. And I ended mine having a long chat being sprinkled with divinity from as much as 4420.41 miles away.

Up early to send Mum some of her photos of her money-making pictures with corrected perspective. And then off to work where I learned that we'd won the pitch I worked on last week. I was then taken out for a lunchtime drink by way of celebration.

Listening now to The Hobbit on audio book. Quite fun but I feel the need to listen to something that isn't Tolkien, because it leads to narrowness which in itself can become a bad hobbit.

In the evening I went up to Anton and Anna's place to babysit the bairns. This gave them a chance to go to the movies like the happy loving couple they are. Fortunately the barins slept like babies and peeped not. So I watched The Brits music awards on TV. I must be getting old, the thing that impressed me most was the complete absence of the letter T. Chief protagonist being rubbish-haired mockney host Russel Brand.

Pronunciation of course constantly changes. Watch old English movies and the nice characters will say "Thenk you" for example. Interesting to watch the the glottal stop's move from its stronghold in the "Estuary English" of London and the south east, to becoming orthadox pronunciation. So we were treated to Bri'ish music concluding with a special performance for outstanding contribu'ion to music by the u'erly derivative Oasis.

Bu' wha'evah. Happy Valen'ines day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Brand expression and potato soup

A while ago I had a conversation with Janet about portfolio careers - where basically you do lots of different jobs at the same time instead of just one. Additionally Sarah recently mentioned that she thinks of herself as a brand. She even has her own logo. This made me think that if you think of yourself as a brand, and all your activities as brand expressions, it seems very limiting to do just one thing. After all, very few organisations create or manufacture just one product. Of course we all express ourselves in ways outside our jobs. But it is limiting to think of yourself as capable of only making money in one way.

This also appeals to my cautious side. After all, putting all your eggs in one basket isn't always a good thing either, especially in a volatile industry like advertising.

Sent an email to the local radio wondering if they would be interested in a feature about the dragon quest I'm doing with Anton.

After work I met Simon in Dean Street. He has now sold the guest house in Scotland and has moved south again with the family. Great catching up with him. Laughing about being at University together and remembered a particularly noxious and watery potato soup we made when utterly skint and living in a hovel in Leamington. It was the sort of vile slop Raskolnikov ate in Crime and Punishment. Ugh.

Home and spoke to the delight
ful Sarah, about all manner of things, and retired to bed rather late.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Matty, Mum and Moths

Early into work this morning to urgently write a brochure. Once this was done however, today was much improved, and I don't feel so trapped. And this was distinctly helped by deciding to take next Monday and Tuesday off to start, with Anton, our mysterious dragon quest walk.

Mum contacted me today with some important moth news. Apparently the moth we encountered last year on Sark was a Euproctis Similis commonly known as a yellow tail, or (in Sweden) a körsbärsrödgump. It also has irritating hair, but that's not something confined to moths.

She also sent me several photos of her paintings (in the "money making" style). There is a handy tool on Corel Paint Shop pro which I have in my laptop, that can correct the perspective of the photos. Sadly I can't put any of these pictures on my site as they have been embargoed.

In the evening I went to the new look Distillers to meet Matty boy. He was looking whippet-lean and healthy as a consequence of a month of detox, and frenzied exercising in the gym. Over some cheerful but retoxing beers and food we did much catching up with the general gossip. Things are very positive, and he is doing very well at work too. He's moving to Strand on the Green too, very close to where I lived for many years. A lovely area. Then we were joined by Robbie and another pal of Matt's and had a nice evening till the call of the seagull asserted itself. Heading back to Brighton, I dozed on the train, and zoomed straight into bed when I got home.

Below the Moth that encountered Mum.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A tipping point

An enjoyable Sunday, helping me to regain my equilibrium, and then to make some decisions.

Talking on many and various subjects with the delightful Sarah on skype first thing, with her dog Cabal panting in the background.

Then I set off for a walk. My friend Hannah texted me to say she was in town and I met her briefly and pleasantly for a cream tea and a chat in the Mock Turtle. I love that little place, it is like stepping back in time.

Then I went for a walk along
the seafront. The sea very rough and bursting over the groynes in a Lawrencian manner. Walking along I decided that I was going to change my career. I want to spend more time to spend on things I find meaningful.

Otherwise not too much else to report. Unlike the tempestuous waves, battering the shore, my changes are submarine for the time being.
Below waves near the pier.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Notes on a Scandal

Saturday found me needing to recharge my batteries after a tricky week. Slept in somewhat and started the day with a skype exchange with a sleepy Sarah. Then did Things that needed to be done such as having a haircut, doing laundry and so on.

I am getting into the habit of taking myself to see films from time to time. Feels a bit strange to be alone but as soon as the film starts it makes no difference. Today being grey and sordid, I took myself off to the cinema to see Notes on a Scandal. Listening to my iPod downloaded film reviews is proving quite handy. It was an extremely good film that I would probably not have bothered with otherwise. It was actually bleakly funny, and deals with two teachers, one a year away from retirement, jaded and bitter with an obsessive streak played brilliantly by Judi Dench, and a younger and slightly flakey art teacher played excellently by Cate Blanchett. The older one becomes obsessive in a repressed lesbian sort of way over the younger, while the younger is embroiled in a scandalous affair with a pupil. Great script, and very well acted all round.

Interested to read that Barak Obama has thrown his hat in the ring to go for President. I read his autobiography Dreams from my father last year, buying it in Newark airport. Very interesting guy. Be fascinating to see how his story unfolds.

Ended the day as it began, talking to Sarah but with roles reversed - me sleepy, Sarah bouncy.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A box of dragonflies

I was woken by the postman this morning. Regular readers will understand that, despite this being Brighton, he wasn’t actually in my bedroom but knocking on my door.

To my surprise was a parcel from the US from Sarah. It was a box of dragonflies. First there was a tin which, when opened, contained a beautiful origami box housing two dragonflies. Then there were other presents: a special edition of Wings of Desire, which is one of my all time favourite films, a box of Scooby Snacks (self-evidently sensible), some Moleskine (my favourite kind) notebooks and a lovely Valentine's card which was full of heart-shaped sprinkles. There was a note on the envelope to open it over a table. Moreover everything was immaculately presented, so much so that I was reluctant to open things. It was such a surprise that I took a snap first thing in the morning of some of its contents.

So it was a very happy and cheery Peter Kenny that set off to the dark place to work this morning. Within an hour and a half of being at work I had to take myself off for ten minutes to stop myself from simply walking out. Eventually I began to crisis manage and tell people what was realistically achievable and what wasn't. But I crossed a Rubicon today and I left work at 7:30 and made my way home. However I sent a email moaning to Sarah and felt better.

Got a lovely note from Joan in Deviation Road Ontario. "Reading your blog this a.m." she said, "I couldn't resist sending you some photos of REAL WINTER complete with RESPECTABLE ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW."

Entirely exhausting day and it was at last over for me at 7:30pm, and I made my way wearily home. Then up the road to see Anton and Anna. Anton had bought a special wheely thing to measure distance on maps, and we plotted the route of our Dragon walk. It is about 47 miles and we'll start it next month all being well.

Then finally I came home and spoke to Sarah in an exhausted way. She is very lovely indeed.

Below part of my dragonfly package, Pinkie the Wondercat heads into the forest, real Ontario snow from Joan.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Snow and a can of whoopass

Groggy start. I drank too much with Bob last night, and got to bed late. There was no snow in Brighton, but the world turned white a couple of minutes north of town. And I took some snaps from the train window again.

Had a good day in some ways. I accomplished lots and got all the pitch work back on track again -- my work with the Gnome, plus the other two routes that are being developed and were going nowhere fast. However this is a contribution which is mainly invisible, and by 8.00pm I felt bitterly resentful about other people taking credit for my hard work and talent. Still this is my own fault for not changing things.

There was a big agency party today, a black tie affair. But uncharacteristically I didn't want to go to it. Instead, after working late, I went home instead. And it is very nice to be here. Maybe I am a hermit after all.

IM with Sarah who was at work. She messaged me to say that she was opening a can of whoopass. This is tremendous. I need to learn more about this and do it myself as soon as I am able.

Below two snaps from the train; the tropical plant delivery.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The ON button

Up at six to get into work early. Managed to locate the Peter Kenny ON button and worked in a highly-focused burst for an hour and a half. Doing what seemed like a day's work. Then at the official start of the day a client meeting to discuss how to pin down the exact copy tone for a particular brand. I jumped up at some point and made with the mind maps. Amazing how simple stuff like pinning down the target audience, and getting them to imagine who the author of the letter is, can make people's hair stream out behind them as if the were standing in a wind tunnel of inspiration.

Then I tucked into the wraps and sandwiches. And sneaking out from the working lunch for ten minutes I spoke to briefly to Sophie, who sounded very stressed. We talked for ten minutes, she cried a little, and then said she felt loads better.

After work went to Waterloo to meet Bob and his very nice colleague Maria who is a lawyer and was born in Jamaica. We had a very fun evening chatting, and drinking (rather a lot) and eating at a French restaurant near the South Bank. Ended up at the Mulberry Bush which is opposite the IBM building I used to work in. Gave Mad Dog (as a fellow hypochondriac) his long life and good health charm bought in the grounds of the Golden Temple in Japan.

The call of the seagull was rather too faint and ended up getting home really late and feeling grumpy. But then had a skype conversation with Sarah, though probably not best timed, made me feel cheery again.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A few laughs

Bumped into the Reubster for a minichat walking from Victoria station. If you stood these minichats end to end they would form a full conversation.

The day spent working on the pitch about a cholesterol treatment. I won't be presenting this one, so I'm fairly chilled now that me and the Gnome have got an idea. Stole out for a solitary gasp or two of air by the river at lunchtime and bumped into Andy my art director. This made me feel a bit sad, as his life is going through a dreadful patch, and it is hard to know how to help.

After work went briefly in the bar with Max the Mentor, and Ian. Ian used to be my boss but now is global head of everything. He is a genuinely positive and inspiring person. I have always suspected, however, that he thinks I am a bit of an arse.

Skulked off with some of the creative department to see the Irish comedian Ed Byrne at the Riverside Studios - tickets paid for by Ian. It was cold in the theatre and we were a bit of a sluggish Tuesday audience. But I found Byrne funny and likeable. The sort of comedian you'll stay with out of goodwill if nothing else. Quite liked his rants on religion and various pop musicians, and he soon had everyone warmed up a bit. Just looked at his site. He said Zoo magazine ran a list of the 100 funniest people alive, and he was 99. Now that IS funny.

The call of the seagull heard immediately after. Train journey quite fun, drinking coffee, and enjoying my iPod having suddenly worked out how to exploit all its functions after several months. It's now is full of podcasts from the BBC, and has some of my favourite photos on it, even little clips of film from the national geographic. As well as music of course.

Home to melted cheese on toast, and then blamelessly to bed.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Frog and Angel

Started writing a new poem on the train in the morning, despite the elbows of the Times reading buffoon next to me. Have this idea about focus groups, where you sit behind two way mirrors and watch people being interviewed.

The news full of bird flu and turkeys being slaughtered (they must think it's Christmas every day). The BBC and other establishment organs are radiating calm, so you know something well dodgy is going down. Thank goodness for a letter bomb in London today to take everyone's mind off it.

Met a woman called Rachel who I worked with at IBM many years ago, and is now one of the agency's clients. Had a short nostalgic chat with her before doing actual work. Still feeling somewhat frustrated. I did attend a meeting in which I had to give a short presentation. During the course of this I found a frog glove puppet, which I employed to stare and gape at The Gnome across the table as things progressed.

Otherwise, there was little of note to report. It was a Monday and I got through it. Delighted to be home, and doubly delighted to find the Moleskine notebook I thought I had lost. It had all my Japanese stuff tucked in the back pocket as well as a photo of me with David my grandfather.

Sarah saw Wings of Desire on my recommendation and enjoyed it. I love that film. Must watch my DVD of it again. There are so many scenes in the film that are so haunting. The library scene when the angels walk unseen and listen to the words passing through the minds of the readers always sticks in my mind. I like the idea of being watched over by an angel, even if it is in black and white.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Keep off the groynes

Shuffling about enjoyably this morning after getting up very late. So late in fact that Sarah was already up in Florida. A nice chat, particularly about her recommendation for a men's fragrance called Vera Wang for Men.

Anton and Anna called around well after noon and I was still in my dressing gown. However I quickly got my walking boots on and joined them for a coffee in the Red Rooster. Had fun, despite spilling coffee on myself, and dropping the end of a flapjack into my latte. Poor Anna back to work after her maternity leave tomorrow.Klaudia and Oskar sleeping like babies in their double decker pushchair.

A short walk with them to the sea, and then I
continued along the coast by the groynes under the cliffs at Roedean. Walking back there was a tremendously beautiful sunset. And I took some photos.

Below limpet mountains and the sunset.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A hermit in the twitten

In hermit mode this morning, however a double glazing salesman came around (he had an appointment). He had scratches on his face, and carried a small case with him containing a small window. Carrying this, I suggested to him, must be a pane. He ignored this, and popped off after leaving me with a large quote.

A skype conversation with Sarah, who was off for a girly morning's shopping. And then I proceeded to do almost nothing. A bit of laundry, watched England beat the Sweaties at rugby on TV, and thought about things to write about.

Spoke to Mum who is thinking about setting up a website, and had a good chat with Toby. It was very cold now in Toronto.

Below Toby sent me this shot of me frenziedly grating fresh wasabi in a restaurant in Izu, Japan. Makes me look like I have a giant head, but there you go.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The heat is on

I'm hoping The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's findings actually prompt some concerted action in the world. Will it get major governments (like the US) to admit climate change is happening? All the rest of us have to do is look out into the nearest garden. Below is a shot taken in Magravine Cemetery this morning of spring bulbs in full bloom. They started in January - the first full month of winter. I find it very disturbing.

I was overheating too. Arrived early to do some urgent work to discover I had been locked out of all the computer systems for not completing my timesheets. They had been completed and I had made special efforts the day before so I wouldn't be locked out. Wasted an hour shouting at people, making phone calls and finally exploding with rage until it was sorted. Then, racing against time, I lost the same piece of copy twice due a software crash. Then after completely writing it from scratch the for the second time, the original reappeared on the system.

However some other work The Gnome and me had gone down very well when we presented it to the client. Had a brief discussion with a senior suit Nicoletta about this in the office bar, and her fiance turned up. He is an opera singer, and I had quite an interesting chat with him about acting in opera.

Was sent galley proofs of my poems in the forthcoming Hudson View magazine, between the proofs and the galleys new errors had cropped up. Meanwhile my wait for responses from Ambit and Poetry London to my manuscripts is now I think in its fifth month.

Home and I decided to pop into the Chinese takeaway. A little girl, who seemed to me to be about five or six, was standing on a box behind the counter reading a picture book about insects. After my order was taken she ducked under the counter, and sat next to me to have a conversation about earwigs. She then told me that there was something incredibly beautiful in the book and asked me to guess what it was. When I said I thought it might be a butterfly, she looked at me completely amazed and said, "You speak the truth!" which made me smile a lot.

Later under the full moon in the Twitten a bunch of noisy teenagers had gathered. One of whom was sneezing loudly just under my study window every twenty seconds. Later one of them knocked on my door before running away. Not exactly a major crime but still made me feel like loping after them with a hammer.

Spoke late and sleepily to Sarah who'd also had a sucky work day in stormy Florida, before hitting the sack.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Gnome is steady

A pinch and a punch for the start of the month, but not much to report. Completely useless this morning. Managed to sleep through my alarm. When I woke up I was in plenty of time for the later train, but for some reason managed to miss this too. Heroically late to work. Once there, however, The Gnome and I were suddenly very busy - and spent time running about the building and doing scraps of this and that and trying to come up with a big idea for the new pitch. I stayed behind in the evening to compensate for being so tardy in the morning. The Gnome stayed there too, and he is quite cheerful at the moment and he can be very funny. His steadiness is a great help sometimes, and sometimes I take for granted how much I rely on him.

Read more about Sussex dragons on the train coming home. Sussex was once a good place for dragons. The one in St Leonard's forest sounds disgusting: "There is always in his tracke or path left a glutinous and slimie matter (as by a small similitude we may perceive a snaile's) which is very corrupt and offensive to the scent..."

While I was reading a lady opposite me opened her sparkling mineral water which burst refreshingly over me, and the dragon articles supplied by Anton. Was pleased to be home and eat improving foods. My skin seems to be slightly better too due to copious moisturising and avoiding swimming pools and coffee and alcohol and anything remotely enjoyable.

Discussed dragons, and promoting yourself as a brand with Sarah. Then I simply went to bed with my hot water bottle, which is an abiding comfort in winter months.