Rough seas and queasiness
Feeling a bit queasy this afternoon I took myself for a walk along the seafront to get some air. Wonderful rough sea and powerful waves the perfect antidote to cyber staleness caused by three days of website building.
On the pier noticed again the tarot card reader's green covered waggon, looks like something that escaped from Dark's Carnival in Something wicked this way comes by Ray Bradbury. It made me feel almost compelled to go in, because it seemed so incongruous on this bleak and rainy grey day. The pier was almost empty, and glancing into its warmly lit interior you could spot Ivor the fortune-teller squatting at the back like a toad.
In the evening walked up to Lorriane's house in a massive downpour with an unaccountable need to listen to Led Zeppelin on my iPod. Very pleased to have my new waterproof berghaus anorak. I had killed the previous one by putting it in the washing machine, which removes all of its waterproofing at a stroke.
Once there I was fed very nicely, played Uno with Lorraine and her two teenagers. Sam and Beth. Sam has got the horrible spewing bug that is going around at the moment - not a great thought as I queased around. Uno, however, is a card came that requires you to exclaim "Uno!" every now and again and is quite good fun. Of course I prefer Euchre (played to Guernsey rather that Deviation rules naturally).
Below the sea.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Rough seas and queasiness
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Worked on my website all day - broken by a few conversations and emailing here and there. Then in the evening went up the hill to babysit for Anna and Anton. Spent some time watching The Peep Show, which is an farcical and toe-curling comedy. Very funny. Fortunately, as I watched and guffawed, the babies peeped not.
Kate sent me a link about the pub we'd been in last night which was interesting. From E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897 in the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898:
Some hundreds of years ago there stood in the Tyburn Road, Oxford Street, a public-house called The Bacchanals: the sign was Pan and the Satyrs. The jolly god, with his cloven hoof and his horns, was called “The devil;” and the word Bacchanals soon got corrupted into “Bag o’ Nails.” The Devil and the Bag o’ Nails is a sign not uncommon even now in the midland counties.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Emergency beers at the Bag O' Nails
In the evening, however, I went off to the Bag O' Nails at Victoria for emergency beers with First Matie who has broken her engagement with Gav. Although upsetting and horrid, one of the few good things about such crises is that it reminds you that you have lots of pals and they all care about you, and Kate's pals are naturally all rallying round. It was good to see her, and she is doing okay.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Official: I am not attention seeking
It's not often I say a stern "no" to attention, but I had to today.
Was approached by someone writing an article for the women's section of The Observer called the Ex Files. This allows you and an ex to discuss, for the benefit of its female readership, why your relationship ended, and what you learned from it. Apparently, the pitch went, people can find this therapeutic. So I eagerly forwarded it to Mex for her opinion.
I went for a late lunchtime walk and, thinking about it, it suddenly dawned on me that I would rather plunge knitting needles deep in my own eye sockets than be part of it. When I got home there was a note from Mex saying much the same. What was I thinking?
Otherwise I worked on my new poem, provisionally called The Moth Display, and felt tremendously cheerful.
In the evening popped up to Victoria for another enjoyable and funny evening with New Biz Liz. Had quite a few drinks and then we went to strap on a Sri Lankan nosebag. After the builders have been in her new flat for months, she is now able to start decorating and has tasked me to source some words which she is going to paint on the wall.
Then home to watch Scrubs at midnight, as Scrubs is my new craze and one of the channels is showing Scrubs several times a day. I even woke up with the Scrubs theme tune going through my head the other day. Perhaps I should be worried.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Flint and moth
Also during the morning I sent the pictures of the flint scraper to the local museum, and was invited round to show them, as the Booth Museum is only a short walk away from where I live.
Mad place, featuring the collection of one Edward Thomas Booth, whose blatant ambition was to slaughter and stuff every last species of British Bird. Fine examples, as the museum would have it, of The Victorian Art of Taxidermy. A quirky and fascinating place, and well worth a visit.
So I walked past all the baleful cases of dead birds, to have a conversation with a bearded man called Jeremy. Stifling a yabadabadoo! I held out my stone age scraper. Sadly, after peering keenly at this artifact with his magnifier, he said it was a piece of flint.
Although perfectly shaped for a scraper it didn't have the tell-tale scallopy chip marks from either side of the edge to show that it had been worked, nor had it any other signs that it had been hammered or shaped. Very interesting to talk to him, however. He said it was a pity I hadn't been there last week as there were some real stone age finds brought in. Still, nevertheless, I will keep my flint as a curio. He didn't want to comment on the hair-like stuff but didn't think it was significant.
I then had a longish wander through the museum, peering in at flocks of stuffed birds, all set in dioramas that recreate their natural environments. Then I was stopped in my tracks by their extensive collection of butterflies and moths, all pinned in ranks in big cases.
I have written at least two poems that have a museum setting, but never successfully. However today, staring at the display of moths, a penny dropped and I made a few notes and hurried across to the cafe in the park opposite. There I had a cup of tea, avoiding an older man who was singing a bizarre pop song and trying to talk to me, and cracked out the first draft of a new poem.
I am delighted with this and it could be the best thing I have written all year. After walking home, I worked on this for most of the remainder of the day, pausing to watch my new favourite TV show (Scrubs), and talk to Lorraine and First Matie on the phone.
Below some appalled-looking stuffed birds and a photo of death's head hawk moth (stolen from this excellent site on UK moths). Apparently the French believed that dust from one of these moths could blind you.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Started the day learning that my poem A sparrow at 30,000 feet will be in the first issue of a new magazine from Guernsey called Written In. The editors have also kept hold of other poems to use them in subsequent issues, so this is all good. It is important to me to have work appear in Guernsey.
Also I recieved a note from Joan who has been talking to Dick about my megalithic find, (see previous entry) and thinks it is a stone age scraper used to scrape hair and fat off hides. He was familiar with this instrument because he just read a book dealing with the prehistoric natives of Ontario. I have sent my jpegs off to a local museum to see if they make anything of it, or simply tell me it is a piece of stone.
Then up to Edgware for Mason's tradional late Thanksgiving supper. A cheerful gathering there, with Tanya and Robert, Ben and Poppy (over from Guernsey) and Diane who is looking remarkably good after her recent radiotherapy treatment. Nice to fork into some turkey, and meatloaf too. Mase has brought us the taste of America for decades now. I remember the apparent wrongness of bacon with maple syrup which now after my US experiences seems totally acceptable - and those brownie bad boys which Mum and Mase now forbid themselves, simply because they lack self control.
Nice to meet Poppy and Ben again. They are a lovely couple. And Poppy has some interesting insights about Iran, having been born there. Generally the conversation was not of the small talk sort but dealing with big issues over the pumpkin pie. Or punkin pie as Mase always calls it.
I left fairly early, as Di gave me a lift back into Clapham. Quite a long journey home, and in the end I had to walk from Hove under the streetlights and full moon. Walking wasn't a bad thing though given my waistline.
Listened to a fascinating discussion about Wordsworth's Prelude chaired by Melvin Bragg. Never been wild about Wordsworth. I remember in my mid twenties going on a Withnail & I style trip with my old friend Andy Smith to the Lake District, and standing with Andy in Dove Cottage looking at the Wordsworth's ice skates, while Andy steadily cursed them and all their works.
But there are a few bits in the Prelude that certainly butter my parsnips, however, such as the opening nine lines which always remind me of getting back to Guernsey.
Oh there is a blessing in this gentle breeze,
A visitant that while it fans my cheek
Doth seem half-conscious of the joy it brings
From the green fields, and from yon azure sky.
Whate'er its mission, the soft breeze can come
To none more grateful than to me; escaped
From the vast city, where I long had pined
A discontented sojourner : now free,
Free as a bird to settle where I will.
Friday, November 23, 2007
A small axe
Attended to a few bits of interesting correspondence, then after a light and unorthodox lunch of fish fingers and noodles, I decided to take advantage of the blue skies and go for a walk. Took my camera with me of course and snapped as I walked down through town and past the marina to the undercliff walk taking quite a few detours en route, ended up walking for getting on for three hours. Al texted me about a pitch win my old agency had won, and said she was missing me which was nice.
Below I discovered on the shore a perfect flint axe which fits snugly in my hand, and has various chip marks on it, and is very sharp. I can't decide if this is some relic, from several thousand years ago washed into the open air again, or merely a random stone, or something that was fashioned by someone last week demonstrating what stone axes looked like. I attach a photo so you can make your own mind up. What is weird is that when I took these photos I noticed it had hair like stuff on it... Bizarre.
Posted by Peter Kenny at 10:22 pm
A walk by the sea
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Spaghetti con Sophie
Tuesday mostly doing Monday stuff still. The weather still doing Monday stuff too. Late afternoon saw me shooting up to London to meet Sophie. Waited for her outside the National Portrait Gallery underneath two fire-gouting torches which hissed slightly in the rain, and while I waited I calculated that we'd been friends for 28 years.
On arrival her first move was to buy some sushi because she was hungry. The sushi uneaten, we had a quick drink in the Salisbury and then dived into a nearby Spaghetti House where we gossiped for hours and forked down pasta and pizza, and drank wine. Along the way, we agreed to meet up again soon, to spend some time planning wheezes.
Then fond farewells in the rain and Charing Cross, and for me a fast journey home.
Monday, November 19, 2007
The unalterable essence of Monday
Mondays are Mondays whatever you happen to be doing. There is no use going against the grain, so today's focus was on generating work - and doing dutiful, Monday-ish stuff - emailing people and speaking on the phone. I took a break for a walk a couple of hours in the middle of the day.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Enabling higher thinking
Had a crash course today in children's books. Met Lorraine at the library where she selected several children's books for me to look at, that were used successfully in schools. And there were more in Waterstones later. Children's books generally have such beautiful production values.
Lorraine explained in detail how the books were used in the context of a lesson, which was great. It was an excellent briefing, and soon had me thinking about a story for 7 year olds. One of the things I noticed about several of the stories was that there was some form of moral dilemma, and that - which surprised me - that there were lots of unanswered questions. This is the space that prompts the questions that "enable higher thinking" as Lorraine called it.
Went home and wrote and drew for several hours, seized by a simple idea.
In the evening went out with Lorraine, Brian, Anna and Anton. Anna making her way down to the restaurant with a crutch. We had a quick drink then had a pleasant and authentic seeming Mexican meal in a restaurant called La Cantina. Brian on very good form, and good to see him. I had a Tequila Sunrise and apply cinnamony pork thing which was pretty good. Then all back to the Eddy for a cheeky last beer before scurrying home out into the cold.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Passage graves, accountants, and crab deaths
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Frogs legs and fanaticsOff to Mill Hill to be met by Mum and Mase and driven straight up to St Albans for a Thai lunch with Tanya and Robert. The four of them are planning to go to Madeira soon. Robert and Mase talking about businessy things, and Mum Tanya and I talking more broadly. Rats was one subject, but a word which Tanya refused to say aloud, and instead mouthed each time mysteriously (and slightly randomly in terms of phonetics).
As we chomped on chicken satay, Tanya told us more about her childhood in the Philippines: about how frogs being seized in heavy rain, and everyone would breakfast on their boiled legs the next morning. But sadly, it no longer rains like that anymore, presumably due to climate change.
After the meal, the owner of the restaurant gave Tanya and Mum a pomegranate each, and was very friendly - telling Mum that she was still very pretty and asking how could she have a son like that. Mum pleased with this, but I wasn't quite so sure.
Then a bit of cold lurking in the market where they sell bowls full of fruit and veg... A bowl a pahnd.
Mase drove us back to a relaxed afternoon in Edgware, where I strategically seized a siesta. Then looked at mum's brand new blog amongst other things, and also marvelled at the stats for the hoards of people visiting her art site. Then a nice supper, and some strong South African wine. As we did so, I was surprised by a call from Bob and Carl who were having a cheeky drink in Liverpool. It has been ages since the three of us last got together.
Went to bed and listened for an hour or so to my audiobook, Richard Dawkins The God Delusion, which is excellently combative. Although I largely agree with him, with my philosophy head on I thought it contained several weak arguments. But hats off to him anyway. Its about time the atheists got militant too - having had a slow start in the fanatic stakes.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
A wooden horse called Peter
Monday, November 12, 2007
A cloud of starlings
A quiet but industrious day. Felt anxious to get started on my plans and schemes - so I can make some money early next year. I worked for about five hours on rewriting my CV and sending it off a couple of times, making mind maps, and researching various sources of work on the internet and so on. Felt much better after doing this.
Then at about three I went out for a longish walk by the sea. Stopping at a seaside cafe called the Meeting Place for a cup of tea and looking at the sun on the sea. It was considerably colder today than it has been recently, but it was nice in the sun. Then walked back along the sea to the Pier where I lurked for a while taking some writing notes. The starlings are back, big cloud-sized flocks speeding over the sea, to settle in their twittering thousands under the pier as the sun sets.
A quiet night too - doing some of my writing, and watching Twin Peaks.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
A new start
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Hangovers and longnoses
Managed a spot of light shopping, including going to the Chinese store and buying a bag of dried black fungus, beansprouts and a tray of small but meaningful chillies. Probably because I was creeping about hypochondriacally, I was asked three times if I needed help. And then was given lots of cheerful but unasked-for advice about how you can freeze chillies, and that the beansprouts needed washing before using and so on while I was standing about blearily wanting to plunge needles in my own eyes.
Below a longnose.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
All's well that ends well
An excellent last day at the agency. Arrived late, attended a meeting and then simply went to the pub for lunch with the FB and the Gnome and other creative chums. The FB bought me a nice plate of sausages and mash and we drank some boozes. Then back to the agency where I had a last minute meeting, and had a few chats - and read a few friendly emails.
Then a trolley of drinks was brought in to the creative department and some of the agency drifted up. Barney made a really flattering speech and I said a few things, chiefly about the pride I felt in the agency and the people who worked there. Felt very touched. I was given a card with a picture of Frank Bough on it, which was fun, and they'd had a collection and there is enough money for a proper walker's anorak. I feel I have ended well, and with great affection and was tremedously pleased I didn't blub like a big girl.
Then all down to the works bar to socialise with lots of chums. These included Max the Mentor, and Olga who were also leaving and we had a joint party. There are many people I have really enjoyed working with at the agency and I am going to miss them.
Katie came too. It is the law that at agency leaving dos you must get drunk, and in such matters I am not one to mess with tradition. Ended up in a curry house with Max and Katie and the FB among others. By this point, however, I really was quite refreshed. Finally I heard the call of the seagull and, after what Kate said was kissy action with Max, I stood up, informing Katie that she could pay for me, and headed off into the night. I arrived some time after one o'clock clutching my belongings and longing for bed.
An excellent and enjoyable day.
Monday, November 05, 2007
All at sea
Sunday, November 04, 2007
A cracking evening
Fairly idle Sunday. Spoke to mum for about two hours, and helped her set up a blog, which she will soon loose on an unsuspecting world. Naturally, I will link to it from here too.
Otherwise, I slugged on my gold sofa all the afternoon watching telly, particularly enjoying the Wookie in some Star Wars nonsense.
After dark out into the twitten, and the clamorous night. Guy Fawkes is tomorrow, but the Brighton sky was already alive with bangs and flashes and the sparkle of rocket trails.
Went to see Janet and Ken, who had invited me, and their friends Ray and Cesare, for a meal. Particularly enjoyed chatting to Cesare, a young history lecturer at the university, who has been following in my footsteps by lodging with Janet and Ken. Very enjoyable night, with various topics getting an airing: but mostly the degeneracy (or otherwise) of social networking sites such as facebook. Great to see Ken on much improved form, after receiving a few zaps from a laser recently, which corrected the clouding of the plastic lens in his one good eye.
Much good food, and that lethal PK bait: Roquefort cheese. All in all a delightful evening.
After, I rolled home down the hill with a fair amount of wine on board, conscious that I have work tomorrow... But not for long. This should be my last commute to London on a Monday morning for some time.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
Peace and The Dove
Friday and feeling very cheerful on the train going to work this morning. Had one of those peaceful Buddhist-type revelations: I have everything I need in my life to be happy. It is just a matter of shuffling the proportions, and looking again with gratitude at what I have.
Working hard this morning on various documents and brochures, and then went to lunch with the French Bloke in the Dove, one of my all time favourite pubs. We scarfed a yummy comfort food lunch of sausage and cabbage and potato mash with gravy. Then there were a few pints of London Pride, and some plotting - for the Dove's old bar demands it - and chatting. The FB also telling me about The God Delusion by Dawkins, which I am going to download.
Looking at the carved bit of Portland stone on the fireplace which had to be rebuilt after the war thanks to the effects of time and "Mr Hitler". The carving is of a dove with an olive branch in its beak and the ark on the horizon. I love that image. The Biblical dove image lay behind my poem about my friend Tim that I wrote shortly after he died of aids, which goes:
After death, at dawn
I.M. Timothy Gallagher& Rosa Neary Dos Santos
Her arms encompass your chest
Your slack ribs the beached remnants
Of a vessel abandoned.
Perhaps you blunder dove-like
Not thinking of this far ark
Because you seek the undrowned;
The olive on a sparse mountain.
Sunless, the flooded morning
Your wife sobs in. God stop her.
Make her dream of olive leaves.
Returned to work in good time, and wrote a bit more copy. Left five minutes early passing as I did a meeting about how my workload would be managed. Eschewed more beers after work, in favour of zooming home to Brighton, and heading off for some tasty Thai food on Preston Street with Lorraine.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Red drips from the stone
The agency is squeezing the last blood out of the stone. I'm having to finish lots of work, and am still taking a lead role in talking to our clients. I attended a meeting where I was supposed to just be there as a backup, but had to take control for a while as it suddenly went a bit awry. The graveyards are full of indispensable people of course, but it makes me wonder what will happen...
I found time, however, to sneak off for a 40 minute swim. After swimming at the pool for many years, you get to know some of the regulars. The man with dyed red hair said hello to me today after three or four years of swimming up and down in the next lane to me.
After work, I had a chat and a swift beer with a freelance colleague called Rory. He is flying back to Australia this weekend, and his descriptions of beach hut life back home were full of longing. As we looked out at the dark, with him conjuring an Australian summer in a beach hut full of cheery mates brandishing tinnies of beer and looking out at the surf almost made me want to go down under.
Then off for the main business of the day which was to meet Mex for a long-overdue catch up in Victoria. We had a few guffaws, a big gossip fest, a few drinks and a Thai green curry. She is looking, and doing, very well and is enjoying life - and it was very good to see her.
Fond farewells to Mex and then train hell for almost two hours.
On one train with some African guy who obviously had mental health issues. He was blasting music and muttering objectionably - but was harmless. He was then taken to task by lots of middle class, "politely" aggressive commuters and this was not an edifying spectacle. It didn't get out of hand, but it was pathetic how these stuffed shirts felt - in numbers - brave enough to have a go.
How I am looking forward to not commuting for a while.