Friday night in Matt Molloy's
Off to Ireland for Marcella and Adrian's wedding. A long journey from Brighton to Stanstead, but I met Aimee - who was over from Dubai for the wedding- on the Stanstead Express.
After making it past oddly obnoxious security people met Phil, Ash and Paula. Once onboard I grabbed a window seat for, as everyone knows, my duty to is keep the plane aloft through sheer will power. Despite this, found time for a heart to heart with Paula.
Landed in Knock airport after flying over beautiful Irish countryside, which seemed to have lots of lakes and is much emptier than England. We all shared the hire of a car and Phil drove us the lovely Knockranny House Hotel which was about an hour away.
Lovely hotel, with a big welcoming fire in the lobby, and gorgeous views of mountains and down into Westport. After a cheeky 40 minutes sleep, we met more pals and got into a cab which took us down into town.
This is the second time I've been here, the last time was for Marcella's 30th birthday party a couple of years ago. We had a nice Italian meal, joined by Juliette and Matt, and Brendon and Tim. Then we all mobbed into the legendary Matt Molloy's pub, where Marcella was having a drink, looking gorgeous and very composed - and many of the wedding guests were wetting their whistles.
It is hard to convey just how brilliant this pub is. It is like the Platonic ideal of a boozer. It has a deceptively small street frontage, but is has at least four big rooms inside. Despite the fact it was absolutely rammed with people (many of them tomorrow's wedding guests) the craic was good, and it felt very friendly. There was a good singer too. It all got slightly twin peakish for me when a crowd of women entered all wearing horns. Although it was Halloween.
From there we grabbed a cab (the cab driver went to school with Marcella, it turns out) and returned to our hotel, and I sat with Aimee, Phil and Ash having a couple of bloody final drinks. Adrian and his best man were in there having a steadying late drink.
I headed off to my nice room. A top night out.
Below Marcella and Paula (r) in Matt Molloy's, random ladies with horns. Matt Molloy's from the outside taken the next day.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Friday night in Matt Molloy's
Top of the morning
Friday morning, and setting off shortly to go to Westport in Eire for the lovely Marcella's wedding. Much rushing about. It has been a hard week but all ended well -- and today is a holiday. Yippee!
Blog all about it later. Happy halloween to one and all.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Up to the smoke again
Up early to finish some work on diabetes. Then, after missing my train through a ticket machine failure, up to the smoke again, the train passing through sidings whitened with freakish October snow. Picked up a copy of On Track with my articles in it. Working on my laptop in the train. To Glamoursmith and the French Bloke who was somewhat stressed with various work decisions.
I discovered that the stuff I've been working on, is still a bit off target. So we drafted in The Gnome to help in some strange cross agency agreement, and The FB the Gnome and I went to lunch in The Distillers.
Generally braindead this afternoon which didn't help my work with Tfhe Gnome. Worked late and then went to the work's bar for a quick drink and chat about the work with the FB and an earnest woman from New York. Benny the barman was there too, who I'd not seen for a long time and insisted on joining us to chat.
Victoria station. Missed the train by 15 seconds. The joys of commuting again. Talked to Lorraine on the phone. And when I eventually home, after something of a glum train ride, wee Calliope springing about and pleased to see me which is cheering.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Working on diabetes
Hard at work today on the diabetes stuff. The source material I've been given is very technical and my job is to put the common touch to it, guv'nor while trying to not get too hypochondriac. Confirmed too that I will be doing some work for a pharmaceutical client next Monday. Was also asked to do some more interviewing on sustainable subjects for On Track. So the wolf is backing away from the door.
It's Marcella's wedding in Westport on the West of Ireland this weekend. It is going to be great fun, and a chance to catch up with many old muckers. I will have to see if any of my suits fit. Naturally though, given that I have lots of work to do, as well as a trip abroad, I have a sore throat, and am dragging myself through each day feeling leaden and horrid. But I dare say a glass or two of Guiness can only prove a therapy.
Went very briefly to the gym, but felt a bit too wussy to do much. I arrived during a fire alarm which forcing folks outside in towels and swimmies to stand on the street. Was greatful not to be one of them.
Calliope sneaked into the yard this morning, and was up the tree in a flash. She scaled up to its highest twigs, which proceeded to snap, and cause much wild eyed scrambling. Fortunately after some minutes of me standing underneath, imagining Heath Robinson rescue engines, she found a way to scale down again.
Spoke to Lorraine this evening, her Sam has just got a tattoo of feathers on his wrist. Realised that I quite fancy a tattoo: a bird or a fish or maybe a flyingfish.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Vets and afternoon tea
Took two cats off to the vet this morning. Calliope for vaccinations and Brian, one of Lorraine's cats, for an injured tail. All in the car. Brian on the back seat in the cat carrier. Calliope left my lap to sit with her face a few inches from Brian, to quietly hiss in his face. Brian, three times her size, endured this with resignation.
Once in the vet's office, Calliope sat on the seat next to me looking interestedly about the place, and scorning all the other cats in carriers. She endured her injection with hardly a yelp too. I was very impressed with her.
Back home, after dropping Brian off at Lorraine's house, to the Twitten.
Katie called around for a chat, a cuppa and a danish pastry en route to London. Calliope disappointingly restrained, and didn't bite her once.
After a small spot of shopping, headed back to Lorraine's place to attend an afternoon tea being held by Lorraine's neighbours Angie and Patrick. There was another couple there Robert and Sophie, and Lorraine's nice pal called Dawn who'd brought a top carrot cake. Enjoyable, if slightly formal affair. Almost everyone there was, or had been, a teacher. I had to stop myself putting my hand up when I wanted to speak.
Walked home from there and spent the evening indoors watching a DVD of Hot Fuzz which was not only funny, but is recession-appropriate behaviour.
Friday, October 24, 2008
The ping pong of love
Up to the smoke today again to meet the FB. Hung out in his office overlooking the river, getting some feedback on the work I'd done and talking about changes to the brief. Also laughing about a line in an email he'd been sent of jokes from the Edinburgh festival: "I like Jesus, but Jesus loves me. So it's kind of awkward."
Bouncy Max popped up to see me when I was there, looking very healthily pregnant, blooming with what will be their third child. Lovely to see her, and watch the eternal ping pong match that is Max and the FB's conversation: each returning the other's quip with as much danger or extra spin as possible. It's important to not get in between this or you can end up getting into trouble. I remember a nasty incident walking through a London square when they started an unpleasant game of pressing one another's bladders.
The FB however was looking into at a tsunami of work so I left him to it. And returned home with new things to think about. And cheery about it being a Friday.
Started a slow cooked a chili con carne. I expect everyone else knows this but I added cumin to mine this time, and it really helped. Lorraine came around in the evening to help me eat it and drink a bottle or two of Corona with lime.
As I went to bed, I discovered Calliope adding ambitiously to her repetoire of tricks, by attempting to drag the shower curtain downstairs. The weasel.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Ordeal by powerpoint
Up early and straight to work intending to travel up to London this afternoon. However at 10am another migraine kicked in, and I couldn't see the screen properly. Luckily the FB couldn't make a meeting today however.
This was only a mild migraine, so after sleeping for two hours, the flashing abated and I was able to start work again for several hours. As I imported the last photo into the powerpoint document to finish the work, it crashed. Everything I'd done today was deleted.
Paused to rage against the gods, and place hands over Caliope's ears while swearing violently, then spent another couple of hours trying to remember everything I had done earlier. There must be a name for the rage you get when a file corrupts or crashes.
Had an emergency call from Anton. He was sitting in the car outside his house, as Klaudia had shut them out when he was loading the car ready to drive the kids up to Burton to go to Anna's Grandmother's funeral. Fortunately I have a spare set, and was able to give them to him at the end of my Twitten.
Lorraine came around in the evening to sooth my fevered brow, and buy some fish and chips before zooming home. It was the best part of the day by a long way.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
A low profile
Up early, Calliope charging ecstatically into my bedroom and running up my legs with her claws as I sat on the edge of my bed. Dragged myself dripping gore to start working on diabetes again.
Then up the road to take Klaudia off to school. She was quite well behaved this morning, although she had what was once called a bit of a cob on. Once in the school yard refused to wear her coat any more despite it being cold. However when I told her it was now mine, and put it happily over my shoulders, she seemed rather keen to have it returned.
Then back to Anton's place to watch the boy for a bit, while Anton hared back to school to attend the Harvest festival. I watched something called Numberjacks with Oskar, with annoying numbers bouncing around the place, until he led me downstairs to the kitchen to indicate the biscuit tin.
Finally back home, with two of Anton's excellent home made cookies, and worked on the diabetes stuff for many hours. Spoke to Mum and Mase, who are positively cat hunting now, and a sleepy Lorraine but otherwise kept a low profile.
Below Calliope's fun with toilet rolls. Emerged from my study to find this from my bathroom downstairs to my living room.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Dolly and Lazarus
Working on diabetes concepts today, all day. Briefly went out to breathe air, and score sparkling water and bread. Brilliant though not to have to travel anywhere to do it.
Off with Lorraine this evening to a Dolly Parton tribute night down in the Latest Music Bar (which used to be Joogleberrys) to meet her pal Wayne, and go to a splendid Dolly Parton Theme night. Essentially lots of unrehearsed but wonderful acts such as Trudi Styles, Miss Treated and Spice doing warped versions of Dolly Parton songs. My favourite was a woman described as "the lady with the ironing board" who played a Dolly song with a strange j-shaped instrument I think was a Crumhorn, and a Casio keyboard on an ironing board, and involved all the audience as if it were some kind of weird workshop. Just brilliant.
Wayne turned out to be a really nice guy. We three had a lovely night, and walked back through town with Lorraine feeling very cheery. Also realising that Dolly's got some really robust songs which can survive all kinds of treatments too.
The evening was connected to a charity to do with sudden death syndrome, and there was a guy who sold us some raffle tickets, and then told us his story of finishing a half marathon and then collapsing. He was 'dead' for seven minutes. Fortunately as this happened just after he crossed the finishing line there were medical people around and he was rescusitatated. He showed us the big lump under his skin where his pacemaker was. He was 27 or 28.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Déjà vu and the French Bloke
Up to the smoke this morning on my old commuter train, which is busier than ever. I was heading up to do some work with the French Bloke. Although working for a different agency to the one we worked at, his new one is based in the same building. Walking the familiar route from Baron's Court station through the graveyard, I fortunately experienced no sense of stumbling towards the baleful eye of Sauron.
Naturally, the FB was well over an hour late. So I waited in the work's cafe waiting for him to arrive, saying brief hellos to Mike, aka the Gnome, and the Bibster who got engaged at the weekend. Also found a few minutes to work on a poem. Then up to the FB's office to talk at length about diabetes. An epidemic of diabetes is forecast for the next few years, with people developing Type II very early. After he'd briefed me, we went out to buy some species of pie in the Distillers. Things are going really well for him at the moment, and he looked great and was really cheery. Max is expecting another child (which will be the FB's sixth) and he has been taking his Winnebago apart and rebuilding it from scratch, the sort of ghastly project which is FB heaven.
From there straight back to Brighton to strap on my thinking cap. Calliope had decorated the place with shreds of paper in my absence. Later I watched a disgusting documentary about embryo sharks eating each other in the womb, and wasp larvae popping out of chemically castrated host caterpillars. Nice.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The leaf treaders
Up early this morning, and off to the gym. Did a lengthy workout, following the programme I'd been given as best I could. Felt quite rugged and manly afterwards, despite feeling like I was walking backwards after I got off the treadmill.
In the afternoon off to find an Autum wood to walk in. I wanted to tread the leaves of the year. Lorraine, who is always up for this kind of thing, drove us to a wood she knows in Sussex. We walked past three English Longhorns, then up into the trees, and carpets of leaves. Collected chestnuts, and Lorraine seized the opportunity to hug a large English oak. Occasionally the sun gleamed through the canopy. It was wonderful.
From there, via a biker's cafe where we had coffee, to Amberly, a picturesque village Anton and I passed through on one of our walks. Had a very late roast dinner in the Black Horse, and a pint of Harveys. I loved the interior, colours and a tortured-looking horse behind the bar. The combination of Lorraine's company, beer, good food, a lovely traditional pub, and lots of exercise left me in a cheery glow.
Below an English Longhorn, in the woods, and inside the Black Horse.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
A sugar mouse
Off to the gym this morning, where I was fully inducted by a nice lady called Jess wearing spangly eye makeup. She showed me how to use all the machines and weights without making me feel like a weed. Nice to actually talk to someone friendly there, and I really enjoyed my session.
The Pens & Lens anthology from Guernsey, arrived today having been sent me by Richard Fleming. Only one poem per contributor, but my poem The Remembering Cliffs is the first one you see, being on page three (although they've numbered the collection strangely so I appear on p2) opposite a poem in Guernésiais I've never seen before by Hélier D'Rocquione. Very pleased by this publication, out of all proportion to the collection's circulation, simply because it is a poem about Guernsey published there. Some rather good work in it too. Richard's poem Funeral at Torteval ends in a lovely way.
The hedgerow birds, today, seem dumb
as one by one the black cars leave;
you by your crumpled father's side,
comforting him, holding his sleeve,
so full of fragile grace, dry-eyed.
The heart beats now a mourning drum.
The rest of the day spent writing and about 40 minutes playing the Bonetti game. I must be simple minded, but something about seeing the kitten carrying the ball back to me cracks me up every time.
I'd been invited by old school mate Anil to his girlfriend Amanda's party this evening. Lorraine and I went to it (after a cheeky meal). Turns out that everyone else was dressed as a cat. Anil particularly fetching, I thought, in black cats ears and a bib of wooly white hair topped by a bow tie. He also occasionally sported a tail. Quite a bit of chatting with him on many and diverse subjects, and several other pleasant people. Ate a sugar mouse, which I had never done before. And then headed home with Lorraine on a massive sugar rush.
The Remembering Cliffs
The cliffs are full of faces, great granite heads
Petrified just as they lifted from sleep.
Stone heads of Martello towers, blank looks
From the concrete helmets of German gun emplacements
Now so assimilated with the granite and the gorse
That they have lost their particular history.
These cliffs are full of faces, a cliffpath walk
Inevitably winds back into past summers
Bringing to mind voices in the wind, my family
Talking as they walked the remembering cliffs.
It is a haunted coastline and every time a corner's turned
I meet my recollection of those who walked here.
I meet myself as a child who thought God had been born
Floating face down in these waters
His face big as a cliff's face, His body a small island.
It was an untaught myth; my secret belief
And life must have teemed about Him like the wrasse
And the gulls and the mackerel crowding close to these cliffs.
The cliffs are full of faces that stare out to find Him
And I stare too - through the slits and cracks
Of my fortified disbelief, of my adulthood,
Into his comforting presence - into the sea.
Now the sea seems part of a once-swollen certainty
That has yearly drawn away like a lowering tide.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
A Manly word from Nev
Up and sifting emails at 7, including one from Nev in Australia, which mentioned things like glorious weather, and the possiblity of doing a little work together across the globe. Then I had a long chat with Mex who is going to be on BBC 2 Business Lunch next week, and is currently taking some big career decisions.
Meanwhile the media is full of glooms. I hate all this talk of unemployment as I was unemployed for quite some time in my twenties. I know at first hand how grim signing on is for extended periods.
Then off to the chiropractor for more manhandling. After this, as it was such a glorious day, I chose instead to walk down to the beach. Fine Autumn sun. I found myself having fish and chips by the sea. A beautiful day and I sauntered about on the pier and took a few photos. There was a school party of teenagers taking photos too. It was all rather comical.
In the afternoon, as the morning had been so arduous, I listened to a hypnotic relaxation tape, and then had a sleep. Then listened to Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan. With guidance from Mandy I am overcoming a deeply held prejudice, and find myself liking it a lot, once you get used to The Voice. The songs themselves are really good. I can't believe it has taken me this long to really listen to a Bob Dylan album.
As I was writing this I got another note from Nev who said: "I played a round of golf with Peter Bonetti at a Rushden & Diamonds Golf Day. Then spent the evening at the same table as him for dinner. He was wonderful company and very down to earth. I liked him alot. He is also not very tall for a goalkeeper either - he couldn't possibly live in a place called Manly*!"
* the highly appropriate place where Nev lives.
Below I just got caught by the reflection on this ugly-ish part of the pier.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Bonetti game
*Named after legendary Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Bonetti, affectionately known as "the Cat".
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Moths and a Heinkel He 111
An early start on my writing, reworking my Moth Display poem for the 100th time, and possibly getting it right this time. Also brooding over the skeletons.
Two calls mid-morning, one from my old chum the French Bloke and the other a teleconference with a major pharma company. These calls have put any moths who have gathered in the Kenny Coffers on notice, as I now seem to have enough work lined up to take me into December. It starts next Monday with the old FB. Looking forward to seeing him, and doing a bit of sustained pharmaceutical work.
The pharma call was a teleconference, which Calliope took as an invitation to twice run up my body with her claws out. Not swearing violently was rather an achievement, as I was on a speaker phone pitching to several people.
Despite her bursts of manic energy, she is still not right, so I will have to do the vet thing again. However despite being off colour she has a new game, which is sneaking into the bathroom to unravel and shred yards of toilet tissue.
Spoke to Mum and Mas, being cheery as they seem to have the kitten bug too, and Mum is looking into kittens.
In the afternoon Ken called around to give me a late birthday card, and a present. It was only polite to seize the opportunity to drink some wine. Ken told me about the painstaking work he is undertaking, transcribing centuries-old French from photos of hand written manuscripts. We also discussed the second world war, and he told me about being a young lad on a bus driving through Coventry two days after it had been flattened in the war. Lots of rubble, unsurprisingly. I asked if he was traumatised by it, but he said that it just seemed normal.
He also told me about how one morning walking to the village school in about 1941 he heard an aircraft engine noise "that wasn't one of ours". Then a black painted Heinkel flew over very low, and Ken shouted at it and waved his ten year old fists at the easily-visible airmen inside.
Lorraine popped by briefly in the evening for a speed date. Ten minutes of TV, a fast slope off to collect a Chinese takeaway before she melted back into the night.
Monday, October 13, 2008
A liminal day
Business decisions in limbo. Must be that the moon hasn't reached full yet. Spent much of morning waiting for a conference call which was cancelled some time after it was supposed to have ended. More birthday messages including one from my pal Martin in Chiswick, who I have not spoken to for some time.
I was liminal. Liminality is state of being between things, just about to make a step or take a decision. Airports for example are liminal spaces. They exist only to be passed through. And the liminal space is where anxiety is useful, according to the existentialists. If anxiety didn't exist then we would dwell in uncertainty, stay in the airport forever. It is only by making a decision that we affirm ourselves as being alive, and climb aboard our lives again. Days in which no decision is possible are strange half alive times.
Managed a huge 5 hours uninterrupted sleep the night before which is something of a record. My back gyp, though far from gone, is now not so vile. Meanwhile Calliope is sneezing still and slightly subdued. Can kittens be hypochondriacs like their owners?
Worked on the skeletons, very excited about this now. Made some big improvements, some of which I made while munching CFC branded toast. Conscious that this may be one my last Peter Kenny day before vast work.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
A beautiful sunny day in Brighton. Leisurely breakfast cooked by Lorraine, including CFC branded toast. Lorraine then gave me a new manbag, which is fab and a CD by Arvo Pärt, Te Deum which I played thunderously this morning.
In the afternoon off into the country, and spent time walking under the downs in the warm sun and then into the woods, which made me feel extremely happy. Lorraine as usual hugging one or two trees. Noticing one tree with old carved names in the bark, and how time makes them unreadable eventually.
We stopped off at the Jack and Jill inn for an excellent pint of bitter and a late meal of roast beef which we ate outside in the beer garden which looks up the hill to the two windmills, who give the pub its name. All felt very English and comforting.
Lots of calls and good wishes all day, which was nice. Evening spent quietly with the kitten, who is sneezing and looking wussy and sleeping all the time, and is suddenly being very clingy. I may have to take her to the vet again.
I have had a brainwave about my Skeletons story, and solved a conundrum that had been troubling me for the last month: the way forward is suddenly very clear.
Below saw this happy sheep today while out walking with Lorraine. Made me smile. Not only does it have a smiley face painted on it, but it is actually smiling too.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
A gull about town
Splendid day today. Beautiful sunshine. Lorraine and I walked through Brighton, which was buzzy this weekend with some kind of comedy week going on. We passed an open air slapstick performance of road menders, but I particularly enjoyed the person I saw walking about dressed as a seagull, complete with bright yellow legs.
Lorraine and I wandered about on the pier, which was crammed as if it were the height of summer.
I felt really cheery. In the evening I went out to celebrate my birthday with Anton and Anna, and Lorraine. Anna and Anton brought me some excellent presents: a toaster in Chelsea football club colours, which brands CFC onto each piece of bread it toasts. Also a calendar for next year, but with the card for every day you can make an origami airplane.
We had ideas of going to all kinds of restaurants this evening, but the tides of tradition washed us up at my usual curry house, after a few enjoyable drinks. A fab night out.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Three eyed fish and leopardskin heads
Ran around doing stuff today. Prepared and sent off a poetry MS, took the cat wee duvet off to the cleaners, swam, and bought trainers for the gym. The first pair I was drawn to cost £150, which made my bowls shrivel in horror, so I opted for a sensible pair of Reeboks. All the other customers in JD Sports looked like they smoked 50 fags a day and lived off jammy dodgers.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Sunlight in the abyss
A few hours drugged sleep, and wasn't too bad for a post migraine day. Dealt with a few business matters first thing. Funny how jobs turn up in threes like buses. Some negotiation needed as they all want me to start in the same week. But obviously with the world's financial systems going to hell in a handcart, the idea of making some last cash before I start having to grow turnips in the twitten and burn literature for heat is quite comforting.
Scored chewy brown bread and pain aux raisins for breakfast, and a spot of Guardian reading. Headline: Staring into the abyss with a picture of Gordon Brown looking at an out of focus Alistair Darling, his chancellor. Left Mum and Mase with the cat and zoomed off for yet another chirporactor's appointment. Where I was cracked in ways I have never been cracked before.
Then I had an enjoyable lunch with Mum and Mase in the The Sussex Yeoman, a cat's spit from my house. Food quite nice in there, and in the bright sun the streets looking white and pretty and characterful. We sat looking across the road from the newly painted The Battle of Trafalgar. Then Mum and Mase left for the smoke, with only mildly scratched hands. It was great to get them down here.
Working on poems this afternoon. Had planned to go out and inflict them on somebody seeing as it is national poetry day, but felt too shattered, which was a shame.
Looking happily tonight at two paintings my mum has done of Skelton Yawngrave. They're smart.
Below found Calliope sleeping on her pack under a cushion on my gold sofa. Yes, I know I am sad.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Lorraine meets Mum and Mase single handed
Another unbelievably terrible night's sleep, goaded by the pain in my back. If sleep is a word that can be used about fitful snatches of 20 minutes. Makes you want to weep, and the night stretches endlessly.
After the Zombie dawn, did some work this morning. Also made preparations for Mum and Mase to visit. Had a nice afternoon with them mooching in Brighton and, as Mase had a taste for burgers, we hit the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Then a bit of a wander in the sun, and ended up in The Mock Turtle for afternoon tea. This is always a pleasure especially when you stick to tea and not wrongheadedly go for Horlicks. Mum and Mase sharing a piece of cake taking smaller and smaller pieces down to crumbs.
Then home for a bit of quiet time. I bought a chicken and wrote a poem, which I am very pleased with. Was contacted about some different work today too... So from next week, all being well, I may be quite busy for a bit hoovering money into the Kenny coffers. Then had a small and welcome doze with the kitten purring on me.
Calliope naturally lapping up the attention from Mum and Mase who, falling quickly under her spell, did not to mind being bitten. Lorraine came by to meet Mum and Mase, and I cooked. In a swinish bastard fashion however, as I was chopping onions, the flashing lights kicked in and I had a migraine. I went to bed for a while, and Lorraine bless her had to finish cooking the meal, and meet my folks single handed. All went well, however.
As for me, I got up in my dressing gown once the flashing had stopped. After Lorraine left, I grimly headed for bed again with a fistful of drugs.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Soulfood with Lakshmi
Another dire night's sleep. Consequently walking about like a brain donor again. Morning spent working on various manuscripts, until lunchtime when Lakshmi visited me, and met Calliope who bit her handbag.
Had a pleasant afternoon mooching about Brighton. Nosing in a second hand bookshop, with Lakkers on her endless search for PG Wodehouse books, and myself thumbing through ancient poetry collections. Then we made off for Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack, made famous after it featured in a Gordon Ramsay TV show. It was a raging success for a while, but on a rainy Tuesday lunchtime the place was virtually empty.
The food was fine, although did not make my eyes pop out with amazement, and the staff very pleasant. Lakshmi tried a little of both jambalaya and gumbo, whereas I stuck to meatballs in a roll, with their own coleslaw and corn bread. All rather nice and freshly made, and worth visiting again. Then a bracing walk on the pier, followed by a pause in the glorious Mock Turtle where I had a cup of Horlicks (a trip down memory lane I am not in a hurry to repeat). Then drifting into various shops until we reached Madhatters where many hats were tried on and Lakshmi came away with a fetching cap.
So tired by this evening I could hardly think. However I discovered have been contacted about quite a beefy bit of freelance work, perfectly timed to boost finances pre-Christmas.
In the evening watched a disgusting programme called Born Survivor with someone improbably called Bear Grylls, who was busy scooping out camel innards and squeezing liquid from its stomach contents to drink, as well as demonstrating how you could use the carcass to hide in, should you be caught in a sandstorm. Later he bit the off the head of a live frog. Mad but entertaining in a testosterone fuelled way.
Spoke to Lorraine on the phone this evening, who'd had a long day, and as we were chatting Calliope knocked a pint of water over me. I wondered what Bear would have done with her.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Quacks and cracks
Another zombie dawn after pain kept me awake half the night. Not slept properly now for about two weeks and it is wearing me out. Off to the quacks, which I am beginning to think of as the Cheers Bar. Good news however is that my blood pressure is calming down. Then on to the chirporactor who is beginning to consider my back a personal affront, and did some advanced cracking but the pain continues. There is no escape.
Otherwise, I worked hard on Skeletons and poems. Also made the surprising discovery that Calliope can fetch and return her ball toy like a dog, and is very entertaining running about with it in her mouth.
Out with Anton this evening and a game of pool. After he thrashed me, we drifted off to the newly renamed West Hill pub, to happily sup a couple of Harveys and survey the new drinking den, which was rather nice, though empty. Drifted home cheerfully after talking about important matters such as Strangler's concerts and Klaudia's TV appearance which I missed this morning. She is on TV with Anna on Channel 5 this Wedesday and Friday at 6:45 am on a programme called Play!
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Cutting off the dead wood
Up early, and working on some poems. Strange how suddenly you can see the wood for the trees, and I have regained the correct brutality with my poems, cutting out dead wood, and discarding the redundant with a ruthless sneer. This helped by Lorraine, who was able to deflect the attentions of the kitten, which gave me a couple of hours of undivided focus, and she made tea and kippers too, which is brain food as any fule no.
Lorraine and I went off to meet First Matie for a drink and Sunday lunch. Katie looking all spiffy since giving up the cigarettes a couple of months ago. We were also met by her nice pal Nick, who lives in Brighton. He is going into the studio next week to record some of his melancholy singer songwriter material with a cello player. We met up in the Quadrant, and Beth and Mark, whose 17 birthday it was yesterday, joined us for some soft drinks. Then off to the Hop Poles for a Sunday lunch. Piles of fresh vegetables, and roast chicken. A perfect thing to do on a wet Autumn day. There we were joined by Graeme, who'd been busy in a futile searching for bed linen and we all sat about telling some feeble jokes for a bit before going our separate ways.
Spoke to the Tobster in the evening, and lay low watching Match of the Day and Chelsea putting upstarts Aston Villa to the sword, while being domestically abused and stalked by the rampaging kitten.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Off to the vet again today, to give Calliope the first of her jabs. Lorraine drove us there, which was fab and involved less nervous pooing, and the cat was more relaxed too. The vet was pleased with her progress. And the little weasel now weighs almost a kilo, after pacmaning through her food. She has put on 300g in the last week and half, no longer sneezes or excretes evils from the corner of her eyes. However I was told off for letting her come outside with me in my yard before she's had her proper injections.
Felt absolutely shattered today. Mainly because this wretched back thing means I have had averaged four hours of sleep in the last week, and I felt sore throaty and crap. So after buying cat food and a cat scratching pole, Lorraine drove me home and I spent the entire afternoon asleep on the sofa with the kitten, subdued after her injection, purring on top of me. Plan A was to go to the cinema tonight, but I when it came to it, there was only rubbish on, and I simply couldn't be bothered. So I watched the X Factor like a large couch potato on the sofa, and the lovely Lorraine cooked and generally spoiled me.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Up early giving the old chien fou a glass of orange juice before he headed back up to London to do an honest day's work. For my part I worked on a book proposal, and some poetry.
Also my investigations are sending me to read lots of poetry again, delving back into Milton, and Homer. This in part thanks to Calliope, who is named after the Greek muse of epic poetry, and has set me thinking about muses in general. There is a convention in epic poems through the millennia to evoke a muse at the beginning of the poem to help the poet get through whatever has to be written. I very much like the idea of summoning something from silence, because I believe that the poetry I like comes from a dialoge with silence.
Like this in Milton, early in Paradise Lost, where the poet calls on the help of the muse, or “spirit”. Milton wants its help to aid him in “Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.” He pictures this muse, probably Urania the muse of astronomy,
“...with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast abyss”
A vague yet haunting image. As I was thinking about all this, the kitten had to be sin binned for 15 minutes after cramponing up my legs to savage the computer leads a dozen times in five minutes.
A light lunch and another swim. Spoke to Mum briefly who was about to paint skeletons, so I didn't want to interrupt her flow.
I'd worked hard this week, and achieved a great deal. I have also found I have a great deal of clarity on my projects. And also put in an appearance on the local radio too. All well. The late afternoon I devoted to practical tidying etc. although vacuuming is thought by the kitten to be an abomination.
Had a nice Frasier Cranish hour this evening waiting for Lorraine to come around. Everything was tidy and smelling fresh. I sat listening to Nina Simone (managing not to cry or open a vein), sipping tea with the kitten dozing on my shoulder companionably and felt pretty damn cheery.
Lorraine was in need of a beer, so we went out for a cheeky bitter in the very busy Battle of Trafalgar, which is a mere 30 seconds walk away. Lorraine told me all about her complicated week, before we bought some fish and chips and scarfed them in front of the television.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Scampi among the gaijin
A night of drugged sleep again. Makes me feel wussy when I get up. Back still a ghastly nexus of evil. Went for a swim, then back to the chiropractor, who did some more stuff and head shaking, and told me to put peas on it. Working in a slightly unfocused way today, and back gyp and kitten attacks at my laptop not helping. Have decided to look for some quick wins - so am finalising a half finished essay on how silence is treated in poetry which I've had lurking around for some time.
The old Mad dog was in Brighton today and came round late in the afternoon, which gave Calliope the opportunity to bite him a bit as we sipped cups of tea. This was richly deserved as he was, for his own reasons, calling her Clamidia.
We went off for a couple of drinks in the Cricketers. Sat near three older Japanese ladies tucking into some pub grub, and I couldn't help wondering what they made of scampi and chips, with a bit of salad, which they were picking at delicately with their strange eating irons. It is a very nice pub, and they seemed to be having fun. One had a sturdy pint of Guinness, and I took a group photograph on one of their cameras, remembering the friendliness I'd met in Japan. As they left I said sayonara to them, much to their amazement and almost comical delight.
Bob and I then went for a curry in the usual place. I ordered a zaffrani which came out somewhat different to usual as there was a new chef. The owner Ash having an anxious conversation with me about it afterwards, as this is one of his restaurant's signature dishes.
Bob and I discussed many things, such as the role of muses in poetry, but ended up back in the Caxton playing some pool, the old Mad dog using unfair psychological warfare against me to edge a win. Then home to listen to a few Bob-prescribed tunes before we crashed out.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Zombie morning. A trapped nerve in my back kept me wretchedly awake till 4am, when I decided to take one of my emergency flight-only diazepams.
By the time it came to do the radio show, I was okay. Popped down the road as the BBC is less than five minutes walk away and was given a cup of water and led into the studio with little ceremony. I talked to Allison about men without children, and after about 20 minutes she asked me to read a poem, Thought Daughter. I felt very relaxed, and this not all to do with Allison's professionalism. It just felt very natural, and I'd like to do more of it. Luckily they have asked me to send in other ideas if I have any, so I will. Who knows what will grow from these acorns.
On another note, I have grown a beard for the first time in my life. It is not a full-on Father Christmas beard, but a small and tidy one. I'm think it is quite butch. And the kitten rubs her face on it, and Lorraine has said she thinks it is a good thing. Of course Anton has already laughed at it. It would have been rude of him not to.
Calliope the kitten now loads better and is eating an astonishing amount. She has settled into a steady pattern now. 7:30am-11;00am run round like a maniac and attack computer and other leads and wires, attempt x 15 to climb vertically up my trousers, chase cat toys, spring about sideways looking comically fierce and biting my hands, clothes, ears etc. while I write. 11:00am-noon a snooze. Up for lunch, and a light play. Sleep all afternoon, then quickly into a manic 5pm-7pm, including obligatory poking of snout into human food. Snooze on owner like a feline scarf. Wake up for a little light play. Then 9pm till 11pm run around like a maniac, squeeze down side of refrigerator then bolt out like a wild faced cork, ambush me like a prey species from all points of the compass, shred newspapers, bite beard, attack laptop, then conk out to be poked into her box and left to her own nocturnal devices.