Thursday, April 30, 2009

Enjoying the gym

Up and at 'em today. After bits of assorted admin first thing, including a bit of billing, the off to my chiropractor for a good cracking. Then to the gym, where wild horses couldn't have stopped me leaping onto the hulklegs machine, aka cross trainer, did an impressive and sweaty 20 minutes on this then to other machines. Disappointingly, however, I seem to be putting on weight. I'm hoping the flab is turning into dense Dolph Lundgren style muscles not yet visible to the naked eye, but must be in there somewhere. I came away realising that I had actually enjoyed being in the gym.

A good afternoon and evening working on Skelton Yawngrave. A note from long lost pal Michael Stone Richards in the US saying he might be over here soon. Then to bed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Writers' night

Working at the skeleton coalface for much of the day. Finally untangled chapter from hell, and now have baggiest bit of the novel to slash but there is the glimmer of dawn on the horizon. Also did a smidge of copywriting

In other news, I had an interesting night out with a posse of writers in the Hotel Du Vin which is a fairly stylish place near to the sea on Ship Street. I was the first to arrive, and as I did not know what anyone looked like, I felt rather awkward and strangely nervous. Luckily after ten minutes Sally who I just about recognised turned up.

Inspired to meet Miriam Moss who is a prolific children's writer and has published about 30 books. Also met an interesting and quite intense South African guy called Richard Lambert who is writing a novel about evil. Long chat with these two. Richard described working in a Township school teaching Wordsworth or Keats and looking out of the window to see plumes of smoke coming where people were being necklaced with burning tyres. There were several other writers there including Sally O'Reilly and Susanna Jones, and it is useful to learn how other writers fare.

After this, I happened to be walking past the Black Lion which was open, and heard the strains of a soulful singer and guitarist. So I popped in for an absolute bloody final and found myself loving the music. Brighton is cool.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The meat of ancient kings

Up early wrote, gymed, did hulk legs machine and others. Oddly enjoyed it and feeling less neurotic about the whole thing. Home wrote more, and agreed to do another sustainability interview, gawd help me, this Friday.

First Matie's birthday today, and I will be able to buy her a beer this weekend as there is an invasion of Brighton planned by assorted friends.

Still investigating mentions of Guernsey. I randomly picked Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain which was written between 1129-1151 and dwells in the grey area between myth and history. I bought my copy in 1982 and has lain fairly untroubled on my shelves ever since. Looking at it now it is a fascinating book, complete with King Arthur stories. And, more importantly for my purposes, I quickly found a mention of Guernsey in it.

King Cadwallo having been beaten in battle by Edwin was fleeing to Brittany and in a storm found himself on Guernsey "so filled with grief and anger at the loss of his comrades that he refused to take any food, lying ill instead in his bunk." His faithful young cousin went about on the island in search of game. When none was to be found he cut some meat from his own thigh and kebabed it, which restored Cadwallo back to health in three days. Earlier in the story the King is described as sleeping with his head on Brian's lap. So they were clearly rather close.

Cadwallo may be buried in London at St Martin, Ludgate in the City of London in 677, although most now think he actually died in 682.

Otherwise watched the Barcelona vs Chelsea semifinal first leg, which ended 0-0 after a fine defensive performance from Chelsea. An excellent result for Chelsea who now host the Catalan team at the Bridge.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rain and swine flu

A proper Monday morning for most, teeming with rain in Brighton. I got up a little before seven, scarfed oats and a large cup of tea and got to work. For one good thing about rain, is that it makes you feel great to be inside in the warm and dry.

At eleven I broke off and went out into the rain for a workout in the gym. I used the cross trainer apparatus which is giving Toby legs like the Hulk, and quite enjoyed it. Made me sweaty. Someone nodded at me today in the gym. Naturally, to blend in, I returned their nod with an indifferent stare. I am beginning, just a little, to enjoy it now and feel less self-conscious.

Back to work, untangling a chapter of the book most of the afternoon. I'm keeping focused.

Heard from Diane, and Lorraine and Bob today. Also from a Canadian writer friend Mark who is going to write a travel book about Europe, which sounds rather a splendid idea.

Listening with increasing interest to the news about Swine Flu. Two people have it in Scotland, having returned from a holiday in Mexico. I had to smile last week when the government in Mexico were advising people to stay indoors and avoid crowds. In Mexico City? Everywhere there is as busy as Piccadilly Circus as I remember it. But yesterday I saw TV news clips of empty city streets, which was positively eerie.

Calliope in a bad mood all day due to the rain, and making mischief or starting unprovoked fights by jumping on my desk and biting me. For somehow she is convinced the rain is my fault.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bluebells and Nazis

Spent the morning writing my Skeleton story. Heard a yob like chanting of England! England! through my open window from a crowd marching from the station. It was a far right organisation who I believe were protesting in Brighton.

Lorraine snoozing between reading the print off the paper. Then in the afternoon she grew insistent to see bluebells and hug trees. So she drove us to a beautiful wood near Burgess Hill on the other side of the downs. I have never seen so many bluebells in my life. It was like stepping into a kind of heaven where the woods were carpeted with a snow of the dusty violet blue flowers as far as the wood would let you see into it. And the air beneath the canopy was peppery with their faint hyacinth-like smell. Also we saw what my book of wildflowers calls early purple orchids as well as primroses and violets. And everywhere the trees in first leaf like, as Larkin said, something almost being said. Spent at least an hour and a half wandering about in the woods, with Lorraine looking blissfully happy.

Then we drove us down to the sea and we walked to The Meeting Place for a cup of tea. Very clear, blue day, which was full of the smell of barbecuing sausages. A handful of brave souls in the freezing sea.

Then to The Sussex Yeoman for an excellent Sunday roast at about six thirty. As we walked down the hill from the parked car more fascist chanting from near the station. Funny old world, which accommodates both bluebell viewing, and the preaching of racial and sexual intolerance of a Sunday afternoon.

Home and Toby called, describing the virtues of his excise regime and saying that he had legs like the Hulk, which must be nice.

Below one of the nine million bluebell shots I took. Click it for a better view of English woodland.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New beginnings

Lorraine and I up to the smoke today to Diane's party in the Garden Cafe in Regents Park. Very stylish venue and Regents Park in full bloom and busy in the sun. After recovering from a cancer operation last year Diane decided to have a party "to celebrate new beginnings".

Mum and Mase were there, and we met lots of Diane's family I had not seen for many years. Nice food and bubbly and plenty of friendly chat. Mum and Mase recovering from a cat emergency as Salty returned home needing stitches this morning. Diane enjoying things, and gave a nice short speech over a candled cake.

Then we returned to Brighton and snoozed. A delightful little girl of perhaps four talking to her father all the way down. As we were pulling into Brighton she asked "how do people with only one leg go to the toilet? Do they hop on?"

Out with Sue and John, who we'd visited in the Cotswolds last year, and are very close friends of Lorraine. We had a nice Japanese meal with them at Oki-Nami. Nice food, and plum wine is yum. Both interesting and likable people. John told me how his life had changed when he was stabbed as a teenager near the Whittington Stone in Highgate. Instead of going to college, he instead went up north and worked in hospitals. He then studied psychology and has ended up as a university lecturer, on teaching people with learning disabilities.

After the Japanese meal, we went off to The Bricklayer's Arms for an absolutely final beer, and to open the tins on the wall to read the messages. As Lorraine and I walked home we passed some comedian outside The Brighton Tavern yelling at people "keep it (the noise) down! I'm trying to smoke a cigarette" and then arguing happily with anyone who paused to take issue.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Drug Bambi

An excellent day working on Skeletons today. The first part of the novel is now is beginning to get there. Had a nice note from Richard in Guernsey saying he loved my Guernsey Anthology proposal, and would support it. An excellent boost.

Went to the gym today for the first time since the suspected food poisoning ghastliness at the beginning of the week. Enjoyed it, and did a fairly good workout. Next week, if I manage to eat less & and go blond, I shall look like Dolph Lundgren within days.

Returned home to do more work, and after typing for an hour or so, stood up in my study to find myself with a birds eye view of a drug deal in the Twitten. Three boys of no more than 17. The dealer carried a variety of gear in a DVD video. One of the clients, a thin polite-looking Bambi of a boy, noticed me standing up by the window and they all scarpered.

Out with Anton and Anna and Lorraine tonight. Another celebration of Lorraine's birthday. It's great to get Anna and Anton out on a Friday night. Anton and I wearing matching jackets, which he found uncomfortable. We tried to get into a Jamie Oliver restaurant, but the wait was too long. So we ended up at our usual curry house, where Lorraine was warmly greeted by Ash the owner, and given a free bottle of wine to celebrate her birthday. Had a good laugh, only o'er sickled for me by managing to drip a profoundly staining Ceylon sauce over my new linen trousers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Birthday curry

Lorraine's birthday today. Broke off from writing about skeletons to go shopping. Spent about two hours searching for a present in increasingly escalating panic until I found something. Bumped into Anna - Klaudia and Oskar's Godmother - in Sainsburys. She seems really nice, but I don't know her that well -- but being Godparents of the same children means we have a strong link. I guess we'll get to know one another better over the years.

Having a bit of a tumbleweed and crows day when it came to personal communications, only to discover that my mobile phone had an inactive SIM. Sudden deluge of missed calls and texts when I turned it off and on again. Bah to it.

To Lorraine's house this evening, armed with sparkling wine and flowers and some pressies. Lorraine cheery and getting lots of calls from people. Ate a Beth-baked flapjack, before we all headed off to get a takeaway curry and a quick drink in a pub together. Sam on very talkative form tonight, and looking dapper in a mod-like way. Mark and Beth having soft drinks. Underage drinking is much harder these days. Not like when I was a lad. I remember frowning at barment to try to create forehead lines in order to make myself look older. I always got served anyway.

Then all back to eat and drink bubbly. Later Mark showed me a story he had written and I wasn't too amazed to discover that he has the makings of an excellent writer. He is a seventeen year old with many talents: singing, acting, dancing and now writing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Head in books

Oskar's birthday today.

Went to bed last night reading Escape from the Antarctic by Ernest Shackleton, and became absolutely riveted by it and had to read it till I finished. Unbelievably gruelling journey across the south Atlantic with five others, and across South Georgia by foot to get provisions and a boat to rescue the rest of his crew marooned and icebound 800 miles away. Amazing stuff. Dreamed of ice and stormy seas as a result.

Today still recovering from the after effects of food poisoning. However did some of the work I was unable to do on Monday, and pressed ahead with my own stuff. Broke off to get wrapping paper for Oskar's presents, which I then took up to him. Anna had lots of mums and toddlers there so I didn't hang about after a brief chat to her and my Godbairns. I also bought and read Skellig a children's book by David Almond which I'd heard good things about but had not read. Lovely jewel of a book that left the reader with just enough questions afterwards.

Also recalled that the famous slave narrative The Life of Olaudah Equiano mentions a stay in Guernsey. However on checking I discover that he mentions nothing about the island at all other than he liked the people he was staying with.

Otherwise little to report other than a few chats on the phone, and that Calliope brought me two live, and very pissed off, bees.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Hmm. Several hours of nausea, stomach cramps and pooing water through the night left me in need of smelling salts and a loosened corset this morning. Something I ate or drank yesterday took violent issue with me.

Had to cancel a trip to London, and much later ventured down the Twitten to talk to certain neighbours who were painting things white before walking carefully into town to buy a plastic sword, a furry dinosaur that growls and shuffles its feet, and spiderman stuff for Oskar, whose birthday it is tomorrow.

Sent off my proposal for the Guernsey literature thing to Catriona and Richard. Now to wait to see if there is a plink at the bottom of the well.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's all white in the Twitten

Lorraine drove us off to the tropical fish shop, where I replaced my heater thermostat, and bought some new fish for Beth, and a little fish net cube to put a few fry that had mysteriously appeared in her tank.

Lorraine also finding herself humming the "plinky plonky" Well You Needn't by Theolonius Monk, which makes me laugh. We were also listening to Lorraine's new favourites the plink-free Fleet Foxes today who are a rather excellent and melodic group, who (according to Wikipedia) describe their music as "baroque harmonic pop jams".

Then back to the Twitten, via a hardware superstore to score white paint, where Lorraine and I joined several of my neighbours painting the Twitten's white bits white again. This part of our resident's committee initiative. It was good to look along the Twitten to see several of my neighbours at work freshening up the place. Made me feel part of a real community. Calliope having great fun too - cavorting about excitably and getting paint on her whiskers and paws in the course of her investigations.

Tried to call Anton today about football but to no avail. Chelsea will meet Everton who beat Manchester Utd in the FA Cup final.

Lorraine and I repaired to the Battle of Trafalgar where we had a late lunch, and had well earned pints of Harveys, before Lorraine went home.

Below tropical marine angler fish that caught Lorraine's eye today because of their splendidly miserable faces.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Over the Edge

Britain's second National Record Store Day today, which celebrates the institution of the independent record shop, now under threat from things like Amazon and downloadable music.

Anton suggested we went shopping, and we went to five record shops today during which adventure I bought a copy of Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus as well as Milestones by Miles Davis, the title track being well known to me.

By far the most interesting record store we went to was called Edge World Records, a shop I have no recollection of ever visiting before. I recognised only a handful of the artist it carries, and even the genres were new to me. Got talking to the really interesting muso beardy guy who works there a few days a week while not doing his own music projects. Amusingly he told us that this shop, which was essentially a small room above an independent clothes shop, was so independent that it was not taking part in the Record shop day. Felt compelled to take some snaps of the place. Well worth a visit.

After record shopping, and a quick bowl of olives and a small bottle of Spanish beer we returned to Anton's place where I looked after my Godchildren for a couple of hours - which got rather lively when the garden spray was used to fill up puddles and there was lots of jumping in these from Oskar, and fishing using nets from both of them. I had a happy time, but it was quite nice to hand them back to their parents and return home for a steadying cup of tea.

Lorraine and I went out to see the movie In the Loop today. A film by Armando Iannucci. The film was unexpectedly excellent a very funny and successful satire. Highly recommended, and full of most excellent swearing. As the Guardian article I've linked to says... It has come out with perfect timing. Who'd have thought I'd become a fan of Armando Iannucci? But I have.

Chelsea today also did me proud by beating Arsenal to reach the FA Cup finals. Gus Hiddink Chelsea's temporary manager has made them believe in themselves all over again. Brilliant! Watched highlights tonight, and shown repeatedly a young boy, an Arsenal fan, sobbing distraughtly. Poor lad.

All well.

Below Oskar wearing the outfit of somone called Sportacus, and Klaudia. Plus Edge Word Records interior with Anton looking at stuff.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Message in a bottle

Have been contemplating sending a card Reneé Monamy. She is a French poet whose limited edition book Guernsey, mon île... I found in Guernsey Library. The back had an invitation to contact her. The book was published in a limited edition of 100 many years ago, but she is still alive (having googled her) and I am thinking of sending her a reply - although she probably doesn't live at that address any more. I just have to answer a message in a bottle.

Otherwise a brilliant day on my skeleton novel. Suddenly the opening third has really slotted into place, after I rearranged it chronologically. I am delighted.

Feeling cheery, off in the evening to a pub quiz with Lorraine and Dawn. I surprised myself by remembering Pangalactic Gargleblaster, the name of the drink in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Also found myself having a good laugh combining a few pints of Harveys with some brain teasers - and talking to a couple who are friends of Dawn and live in Vancouver. Walked home feeling that life was full of promise.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Criminal minds

Up early, looked at some more referencing, got down to a healthy chunk of skeleton work only undermined by the cat, who was sulking due to disappointing food options. Really getting into my Thelonious Monk CD, and thinking how jazz is able to convey sheer humour sometimes, without sounding ridiculous. Also reading about Rick Wakeman's two heart attacks when he was 25. He was drinking a fantastic amount and smoking heroically, and managing a high profile career. They made him feel numb, which he attributed to a hangover. Blimey. He seems to be okay now though.

Cooked a pork curry made with various peppers, cloves, cardamoms, chili etc. this evening and Lorraine came by to help me eat it. And because Lorraine loves crime with a psychological element we watched Criminal Minds, which I'd never seen before, about some type of unsmiling but thoughtful cop and his attractive but emotionally retarded sidekicks who fly about in a plane to various parts of the States to solve the crimes of warped personalities in a few hours with a few deaths thrown in for good measure. Now that's a job.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Up with the sparrows, thanks to Calliope, and soon down to work to finish more referencing work on eye diseases. This completed in a few hours (wondering if I'd rather stick needles in my own eyes than write about doctors sticking needles in people's eyes) I hurried off to the gym for a light workout, which I have to say I enjoyed. Back to put my thoughts together for the Guernsey anthology proposal in the afternoon. Finished the day by receiving feedback on the referencing, and I need to do some more. Gah! Pop.

Was very pleasantly surprised by the postman today (oo-er missus) bearing a surprise present from Carl. It was Rick Wakeman's book Grumpy Old Rock Star, which Carl had dedicated and everything. I called to thank him. He still hasn't had his gall bladder sorted out, which must be like sleeping with a snub nosed gun pressed into your side.

Thinking of the Liverpool-loving Jayne and Nev later too as Liverpool were playing Chelsea in a nerve jangling second leg of their European Cup tie - a 4-4 thriller, allowing Chelsea to go through on the aggregate score. Thankfully the forces of rightness prevailed. Before then there were panicked calls from Anton as Liverpool rampaged away with the first half. Chelsea were so poor I couldn't watch for 10 minutes, but there was no escape as Anton called me up with a running commentary. He takes an even dimmer view of Liverpool than he does Chelsea.

Spent the rest of the night quietly reading Wakeman's anecdotes, which as a die-hard Yes fan, is required reading. He lurked about in North West London as a young man, as Carl and I did, which adds another level of familiarity. Rick was the only member of the Yes pantheon that you could imagine having a belly laugh with.

Below the understated Rick Wakeman in his heyday.

Monday, April 13, 2009


A gardening day today. Lorraine and I had the inspired idea of going to the garden centre, along with 50% of the population of England. I bought orange pelargonium and busy lizzies to add some colour and replace those the snow and frost had killed. Lorraine bought some subtle whitish things, and helped me pot mine up as she has green fingers.

Below Beth and Mark being Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Peter Rabbit for a children's charity, something they had been doing for a few days. The kids were Mesmerised by them of course, and the sun finally emerged as the long weekend faded.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday with my Godchildren

Up early to get on with things, but my glasses, now sadly necessary for reading and writing, had been left at Lorraine's house. Thwarted again.

When the day was rebooted, Lorraine and I went out shopping for easter eggs, wine and CDs. I bought the Welcome to Mali by Amadou and Mariam having loved their last album, and Theolonious Monk's Greatest Hits which the Cat with the Hat had introduced me to. Lorraine bought Fleet Foxes, and Elvis Perkins, and Gomez - things which are not plinky-plonky. I have learned that quite a bit of my music falls into the plinky-plonky genre - it is a wide-ranging genre, which includes much jazz, prog, early blues, and classical music that uses atonality or too much dissonance.

I am embarking on a new jazz phase, and was inspired by a BBC TV documentary 1959: The Year that Changed Jazz. Nineteen fifty nine was a major year in Jazz with the release of the immaculate Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, Take Five by Dave Brubeck, Mingus Ah Um, and Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come. Fascinating programme which made me want to buy the Ornette Coleman and Mingus records which I don't know. 1959 was a big year in my life too, as I made my earthly debut in the middle of October which may explain my jazzular nature.

Off with Lorraine to Anton and Anna's house for a wonderful Easter lunch today. Anton's Mum Anne was there with her friend Sheila. Anne very sad but seeming quite poised, her grandchildren were a lovely distraction though.

It was good to see the Godbairns. Oskar surprised me by saying my name today and talking to me a lot about snails and cat poo after he had insisting I came out to the garden with him. He has a happy nature, and is a typical little boy with muddy knees who falls over and gets right up again. He was scrambling up the garden wall, and driving around on his wooden bike. Klaudia also the cutest little thing too of course. She was mainly putting clothes pegs on the olive tree and my teeshirt and using a cloth to trampoline Baby the doll.

Had a good chat with Anna, who had been on a steep learning curve helping Anne sort things out afterwards. She is a great daughter in law, apart from anything else. Anton cooked a really nice roast lamb with many of veggies, followed by cheese and biscuits and a big home made cheesecake accompanied by a little lemon and honey flavoured vodka. I would have taken photos, but my camera was with my glasses.

Below: one of my first Jazz phases.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A rubbish day

A recycling day today. I got up early and marched off to Lorraine's house where we cleared an area of her back garden of black bags, while her cats milled about excitedly. The bags were covered in variety of slugs, worms, spiders and seasoned with cat poo. Also cleared lots of broken things in my back garden, which were left behind by the plumber. After two cars full, and walking up and down many flights of stairs with heavy things, we both felt very virtuous.

As one closed early, we visited two recycling plants. Both very busy. Something guilty about not being able to recycle everything, and depressing about the built-in redundancy that creates lots of the waste. Things are simply not built to last, nor to be easily fixed. But how would the economy fare if they were? Maybe, I thought later while purchasing a small microwave oven, we'd have to start focusing on important matters and not mindlessly consuming.

I interviewed several people who were trying to promote sustainability last year, however the credit crunch seems to have swept green issues aside as the great angst. But there is an opportunity, in all this change, for greener methods to be adopted.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun

An enjoyable Bank Holiday, intermittent rain all day on the holiday town of Brighton. I got up eager to write. This enthusiasm was dampened by my computer problems, which after an hour of struggling spontaneously righted themselves.

Having written nothing, I walrussed off to the gym, which quickly made me feel better despite it being packed. Passed some families in rainproof clothes who decided to brave it for the day. Bless them.

Returned to cook a breakfast for myself and Lorraine who spent the day in my dressing gown, till leaving at 3.00pm, while I spent the day intermittently working on my Pharma job and reading the papers, or doing some shopping in the rain. Lorraine for some reason shuns umbrellas.

Inspired by Randolph, I spent some of the evening in the company of Schopenhauer and Calliope the cat. Breaking off to walk up the hill to feed Anton and Anna's cats. Suddenly very popular with them when I arrived.

This aphorism, from On Psychology which must work for email too. (Or, if you are a cat, people stealing in to feed you.)

If you want to know how you really feel about someone take note of the impression an unexpected letter from him* makes on you when you first see it on the doormat.

* In Schopenhauer's time, of course, women were unable to write.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Sprung up with a song on my lips. To be precise a Township jazz version of There's no sunshine when she's gone, as featured on the Today programme. I then had to play it on guitar too for a while, between avidly consuming the Guardian's report of Chelsea's destruction of Liverpool.

The old Mad Dog meanwhile stirred uneasily upstairs, before eventually he got up to catch a train. It had been great to see him as usual. Considerately he also left his packed lunch behind in my fridge, which I enjoyed later. Turns out Mad Dogs eat an unusual combination of sardines, spelt, spinach and mango, which was all rather healthy.

A note from Romy saying that her bean jar was a success and "I asked the Tobster if he could compare my bean jar with bean jars from his childhood. Unfortunately your brother couldn’t provide me with any feedback except that your grandmother’s bean jar was tasty and that mine was tasty but in a different way."

Tasty is of course a high accolade indeed from Toby and this made me laugh a good deal. Also chatted to Mum.

I'd earmarked today for doing my Pharma client work - however the BT server gods were against me and prevented Internet access, which was rather frustrating. On the plus side, however, I received a large cheque through the post.

At three, and feeling slightly braindead, I met my new friend Randolph for a long chat over a Starbucks coffee. He is about to direct his play Only Free Men in Lewes, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. Good to talk to someone about books and writing for hours, and had me digging out some old books when I got home. He reminded me that Schopenhauer had thrown a woman down the stairs because she was making too much noise outside his apartment, and after a court case had to compensate her every year until she died. I will remember that when people are making too much noise in the Twitten.

Home and had an evening with Lorraine. I had a quiet nap on the gold sofa, while Lorraine cooked some tasty curry. Then we simply watched TV including a show called, hilariously, The Mentalist, which is not a comedy at all, but an excruciatingly acted cop show from the states.

The Brighton Argus had a picture of Anna and Klaudia and Oskar in it today, in a feature about women running both businesses and families.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Out on the leash with Mad Dog

Yippee. Felt elated this morning and wanting to get down to work. Far too cheerful to begin work on my pharma referencing, instead worked on PK stuff for a bit before going to the gym.

Bob turned up unexpectedly early at 4.00pm. Had a really nice evening with him, having a few beers and playing some pool, where he thrashed me as usual. For it is my destiny never to win games. I blame Toby, who on losing any kind of game when we were kids became so volcanically furious that losing became a happier option by far.

The old Mad Dog and I then mooched about having the odd beer here and there and settling down for a pizza followed by meeting Lorraine for an absolute bloody final beer in the Cricketers. Here I fell into conversation with a Liverpool fan who told me that Chelsea had just recorded a splendid victory 1-3 victory at Anfield in the European Championship. I was so convinced Chelsea were going to get thrashed that I'd tried to block the whole event from my mind. I talked interestedly to the man about Chelsea's victory until he grew tetchy, meanwhile Bob and Lorraine had been talking about educational psychology instead of football.

Home with Bob to drink much tea and talk into the night, while Lorraine wisely sped home in a taxi.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Home sweet home

Woke exceptionally early after a terrible nightmare where spontaneous welts and scratches appeared on my skin. A cat guilt dream.

Once awake at First Matie's house, my mind was racing on bean jars (thanks to Romy) and poems about Guernsey. I decided to sit in bed and do some writing, which I did, only feeling a wave of tiredness a few minutes before I was supposed to get up. Marmite toast and tea with First Matie then we travelled to the agency from Gunnersbury station again.

Felt fabulously cheery this morning, at the prospect of one more agency day before working from home. Worked alone in the morning, making the occasional helpful comment to Betsy and First Matie, and then worked with Keith all afternoon on concepts, many of which involved crows.

Lunch with Matty and Kate and Betsy. Betsy insisting we go to a Moroccan restaurant, and the food was rather nice. First Matie and I sniggering slightly over a starter called Foul Mudammas, which I have subsequently discovered is a delicious bean dish.

Home to an excitable Calliope who was very clingy and miaowed at me almost uninterruptedly for an hour. Lorraine came by this evening, and watched footy on TV in return for a large G&T. All well with the world.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The seedling's home

Off to the smoke today for a couple more days working on MS. The agency I've been working for now has First Matie there, as well as Betsy and Matty Boy, so it is a bit of a home from home. I was partnered with Keith, the cheerful Welsh head of art, and we had quite a nice day working on fresh concepts. I broke off at lunchtime to go to Plum with Betsy, who is singing lots and is about to join a life drawing class at St Martins. Also bumped into Mike.

In the evening off to Strand on the Green to stay with First Matie. Her and Graeme's flat is also home to about 100 pots of various germinating tomatoes, squashes, and other assorted vegetables on widow sills and in bathrooms and so on. First Matie delighting in the first of the pumpkins, which had reared its surprisingly large leafed head.

Had a long overdue gossip with her over a plate of chili in the Bell and Crown, and then later we caught up with Matty who was in fine form, telling us about his trip to Antarctica with his father. He was also brandishing his iPhone which appears to be a red rag to First Matie, and providing a lengthy discourse on the virtues of Twitter. Aimee did the same thing to me the other night too. I am on Twitter, thanks to Mex talking to me about a year ago, but have been unable to find much of a use for it. However I should download the Tweet deck apparently. If only there was world enough and time.

A final cup of tea with First Matie listening to Wichita Lineman in the Glen Campbell and Cassandra Wilson versions, and replying to a note from Romy about bean jars before I repaired to bed feeling ridiculously guilty about Calliope who for the first time is all on her own tonight with a pile of dried cat food.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Down to the gym first thing this morning, where I sort of borderline enjoyed myself.

Then to a lunchtime meeting with other denizens of the Twitten at Chris's house which was very smart. Here we discussed Twitten business. It is a sad fact that the first agenda point was a big poo that was discovered at the other end of the alley. There will be a general smartening of the Twitten where we will all get together and freshen up the white paint and so on. A good and rather funny meeting, there are some interesting characters along the way. We are all going to share numbers and emails, and have people to call if there is any trouble which is rather civilised.

One piece of news however left me feeling betrayed. Calliope apparently is the sweetheart of the Twitten and has been into several people's houses in acts of blatant betrayal. Cats. They are just ladies with pelts.

Then to meet Lorraine and have a walk by the beach in the sun. Very crowded but fun. Then we sauntered inland to the Eagle for a tasty lunch. Lorraine is known in the Eagle and gets hugged severally in there, which she rather likes. Women. They are just like cats.

Spoke to Toby and Mum tonight, and watched an early evening repeat of Joanna Lumley's trip in search of the Northern Lights on BBC which was a delightful programme.

Now I'm going to watch Match of the Day.

Read today Kate complaining about being me which was odd. I think she should embrace her inner Peter Kenny.

Below two shots of Brighton beach today.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Lost voices

Spent the morning wondering if Germans had written about Guernsey in the second world war, and did quick and futile google to learn more. Anton had suggested that this might be interesting to discover for the Guernsey anthology proposal.

As a consequence I discovered that there appear not to be books on WW2 German writing or poetry either, in total contrast to WW1. There must have been writers who were German but not Nazis, who could not escape before the war. What happened to them?

Otherwise mooching around sunny Brighton with Lorraine doing some shopping. Scored some strides. In the evening went off for a delayed Friday curry. Our usual pub was rowdy and crowded, the normal restaurant overstretched and we got abominable service. Bah.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Aimee and the Dell posse

Things clicking into place on the Skelton stuff this morning. I just like writing it, simple as that.

The agency wanting me an extra day next week and my pharma client want some more on the website, I'll be working till Easter. Then I am definitely finishing my outstanding projects - no matter what torpedoes the global ecomomy courses Kennywards.

Up into London this afternoon, as Aimee was over from Dubai and this seemed a splendid opportunity to see her and other Dell posse chums who were at Marcella's wedding in Westport last Autumn. Great to see everyone and have an intensive gossip. Aimee sporting her usual bracing cheerfulness, and Dubai shades. We all met in a pub around near Great Portland Street in London. Phil talking about doing some standup again. He is a very funny man indeed, and I hope he does. Paula and Marcella's agency doing well still, and they are very busy, which is great to hear. Always feel more cheery after seeing all these folks.

Left early and slept like a large baby on the Brighton train.

Below Ash Paula and Marcella, Phil Aimee and me.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Writing well today and have made some real progress. It takes a while to reload the content of 72,000 words into your brain but I am successfully back in Skelton Yawngrave land and getting things sorted out. Also thinking about the great Guernsey anthology, which is turning into a genre defining masterpiece in my brain.

Betsy contacted me for an emergency two days of work next week, which I have agreed to. I absolutely want to focus on my own work for the next month or so, but I do have my belief in ending well - and I'll get to hang out with Betsy and First Matie for a couple of days, which will be splendid. Mike is working next door too, so I will lasso him for a coffee too. All well.

Went for a quick half hour or so in the gym. I don't know if it is just this gym, but I hate the unsmiling narcissism of it all. Scrambling about on the cliffs does not feel like exercise at the time, though it does you loads of good and feeds the mind and spirit. When you are on a treadmill, or pulling weights all you are doing is exercising. I need to work on my mental approach.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Little fooling

No April fooling today. Apart from waking up in a sock nest, as Calliope had weaselled into the sock draw, and transferred half a dozen pairs onto the bed overnight.

Inert and unfocused this morning. But drew up some mind maps, which is the single most useful organisation thing I know how to do. And by the end of the day things were moving again.

Spoke to Bob who was walking across the fields by Salisbury Cathedral, and The Gnome who was walking by the Thames, and been asked back to help at our old agency. And Lorraine who had a stressful day.

Went up the hill to see Anton tonight. Anne is being looked after by Anna up in Staines, and Anton taking care of the bairns here in Brighton. He told me about Keith's last few days, and it is all very sad indeed. He was only 63. We sat about chatting and eating some delivery Chinese grub, and drank a couple of beers while the three cats played about us unperturbed and we listened to music beginning with the letter M.