Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Six-legged alarm clock

Calliope burst into my room with a buzzing head. I turned on the bedside lamp, and the world's fattest fly hurtled from her mouth towards the light. A frantic chase over my bed, face, windowsill etc. until she caught it again. Nauseatingly, it buzzed in her mouth for some time until she gave a thoughtful prrrt! and began crunching. Oh for the days of my gentle morning phone alarm.

Off to a just opened Sainsburys and returned for a chat with Mindy, who only short weeks after her breast cancer op is being incredibly busy and cheerful, and was just leaving, like some Victorian urchin, to work in her partner's candle factory. I am writing a small new Skelton Yawngrave piece for her Radio Dinosaur project, which they want to record at the end of the week. And after a Mindy pep talk and brief, I sat down and wrote it. It will be the first of a series and I am going to use it to test some ideas for Skelton Yawngrave and the Terrifying Clown, which I hope will be the second in the series.

Then off to the gym for a mild mannered hulk legs and treadmill session, which I enjoyed.

Then home to type in more of the anthology of Guernsey material, breaking off to cut the jasmine which grows rampantly in my yard and provides fragrant shelter for Twitten micturators and other unspeakables. This I cut back, pausing to chat to neighbours. Calliope always gets very excited when I'm outside, and she bolted up and down the Twitten with a wild face, and hid herself in the jasmine clippings springing out from time to time at my ankles.

A sluggish evening watching football.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jam today

Had a splendid idea in the night about my old pamphlet project and where I could try it next. Leisurely breakfast with Mum and Mase chatting about stuff and things over coffee, toast and homemade jam made from foraged fruit. Mum had been carbooting, and bought two nice chairs for £5 and was sporting an attractive 25p jumper.

Made my way home, having scored three jars of jam: blackberry, blackberry and apple, and crab apple and the final series of Battlestar Galactica from Mas, about which I texted the Cylon-loving Lorraine on the way home.

Home at lunchtime, to deluge my new pal Matt the conductor/composer with poems to see if he could turn them into music. Felt somewhat guilty afterwards. Maybe I should have sent one or two rather than the thirty. Oh well. Pottered about ineffectually, tending to the aquarium. Calliope scorning her food today to punish me for my overnight absence.

A little magazine in Guernsey called Island Ink came through tonight with a feature about Jane Mosse in it, also a wee story of mine in the back.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Climbed into a suit, shiny black shoes and subdued but stylish shirt and got the very early train to London to do a spot of pitching with Pat and The FB. Arrived at their agency at 8:30 and had much needed coffee. Much of the morning spent watching the FB and Pat swear colourfully at technology, until it was time to bundle into a cab to Waterloo with Sarah a nice young suit. Trained to Basingstoke and cabbed it to a pharmaceutical giant.

Anton called as we arrived at our destination wanting suddenly to talk about football again.

The pitch, as far as you can assess these things, went fine. The thinking and work presented was at the more radical end of the spectrum, so the result will be interesting. The FB and Pat on good form, and I did fine. Sarah ticked all the suit boxes. Then back to Waterloo. By then I had a headache, so I bade a fond farewell to The FB and Pat, who had been drawn towards a bar like migrating eels to lakewater and made my way up to Edgware.

A really nice night with Mum and Mase, and Ben and Poppy who have returned from living in Guernsey to their house opposite Mum in Edgware. They told me the story of the house in Guernsey they had lived in, where there would be a penetrating smell of spectral cigarettes from a smoking ghost.

Much cheered by this email from Mindy today: "Finished reading Skelton with Oz recently - we've both loved it + been rolling round the floor on some bits (eg Skelton's decision to go with Rick - very funny!). Also, I was round at Mark's house last week... Mark's been reading Skelton to his boys too (7 and 8yrs I think). They must have realised that they weren't going to get Skelton that night... we heard them chanting from the other end of the house 'Skelton Yawngrave Skelton Yawngrave Sketon Yawngrave...' ! I thought you'd like to know!"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Protesting in the sun

Had a cull of old clothes and rancid shoes this morning under Lorraine's supervision. Throwing old ratty stuff out is ace.

The Labour Party conference having a big effect on the town today. The Twitten very quiet last night. This morning, however, constant helicopter noise. There are parts of town blocked by big concrete blocks, and homeless people moved on from around the station. Machine gun sporting police lurking around. Lorraine and I walked to the seafront which was unusually quiet for such a beautiful summer's day. Watched a noisy but mild mannered protest from the newly rebuilt bandstand. Police everywhere including two filming the protest. They were approached by someone remonstrating with them and telling them it was like the Soviet Union. They looked sheepish. Despite this everything passed off in a mild mannered way. Hard to get worked up about things in the sunshine by the sea.

We walked along to Hove and to drop a package in at Lorriane's enjoyably-named Arscott lawyers, until we were compelled to have a cold lager and some pizza. In the evening we went to meet Wayne and Matt and some of the their friends at the Komedia to see singer Ruby Turner. I wasn't expecting to like her very much, but she gave a great show and has a stunningly good voice and her sidemen were pretty good, and so I ended up hugely enjoying it.

Repaired to the Brighton Tavern afterwards for late night gossiping and on my part some unexpectedly enthusiastic drinking. Really enjoyed talking to Matt who is a composer and conductor. Then home to scarf late night cheese on toast, and eventually boofed to bed at 1.00am some time after Lorraine had left for home.

Below police surveillance, protesters, and the excellent Ruby Turner.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The residents meet

Clothes shopping today, set off boldly, with Calliope following Lorraine and I down the long end of the Twitten and yowling heart-rendingly as we walked off. We met Beth in town and I was helped by mother and daugther to buy some shirts and a new scarf, before Beth went off to her part time supermarket job.

Then back to a Twitten residents meeting. These are becoming regular and rather funny. We all have Inspector Clouseauesque neighbourhood watch stickers on our windows. And there is an entertaining and eclectic mix of folks that I live among. Much earnest discussion of the general misdemeanours in the Twitten, when one older member of our party said that, in fairness, he'd been caught short several times in the last few years and had to leave poo in the street due, he said, to the medications he was on. The couple hosting us this time have two charming young daughters of perhaps 9 and 11 who were sitting directly behind me. One of these gave a stifled yelp at this news, but they were polite enough to slip upstairs shaking with laughter.

When I interviewed Pooran Desai last year about eco housing and happiness he was talking about how an indicator of overall happiness is how many of your neighbours you can name. By this index I should be rather happy now.

An evening spent happily indoors as this was officially a day of recuperation. Watched The Two Towers which was on TV and ate an excellent fish curry that Lorraine had rustled up. All rather splendid.

Friday, September 25, 2009

School food punishment

Not working in London today. No lie in, though thanks to Calliope who was misbehaving this morning, springing onto the bed at 5:30, knocking over the little bin in the bedroom and and methodically clawing open a draw like some infernal sock-obsessed poltergeist.

Up early then, a beautiful morning. Off to Sainsburys and back before nine, then three bouts of laundry and various small tasks. Finally got paid by my old agency too, which was nice.

A typically brief note from Toby with a couple of links to a fantastic Japanese band called School Food Punishment. Went onto iTunes where some of their tunes are available. A revelation.

In the late afternoon finally able to give into my cold, and spend a couple of hours on my sofa quietly reading while the cat snoozed next to me. Then listened x10 to School Food Punishment.

Lorraine around this evening. To the Batty, which tonight hosted every shouty middle aged man with punch attracting face in this part of Brighton. Despite this we had a bite to eat there and a struggled down a couple of drinks.

Below Toby's tip for the top... School Food Punishment. Above You may crawl, and below Futuristic imagination. They are fab.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A moment of magic

Onto the train at the last moment and walked along and found Reuben. Had cups of tea from the trolley and chatted enjoyably all the way to Victoria, he seems well and enjoying his new baby Aubrey, and pleased the other three boys seem to like him too.

Tubed to Embankment and then walked through St Martins and by the side of the British Museum through Russell Square and up to Tavistock Square, where there is a bust of Virginia Woolf. As somebody said on Radio 4 recently, the Bloomsbury group lived in squares and loved in triangles.

I felt elevated walking in the warm, autumnal sunlight. Feeling a magical surge of cheer in Russell Square watching the pigeons plump up in the fountain, and passing a man meditating in the morning light. One of those moments when you feel protected and taken care of, which left me with an afterglow all day.

A long day and evening finishing my scripts for their pitch. Pat and the FB have asked me to help them pitch it on Monday.

Late drink with Pat and Chloe a young and talented illustrator and Chris a likeable Geordie visualiser in a pub called The Intrepid Fox. It was a heavy metal pub, full of hairy people and raucous music. Even the walls seemed to be tattooed. Blending in in comfortable slacks and a fleece was tricky, but it was good to have a gossip with Pat.

Arrived at Brighton at 11:30. Managed to persuade the closing Chinese takeaway to give me a few scraps, and headed happily home.

Below Russell Square, and Chris in the Intrepid Fox.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Dragged sorry butt out of bed and up to London again. Walked through town and into work. Quiet again without Pat and the FB who were pitching somewhere or other. Feeling hot and sweaty off and on during the day

At lunchtime walked towards Euston and stopped at St Pancras Church, which is a very odd building with eight large caryatids. Which I found myself photographing. Also a piece of rather hidden public art of a deliberately damaged face, which is a memorial for the 13 people killed in the bus bombing.

Carl told me that the photos of Tavistock Square brought his childhood back to him, walking around the square with his Mum and dogs as a child. They lived just around the corner from where I am working.

Chose to walk back from the office down to Embankment again, through Russell Square, past the British Museum and down by Covent Garden. I love walking through all the the history, and houses where eminent people have lived marked by Blue Plaques, and the streaming by of current Londoners.

Once on the Brighton train, finished a PG Wodehouse book called Something Fresh, which was fine and light as you'd expect, and also the Medieval History book today. Travelling is good for reading.

Dead beat now, and ready for bed.

Below a 7/7 memorial and caryatids outside St Pancras church.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mahatma in a London Square

Tired and coldy, but off to the smoke. Decided to get the train to Embankment and walk up, and arrived on time and pleasantly refreshed. Just before I reached the office happened upon PK personal favourite Desi B outside a cafe. Hugs and chats. Very good to see her. She and her colleague were about to attend a course on email marketing, which I thought Desiree could have given herself.

Had a quiet day. Pat and the FB in Spain. I just simply got on with a few things quietly and chatted to April. At lunch crept out and got a sandwich and lurked in Tavistock Square taking the photos below. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi in its centre, and in one corner a bust of Virginia Woolf. Also a big block of stone to remember Conscientious Objectors, and a cherry tree planted in the fifties to remember victims of the atomic bombs in Japan.

Home late, bumping into neighbours Jen and Martin as I was taking rubbish out. Calliope going far afield now, and following me out into the main road, which is a worry. Bought fish and chips because I was home late. Had time to tidy up, write this... Bed is calling.

Below in Tavistock Square, with a slightly Yoda resembling Ghandhi.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another day in London

The train emerged into fog after passing under the south downs this morning. It had been bright and sunny in Brighton. Once up to London I made a schoolboy error and tried to bus it to Euston from Victoria. A magical mystery tour, and not in a good way. Arrived late but had a fun day despite feeling a coldy, and worked most of the day with Pat. We broke for lunch, and Pat took me to an all you can eat Indian buffet.

The office where I am working is in Tavistock Square, almost exactly where the bus was blown up on 7th July 05. In the afternoon Pat and I were thinking about concepts and looking down into the square full of trees. No place for carnage.

April, who is a very pregnant art director from New Jersey. I asked her about her beautiful tattoo, which is inside her wrist and is of a winged elephant holding a star in its trunk. Turns out she had a miscarriage, and she got the tattoo as a memorial to her unborn child, and the elephant is so it would always be remembered.

After work decided to avoid the ratruns in the crowded tubes and walk to Embankment station. I enjoyed strolling south through the sunny tree-filled squares and down the old grand streets. There are times when London is very beautiful.

Then the usual ghastly commute back to Brighton, with the train being delayed for 45 minutes. Eventually home and Calliope was in the Twitten miaowing in welcome when she saw me. Upstairs another new toilet roll had been shredded.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dream and ice cream

Vivid dream just before I woke up of a white bird like a dove changing into breathtakingly beautiful colours. Nobody else in the dream could see them. Woke up feeling that this was a good omen somehow.

Grotty and coldy, as was Lorraine. Spent much of the day sleeping, apart from going down to the seaside and sitting on the pebbles to eat soft ice cream with flakes.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Busy doing nothing

Lorraine and I waking up feeling wussy and sore throaty. As children have lately been laughing and pointing at me in the street, I decided a hair cut was needed. Shortstrawed and got the piggyfaced obnoxious barber, who was busy bullying their new Saturday lad. But a haircut is a haircut.

Fish recovering from their whitespot ordeal with no fatalities. Meanwhile Calliope's neck is now much less swollen, which is all good.

Lorraine and I, however, have scratchy swollen necks. So we spent a happy night in watching the first Lord of the Rings movie again and eating chocolate, for which I had an uncharacteristic craving. Having seen the films several times, and read the book dozens of times, I find myself observing the sets and costumes, and marvelling at their loveliness and attention to detail.

The next opportunity to wander off into Middle Earth. Comes with The Hobbit movie, which is scheduled for a 2011 release. It will be directed by the Guillermo Del Toro (director of the fab Pan's Labyrinth) with a script by Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens, so should be a winner.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Back up to the Smoke

Bad night's sleep not helped by Calliope gratuitously biting my toes at 5am. Lorraine texted me to say that she had a new buyer for her house as I was zooming, hungover, up to the smoke. This really good news.

Tubed to Euston and then found Pat and the FB's new agency. Felt like old times taking a brief with them, and Lucy, another ex-colleague who I last worked with pitching in Switzerland. They're in a good shop with a pleasant, positive vibe, in a nice part of London.

Spent much of the day brooding on the pitch brief they'd given me, and going to lunch at a pub called the Marquis with the FB and Pat where we all had pies. I had a tasty beef bourguignon one. Great to catch up with Pat and the FB again. Pat making me laugh lots with some big and clever swearing in giving an account of his time in Scotland.

A little brain dead in the afternoon and slipped away at fiveish. Claustrophobic ratrun rush hour tube back down to Victoria then home, needing a revitalising shower. Delighted to see that my fish are all still alive and looking a good deal better. It was well worth crawling home last night to fix them.

Met Lorraine in the Tin Drum for some celebratory drinks, and then to the Japanese restaurant a couple of doors away for some slurpy udon noodles. Before boofing back home and settling onto my gold sofa both very tired. But pretty cheery too, seeing as I'd gone from not being able to get hold of anyone to seeing a dozen or so old friends in the space of two days, and a nice spot of work to be getting on with. All well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Secret champagne

Phoned by Pat in the morning to work on a pitch with him and the French bloke starting tomorrow. It seems the Gods of Copy are still taking care of me as this is great timing.
Then up to London, phoned on the train to say that my payment timesheets had finally been processed thanks to Al. I suppose I shouldn't complain. I've only been trying to sort it out for five weeks.

Into Hammersmith to discover Mike Ferg hiding behind a telephone box on Fulham Palace Road. Turns out he was going to meet Mike (a.k.a the Gnome) this afternoon. I popped into my accountants and found the reason for no contact from them: my accountant is on holiday. Went into my old agency and had a chat with Al and met Christina in reception. There I bumped into Mike Ferg again with Nick, my old boss who have me a hug and told me to come for a drink with them. He is now based in LA and having a fantastic time, having fallen in love with the can-do US mentality. We had a restrained single beer which was fine.

Then I decided to head off to Victoria with Mike Ferg to meet The Gnome. Had a few more drinks in the hotel there. It was Ferg's first drink for two months having been fighting off cancer with apparent resillience and good humour for the last few years. Always good to see Mike my old partner too. Ferg insisted we cross the road to a wine bar, and the Gnome and I scored some modest drinks and sat down. Ferg, who had tarried at the bar, returned with a bottle of champagne.

Feeling somewhat drunk, bade farewell to the stereo Mikes, and travelled to Brentford where I knew I could get a treatment for fish white spot. Then a steadying walk back to Chiswick. Here I went to the Bulls Head where I found Eva, who sprang from behind the bar and gave me a big hug, and took me to a special table where she plied me with coffee and sparkling mineral water.

Soon First Matie arrived and we had a good gossip. She is moving away from Strand on the Green somewhere else. She's not sure where yet, but she has given in her notice so she'll have to sort it out soon. Brighton is the obvious place of course, but she is resisting this as she claims I will accuse her of copying. Matty soon arived looking tanned. Then we were joined by David, one of the local Strand on the Green posse. Ultimately the French Bloke appeared like an extra from Star Wars in his science fiction bike gear. More drinks, a real amassing of old friends. Eventually, and much to the relief of liver and kidneys, the call of the seagull was heard and I set off home.

I arrived at midnight and dosed the tropical fish with blue chemicals.

Below stereo Mikes, Ferg left and the Gnome right.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pig's face day

Joie de vivre hard to come by today. Unbelievably I have been unable to resolve payment issues by email or phone, so will have to go into the agency tomorrow while in London.

Went to the gym to perk myself up a bit. Finding more bits for the Anthology of Guernsey, which was fun. Found this vile recipe from 1815.


Take a pig’s face and wash it—boil for an hour or more—cut it from the bones, ears and all—place it in an iron saucepan with a pint or more of the same liquor according to the size of the face—add two tablespoonfuls of salt, one of pepper and one of ground allspice—stir it up well—let it stepe twenty minutes—put it into moulds and press it a little—Scrape off the fat the next morning and put it in a plate when required.


Also looking at poems I have written about the Island. Transported by one about Gwen my grandmother. Pictured myself sitting with her in the glasshouse as she smoked a cigarette and tended to a geranium or pelargonium as if it were yesterday. But it was the late afternoon, and the summer sun was slanting on us half my life ago.

Fish behaving oddly so did a water test this morning. All ammonia, nitrate, nitrite levels perfect. However just before heading upstairs to write this I noticed the dreaded white spot disease has struck in the last few hours, and most of the fish are affected. There are treatments available but the prognosis is not good. The fish are in great water, not overcrowded and have otherwise been glowing with health, so I am mystified and gutted.

Calliope sticking close to home, sleepy during the day, and being naughty and disruptive at night. Also noticed tonight that her gland under the neck is massively swollen. Bloody hell. Typical that all my beasts are on their last fins/legs and tomorrow I have to go up to the smoke.

Spoke to First Matie who is house sitting in Rickmansworth near where she has a freelance job. Will see her tomorrow for a drink thank God. Also got an email from Richard saying that him and Jane are so flooded they may have to move out of their house, while the kitchen is rebuilt. Lorraine has a sore throat and is being tried by estate agents. Perhaps tomorrow will be a splendid day for everyone.

Below started drawing a cartoon strip this evening. Here are the first two frames. I am calling it NO, for no good reason.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interruptions and delays

So enraged by Calliope gratuitously charging around the room and ambushing my feet at 5:30am that I found myself wide eyed and awake. Got up with a roar as I heard her shredding the toilet roll in the bathroom again. After admonishing the cat, I went for a walk along the sleepy seafront at 6:30, all rather beautiful.

Shaila sent me the personal statement written by her son who is trying for Oxford, and wants to be a writer. Comes across as an intelligent and well read boy with a flair for words.

Meanwhile the elephant in the room was agitating its trunk: the covering letter for the Skelton Yawngrave manuscript. Ended up rewriting the letter and synopsis as well as spotting a couple of paragraphs that could be filleted out from the opening two chapters. Posted the lot off to Bloomsbury and now it is a case of waiting and steeling myself for the responses (if any) from them and the agent I wrote to yesterday.

On a skeleton note Lorraine brought me some feedback from Harriet today who is an advanced reader of eight, and so at the youngest end of the age range. Among her comments were that it was brilliant, that she liked the fighting bits, that it was a bit hard to get into (which I hope I have fixed) and that the type could be bigger.

Teethgrindingly the person who is supposed to have uploaded my hours onto the agency's system doesn't appear to have done so, despite sending me email saying she was about to last week. I will probably have to go to the agency to fix it. Heard nothing from my glamorous accountant, and none of the other stones I am dropping into the well are plinking.

Starting to upload new bits of text onto the site I am building for the Anthology of Guernsey project however. This will be good to get up and running. But cant' shake off a feeling that I am rowing hard but not moving forward. Rather tired and drained of optimism by the end of the day.

Diverted momentarily by seeing someone walk into my front bit of garden, I happened to be downstairs and as I opened the door, I discovered it was an oriental woman who was about to relieve herself. I invited her to do this elsewhere. Also drug dealers in the Twitten: all businesslike short walks with a punter and a discreet plastic sealable plastic bag handed across, then they go their separate ways at a smart pace.

Lorraine called around tonight and slugging on the sofa eating a quorn based chili with her was rather cheering.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Letter fretting

Today writing to an agent, and the afternoon writing to a publisher. Fretting over these letters and rewriting them, and the synopsis. A feeling of anxiety in my stomach as I do it. Mustn't screw it up.

Off to the gym at lunchtime and then back to fretting at my desk. Arranging to go up to London on Thursday for a general schmooze. Also had a chat with mum who is being kept awake by the unspeakable Salty cat.

A slightly miserable Lorraine called this evening: a horrid day at work, her house buying chain has hit a snag, as her buyer is being forced to back out.

I however had a happy evening chatting with Anton, who not only cooked some excellent peasant-style pasta but played music from bands beginning with T. He also made me look at some hi-fi magazines: it is a different and scary world. One which Anton has contributed to by writing into their fractious letters page to ask advice about speakers. Typically however he did not agree with their advice and so ignored them.

We ended the night on a nostalgia trip listening to an LP called Cak made by comedian Alexei Sayle in 1982. Funny how swearing can in some comedian's work be dire rubbish and in others like Sayle, can be fantastic. I like a good swear once in a while myself, and greatly enjoy excellent swearing.

Home to a happy note from Richard, who has had three poems accepted by Pennine Ink magazine, and enclosed a picture of himself reading and Jane at the Fermain Tavern in Guernsey.

Below Richard in Bard of Guernsey mode, and Jane as Queen of Slam.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Roll up!

Up at seven at Lorriane's house. Lorraine drove Beth and the million sellable things down to the car boot sale in the carpark of local college Beth and Mark go to. Mark and I, in slightly comedic manner, carried a trestle table down the streets to meet them there later.

As soon as we started piling the objects out, we were swooped on by pushy traders trying to offer us next to nothing for jewellery. These were rebuffed. I found myself quite getting into the whole thing and bantering with the punters. Beth and Mark donned caps and got straight into character. A fair amount of money was made, but buying the obligatory bacon sarnies and tea in polystyrene cups cut into this somewhat.

A fair amount of people and it's a good way to chat to people of all kinds. Although it does mean you are unable to escape if mad people start talking to you.

I popped home briefly to feed Calliope and discovered a photocopied anonymous note saying there had been wildness and rampaging drunken homeless people in the twitten last night, one of whom had tried to scale a neighbour's wall. A meeting of twitten Denizens is called for.

Back to finish off, pack up and haul the table back up the hill with Mark. Then we drove Beth into Morrisons where she has a part time job, and got some shopping. Lorraine then dropped me home and I spent the rest of the day pottering harmlessly feeling surprisingly worn out.

Below Beth and Mark being market traders.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Avoiding the wildebeest of temptation

A phone call from my old school friend Shaila today. Lots to catch up on, and we'll see each other soon.

Otherwise a mooching around with Lorraine day, including walking into town to look at the food festival, which was thronging with people in the sun, sending enticing food smells around the lanes. We resisted the temptation to gorge like a jackals on a fallen wildebeest and instead went for a coffee. Lorraine is a good person to talk to when you need to clarify and structure things. So I handily clarified and structured my next couple of months with her over a large cappuccino.

Into the Jubilee Library, of which Brighton is so proud. The only problem, and this a bit of a thorny one, is that it has few books. Managed to borrow a one about cartoons however.

Then off to Lorraine's house. Mark, Beth's boyfriend and I spent much of the evening helping her clear out her loft, and carry things up and down stairs. Left me reflecting that since Monday I have had a long cross country walk, three fairly mild mannered gym sessions, and box carrying. This all helping me to lose weight, which I have done since returning from the new world.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Woke up this mornin'...

...And finished my books. Having counted every bean and travel card, and tidied and organised every file and folder I have, I sent the spreadsheets into cyberspace and Seana my glamourous accountant.

I think of this process as accessing my inner Romy, although the actual Romy resists this notion. The figures tell me I need to bend the Kenny will towards spilling more doubloons into my coffers over the next few months, but that also I may have put aside more money for tax than I needed to, which could be nice.

When Lorraine came around in the evening we simply went to a couple of pubs and had a drink. Ending up in one around the corner from me, where a blues band called Smokestack were playing rather well. Beer and the blues and Lorraine were a fine antidote to the week of spreadsheets.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Bored by books

It's an incentive, when shuffling about through receipts and computer files, to realise if you can find legitimate expenses these will lessen the amount of tax to pay. There is also some small part of me that quite likes the feeling you get after you've finished. It must be how organised people feel all the time: tidy and clear in the head. So if somebody asks me how much I spent on an Ikea office chair I can supply them with an answer. Pow! And the invoice number too.

They don't call it taxing for nothing, however, and by the afternoon vacuuming had become an attractive displacement activity. Also went to the gym, although feeling slightly underpowered today.

Randolph, my new American playwright friend, called around in the afternoon sporting a hat. We mooched off to Starbucks for a chat over a large latte. Randolph - being a Republican and a tad to the right of Genghis Khan - is a bracing change from the lily livered liberals I tend to consort with. He loathes state intervention in people's lives and would, in one of his more mild mannered interventions, ban the Arts Council.

Home to eat couscous (which is the new PK food) and prawns (shared with a pleading Calliope). Then settled down on the gold sofa to watch England qualify for the world cup finals by spanking the troublesome Croats 5-1 at Wembley. England's latest coach, is an Italian called Capello. Enigmatic and slightly aloof, after the game he moved among his players, shaking hands but few of them met his eyes apart from John Terry the captain. I think Capello may be rather big and clever.

Trying to decide what to do about the giant moth Calliope brought in the other night. It managed to break free of her and now resides high on the wall, where it seems not to have moved in 24 hours. The savage weasel sits under it sometimes waiting for her moment.

Today's date of 9/9/09 apparently led to many weddings of police, ambulance and fire people, as 999 is the number for emergency services in the UK, and so easy for people to remember when it comes to anniversaries.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

No accounting for it

All about the money today. In the morning spent several hours getting to grips with my accounts and entering things gingerly into excel spreadsheets. In the afternoon spent some hours on emails and phone calls managed I think to secure payment of the money owed me. In desperation I resorted to calling my pal Al, who went across and scowled at the relevant parties, which seems to have worked. Bless her.

Other than this a busy lunchtime zooming on various missions. Also made time to go to the gym for Hulk legs session, didn't quite have the same sensation of wearing a fatsuit like I did even last Friday. Still some way to go yet.

Lorraine around this evening as Beth was using her house to throw a dinner party with Mark. She was mad keen to go to the Batty so we sat outside in the back garden for a slow pint. Feeling quite pleased with myself for dealing with not lovely things.

Watched the Mercury Prize this evening, which is a chin stroking music award for the best album of the year. Won by a almost unknown lady called Speech Debelle. I had downloaded one of her tracks a couple of months ago, which I quite like in a hip hop meets acid jazz retro way. There was also a group in the shortlist called The Invisible, however, who seem to be rather good. Television can be so educational sometimes.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A stolen day

Up early this morning, pausing only to dispose of a pigeon wing and a bit of gore that the evil weasel Calliope had dragged in through the catflap. Tried not to think of how she had done this before she had run upstairs to rub her face on mine.

Anton called for me and we joined the commuters at the station. However we were donned in walking garb, and chose the path less travelled by, and got off at Three Bridges. From here we got a bus to Ashdown Forest, inspiration for Winnie the Pooh. It was a perfect day, with bright sun and a blue sky. Being a forest walk, much of it was under the canopy, which I love. Anton Pigleting about happily as we mooched on.

Up to the top of the hill where be joined what Anton said was an old Roman Road. Both of us were hot from walking uphill for a couple of miles. Anton, unzipped two vents in his new designer trousers, this was apparently quite cooling. Through the vents it was possible to glimpse what appeared to be fishnet tights, but this proved to be netting.

To Gill's Lap, where there is a brass plaque to Milne and Shephard who illustrated the Pooh stories. What an amazing achievement to have created characters so loved by children around the world. And then a long march downhill to the Pooh Bridge, where Anton insisted on a game of Pooh sticks. He went into the trees and came back with a sturdy branch which he broke in two. I won the pooh sticks competition. Downstream was strewn with hundreds of twigs and branches from people doing the same.

Then to a pretty village called Hartfield. Here there were two fine pubs, including the Anchor where we had a couple of beers. We'd only walked about eight miles, but a month or so ago, walking for eight yards was a challenge, so all good.

Just a fantastic glad to be alive experience and a lovely day. Home again, via bus and train. Had fast but refreshing drink in the Battle of Trafalgar before heading for home and an early evening shower and snooze.

Below at Gill's Lap, heather and gorse, Pooh Bridge, and our sticks floating downstream

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A quiet day with Lorraine and red phantom tetras

Up to do some more referencing work on the horrible cardiac arrest material my client gave me on Friday afternoon. Finished what I could and sent it back. Calliope sleeping on my desk as I worked.

After, Lorraine drove me off to my favourite shop: the tropical fish shop. Here I bought I bought some red phantom tetras and two more red platies. My tank and its inmates are all thriving, despite one of the little fish wedging itself in a fold in the plastic bag. After this vital fish business, a walk by the sea with Lorraine, and we sat for an hour of sunny fresh air, discussing how empowered and positive she feels about about her moving house, which was great to hear.

A quiet night in channel surfing between a programme about cats, and another about WW2 Atlantic convoys. And so to bed. Not before reading a note from Joan. There has been more gaming at Deviation.

Below cat and mouse, The Starfarers of Catan about their business: Toby Romy and Ethan.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Beatling about

Sprang up at the ridiculously late 11 o'clock, and roused Lorraine and Bob. Event he cat was quiet. I made us breakfast and gave Bob a book of Haiku for his birthday before he left. Lorraine and I spent the afternoon pootling about clearing a shed prior to her house move, and to harvest her crop of tomatoes from her back garden. Later Lorraine made a yummy curry containing just-picked tomatoes.

Evening given over to returning to the gold sofa to watching TV about the Beatles, including The Beatles: the first US Visit, a documentary made in 1964 about their first trip to the USA. Must have been an incredible for the lads, and a sense of unreality about what has happening pervaded the film. The Beatles looking like they could not believe their luck. Loads of hangers on too, just standing about looking bemused.

The lovable mop tops are among my clearest memories of the sixties, along with Tamla Motown, and the jazz and classical records Mum played. I remember going to sleep singing early Beatles songs when I lived in Neasden, and watching the news report in 1970 when they had broken up.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Carl returns to his homeland

Friday. Sprang out from bed having slept well and set to work. At lunch sloped off to the gym for the first time in ages, and gingerly did a bit of the hulk legs machine and the treadmill. Utterly hideous job given me this afternoon, to do referencing on material about heart attacks.

Once I'd had enough of this up to the Smoke to meet Carl and Bob. Met Carl with Jayne and Ellie, and the old Mad dog at Euston. Spent a couple of hours chatting with Jayne and Ellie, whose twelfth birthday it was today. I was particularly pleased to find that Ellie is a delightful, funny and intelligent girl. I'd not seen her since she was a little thing.

Then Carl and Bob and I sloped off to have a few beers and shoot the breeze. Carl pacing happily into his childhood turf south of Euston. Really great night, and just like old times. Pleased to see Carl looking well and in good shape, Bob a little frazzled as it was his birthday this week and his workmates had taken him out the night before. As tradition dictates we had a random curry and Bob and I caught a taxi to Victoria station. I wish we could all meet up like this more often.

Cab driven by a fop so we arrived just in time to miss the train and had to wait till 1.00am to catch the next one. Bob and I talking to a lady who worked in HR in a casino on the way home.

Arrived to find Lorriane fast asleep on the sofa at 2.30.
Below Jayne, Carl and Ellie.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Whirring mind

Bad night. Slept soundly till 2.30am, then lay awake till 6:30, mind whirring with things I need to do. Spent much of the day dog tired, and cross referencing three documents at a time and adding complex footnotes and references. Torture for a befuddled mind.

Looking forward to seeing Carl and Bob tomorrow night. And the weekend beyond.

I have lots of interesting correspondence to catch up on too, such as with Edward Chaney, the literary heir of GB Edwards who the lovely Jane Mosse put me in touch with, and with Mindy who has taken excellently to writing. Thanks to Mindy there is also the opportunity to write a short Skelton Yawngrave piece to be professionally recorded for a new children's website. Richard has been sending me some excellent poems about Guernsey too. So slightly straining at the leash while slaving on arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis today.

Had a note from my old pal Mick Ginty who has "recently upgraded" his girfriend Lucy to a fiancee and they are to be married in November. This good news as Mick is a lovely man.

Otherwise trying to catch up on this blog. Blogger suddenly is loading all my photos sideways, so there are still many to come if I can sort this out.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Two birthdays

Argh. Have had to start work on blinking arthritis stuff again within a day of touching down, all very complicated stuff that pushes the jetlagged brain to the limit. No time to properly update blog. (Still lots of photos and American and Canadian adventures to be added.) No time to do the 101 things that need to be done.

Both Bob and Anton's birthday today. I spoke to Bob and shall be seeing the old Mad dog on Friday with Carl for our first drink together for a gazillion years. Anton, meanwhile, called around for me at five and we met up with Anna and the bairns and had food at Wagamamas. Klaudia and Oskar with odd haircuts, as Klaudia has been going through an unauthorised hair cutting craze. My godchildren on lively form and scooting about on their scooters, dropping things into my glass of beer and so on. Had a cheeky beer with Anton as we walked home, and then returned to Anton's house for coffee and to listen to the new hand made Japanese pickup on his stereo, which arrived in an immaculate small wooden box without instructions.

Lorraine arrived, she and Anna in deep conversation about houses. Then down the hill to watch a little TV before sliding happily into bed.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Back to work. Lots of complicated cross referencing copy. Brain scrambled and blank in hours. Bah.