Saturday, October 31, 2009

This concert will fall in love with you

I wrote a strange pamphlet during a full moon a year and a half ago, called This book will fall in love with you. I sent this along with some other poems to Matthew Pollard (a good friend of Lorraine's) who is a composer and conductor. Turns out he wants to set some of this to music, and give it a few performance in the Brighton Fringe Festival next spring. We met in The Basketmakers this evening to discuss the project, and after an hour or so were joined by Lorraine. I'm very excited by the prospect of performing again, and this time with wonderful new music.

These conversations conducted amid Halloween revelries. This being Brighton, at least a third of the people you saw wandering about on the street or in the pub were dressed as ashen faced zombies, mummies, or had weapons protruding from skulls, or there were those who were just liberally splashed with fake blood. Only one person really caught my attention, before it was dark even. He was walking along down the street looking quiet normal except for his eyes, which vertical slits for pupils.

Being rather excited by our new project Matt and I and Lorraine had a couple more drinks, then dropped into the Brighton Tavern (again crawling with the undead). Bumped into Linda, who had put me in touch with the local publisher, Paul, who I hope to meet soon.

Earlier, I had been up the hill to Anton and Anna's house. Chatted with Anna who I hadn't seen for ages, and with Klaudia who showed me the witchy hat she was going to wear. Oskar sat on my lap, seized my nose, and asked me why it was so big.

Anton then drove, Oskar and I north to Balcome for a short walk in the country. It really was idyllic. Bright weather, with a hint of mist, and the colours of Autumn in full flush. We walked across a field down into boggy places crossed by a plank walkway, which Oskar enjoyed. Anton full of pride seeing his son, still only three and a half, striding off into the country with his walking stick and Tomas the Tank Engine rucksack. The bells of a church were being rung, and for at least half an hour the peals rolled down the hill past the oaks and the yew trees to us.

After Oskar got tired, we went for a quick drink in the Half Moon at Balcome, clearly a local pub for local people. Anton drove us home, out of the late sunshine, to the Brighton side of the downs which were cloudy and damp.

Below Klaudia, Oskar in the wild and with Anton.














Friday, October 30, 2009

Windbaggery

The best part of this week is that I have made a new friend in the form of Sean the art director. He is a very funny guy and we have been setting each other off during the week. However having got everyone happy with the neuropathic pain work by the morning, it was all, rather comically, blown out of the water by the new creative director last thing in the afternoon. Sean and I, however, have been asked back for next week to continue working on it. This at least means a few more doubloons in the Kenny coffers.

Home at eightish, and took myself to the pub to wait for Lorraine. Had a slow pint reading my recently purchased copy of the first edition of Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge. I wanted to discover any thinking that Richard and I can use. But Ancient Mariner aside, its poems really are tripe and onions. While I can appreciate his historical importance, The Prelude aside, I have always found Wordsworth to be a tiresome windbag.

Very tired this evening too, and repaired home shortly after Lorriane's arrival in the pub.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dive bomber

A poor night's sleep. Lorraine stayed overnight, and Calliope persisted in her new habit of dive bombing her. The cat leaps unexpectedly from the window sill or the headboard onto Lorraine's ribs while she is asleep. Lorraine increasingly cross.

Up to London. Reading Mervyn Peake on the train in the morning, and then simply looking out of the window Listening to minimal music. An arduous day, but okay. Worked through lunch and a little late with Sean, and had a few pleasant conversations with old colleagues. Home to fish and chips. Looking forward to the end of the week and getting started on PK stuff again for a week.

Below crow and river bed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

River vultures

Back up to Glamoursmith. Feeling oddly optimistic, despite the day being potentially a tricky one. But the work we are doing on neuropathic pain progressed quite well. I enjoyed talking to Sean who is a funny guy, and it turns out is working on a sitcom with his usual writing partner.

Initial booking was for two weeks, but it seems like it is just one now, with a possible second week in a weeks' time. This works out well for me however, as it means I can get on with the Anthology.

A short lunchtime mooch by the river. Even more cormorants today, gathering like river vultures. As I walked spoke to Lorraine and an uncharacteristically gloomy Betsy, who is working on an arduous and unrewarding job from home.

Finished Goodbye to all that today. Well worth a read if you are interested in WW1 or writers. Due to computer still being in limbo till new software arrives next week, I am have been unable to download any more books, so instead I am listening to a podcast about ancient egypt, while simultaneously achieving a record score on my brickbreaker phone game on the return journey.

Home and a tired Lorraine brought around a delicious curry in a tupperware container. Then we went out to meet Cath for a drink in the Batty, and began to discuss Lorraine's limboish house move. Nothing seems to be happening and her estate agent useless as, well, an estate agent.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Old paths

Off again to the smoke. Calliope yowling at me from the Twitten. Dragging myself unwillingly towards Glamoursmith, familiar walk through the graveyard. I'm getting on fine with Sean, although it is an odd situation. Being thrown together with someone you've never met, and tasked with coming up with lots of great ideas. But also quite fun too. I'm finding it tricky however being back in my old agency. Falling into familiar patterns, such as walking along the river path at lunchtime. I talked to Pat who was in Dundee for a football match, while I was looking at cormorants sunning themselves like little devils on the piles in the river.

Homeward train listening to the Robert Graves Goodbye to all that. Horribly fascinating, going from most of the book about the trenches, to postwar records of conversations with people like Sassoon, T.E. Lawrence, and even Thomas Hardy. Home and no nonsense business such as changing the water in the fishtank, with the cat paying great attention.

Below a cormorant on the Thames.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Not such a pain

Up to London to work at my old agency. My adage of ending well, standing me in good stead here. And I find myself doing some concepting work on neuropathic pain, which is pain without an obvious cause. Working with a freelance art director called Sean who lives in Birmingham. Quite a bit of snickering over concepts, and we got on pretty well. A pleasant enough day. Bumped briefly into Matty boy, worked through lunch with Sean.

Feeling excited about the prospect of my poems being set to music by Matt the composer. Be fascinated to see how this new project pans out.

Couldn't wait to get home, however. Listening to Robert Graves Goodbye to all that on the train, about his experiences in the trenches: a first hand account of how unbelievably stupid and badly organised the whole business was. Home to a clingy Calliope who after much purring and so on, went into bad behavior mode, crawling into all the bad places such as the cupboard under the aquarium, and doing all the bad things she could think of, such as shredding the toilet roll again to punish me for being away all day.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A sunny Sunday

A day without inflicting more boozes on the shrivelled raisins of my kidneys. Instead, Lorraine and I mooched about looking at embroidery thread, and books. I bought Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads to see if there were any tips I can pick up for my project with Richard in Guernsey, as well as shorter fictions by Mervyn Peake called a Boy in Darkness and other stories with an introduction by Sebastian Peake. Had a nice time lurking about by the sea, drinking a coffee people watching in the sun, flags horizontal in the strong wind.

Home and I cooked and Lorraine got busy on a weaving contraption, which caused her to swear somewhat and be very quiet.

Emails today... From Jane and from Richard, who is going to publicise the Anthology of Guernsey site tomorrow. And also a note from Matt suggesting we meet up to discuss a music and poetry project next week. All jolly good. Ended the day by watching Manchester United get beaten on Match of the Day. I thoughtfully texted Anton to let him know it was on, but he failed to reply.

Below: October sun.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Matty in the Batty, then ratty

A rainy an uninviting day. Went to Sainsbury's early, and returned to cook breakfast for myself and Lorraine. Matty called to say he was coming down to Brighton, and then to say he was in the Battle of Trafalgar. Met up with him, First Matie, Tash and her relatively new boyf Steve, and two friends of Matt called Matt and Jenny. Ended up having yet another rather boozy afternoon. After everyone had left to go to a party, Lorraine and I were possessed of the idea of having a curry, failing to persuade First Matie to join us, we grabbed a taxi.

Nice meal, but I banged my head on the ceiling of the toilets in our usual restaurant. This was followed about ten minutes later by an undignified altercation in the street after a man walked into me for absolutely no reason. I invited him to fuck off, and was told to pack it by some bouncers outside a nightclub.

Thus chastised Lorraine and I managed to make it home with no further adventures, and instead watched a fabulous edition of Later with Jools Holland. Guests including Smokey Robinson, and a strange band called Miike Snow who was splendid. Also Jack White's new band The Dead Weather, Yoko Ono, African musician Bassekou Kouyate and DJ duo Basement Jaxx. Just a fine show and mix of music.

To bed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cometh the hour, cometh the Manvinder

Decided to try to maintain equilibrium today. Did what work I could on my laptop, and in the afternoon Sam came by and tried a few fixes on my computer. He zips between windows and makes lightening fast decisions on things, incredibly quickly. Had a nice chat in between various strategies.

I ended up calling the Dell software helpline and actually got a rather efficient and helpful guy called Manvinder, who has reinstalled vista. I have decided to upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7, which supersedes the universally despised Vista. I noticed today on the Dell website that there were downgrades available - to change your Vista back to XP (the preceding system, which shows just how much it sucked). Meanwhile, Manvinder rather amazed when I asked him if he were Sikh. Always seems to surprise the helpline guys in India when you know anything about their country.

And on an even more positive note, I've got another call from my old agency to do some work on neuropathic pain over the next couple of weeks. This quite handy, as it keeps the wolf from the door, and pays for computer fiascoes. It means I will have to commute to London for the next couple of weeks. This gives me plenty of opportunity though to catch up with some old muckers. So all well.


Lorraine came by this evening. Had a Chinese takeaway after a cheeky glass of beer in the Caxton.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Infernal day

Hellish day spent trying to fix computer. Good news is that I have harvested all files, photos, tunes etc. from it. I also have an old trusty laptop. Bad news is that after 5 'helpline' conversations and reloading Vista (so inferior to XP it's not even funny) my computer is, technically speaking, utterly fucked, and I have no idea what to do about it. Initial crash sparked by a Windows update. After reloading vista, windows updates returned and crashed it even worse so that it can't even be turned on properly. Turns out my three year dell warranty only covers hardware, so fixing this is going to take some serious cash, which is badly timed.

After some eight hours of this futile soul sapping, I left home and met Lorraine for a couple of calming beers and some light Japanese food. This much the best part of the day.

Interestingly, I have also been in contact with Sebastian Peake, Mervyn Peake's son, who has kindly given me permission to use a photo of his father in Sark on my Anthology site.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Torment by PC

Dreamed about a poem I have been writing, which was weird, and in the dream the hidden symbolism of it was explained. Working hard all day on Anthology of Guernsey stuff, plus working on a couple of poems. However any progress I have made was offset by my desktop PC. There was an update waiting which needed a computer restart, which I kept postponing while I finished my work.

When I turned my computer again it will not start, and automatically closes down. It only works now in safe mode. Tried a million things to fix it. Bah. Watched footie on TV in the evening to try to forget.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A tourist in London

Up to London today for some sustained pottering. Met Keith for a cheeky beer at lunch in Glamoursmith and, later, armed with some birthday Waterstones tokens, went to the biggest bookshop in Europe (a Waterstones) on Piccadilly. Surprisingly predictable books, however. I had a mental list of books to buy, and only one was there: a collection of poems by Mervyn Peake, as not only is he a fascinating writer, he also lived in Sark for a few years. Enjoyed a coffee on the fifth floor, however, where I could log onto my crotchtop and enjoy the most expensive scone in history.

Found myself wandering about London. It seemed full of tourists today, and I was asked twice to take photos, one man who I think was from Brazil wanting a picture of himself with Nelson's column.

In the evening to Wimbledon to meet Marja and Sarah for a long overdue gossip, and was bought supper. Both have had some trying times lately. I came away feeling grateful for the course of my own life. From Wimbledon to East Croydon by tram, and then home at midnight.

Below the Landseer lions in Trafalgar Square, the Buxton Memorial to commemorate the emancipation of slaves, and a building seen from East Croydon station. Amazing what a bit of creative lighting can do.





Monday, October 19, 2009

Mindmaps and La Gran'mère

No-nonsense Monday, some rain and Calliope tetchy and causing trouble.

Covered several sheets of yellow (it must be yellow) paper with mind maps. Trying to get a helicopter view of my next steps in world domination. This took time but I have a clear new action plan.

To celebrate went to the gym. Later, working on a poem about La Gran'mère. Took this to the pub late in the evening and had a long slow pint and suddenly the poem began to fall into place. I was delighted.

Just as this happened Jen and Alex my next door neighbours, along with Alex's sister Charlotte, appeared, and they invited me to join them too. Really nice people.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

An old fashioned Sunday hangover

Up early due to the skewer someone had inserted in my skull overnight, and Shaila and I tottered up the hill to where she had parked her car, and drove about Brighton until we found a car park near the sparkling sea.

Crept back to eat quorn sausage sandwiches with Lorraine, and sup teas as Calliope gambolled about. After some time Shaila felt she could cope with the drive home, and after walking her to her car, and fond farewells, I cooked a curry while Lorraine watched the last episodes of BSG.

Lorraine went home to give some furniture to Graeme who is moving to Dorset. I shambled around later, to move a chest of draws and talk to each other in joined up sentences before ambling home again. Listening to Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves as an audiobook on the way home. His experiences at Charterhouse school sound utterly vile.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My birthday part two

Now into the second week of my birthday celebrations. First tidying up my house in a frenzy in the morning, helped by the ever lovely Lorraine. Then Mum and Mase arrived first and were momentarily traumatised because I was in the corner shop, and thought they'd got the wrong day. Then my old school friend Shaila necessitated dancing about on the streets outside the stations looking for a glamorous sparrowy thing in a BMW. As we left for the Sussex Yeoman, a few yards around the corner, bumped into First Matie too. At the pub met Janet and Ken, Anton and Brian. Had some pretty nice snap and the conversation started to flow nicely. Also had several more presents too: one of those waterbottles you can put into your rucksack and suck water out from like you were in Dune, from Anton and Anna. A plastic model kit of an FW190 from my Godchildren, a beautiful designer jug from Janet and Ken, and some salad forks, a bottle of Champagne and books on Buddhism from Hong Kong from Shaila, and the Cheeky Guide to Brighton from Brian.

Soon other pals started joining us. Lakshmi being the first, then we drifted across the road to the Battle of Trafalgar, another noble establishment moments from where I live, and I was joined by Cath, and Mark and Beth, and Dawn, who gave me a wee red notebook and pen, and Graeme and Reuben. There was not much of a plan other than simply drink and chat after lunch And luckily due to the niceness of the people involved I had a exceptionally good time sitting about shooting the breeze with friends.

Unaccountably, at about 11:30 I decided I had enough, and Shaila and I wandered out, to buy some chips and went home with Lorraine and ate some of them. I must then have gone to bed.

A wonderful day with great friends, following on last weekend's jaunt with Craig, Matty and First Matie and Lorraine in Guernsey, made me feel very fortunate indeed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crapauds!

Head down today, working today on a poem about La Gran'mère which I had started earlier in the year. Suddenly shaping up. Also doing more on the Anthology of Guernsey site. I asked Ken to translate a poem by George Métivier called Aux Crapauds, or To the Crapauds (Jerseymen). Crapauds means toads and is what Guernsey people call those hailing from Jersey. And he came back with a translation in a couple of hours. I've made a few tweaks to Ken's version and here it is...

To the Crapauds!

Greetings to our dear cousins, the honourable toads!
Slow you crawl, though are you any less beautiful?
Don’t your indulgent friends always flatter you?
Admire your great eyes ! they sparkle,
And your sodden clothes have an enchanting shiny sheen,
To delights the enlightened man, and seduce lovers.
And even when you’re gobbing, soul sublime and pure,
The naturalist will admire you as wildlife,
And haughty Jersey, the mother feeds you,
Balance in hand, weighs you; Ah! How she smiles!
With lightness of touch, one strokes St. Laurence's hands,
And the isle drinks itself silly in CHARLOTTE's honour.
What donkeys there are here ! What lovely loafers !
Long live the dance of the toads in CÆSAREA !


Took myself for coffee this afternoon to work on my own poem, and bumped into Janet. Watched Hung, an new HBO series on TV tonight. Seemed rather good.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bah

I lacked focus and application today. Despite being early to work on a good new poem inspired by my last trip to Guernsey, then a slightly sluggish gym session. Later more birthday cards from Carl and my Mum and Mase. Also the standard rejection for Skelton Yawngrave from an underling at Bloomsbury.

Spoke to Lorraine tonight, and she is working too hard and is overstretched. Also heard from my lovely French client that the work I did before the holiday had gone down well. Watched the movie What women want for about the fourth time today. A romcom with a concept. Being telepathic would be my superpower of choice I think.

Afterwards Calliope and I watching highlights of England versus Belarus, when someone kicked my door hard. I opened it up and saw two execrable youths sprinting away in fits of laughter at the end of the Twitten. They had thoughtfully urinated on my gate so I found I was standing in piss in my socks. Nice.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Up to the smoke for supper

Had an interesting conversation this morning with a micro publisher called Paul in Brighton, and we will meet up in a couple of weeks to discuss my various projects. He was very much of the opinion that a physical book is just one outlet, and that you should empower yourself. This is my philosophy too, but I dream of a time when I can just focus on the writing and not the hustling.

Bitty bits of work today, and answering lots of emails from people saying happy birthday. Also got cards from Paddy and Shaila, old school friends, which was nice. Spoke to Bob who has had pneumonia and is on antibiotics after his swine flu.

In the evening up to London to meet up with the folks from my old agency who I have been working with again lately. These include my pal Al and Helen who had been close colleagues. We met at Franco's just below Piccadilly. While it was good to catch up on the gossip with some old friends, I hated the restaurant. Unfriendly staff, pricey average grub. Al ended up in a tetchy debate over a dry and tasteless chocolate cake.

Walked back to Victoria, following the curved, barbed wired wall of Buckingham Palace grounds as I did so, while listening to School Food Punishment. Arrived home to Brighton at midnight having fiddled with a poem most of the way home on my crotchtop.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Five oh (my God)

Today was my 50th birthday. I am still mostly in denial about this. And as Carl once said, there's only one thing worse than denial, and that's De Amazon.

Lorraine and I met Matty and Kate at breakfast, where Lorraine gave me a lion headed door knocker, which is something I have wanted for ages. Then we off to St Peter Port. It was a fine morning, and I went into the library to get some information about George Métivier, "the Guernsey Burns", and then found myself popping around to the Pollet to buy myself a navy blue Guernsey sweater.

Matty drove us to Moulin Huet pottery where Kate made a purchase, then we walked down to the bay with its warm turquoise water, where I had a quick birthday paddle in the bay I love the most. Everyone seemed to revel in the sun and tranquility of the bay. Eventually it was time to leave, and after the puff uphill,there were fond farewells, and Matty drove Lorraine and I off to the airport.

It was a wonderful flight home (not a thing I often say). But the plane reaches only about 15,000ft on the flight back, and it was a bright clear day with wonderful views over the island as we climbed eastwards away over St Peter Port. Puffy white clouds over England, and London clear from the window as we headed into Gatwick.

Nice to be back and Calliope okay if a little subdued. Lorraine left for home, and I settled into a quiet night in enjoying some beans on toast, and not drinking.

Below Lorraine on the rocks, First Matie in the rocks, a wee hobbit sized Lorraine on the rocks again, and Matty and Kate above the bay.







Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Vazon wind

Cold and wintery today. After breakfast, five large people crammed into Kate's minute hire Ka and we set off to the Little Chapel.

Everyone liked this and there was a blaze of competitive photography. It is a tiny building, decorated with broken china. I noticed this time that when you are inside its unlit interior down in the lower part, that the little shafts of light make the china begin to look like a dim stained glass window.

From here we drove to the west coast, stopping for a cup of tea opposite the cup and saucer (Fort Grey) as Craig was on a mission to buy souvenier tea towels. Then driving along the coast until Vazon where we walked about in the wind and under dark skies, and it was fabulous. Few people around, and the flat sand dotted with torn away clumps of bladderwrack. Had a mental flashback to being a child running down to the sea with Toby (who always liked Vazon) holding a inflated lilo in the wind.

From there into town for a slow meal in the harbour, followed by a photoshoot up by the lighthouse.

Back to the hotel where Richard and Jane came round and we had a chat about my Guernsey Anthology project, while everyone sat about sipping coffee, and then wine, reading the paper and chipping in from time to time. Richard and I also discussed the two man collection Richard and I are putting together, which we have code named remora fish.

Then Craig had to go, which was sad. It had been great to see him, and he seemed to really respond to the island. Then a few drinks and a comparatively quiet evening in La Barbarie eating and drinking.

Below the back seat, Vazon Bay, and a boy fishing from the lighthouse.






















The Little Chapel







Saturday, October 10, 2009

The wishing pool

A large breakfast for five, and then out into the fresh air. First to La Gran'mère, and then into Samaurez Park for a farmer's market. I'd not been to Sausmarez Manor for years, and it was dotted with sculptures, and teeming with ducks and chickens.

From there I took everyone in a sceneic route to the wishing well, where everyone applied themselves to wishing business with commendable seriousness. And I emboldened by last night, said a few lines from an old poem of mine about making a wish in that very place. From there we followed the water lane down to the cliff path, from where we walked above the sparkling sea to Jerbourg.

Very happy that Craig and Matty, who'd never been to Guernsey, really liked it. Kate had been there once before. The weather became gorgeous and everything was colourful and with a faint touch of autumn in the rustiness of the cliff ferns. Eventually after scrambling over the cliffs we stopped at The Auberge for a delightful meal accompanied with several bottles of crisp white wine that Matty selected. All of us were on a high.

Off to town in the evening for more drinks, and then back to St Martins, and ending up in the Captains for some simple fare, and where I availed myself of a Pony Ale or two. Home through the dark lanes, and the milky way spread out in the sky. Craig, Matt and I were walking ahead and Craig floated the idea of scaring Lorraine and Kate, which Matty executed by roaring at them from a shadow. Some screaming.

Below La Gran'mère meets Craig, Matty makes a wish, Craig outside a bunker near Jerbourg, the walkers take a breather,










Friday, October 09, 2009

Enter three revellers

Mysterious foggy morning, and after a large La Barbarie breakfast Lorraine and I walked into the mist to the florist, then to my Grandparent's grave, then down to La Gran'mère to tell her I'd returned. A walk about in another misty autumnal graveyard around St Martin's parish church talking to poor Lorraine about mortality and death. Then we walked down to the sea at Moulin Huet and had a spot of meditation and suddenly felt less brooding.

Back to La Barbarie where we had a sandwich in the bar. Just then Matty and Katie walked into the bar. Now I have been in many bars in my life where Matty and Katie walking in is as natural as daylight. But this was in Guernsey and a complete surprise. My sparkling mineral water was swiftly replaced with a gin and tonic, and soon we were marching about on the cliffs again. After this home again, and a quick snooze. After a quick doze back to the bar to discover that Craig had come too. It was all a lovely suprise. And it is sinister how Katie and Lorraine worked together on this one.

Five of us into town by bus to meet Richard and Jane. Some wandering about in high heels (Kate) and the rain (all), before a few cheeky beers at the Albion repaired everyone's cheer. Thence to Christies restaurant to meet Richard and Jane. With Craig being a published poet too, that made four poets on one table. Lovely grub and a splendid mix of people. I found myself saying a poem too, which doesn't happen too often. But then it was about to be my birthday. Richard and Jane on good form, and moving the next day from their flood-damaged house to a temporary apartment.

Home late in a large taxi from St Peter Port. A glimpse of stars before bed.

Below La Gran'mère du Chimquière, misty graveyard, a postbox, high tide at Moulin Huet,














Thursday, October 08, 2009

Third time a charm

Fortunately the French Tourism work was quickly done and dusted this morning, which gave me time to pack in a relaxed way. Lorraine arrived shortly before we were to leave for the airport, only to disappear again as she had forgotten her passport.

Calliope following me into the Twitten and yowling before I went.

Lorraine and I off to Gatwick cutting it fine, but all well, and soon we we soon in an Auringy two engined prop en route to Guernsey. The Channel blanketed with cloud, and the plane's landing was a great thump as we were caught in a low gust of wind under the low cover.

Very happy to be back on the island again for the third time this year. And this time as a present from Lorraine for my impending 50th birthday.

We were at La Barbarie in no time. And we soon set off for a walk around Icart Point as the sun made last peach coloured splashes in the grey, and the colours were singing with a subdued grandeur.

Back the hotel for a nice pint of beer and some delicious food. It is the Island's Tennerfest, where you can get meals cheaply in good restaurants. Meltingly good pork belly tonight. A sense of all being right with the world. And long weekend to kick back in.

Below drab grandeur from Icart point. Below the head-like rocks I love so much, and various peachy bits of sky. Click the pics to make them bigger.













Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Fighting with my other girlfriend

Furious this morning. I'd slept badly and Calliope woke me by painfully inserting her claws into the sole of my foot. For some reason this filled me with instant savage rage. She hid under the bed, but I yanked her out and shook her like the worst kind of animal abuser, and booted her out of the room. I could hear her rushing up and down the stairs, and then shredding the toilet roll in the bathroom before going outside. Then she miaowed piteously and unceasingly in the rain, until with another roar of rage I had to bring her in and make peace. By then I was totally awake. It was 6:15.


So I got to work on French things for my French client. How much more enjoyable this work is that writing about ailments. All it does is make me want to go to France, rather than imagine I am picking at a smorgasbord of morbidities. On that note, I broke off to go to the quack who wanted to check my blood pressure, which even after waiting in the waiting room for an hour and having a slight fever was NORMAL: a splendid result, and partly to do with getting over my white coat syndrome.

A lovely note from Mark Ellis who is making the radio pilot show, and using Skelton Yawngrave as part of the mix: "Incidentally, I've been reading The Second Kind of Darkness to my two sons (aged 9 and 7) at bedtime, and they absolutely love it. We've just got to the bit where Skelton and Rick go underground together, and the suspense is almost unbearable for them!"
Good to know that real live nippers are enjoying it so much.

Anton called for me, and as we walked along the Twitten heading to the Eddy. Calliope followed us to the end, then yowled as we sloped away like some emotionally blackmailing girlfriend.

A few beers and a long chat with Anton, who was glowing with pride when he told me that he'd taken Oskar for a long walk the other day: their first. Like the idea of the three of us mooching over Sussex when he's a bit older.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Getting ready to steal (off to) Guernsey

As surely as a solitary magpie heralds disaster, a minor PK ailment heralds work. And so waking up feeling rather hot and lifeless, my lovely French client soon got in touch needing some concepts and a speedy turnaround. Good to squeeze in this smidge of work, also did a little more on the anthology of Guernsey site, uploading a excerpt from Folklore of Guernsey by Marie De Garis about the time when the fairies (from far-away England) invaded Guernsey.

Matthew the composer got in touch with some interesting comments on the poems I sent him. Looking forward to discussing things more over a beer, and learning about composition. There are some amazing snippets of his music on his website. And Mark Hill pointed me to this sample of the travel book he is working on.

Getting ready to hoof over to Guernsey with Lorraine on Thursday.

Also reading last night about the three Jerseymen who tried to steal Guernsey, by drunkenly roping their boat to rocks off St Martin's point near Jerbourg. “What a surprise all those Guerneymen are going to have tomorrow,” shouts a Jerseyman in glee. Possibly because of the cider they’d enjoyed, they all three dozed in the boat as the tide carried them homeward. In their dreams they were met by a great crowd of Jerseymen, and proudly handed over the island of Guernsey. Naturally it all comes to nothing, and the story serves only to illustrate the silliness of Jerseymen.

Monday, October 05, 2009

An indolent Monday

Listening this morning to recordings of radio versions of the Skelton story I sent to Mindy and her colleague Mark. These all quite good, and fascinating to hear how other people do his voice. They've both done it rather fruitily, which I wasn't expecting but works rather well.

Also spoke to Pat, still waiting for the result of the pitch we did last week.

Went to the gym at lunchtime, and trundled about a bit. But was hit by a freak tsunami of indolence this afternoon. This doesn't happen very often, so after a while I simply didn't fight it.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mark's party

Mark's 18th birthday party today. Off in the car with Lorraine and Sam to join in the fun. A very good afternoon with cake and quiche and boozes and a good deal of lurchy dancing. A real family affair, and it occurred to me that I have known none of these people for more than two years, but it felt very good.

Mark on very good form, having spent most of his adulthood acquainting himself with now-legal boozes. Being Mark, he and Beth did a variety of songs. Also some rambly speeches, and Mark and his brother David being very funny doing hobbit lines from The Lord of the Rings. The family are all rather short.

I gave Mark A Season in Hell, by Arthur Rimbaud which, curiously, he was rather pleased with. I am very fond of Mark, who rather reminds me of myself at that age if I had been able to sing really well. Also good to see Sam on one of his chatty days, having to fend off the attentions of many ladies.

At one point the song Things was played, which brought a tear to my eye reminding me of David my Grandfather. He used to play the song by Bobby Darin when I was a nipper, and it also brought back memories of watching him doing the twist in his front room in Guernsey. Then Lorraine drove me back to the Twitten rather well oiled, before she went home poor soul, to do some work.

Below Mark doing some species of dancing with Sam, Beth and Mark singing.



Saturday, October 03, 2009

Cylon loving


Frak me! Lorraine and I watched about six episodes of Battlestar Galactica today. This left precious little time for anything else other than going out shopping in Brighton for a couple of hours and having coffee somewhere.

Outside it is becoming autumnal and cool. The beach was denuded of police and politicians and sunbathers, and the sea looked like this:


Friday, October 02, 2009

A waxing moon

Wrote a short self-contained Skelton Yawngrave story this morning and sent this off to Mindy to record. It has Skelton going to the Natural History Museum and the staff thinking he was an escaped exhibit. In the afternoon did some cosmetic housecleaning and worked more on my Guernsey Anthology site, which is just beginning to take shape, and will soon be ready to unleash.

Otherwise feeling tetchy. It is a significant birthday this month, and so naturally I have not been able to let this happen without a drift into brooding about failure and underachievement. At times like this meditation helps, so I meditated and then continued working with the waxing moon in my window until Lorraine came.

Talking to Lorraine made things seem better, and halfway through a pint of beer in the Cricketers, the world seemed positively fine, and I recalled that I was fairly big and clever. Thence to the Agra where we were warmly welcome by Ash the owner. There was a good new chef too. Chatting afterwards Ash said he is thinking of refreshing his restaurant, I offered to help him with rebranding it, which could prove an interesting little case study.

Home and we stayed up late watching the first episode of the final season of the brilliant and paranoia inducing Battlestar Galactica on DVD. D'oh. Hooked again.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hard work, little progress

Spent all morning completing a short Skelton Yawngrave story for the radio pilot, only to discover that Mindy and I had got our wires crossed, and I'd written a story with a cliffhanger, and this was supposed to be a self-contained story for the pilot. The story I did write, however, is actually a prototype for the opening of the next novel, so not wasted time at all.

Received a standard rejection ("not right for our list") from an agent this evening. I have already sent it to another agent and publisher, so not too troubled by this, although naturally would have preferred some interest.

Otherwise worked on the Guernsey Anthology which is progressing at snail's pace, and went to the gym for some more mild mannered exercise. Got stir crazy in the evening and had a long chat with Lorraine, which helped and went to the Batty for a quick beer, which also helped.