Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More monkish business

Working hard and surprisingly fluently on the A Guernsey Double poems, much to my relief. Started two new ones today. One about David my grandfather, the other about fishing. Working in a focused, productive way. Some good ideas. Shortly to start a final cold eyed, sneering edit, willing to murder my darlings and slashing any remaining dead wood. Part of me really looking forward to this bit.

In the evening off to the Basketmakers to meet Lorraine and her work pal also called Lorraine. Gary, Lorraine's ex-husband at the bar on the other side of the pub.

Lorraine's friend Lorraine used to live in Mrs Thatcher's Finchley constituency. Much to Lorraine's disgust her non-political mother proudly displayed a photograph of herself meeting Mrs T in the living room for some time, appalling Lorraine and all right-thinking visitors.

Below Joan sent me a nice photo of interspecies cooperation. Nico the dog being cleaned by Baxter after a walk in misty rain. Baxter started at the tail apparently and worked up. Ah for a quick walk in those Ontario woods... I might pass on the post walk cat licks though.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monk's vegetables

Up at seven and on with A Guernsey Double. The second glasshouse poem going well. Also practicing my lines for This concert. Calliope unimpressed, and generally fractious because of rain. Under an umbrella, headed off to my usual cafe and worked there, drying out, and sipping Americanos for a couple of hours. Then a stroll to the pier in sudden sun, the sea whipped up and the flags horizontal and snapping in the gale.

Spoke to Bob who was staying overnight in Oxford, and to Lorraine who called around to collect her keyboard to help her learn her alto parts. A monkish day. Looking forward to cooking a chicken all day, but when I retrieved it from the fridge it was really badly off, despite having only bought it a few days ago. Stir fried Quorn and vegetables again.

Below views from a windy pier. As ever, click them to enlarge.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back to school

Up early and working on poems today. Making progress on a companion piece to the Vineries one, about the ruined glasshouses still dotted about the island after the tomato industry died.

Into Stanford School this afternoon to meet Mark Rodericks and two of his colleagues to discuss Skelton Yawngrave in the school, and we arranged that I am going to do some work there in June, which should be fun. Mark is a really likeable guy and appears excellent at his job. Some interesting feedback from the teachers too who are reading Skelton. The test will be when 90 kids look at it, and I get their feedback. Yikes. Funny how easy it is to get quickly lost in a school, felt quite mazy as Mark walked me through it. He also told me they have a wartime bomb shelter in the grounds, and describing this makes for a great creative writing exercise for the kids.

Walked away in teeming rain, and down towards Sainsburys. I found myself near Lorraine's house, and as she was working from home, I popped in for a short while, before shopping and home in the still hosing it down rain to resume work. Watched the Chancellor and his shadows debating US presidential style on TV this evening. Nothing too startling, though George Osbourne, tory shadow chancellor, clearly a weasel.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Teeny popper

Up early hearing Lola bouncing about with Mindy in the next room. She really is a charming child, with only Calliope, whom she followed about the house remorselessly, having mixed feelings about her. Back for a coffee and a walk along the seafront before we returned home, and they left. Mindy is looking very well, despite having a recent breast cancer operation and other difficult relationship times -- but is looking forward to doing an MA and writing more.

Did some work on poems after they left, and later I was called by Matt who was drinking in the Tavern with Wayne and others. Arrived and was informed that there will be individual cupcakes for attendees of the concert. Lots of general banter, and it is a very friendly place. Good news is that Matt and Wayne are moving back to Brighton, about two minutes walk away from me. Also met Lorraine Bowen again, who is probably the funniest woman in Brighton, and her partner who is a likeable painter. She advised me to use a microphone in our venue as she's performed there several times.

Then to Lorraine's again, who fed Beth and I some lovely roast lamb. They'd had a visit from her ex-husbands family with whom she is on good terms, and the house was looking very tidy. I went home, and before bed watched Match of the Day, enjoying the seven big goals that Chelsea scored against upstarts Aston Villa, a rather satisfying way to complete a busy week.

Below the five year old Lola, after explaining to me she is going be a rockstar, got my guitar and began to pose with it. Too cute.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Yippee... Can't describe the feeling of Matt handing me the This concert will fall in love with you score, nicely bound with lots of music and my words in it. Even better we had our first choir rehearsal today in St Michael & All Angels where we'll be performing. Matt took the choir (which includes Lorraine singing alto) through two madrigals which will be in the first half, and then quickly through some of the new material. I've never heard my words sung before, and it was an amazing feeling. This was voice only, with Matt playing a few lines and chords on the piano, but it sounded absolutely gorgeous. I also began to try out my lines in the context of the choir. Felt great to be starting.

Mindy came to visit today, with her delightful daughter Lola. Good to see Mindy and meet the five year old Lola for the first time. Naturally we went down to the pier, and wandered among the tuppeny rollers, and high tech one armed bandits. Walked past a man and woman, with their little kid standing between them, who had plastic machine guns on their shoulders and were blowing away dozens of terrorist-style adversaries on a giant screen before them.

We repaired home after a go on the rather sedate merry go round, which Lola enjoyed. Once Lola in bed Mindy and I put the world to rights over a bottle of wine till I could hardly keep my eyes open.

Below my camera battery had mysteriously discharged, and my blackberry photos were rubbish. But here are two, um, impressions of Matt being conductorly. I have taken some stills on the movie camera, which I may use later.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tomatoes at dawn

Woke up at five AM with the lines of a new poem scrolling through my head. Dutifully got up and worked on it for three hours. Promising poem called The Vinery and perfect for A Guernsey Double. Just need another four or five of those in the next three weeks, and I'll be sorted.

Slumped back to bed at 8.00 for a quick doze, but Lorraine phoned twenty minutes later, so I simply got up and on with things. Very clear about what needs to be done now over the next few weeks. I have to finish and final edit the A Guernsey Double poems, and promote the This concert will fall in love with you concerts. This means not really doing much paid work in the next few weeks, so a spot of belt tightening is called for. But I really am very happy with the way things are going.

In the evening went around to Lorraine's new house and we popped around to her new local curry house, and had a couple of glasses of beer and some fiery food. And later sunk into Lorraine's new Tempur mattress. Perfect.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Back to Blighty today. Up early and said a fond farewell to Jane. After coffee, Richard and I stopped nearby and stood in the driving rain again, before clambering back into Richard's van with wet dogs, and driving off to the airport. Sad to say goodbye, but we both felt that we had accomplished a good deal.

Astounded in Guernsey Airport by the staff in the little cafe. Nobody there but it took twenty minutes to be served. All too soon hurtling into thick clouds and the pilot warning about bumpiness. Nervously quaffed a can of beer at the earliest opportunity, reflecting on what is now 50 years of turbulence hating. The trouble with these little prop planes is they do not climb above the clouds.

Home and into some French work. Thunder this afternoon, but the house still standing and Calliope and fish all smiling. Spoke to Mum, and worked on poems all evening, apart from when Lorraine came by to collect Beth's belongings. Spoke to Mindy who is coming this weekend, which will be nice.

And so to bed.

Below more rain around Bordeaux harbour, more damp poets. View from my window.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Poets in the rain

Up this morning and straight down to work with Richard, formatting the book. Stretching brainwork, but we got there in the end. We broke off to walk the dogs at Chouet Bay in the bright sun. Dogs trundling off across the sand covered in a thousand lumpy wormcasts.

Approaching lunchtime and we'd begun to get things sorted, and felt rather pleased with ourselves. Off to take some photos for the book cover. However as soon as this decision was made and, pausing only for some lunch at The Farmhouse behind the airport, we zoomed about the island photographing ourselves. This was far from satisfactory as I was having to set the shots up with a tripod, and then run into them. More galling still is the fact I looked like an utter scruff, made worse by the fact that Richard is poised elegance personified. Particularly enjoyed taking photos of him for his section of the book which is called The man who landed. He was dressed smartly carrying an old case, and was beginning to remind me of one of the angels from Wings of Desire.

Eventually the steady rain got the better of us and we went off for coffee at Costas. Then back home to another pleasant evening, chatting and drinking with Jane, who seems to be working far too hard. Jane suggested Richard and I read, and we read some poems too, and Jane read some aloud by a wonderful poet whose name I have forgotten about the premature death of her husband, which made Jane cry.

Rufus and Holly making me laugh. There are three rugs in the room, but they will sleep on them, but not walk over them, so they criss-cross across the floor to get to places.

Below me and Richard, wormcasts at Chouet, ourselves with La Gran'mère, and Richard in Wim Wenders mode.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wild chickens of the Vale

Up very early to complete my French work before setting off for Guernsey. Richard texted me on the Gatwick train to say that there had been fog and delays at Guernsey airport. But luckily there were no delays and few adventures in my journey, though the sky was full of cloud.

Found both Richard and Jane at departures. Jane had been fogbound overnight in Alderney and had only just arrived, and sadly had to go straight back to work. Richard and I headed for Hojos in St Peter Port for a snack and a glass of wine. The main thing to celebrate today was confirmation that the Guernsey Arts Commission is supporting our A Guernsey Double book. So, excitingly, A Guernsey Double will see the light of day very soon - possibly early May. This combined with an introduction by Edward Chaney, thanks to Jane, makes this a very positive and auspicious publication for us. A book with my name on its spine. Fantastic.

Home up to the Vale in the north of the island, and a walk around with Rufus and Holly the dogs. Nearby there are two pigs in a sty, and Richard lifted Rufus onto the wall (at his request) and he was bizarrely trembling at the site of them. Very odd. Then up for a walk around Vale Castle in the rain, and home via a flock of wild chickens that lives picturesquely nearby.

Richard and Jane do not have a TV, which is amazingly liberating. Richard smashed a full bottle of red win on the carpet minutes after Jane arrived. Once finally able to sit down and sip a glass, Jane unwound a little and eventually conjured an exquisite three courses including a version of bread and butter pudding. Much talk into the night.

All well in Guernsey.

Below wild chickens in the hedgerows, a view from Vale Castle of a mill the Nazis customized, and rocks near Bordeaux Harbour.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Monday

Joie de vivre bypass today. Perhaps this was due to another bad night, coughing like Johnny Keats. Groggy as Lorraine sprang off to work. A Peter Kenny day however... Or so I thought. Made some wee banners and so on for This Concert... Blogger refuses to upload my one (see left) properly.

Work for lovely French clients from lunch till night as they wanted delivery by the end of tomorrow. The Langedoc-Rousillon sounds fab in my ads, and much better to be thinking about Southern France than the usual ailment-based work I do.

Nightwork caused by the fact I will be zooming off to Guernsey at noon tomorrow to stay with Riccardo and Jane. To that end, I tumble dried my new Guernsey (on cold) after hand washing it. It seems to have shrunk. Sigh. Lorraine says it is because I tumble dried it.

Calliope has her suspicions, even though I haven't got my case out yet.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The slow methane rain

Feeling springy and lively for about an hour this morning, till a general exhaustion settled on me accompanying Lorraine to DIY stores and furniture places. Lorraine dropped me home and I curled up on my sofa, listened to the end of The Road, and slept fitfully feeling utterly washed out. Lorraine came around exhausted at the end of the day, and that was it.

Nice chat with Matty boy as he strode to freedom down Strand on the Green.

Taken by the new BBC series Wonders of the Solar System, and descriptions of Titan with its big slow-falling methane raindrops plopping into vast methane lakes. Really interesting show, with a very good presenter in Brian Cox.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A bat out of Balham

Up at Lorraine's and some steady pottering about helping her to sort things out. Found ourselves in a nearby greasy spoon having egg and bacon sandwiches, with cups of splosh and reading a tabloid. I went home to feed Calliope and then bought some food for Lorraine's house and we did some more sorting and carrying. Then I left Lorraine to it for a while.

Home and First Matie called around to drop off the tape recorder and have a cup of tea, also Alf the plumber came and fixed my shower, and relieved me of a wad of cash.

In the evening I shot up to Balham as it was Lakshmi's birthday with a present and a card. The train from Clapham to Balham full of noisy teenagers, and oldsters tutting at them. It was ever thus. A massive effort of will prevented me tutting along with them, being forced to listen to some tinny grime tune emanating from a mobile phone.

Rather pleased I was bearing a present, as Lakshmi gave me a PG Wodehouse book of short stories published in the year of my birth. Lakshmi happy and surrounded by her nice mates. Very noisy pub with people roaring at the TV as England and France were playing rugby. I was feeling rather flakey rather quickly so made my excuses. I had never been to Balham before but managed to bump into Gemma an ex-colleague. As we were standing before the TV at the time our conversation was brief.

Journey interminable, but I had The Road to listen to. Home, fed Calliope then off to Lorraine's house where I was fed with a nice cheese and tomato sandwich, then lay awake half the night, overtired listening to the strains of a nearby birthday party which had clearly got well out of hand.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Road to recovery

Yay! Able to eat again. Had French tourist board writing to do and so simply got on with it. I'm so lucky to work from home sometimes.

Once the French work complete, repaired to the gold sofa to listen to The Road by Cormack McCarthy. Wonderful book about a father and son wandering through an ashen post-Apocalyptic gloom, starved and scavenging, dodging the feral dregs of humanity. Makes me want to see the film too.

Fiddled about with facebook and made a page for This concert will fall in love with you. Also sent out an event page for the first night. Was feeling somewhat wussy and feverish when I did it so wasn't sure I was doing it right. All really exciting. First rehearsals of the singers will be at St Michael's church next Saturday. Will film this.

Off to Lorraine's this evening, and after a spot of bed assembling, we went with Beth to the local Indian restaurant, about a hundred yards away. Good news: it was crowded, cheery and the food was fine - despite the menu having pages of options.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bottoms up

Improved steadily today. A sudden craving for a salty bacon sandwitch. Wonderful.

Despite my best efforts to get out of it, wrote some French copy off and on with a cotton wool head. Suggested that I visit them to help with their briefing, after literally being asked to capture the sun and sea, history, culture, outdoor life, food, vinyards, watersports, great citybreaks, nature and wildlife of the Pays de la Loire in under fifteen words.

Dimly remembered my hospital appointment. En route, the taxi driver told me that he works for Thomsons Holidays and goes to various resorts to review them. He's off to Turkey next week.

After Mum's recent adventures, and the fact that colorectal cancer runs in the family I thought it prudent (as a hypochondriac) to initiate checks. The doctor inserted a finger followed by an arseoscope and announced himself unalarmed. I'm glad one of us was. Due to the family history, however, a camera will be sent where the sun doesn't shine in a few of weeks.

Got the bus back and walked through Brighton, enjoying being outside. Had the pleasant sensation of Brighton being my town, and the only other place I have felt like that about is Guernsey. Bought some miso soup which I was craving, and popped into the supermarket for catfood and melons, saying an awkward hello to Lorraine's ex-husband in the aisle. Ready for a nice sit down by the time I reached home.

Happily Mark at Stanford School has been in touch to reorganise. He is suggesting I go in there and talk to 90 kids about Skelton Yawngrave, and writing, and then they are all going to read and review it. Amazing!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sick as a dog

Feeling wretched, and as well as treacherous GI tract, very hot and full of cold. However managed to keep down rehydration sachets in water. Anton texted me about Chelsea being knocked out of the European cup, but called me later to remind me how much weight I would lose.

Had to call Stamford School to cancel my meeting about Skelton Yawngrave. Really annoyed about this. Also had to turn down two freelance offers. Bastards.

Lorraine came around in the evening. She bought me some melon pieces from M&S which I could eat. Calliope on best behavior and sitting very quietly with me all day, which is very unlike her. Watched a documentary on TV about Tourette Syndrome. Bed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Calling God on the great white telephone

The sun streaming through my window this morning. Decided to tidy my front bit of garden. I got talking to one of my friendly neighbours who wondered, quite politely, if Calliope had bitten his little black cat's tail so badly that it had to have stitches and it is now bald. Calliope, rolling on her back and jumping into the garden sack while we talked, admitted nothing. But earlier I seen her going for a ginger cat who strayed across her territory, flinging herself against the wall it was walking across with psychotic rage. So who knows.

In the afternoon had some French work to do.

In the evening Katie popped around to borrow a tape recorder for an interview she is doing. I walked her around to see Lorraine's new house, and then Lorraine, Kate, Beth and I went for a fast drink. I had about two sips of my beer and realised I wanted to vomit.

Rapidly home, walking First Matie to the station, and began bouts of vomiting and diarrhea which lasted till about 6.00am.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Into the old church hall

At last, the day of Lorraine moving arrived. I zoomed to her place for a little after 8.00 to join Lorraine, Beth and Mark and Pat and Maureen. Most things done, with even time to go down the road to the angelic Dawn's place to be fed bacon sarnies and cups of tea.

The moving guys quietly efficient. Lorraine untraumatised. Lorraine's cats untraumatised. My my main job of the day was to ensure the transport and survival of the fish, a mission which was surprisingly accomplished despite various delays.

Thanks to my BlackBerry did some work while waiting with Mark and Pat and Maureen in a cafe, for the tiresome woman to move out of Lorraine's home.

Then finally there! Lorraine's new home, a converted old church hall, which may once have been a nunnery. Characterful and interesting.

Exhausted pint and pub meal at the end of the day, in one of Lorraine's new locals. I sloped home to feed my Calliope and sleep. All good.

Below Beth and Lorraine, moving out.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Packing up

Packing at Lorraine's place all day, taping boxes and so on. Maureen and Pat working like Trojans. All stopped for roast chicken at five. Then I went home to do some work for my French client, so as to be free to help tomorrow.
Watched a DVD late at night of a series called Early Doors, which Anton had lent me. Each episode like a little play, and beautifully acted. Really good writing.

Below: Walking home speaking to Mum on the phone, and glimpsed The Isle of Wight from Dyke Road for the first time. It was an exceptionally clear day. The sky was beautiful.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Weekend spent finally packing Lorraine up. On Saturday, L and I moved three car loads full of bricks and paving slabs from her garden into mine, to replace my rotten decking. Exhausting carrying them up a flight of stairs and along the Twitten. Proper labouring work, like I used to do when I was a young Marxist poet.

Noticed the first daffodil in my front garden. Some years they have come out in January.

Pat and Maureen arrived in the afternoon, and we spent our time packing up at Lorraine's house. Late in the evening we went off to Glenda's 70s party in a pub in Worthing. I was dressed in shabbyish work clothes and everyone else in fancy dress. Alarmingly, Richard, young Mark's dad who was wearing a false afro and big flares and a tank top, and holding two bacardi and cokes, threatened to take me out for a real drink as I left.

Maureen making Lorraine and I laugh walking back to the car explaining that she liked to keep up with the world by reading the signs on vans, to see what people did.

All home to Lorraine's house, to sleep like a baby.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Art and Brains

No night terrors trained up to my dentist who is in Strand on the Green. I like my dentist. I feel so relaxed with her that I almost fell asleep as she did her scrape 'n' polish. Soon free to amble about old haunts in Chiswick before tubing to meet Mum and Mase at Sloane Square.

The Oriel where we'd traditionally met has closed after 25 years. After a spot of wandering about dodging the rain in deep shock, we settled on downstairs in the Royal Court Theatre where we had a restorative drink and a snack before catching the free minbus off to the Affordable Art Fair.

Here Mason went off to trap people at the stands, and Mum and I sloped about looking at the art. As ever there are a few interesting bits and pieces, and a lot of tiresomely predictable stuff. However there was a little print I'd seen last year, which had returned. I got an etched print 99/100 called In the Deep Midwinter, by Morna Rhys. Mum bought it for me as an early birthday present, which considering my birthday is over six months away is pretty good going. Mum also networking with Linda Blackstone.

We walked about a bit more before crushing back into the minbus and parting on the train at Victoria. Home to a quick drink with Lorraine in the Great Eastern pub. Had two rather nice pints of Brain's SA and texted my old pal Simon who used to tell me about this legendary "Skull Attack" beer when we were students. Then we had a takeaway Chinese and boofed onto the sofa.

Below the Rhys phys, and a snap of Strand on the Green and my old local the Bull's Head by the railway bridge where Matty boy now lives.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Woke up in the night drenched in sweat having some sort of weird 4.00am night terrors. Got up and found my iPod and listened to a soothing meditation tape and eventually fell back to sleep. Woke up five minutes before my train was due to leave. Annoyingly this meant I had also missed my dentist appointment. Dragged sorry self up to town and into Pat and the FB's agency where I did half a day, finishing off the premature ejaculation copy and my short stint with them. Enjoyed working there.

Walking back through London afterwards listening to The Night Watch, not far from where some of the book is set.

Home feeling fairly tired and with too much on my plate, despite only having worked half a day today. In the evening up to babysit my Godchildren, and give Anna and Anton an evening out. Oskar had his own night terrors, and I found him standing howling in the middle of their bedroom. But fortunately he timed this a few seconds before Anna and Anton let themselves in downstairs.

Greatfully home, after a short chat with Anton.

Below drawn to this today. It has a message for me ;-)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Web-site slogging

Woke at an infernal 5.00pm this morning in a cold sweat. The cat delighted of course and kept putting her face in mine and making quizzical noises. Eventually I got up at 6:30. Up to London again for another day writing a website about premature ejaculation. Pretty much a hard slog all day.

Walked back through London taking a couple of night snaps, while listening to The Night Watch, which I have now almost finished. Home approaching nine. A bite to eat and thinking of beddy-byes.

Below the fountain in Russell Square. Particularly pleased with the blurry ghost figure in the background. And outside the British Museum. It was putting me in mind of de Chirico as I was walking past it, brightly lit and empty.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Dark flow

Brighton today. Lots of bits and pieces to be getting on with, but dogged by a black gloom. Produced images for This Concert and had email chats with Richard about A Guernsey Double. Popped out this afternoon for some air and to work on my poems in the magic cafe. Discovered I hadn't packed the poems though, and as I did this bumped into Di Turner and we ended up having a quick coffee.

Rather worn thin tonight. Watched space programmes, and in the process learned a little about dark matter and dark flow, the surges of nothingness that are filling the multiverse from a Horizon documentary, and about the unlikeliness of finding life from The Sky at Night, still hosted by the near immortal Patrick Moore after 53 years - apparently the world's longest stint as a host of a TV show.

Below Patrick Moore.

Monday, March 08, 2010

A happy Monday

Lorraine has exchanged! She is finally moving house next Monday. Thank God.

Walking through Russell Square in the sun this morning, and there was a man outside the cafe wrapped up and enjoying a coffee. For some reason he reminded me of Mase, and within a minute Mase, who is not usually in the habit of calling me at 9:30am, was on the phone discussing art show tickets. Funny how often we unconsciously summon one another, and how matter-of-factly this phenomenon is treated.

Up to the smoke again to work on premature ejaculation. After a brief photoshoot Pat forced me me into where I was photographed pushing a wall and embracing a slim lady, there is a slim chance I will be the face of premature ejaculation in Europe. The FB reminded me that he had to be the face of erectile dysfunction for 5 years (on a site that we'd created) so it was only fair.

A frightening call from the bank at lunchtime. Apparently I had an overdraft of 3K, which was news to me. Hurried back to the office to discover that instead of transferring a thousand and a half into my current account a few weeks ago, I simply transferred a thousand and a half from my current account. My two main account numbers are very similar. Quickly sorted. Amazing how quickly the "helpful banking people" turns on you after 20 years of being Mr Sensible. Not Captain Sensible of course, that's an entirely different matter.

Impressed today by how the FB and Pat have created an agency which is exactly like an agency but with all the backstabbing horrorshow insincerity bits mysteriously absent. It is a pleasure to freelance there, among many old chums too. Went for a fast and very cheery beer with The FB afterwards and told him as much. He's done an admirable job of turning the agency around, and being a leader that people positively want to work for. When he is not being annoying (e.g. glancing at the snaps taken of me earlier and enquiring if they were for St Mungo' s homeless charity) there is much to admire about The FB.

Home feeling happy. Another day's premature ejaculation work with this agency on Wednesday. And lots of PK stuff to get on with tomorrow. Lorraine happy, will be seeing Mum and Mase on Friday, babysitting for Anna and Anton on Thursday. All good in PK land.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


A slow start, then with Lorraine's help cleared stuff from my back yard. Calliope springing about and getting under people's feet as much as possible, then yowling horribly as we drove off to the recycling plant where cars go to poo. "Rotten decking mate?" "Over there mate." etc. A beautiful sunny day though. The recycling place has a great view of the sea and seems to be surrounded by grass and teasels. Lorraine is such a nice person that even going to the recycling plant is quite fun.

Late afternoon watched Chelsea beat Stoke on TV while doing a roast as poor Lorraine worked and raged at her laptop until food came. She escaped into Lark Rise to Candleford before heading home feeling apprehensive about next week having already recycled her hopes about moving so many times.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Pizza and spreadsheets

Sorted house bastardishness today. Bought a new toilet seat (a bog standard white one) and solved the intermittent light business in the kitchen. As I started fiddling with wiring, Lorraine suggested I simply change the bulb. Annoyingly this worked, so much for these everlasting green light bulbs.

Lorraine and I met Matt and his pal John for a beer in the Basketmakers this afternoon. I arrived carrying a toilet seat and a small spreadsheet for the things that needed doing.In the event that This concert will fall in love with you goes global, there should be some sort of plaque in the Basketmakers as many decisions have been made there. One of these is that Lorraine is going to sing in our concert. Sam arrived a bit later and a cheeky afternoon beers were quaffed by us all. Interested to hear some of Matt's opinions on my hero Brian Eno. Matt thinks that Erik Satie invented ambient music.

In the evening up the road for one of Anton's delicious pizza nights. I gorged on pizzas and chatted with him and Anna for some time listening to Tru Thoughts music. Eventually Anton and I snuck away from the ladies to have a go on the Mario Wii carts. Rolled down the hill full of food into a starbright, frosty night.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Flags in the sun

Back up to London today. Still feeling a ropey. However I enjoyed the train ride through the frosty fields. At Victoria I decided to treat myself to a cab to Tavistock Square. A bright morning and the cab took me past Buckingham Palace down the Mall, decked down its length by huge Union and South African Flags for President Jacob Zuma's state visit. The cab twisted round Trafalgar Square, then later by the side of The British Museum. In the winter sun London looks very grand.

Once in the office back to the premature ejaculation coalface, rewriting a website about the condition kept me occupied for the day. Ade, a visualiser I've worked with may times was at the agency. Walked back through London in the evening. I'd had to turn some work down this afternoon too, as I am back at this agency next week. All of which is contributing to feeling more optimistic about the wolf/door interface issue.

Home and a quick unwinding drink with Lorraine in the Batty, before boofing gratefully onto the gold sofa. Poor Lorraine almost completed her house sale today. Maybe Monday. I'd said a week or so ago that she had completed already, but this was a PK misreport. But she has got herself into a more philosophical mindset now.

My house is being a bastard. First the toilet seat broke for no good reason. Then the recently installed shower has started to drip again, and the light in the kitchen has stopped working though it worked again intermittently when I wriggled the housing. I sense the celestial cash siphon is nosing back into the Twitten. Bah.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Back to school

Had a happy afternoon meeting at Downs Junior school with two teachers called Lesley and Cara. We sat on children's chairs discussing me taking Skelly into school for a couple of sessions in April. Is it just me or are teachers hugely better than they used to be? All the ones I have met lately seem really professional compared to the gin soaked rabble who taught me back in 1816. Happened to walk past London Road station as a train arrived, so I was home in five minutes too.

Reuben told me later that Downs was his Alma Mater. Otherwise worked briefly and effectively on poems, admin, when not feeling exceedingly run down and hypochondriacal.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Jumping the gun

Coughed like a docker all night, so with an absence of brio I set off to London. But a walk from Embankment station to Tavistock Square soon perked me up. Part of me loves Central London especially in the morning. Had to flinch past the fountain in Russell Square as a huge flock of pigeons sped at head height at me. Odd sensation of having my head among the wingbeats of a speeding flock of birds.

A fascinating day's work. I was asked to write a fictional account of a man experiencing premature ejaculation (PE). Now that's what I call a proper freelance gig. Mercifully this is not a condition I know too much about, so had a quite detailed briefing from former close colleagues Lucy and Catherine. Apparently it is a condition that can be treated these days. This punctuated by an enjoyable gossipy lunch with Pat in a local boozer, where I had sparkling water and a slice of unusually gourmet Welsh Rarebit.

Walked back through London and then trained home without incident. A quiet night with fish and chips, and an England international football game on TV, where the crowd were booing poor John Terry, and a chat to Lorraine. And so to bed.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Chugging along

Received an invite to meet some teachers at Downs junior school this Thursday to discuss Skelton sessions in school, which I am chuffed about.

For a glimpse at the dark underbelly that is my daywork, the Pfizer life site wot I rote a year or so ago (and had to find references for everything) is finally up. Naturally nobody mentioned it to the hack that wrote it.

In the afternoon to the magic cafe to continue working on my poetry manuscript. Spoke to Matt later who wanted to discuss the end of the This concert piece. Watched the BBC programme Coast which featured the Channel Islands, and briefly Jason Monahan who I met last year talking on Alderney talking about booty from an Elizabethan shipwreck.

Lorraine popped around for ten minutes having found herself at Brighton Station. Talked to Mum and Mase who had just returned from the West End having seen Jersey Boys about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, a present from Toby and Romy. They loved it. Mason quite moved by it apparently.

London tomorrow, so an early night is called for.

Monday, March 01, 2010

BlackBerry and Brass Bands

An admin morning. Good to be able to do some billing. Had a good laugh with Carl at lunchtime who is recovering from having his gall bladder removed, but otherwise was his usual funny self.

Lorraine going through more house torments. It's horrible not being able to help much.

After lunch slipped off to the barbers, as my hairs have reached the state where children point and laugh. The barbers empty so I got a good cut. Bumped into Steve Wrigley my old next door neighbour there. He is a leading light of the Brighton Beach Boys, and we talked about meeting up. They are doing their usual mash up of Sgt. Pepper and Pet Sounds for the festival, and this year I actually want to see it.

A short walk afterwards, and then a focused poetry session for an hour or so in my magic cafe, but worked on them till I decided all the poems that were going into the Guernsey Double were tripe. Always a good moment to stop.

Went to upgrade my phone, which I'd had for ages and came away with a BlackBerry at no extra charge. Always felt jealous of people important enough to have CrackBerrys, and now I'm one of them. Naturally all the people I was jealous of are now on the iPhone but so it goes.

Out this evening with Anton to the Eddy, and a couple of other pubs. First time we'd been for a cheeky beer in ages.. He brought around an LP called Rock with the Hot 8 Brass Band released by Brighton's TruThoughts label. They are an exuberant 12 piece brass band from New Orleans who play funky mad tunes, such as this one... A cover of Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing.