Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back on track

Up at five this morning. Woke up with my head buzzing and so got up. Calliope surprised and pleased to see me at such an hour. A practical morning, doing one or two jobs that needed doing, shopping, haircut etc.

In the afternoon took myself on a slightly hobbly walk. I think I may have cartilage problems in my my left knee again. Now that the bank holiday is over, the weather is glorious. I went to the Meeting Place Cafe on the seafront, bought a coffee and some sparkling water and sat in the sun and began mind mapping. After an hour I felt much better about everything, and have made a clear set of priorities for myself and all my projects.

Home and began to get these underway. Matt dropped by bringing the music manuscript for Found, and the 'in praise of music' piece which he has sent off for the competition. He called it "And there's music". Had a drink with him, and talked about our next steps, and my need to get on with stuff, as I don't want to lose momentum. Both felt better after this discussion I think, and keen to get on with things. The long term plan is to produce a CD of This Concert, Found, And there's music, and the new piece on doubles.

A few drinks and then home. Spoke to Janet and Lorraine, before sliding into bed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to Brighton

More strange dreams: this time I was setting up an agency and firing the financial guy before we'd even started trading.

A beautiful morning. Fond farewells to John and Sue, who had been excellent hosts, and had not minded my narcolepsy. Then aboard Bexy (Lorraine's car) and pootled up the nearby fish hill, before making off into the wild blue yonder. Took a longer route back through the rolling big-skied openness of the Cotswolds. Enjoyable drive stopping off for a plate of ratparts at a KFC in a service station, after deciding the Bank Holiday crush in the Cotswold towns was too much. I haven't had a KFC in something like 10 years. I have had a curious craving for them lately, which is soon cured by actually eating them. I'm good for another 10 years. Otherwise listening to CDs and Radio four and keeping calm when Lorraine explained that Stevie Wonder's Innervisions was an average record.

Stopped off at the Tropical fish shop where I bought some live food as a treat for my fish, and Lorraine bought some neon tetras.

Home to my Calliope who seemed none the worse for wear, although hyped up and bursting around the house. Anton, I noticed, having nicely fed Calliope, had added fresh angel fish to the list of cat foods I had left him.

In the evening off to the usual curry house to meet Lorraine and Beth to have a meal with Sam, who has just turned 20. Sam sporting a good hat and ordering a prawn phal, perhaps the hottest dish on the menu. I had a spoon of it, and it was fiery. Sam getting it down, blinking somewhat. Betty had to leave to go to her short term nannying job in Eastbourne, and seems to be doing well. Mark now embarked on his singing and dancing in Old Folks' homes job. Drank a certain amount of lager. Left Sam and Lorraine to chat, before returning home ready for bed.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Among gardens

Dreams about trying to break into a safe in an attic. It was covered in graffiti in Cyrillic lettering, but I ran out of time, and had to pack away my belongings quickly before being discovered. The attic was somehow connected to a library. At one point I looked out of the attic window and saw The French Bloke in the back seat of a coach. All tremendously significant seeming, even when I woke up. Interestingly the French Bloke, who I have not seen or spoken to for several months called me today.

A burst of torrential rain this morning but the day finally brightened up a bit, bright patches and windy. John drove us to two gorgeous houses with gardens. One was Hidcote national trust garden, purring with woodpigeons and thick with lovely scents. The other was called Kiftsgate Court Garden built on a hill, where Sue and John's daughter Harriet works in the house cafe. Wandering in these gardens made me feel happy. One moment standing under a tree at Hidcote, looking at some yellow flowers, goldenrod I think, I had a dreamlike, transcendent moment, a momentary glimpse of eternity. There was a magificent view from Kiftsgate, and the wind was ruffling all the trees. A great beauty fix which Lorraine and I loved.
Autumn is waiting in the wings, but here and there today the last blaze of summer.

Home again after John zoomed home to pick up #2 daughter, Maite, who'd been on holiday in Greece, and a quick drink in a lovely honey coloured town. Me braindead again and boofed to sleep once at home again. Roused to eat lovely roast pork and chat the night away.

Below. Hidcote, the spot my little glimpse of eternity happened, arches, the Kiftsgate view, and a dragonfly, possibly a ruddy darter.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Up to the Cotswolds this morning. The inside face of my watch misty, due to the perpetual damp and rain. Feeling washed out en route, and as soon as it wasn't rude, after being warmly welcomed by Sue and John, I slipped off to bed for a catnap as soon as was decent.
I woke up half an hour later, and in time for us to swan off to Stratford on Avon, which I'd not been to for decades. Had a cheeky beer in a cold beer garden by the canal, and then a quick mooch about. The streets much prettier than I remembered, and the theatre rebuilt to make it look a bit like a lighthouse: some kind of cultural beacon no doubt.

Back to Sue and John's for a lovely feast of chicken and chorizo and some wine. Sue, who runs a small hospital, returned visibly upset by seeing one of her staff having a sponsored headshave in a pub, as she has cancer. A traumatising thing to put onself through, let alone your children, friends and colleagues.

Below a recent sculpture of swans, with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre behind.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thwarted Cranes

I'm quite sure August was once a summer month. Steady rain all day.

More French work. So much for keeping the week free. Up early and started this before the Tobster got up. Also I finally completed the 'In praise of music' lyrics for the choir competition. Toby and I went off to the French patisserie, and had a bit of breakfast before I had to break off to do a bit more French work, moaning about how I cannot escape.

Toby showed us his fantastic photos of his and Romy's trip to Bolivia and Peru. Amazing traveller's tales and photographs of otherworldly landscapes of high altitude deserts, vast white salt plains with islands covered with huge thousand year old cacti, or of floating lake islands made of reeds, from where he bought me a mobile to hang from the ceiling.

When Lorraine came around bearing cheesecake, we three walked around the corner to the Sussex Yeoman for lunch, and then sauntered down to the beach in the rain taking a few photos. We repaired to the Mock Turtle, but found it mysteriously closed for refurbishment. I wanted to revive with Toby and my Frasier and Niles act, but we were thwarted.

Lorraine left to go to a girl's night out, and Toby and I found another cafe before heading off to The Basketmakers. There I introduced Dr Kenny to Dr Pollard. All very cheerful and nice, and the two of them getting on well over some beers. Then up to The Evening Star where Matt had arranged to meet Fingers Capra. All had a good chat in there, and Toby enjoying hanging out with the musicians. Both Glen and Matt have Canadian connections so Canada was much talked of.

Then scarpered off in the rain for fish and chips to take home to the gold sofa, where we were soon joined by Lorraine, to watch Arnie grunt through the preposterously enjoyable Conan the Barbarian.

Below Toby and I basking in the English rain. Lorraine and friend.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Toby arrives

The fresh horror of a lung-rasping cough this morning, which I fully described to Lorraine. After breakfast, I went back home to straighten things up for Toby's arrival. And when he arrived, Toby looked well and relaxed.

Excellently my brother and I always seem to pick up the thread exactly where it was left, so soon we were slurping tea, lounging about and catching up on the news.

We arranged to meet Lorraine in The Basketmakers for lunch as it was raining steadily. We had some nice food, and a good time. Toby in need of a nap, as the previous night had been lively, and I did too due to my numberless ailments. So home again for a little quiet time.

In the evening we walked in a deluge to Lorraine's house, which Toby had never seen. Lorraine had cooked a splendid chicken fricassee, in a recipe which adds grapes and lettuce at the last minute to excellent effect. Yum. Plus the pineapple with sugar and mint sweet, which is spectacular and yet simple. Toby said he would try to learn how to do it, as Romy is going to give him cooking lessons.

Toby and I then scarpered back home under umbrellas. Toby, having dazzled us with the multiple functions of his iPhone (including drum machine and synthesiser) quickly downloaded some cat noises, with which to bewilder Calliope.

And so to bed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Angelic feet

Still feeling rough, but up early to do some French work. Lorraine and I went for a walk down to the sea in the afternoon. The sun bright and the sea green and rough in the strong wind. Lovely feeling.

I'm now walking much better: aches and pains subsiding. However cold now in full flow and going onto my chest leaving me sweaty and hot. Undeterred Lorraine and I bought shoes. Managed to by some new grey Vans, and also some oxblood leather slip-ons which look rather smart, and feel like angels are kissing your feet once you've slid them on. Expensive but worth it.

Went to Lorriane's house tonight, and decided that a hot curry would be the thing. I was craving some heat to cut through the cold, and it is perfect cold fodder. Chatting to our waiter who is just completing his PhD with something to do with carbon footprints. I like the idea that the person serving your poppadoms could one day save the planet. Here's hoping.

Below brave swimmers.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Cold now developed into a streaming man cold. Feel like Job. Next stop a plague of boils. However I had French work to do, so up with les moineaux to get on with it as I plan to take the rest of the week off to see Toby when he arrives, and try to get myself back into shape.

I am walking much better today, and was able to saunter down to go to the quack to discuss swollen knees, ankles etc. with some alacrity. My doctor is a gentle soul and so it is easy to forgive sitting in the waiting room for 40 minutes.

Home again, but brain AWOL, and everything difficult, although the new client Justine is charming. Took myself briefly to Waterstones for half an hour's respite. A nice evening. Lorraine arrived bearing DVDs, and cooked us a vegetable curry. We watched the Swedish film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cancelled, part 2

Awake listening to despicable drunken screaming at 4 o'clock this morning. There is a couple at the other end of the Twitten who behave monstrously.

Once Lorraine and myself were awake again in the morning, I cancelled the visit to the airshow Lorraine had booked tickets to. I also decided not to go to see Dr Spacetoad perform this evening in a nearby pub.

Andros and Sophie were in town, and they called around bringing croissants and fruit for Lorraine and I. Had a good long chat with them from the safety of my sofa. Both looking very well, after their Greek holiday, and rather relaxed with Electra and Christof in LA with their uncle. Sophie slightly terrified of Calliope for some reason, especially when I pointed Calliope at her and murmured 'kill' into her ears.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Woke up in the night, having developed sore sinuses and a cold. Groggy in the morning, and generally feeling rather down on my luck.

Decided today was a day to cancel things. Cancelled breakfast with Lorraine and her Mum and Dad, cancelled supper with Anton and Anna, cancelled a drink with Matt. Instead spent all day resting on my sofa, which meant my knee was less swollen by the end of it, but far from perfect. Also have a temperature and headache from the coldy bug.

Saint Lorraine came around and cooked some supper and we slouched companionably on the sofa watching dreadful TV.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Up early and packed. Took ourselves to La Croix Guerin for breakfast, and then walked (slowly as my knee was abominable) to Icart. We sat there happily for some time looking down on the perfect view, and listening to the waves on the rocks below. On one of the benches were a couple reading books, and glancing up from time to time at all the view below them. Rather idyllic.

Eventually we tore ourselves away, Lorraine a little tearful, and had to yomp back to the apartment in time to get the bus for our plane.

Journey home comfortable and eventless. Very quickly through Gatwick and early home. I posted a couple of orders for A Guernsey Double off and fell into a night of indolence after Lorraine returned home. My knee had swollen badly after rushing this morning, and I was grateful just to sit on my gold sofa, happy at least that I wasn't wasting being in Guernsey any more. Just regular Brighton time.

Calliope pleased to see me, though she clearly had not excessively pined and I suspect she was rather spoiled. The house spotless after Wayne and Matt's stay. Early to bed, after a few phone calls.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Lorraine and I off to Saints Bay today. We hired a couple of deckchairs and we sat there happily, availing ourselves of the tea and sandwiches from the kiosk. Few people there, and I drifted in and out of sleep in the sun listening to an audiobook, sketching, and brooding on my bad leg.

Walking difficult, which means Lorraine is taking care of me. A day in the sun helped me get over the feeling that I was wet blanketing the holiday. Lorraine loved a day in the sun, and we felt happy afterwards, stopping on the way home to have a fresh mackerel supper in the Captains.

Below, under the trees on the way down to the bay, and a random moth in the hedge.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The pain in my knee, which had been terrible, turned into a bout of full-blown gout. My foot and knee felt like they were having red hot knitting needles pushed into them without anaesthetic all night. I was almost sobbing with pain at some points. Gout apparently is a genetic predisposition which I was disturbed to find that I have. I occasionally have had an ankle which has mysteriously seized up, which I always referred to as orc foot. I have only ineffectual medication as the condition hasn't done me any harm -- till now. It is treatable, and during the night the certainty of my visiting the doctor to get it sorted was very clear and distinct in my mind.

Able to snatch a few hours sleep towards the morning, after the worst of the pain abated. Left hardly able to walk, and feeling depressed and that I had ruined the holiday for myself and Lorraine. I stayed at home all day, resting my leg drinking port wine and eating venison while smoking an opium pipe.

However a very nice evening. Was able to hobble to the bus, and went into town to go to Christies, where we met Jenny, her friend Kevin and Jane and Richard. Jenny is the radio presenter whose show Richard and I had been on last month. Both Lorraine and I really liked her, and Kevin was interesting too. After a few drinks, Lorraine and I went with Richard and Jane to the Vale, where Jane cooked us a typically delicious meal. We all had a good evening, and lots of chatting, although I was slightly fading by the end of the night. Taxied happily off into the night.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Into the labyrinth

After a few days of feeling ropey my left knee flared up mysteriously overnight, which meant that it was painful and difficult to walk on. Despite pouring rain decided to get up and buy a loaf and some gâche from Senners, and a paper. Was phoned by work people, and declined leaving my holiday to do some freelance in London. Felt rather melancholy walking through the rain down La Rue des Grons, where my grandparents used to live.

Knee positively painful when I got home. However I enjoyed spending time with Lorraine, reading the Gita and listening to tunes. There is a passage in the Bhagavad Gita 4 that speaks strongly to me. "And know also of a work that is silence: mysterious is the path of work. The Man who in his work finds silence, and who sees that silence is work, this man in truth sees the Light and in all his works finds peace."

In the afternoon an extraordinary interlude. We went to The German Military Underground Hospital and Ammunition store. I don't ever remember going here before. You walk into a grey concrete door in the side of a verdant hill in St Andrews, and enter a damp labyrinth of concrete.

It was a very claustrophobic place, and Lorraine and I only felt happy when we knew exactly how to get to the nearest exit. Oppressive and fascinating.

As you leave this labyrinth you walk through a passageway papered with copies of Guernsey Newspapers made during the war and full of Nazi propaganda. This can only be described in pictures, below.

Below the German Military Underground Hospital and Ammunition Store, at La Vassalerie. I took lots of photos there, and here are a few.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Moulin Huet

Bused into St Peter Port this morning. A slightly unfocused visit to town, but Lorraine enjoyed seeing A Guernsey Double in a few shops. I bought some paper, and Lorraine bought the next Larsson book. As the weather was perfect, we caught a bus to La Bella Luce for a couple of glasses of beer and I had a crab and chorizo panini. Suddenly I felt that I was on holiday, and felt relaxed and cheerful. We walked down to Moulin Huet bay which was looking beautiful as usual. Once there I decided to go for a swim, and despite lacking moral fibre and cringing and screaming on entry, found it very pleasant after a while. It was sunny enough to dry off in the sun afterwards.

Later spent some time lurking along the shallows. I thought I saw a puffin at one point, which I'd never seen in Guernsey. I also found one corner where the sand was emitting streams of sulphurous-smelling bubbles. Eventually Lorraine and I left the beach and stopped briefly at The Captains to wet our whistles, and listen to local men talking about fishing and football, before loping home.

Below on the way down to Moulin Huet, the beach, small fry in the water, and a wasp in a beer glass.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The big crash out

Slept for hours this morning. Eventually, we mooched off to St Martins to buy some food, and to say hello to La Gran'mère. Perhaps because it was a Sunday, there was no white van parked in front of it.

Spent much of the day, snoozing, listening to classical music, and reading The Bhagavad Gita. I am loving the Gita and wish I had read it properly years ago, when I skimmed it. The Gita is not a book to be skimmed. In the evening Lorraine and I took a walk down to the wooded Petit Bôt valley. The sky pink and soft, a really nice walk. Tried to see Perseids tonight, but to no avail. Very quiet at night where we are, which is fantastic.

Below pines above Petit Bôt, and La Gran'mère from a slightly different angle.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sark in the wild rain

Raining steadily in Guernsey this morning. No matter however, we were off to Sark to meet Anna and Anton and the bairns, who have unaccountably been staying in Jersey.

The Bon Marin de Serk left early. We found ourselves in the company of people going to a funeral, and others to a Pirate-themed party. The sky was slate grey, and the sea greenish grey, and despite the calm sea, the boat gave slovenly lurches over the little waves, which had Lorraine grateful she'd taken her travel sick pills. It also forced her to look up from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo she is avidly reading. After half an hour we'd reached Maseline harbour, where it was pouring with rain, and climbed aboard the tractor-drawn carts up the hill to the village.

Lorraine and I scrambled into a cafe for a hobbits second breakfast where the choice was a full English breakfast or an egg and sausage sandwich. The staff moaning about how busy it was. Outside the rain alternated between heavy and torrential, and you half expected to see a wild eyed man leading pairs of beasts down the Avenue (Sark's main road) off to some hastily-constructed boat. Vile weather. After going into a few of the shops along the avenue, including one where I fell into conversation with the owner about books, skillfully mentioning my own. She was a lady of firm but wrongheaded opinions.

From here on the unmetalled roads, through the teeming rain to another cafe to drink coffee. I have seen Lorraine looking more cheerful as she sat dripping in the cafe, talking to the two girls from Manchester who seemed to be running it. Sark is a beautiful place, but not so good when there is a flood in progress, and of course with no cars on the island, only bicycles, tractors and horse drawn jobs you are fairly trapped.

Eventually Anna and Anton arrived among the stair rods of the rain, and after some faffing about we settled in the breakfast cafe and had a drink and some food. They and the children were looking brown, relaxed and healthy, and nonchalant about the weather. The children full of beans and seeming to have grown a couple of inches each in the last couple of weeks. Anna saying how nice Jersey was, and Anton persisting with this idea that it was full of Chelsea supporters to unsettle me. Klaudia going around listening to people's stomachs to see if they were hungry, and Oksar going outside to shout happily in the rain.

Eventually the rain subsided into heavy drizzle and we went out among it. I enjoyed monstering the children by holding them upside down over vast puddles, which had them screeching happily. We all walked about in the rain, and found more places to shelter. One place we popped into, where people post funeral were gathered, had a room with paintings by Toplis, the artist of Sark, which were rather good. Klaudia walking around with Lorraine's movie camera looking entirely the part.

Eventually we parted company, as they had an earlier boat to catch. Lorraine and I then sped down to La Coupée, the narrow cut with sheer drops either side which joins Sark to Little Sark. As Lorraine had never been to Sark before and it was good for her to at least see this.

Lorraine and I home on the boat and it was no longer raining. I stood on deck full of a strange cheerfulness that comes on me when I am on small boats, and I have moments of feeling entirely born to being on them, and part of me wanted the short journey to carry on for longer.

Below a wet day in Sark, Oskar, me monstering Oskar and Klaudia, a horse and cart, view from La Coupée, and homeward bound.

Friday, August 13, 2010

To Guernsey

A final faff about to remove the worst of the debased tat and rubbish for Matt and Wayne, who are catsitting Calliope. Then I met Lorraine at Brighton station and we trained up to Gatwick. Once through security, Lorraine floating about the shops for a bit, whereas I headed straight to the bar to attend to a cheeky.

Flight pleasant and fast, and Guernsey sunnier than England. Took a cab to the La Pompe appartments, which are very close, and I was delighted at how lovely and spacious our one was, and cheaper than a week at La Barbarie. This was just across the road from La Villette and so very close to home turf for me. There was a loaf of bread and some Guernsey butter there, of which we ate a few slices for lunch. I'd forgotten how the butter here is creamy, salty and very yellow, and this mixed with cups of tea, with sugar and the creamy milk reminded me of what tea tasted like when I was a child.

Later Lorraine and I walked to Icart, where we had a slice of buttered gâche and yet another cup of tea in the tea garden run by the friendly man recovering from mercury poisoning. The garden was busy, but full of strangely vertical plants which make you feel like you are eating in a den.

The sky obliged us with perfect blue as we took a short walk on the cliffs. These as transcendently beautiful as ever, and we basked in the soft sound of the waves on the cliffs and the yarp of gulls and the background murmur of grasshoppers and bees. Lorraine pointing to the 'Dog and Bear rocks' and denying that they look like a Dog and a Lion. Then to La Barbarie for a quick drink and a tasty meal. Before long we were back in La Ruette de la Pompe, and actually I felt quite pleased we weren't staying in La Barbarie.

Below wind-formed hedge, a shadow in a lane with Sark on the horizon, the sun diamonding on the sea, Saints Bay, the Martello at Saints Bay, Petit Port bay with the Dog and Lion rock clearly visible. Click to make 'em big.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Harvested by the spangly sickle

A night of deep sleep, the best sleep I have had for a long time. Up early and out to do some shopping, then quite a bit of admin, and then... Finished. Was officially on holiday!

Strode off to see Lorraine, who was in a doing things mood, and we drove to Maidenhead Aquatics near Burgess Hill for her to get a stand for her aquarium. While looking at a tank of cichlids I realised my head was hurting, and then the spangly sickle shape started flashing in the middle of my eye and the first migraine of the year kicked in.

Lorraine drove me back home and I spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping fitfully on my sofa with the blinds pulled down. Bah. L came by in the evening, and cooked me some supper. Not in too much pain by then, and the visuals had abated quite quickly. Just left in the post migraine weak and feeble mode.

For me migraines always come when I allow myself to relax after a period of stress. In some ways quite pleased to get it over with (hopefully) before I go away.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vodka in the rain

Up early and working hard on some conceptual branding work for a Dutch Vodka. This went rather well, and had the bulk of the job done by lunchtime. A delighted client, and a few calls during the afternoon, but all well. Typically the thought they liked best was the one I had about five minutes after taking the brief.

All this meant I was manacled to my desk, and only ran out to my 'larder', the Marks and Sparks in the station. The lovely rain fell steadily for the first time in a while, Calliope spent a good deal of time indoors and looking for trouble; rushing me unprovoked from across the room and wrapping her forelegs around my shins, getting a mouthful of trouser and shaking her head savagely, when not attempting to rest her head on my shoulder when typing. (It was me typing, not the cat.)

I haven't heard the mysterious toad croak today. I thought that's what they did in the rain. Opened my window to listen for it, and looked down at a man in the Twitten pouring the contents of a small bottle of spirits into another plastic water bottle. I glimpsed the glass bottle he replaced in his bag: vodka.

When the work stopped I felt a kind of muffled elation. I listened to A Passage to India again. Almost through it now, but it is so beautifully written and full of a bleak pity for its stilted characters that the words are like rainfall on the soul. What a book, every bit as good as I remember it.

Nice chat with First Matie, who is squirrelling money, but spending her life driving long distance to a long freelance job. Spoke to Mum and Mas who have infuriating computer woes, but otherwise seem perky, and looking forward to the Tobster arriving from Canada. In the evening looked at Matt's CV as he is applying for a post conducting an orchestra. Very impressive.

Bed early, after talking to Lorraine who has spent an enjoyable day in Essex with her old pal Rachel and family, and then watching a documentary about medieval England. To paraphrase the message: if you want to understand medieval England, you need to understand taxes. The villains were taxed by church and state, and worked their scraps of land dotted around the village (not the nearby fields because the landowners, often the church, owned those), until bad harvests and the hard winters of the mini-ice age or the Black Death ended their miserable taxpaying sojourn.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Pass the pitchfork

This morning painting out some gold and red graffiti tags which had appeared in the Twitten on Saturday night. Chatting with Joy and Wan as I did so. Took a briefing at noon for a branding campaign for a Vodka I'd never heard of. Worked on this during the afternoon, being troubled by a croaking like that of a giant toad, which has been a bizarre feature of my neighbourhood for the last few weeks. It has put me in mind of various Victorian horror stories by someone like MR James, and I am pleased Lorraine has also heard it and that it is not some manifestation of a troubled mind. Actually it could be my subconscious objectifying the notion of work, a la Philip Larkin.

Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?
After I finished my toadery this evening, I listened to A Passage to India, which I have now almost finished. I was about to take myself out for a walk, when Matt called as I left and we had a quick pint in the Shakespeare's Head instead. He had just been guest conducting.

Otherwise an uneventful day, and I'm still running on empty. But my arm improving steadily.

Calliope attacking my feet while I was still asleep this morning, painfully biting one of my toes. Booted her across the room in a half asleep reflex action and she got sick in my study later in the day in retribution. Feel like I am living with Cato out of The Pink Panther.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sunday sonnets

Sluggish start to Sunday, seem to be experiencing narcolepsy. Arm slightly better although I still cannot get it up to my mouth, and so having to eat left handed.

Went to meet Paul and his son VJ and a friend of Paul's called Shanny, I think. Lorraine and I went to the beach to see them, but they were in Weatherspoons feeding VJ with sausages. Paul as usual being an exemplary father in his black shirt with flames around the collar. Lorraine asked what his friend did and she said she was an illustrator and aromatherapist, 'but not the fluffy sort'. My heart sank momentarily when Paul said that as a dyslexic parent Governor he had problems with education, eyeing Lorraine, but all was well. Mainly as VJ is an unbelievably smart and sweet five year old.

This a quick chat, and they went back to the sea, Lorraine went shopping and I returned home. I was then called by a new acquaintance Richard Gibson, who I met in the pub around the corner. Richard and I have a few things in common, such as studying philosophy when we were at college. He has a project where he is setting Shakespeare's 154 sonnets to music. He has done over eighty, in all kinds of musical styles. This project has given him a great recall of the sonnets, if nothing else. A nice chat, sat outside the Evening Star pub next to a man with two fingernails on one of his fingers who was reading Wittgenstein.

Lorraine found me here some time later, from where we returned home and I fell asleep yet again. So it goes.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Party pooping

Eating painkillers through the night as my arm was very painful and kept me awake. However in the morning I could move it somewhat and Lorraine and I went to see the Pride Parade. This is definitely a big part of the Brighton calendar, and thousands of people come down to the town for the celebration. It's always a hugely enjoyable colourful spectacle. This year a slightly more political undercurrent to the march which was good to see. Quite pleased when the parade stopped and I could go home though, as the crowds were getting to me.

While Brighton throbbed to the party, Lorraine and I slugged about like the most depraved pair of couch potatoes. Lorraine on diet and is losing weight fast. Sam dropped by this evening, and said he now was looking at doing PPE, politics, philosophy and economics: the perfect platform for a political career.

Below some snaps from the march.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Beads and bearded ladies

I like looking at beads of water on plant leaves or on duck's backs. The idea of work is like that for me at the moment, liable to slide away the second I think about it. It is with mixed feelings then I have accepted a random commission from an outfit in Shepherd's Bush. The good thing is that I can do it from home and it will be complete before my holiday.

Went to the gym today. My arm was a bit sore, especially a tendon in the crook of my right arm. After exercise, listening to A Passage to India while I did so, it loosened it all up. In the evening however it seized up painfully again.

Just loving my rereading of A Passage to India. The masterstroke of pivoting the novel about a half understood moment of confusion is extraordinarily successful.

In the evening off to see Beth and Mark run through the show they are taking to Disneyland Paris. Chatted to Richard and Glenda, Mark's parents before an exhausting-looking twenty minutes of highly choreographed dancing and mimed singing (mimed as Disney provide the soundtrack). The sheer energy of this performance in a school hall was surprisingly exhilarating.

Below Mark exuberant as the ringmaster, Mark and Beth dancing, and bearded lady Beth in the chorus line. She is a natural comedienne.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Mindy in the North Laine

Mindy and I off for breakfast at the Nia cafe, which is nia-by, and a walk around The North Laine area. This are catnip for women, and I've yet who find one who isn't drawn into shops to look at new age crystals, notebooks made of circuit boards, graphic novels, music shops, vulgar giftshops or be beguiled by clothes made from skull and rose print material, by vegetarian shoes and all the cafes offering organic flapjacks and a thousand other biteables. Mindy purchased tights, and cases to house your car CDs, and talked to herself sternly about lack of funds as she fingered dresses in rust and green and purple to go with her red hair.

I dabbed intermittently my face, expecting a shopping induced nosebleed at any moment. Eventually there were fond farewells as I dropped her off with Adrian, where she'd parked her car. I was joking that the police wanted me to ensure that Mindy left Brighton, and Adrian half believed me for a moment.

Home determined to get on with things. A noble sentiment, but I made little or no progress. Brain simply not functioning. Lorriane working at home again today, so I called around for a tea and a chat, and fell asleep not long after while she worked on a website copy, which I squinted at once she'd finished.

Lorraine several days now into her new diet, and after we walked to the greengrocers where she was buying more vegetables. Tomorrow is a banana and milk day, which she is looking forward to.

I left her to meet Matt in The Basketmakers and we had an enjoyable beer poring for a while over the sheet music for the In Praise of Music piece, which I took away with me to ensure the syllables tie to the notes.

Fell asleep on my sofa and woke way past midnight, before crawling into bed.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Mindy and a tofu pocket

Pottering again today. More stuff with Amazon, and now have an amazon page for the book. Amazon are unwieldy when it comes to selling books. Also working on the In Praise of Music piece for Matt during the day.

Mindy was having her photo taken by Adrian Turner, for a project he is doing for a charity on breast cancer, and so came to stay. She attended the shoot, came back to my place and cried, as she had found confronting her new self image difficult. Her last reconstruction surgery was only a few weeks ago.

However after a hug, a chamomile tea and a mooch about in town she was much more cheerful. Had a tasty vegetarian meal in Food for Friends (tofu pockets, and some indian vegetarian platter) and then a slow drink in the Basketmakers talking about drama both real dramas (which her life is currently chock full of) and the writing for theatre course she is about to embark on. Home for more virtuous chamomile and then bed.

Some rogue vegetable lodged in a tofu pocket made me bloated, and after going to bed felt queasy and ended up playing some stupid game on my blackberry for half an hour to distract myself. And finally to sleep.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

O soothest sleep

Decided, as there was nothing pressing, to declare today a PK holiday. Pottered down to the gym, ironed 10 shirts, organised and folded everything in my airing cupboard, and saw Lorraine briefly in the afternoon as she was working from home.

I'm craving sleep. I want to drift my boat into a lake of sleep for several weeks. But had an extra hour today, and when not sleeping and pottering, I listened to A Passage to India again. It is such a good book, and it is pure pleasure to hear it read, and rapier sharp after the occasionally plodding Stieg Larsson.

Calliope bringing big moths into the house all evening, accelerating past me so that I could not rescue them in their attempts to blunder free. There must be a poem in this somehow, to go with the Moth Display poem which I already have.

Monday, August 02, 2010


Matt sent through the midi file for Found today, the piece we wrote for The Rainbow Chorus, the choir Matt is MD of. Sounded like a sure fire hit to me, very singable and catchy, with a just enough complexity to give it depth and longevity. Looking forward to hearing the choir sing it.

Meanwhile today I have been working on the words for the In Praise of Music piece we are doing for a competition. This is the first time we've worked where the music is pre-existing and I have to supply words. Bit of a bizarre experience: I sat listening to the midi on repeat until my brain started splurging out words, which to my surprise were based loosely on the Creation, and were full of Biblical imagery. Talked to Matt this evening and explained that my drivel detector was on the blink, so he should treat the results with caution.

Otherwise a bitty day. Went to the gym, chased payments, went through the latest Amazon hoop to try to sort the page out for our book, added a sentence to one of the French adverts, uploaded the video below to my various sites, and posted a book to Renée in France, and a copy of Tim Gallagher's book Narcissus Goes A Courting to Maureen in NZ, and sat in a cafe mindmapping. I have a million things on the mindmap, but due to my general wrung-outness the all seem like mountains to climb. Spoke to Mum and Lorraine, and listened to A Passage to India audiobook. What a great book that is.

Took myself to the new cafe where I might stage Wrong with Beth and Mark. It was devoid of people, and the owner was disconsolately smoking a cigarette outside. He was very eager for the play to be put on there, when he wasn't bemoaning the slowness of the day with a nearby shopkeeper and leaking anxiety. But there are so many things wrong with the cafe, I don't know where to start. It's name is Just add the colour, and its logo the biggest word is THE. It looks like empty office space when you walk past it, so that you don't even realise a cafe. I'm beginning to think that it needs my play.

As well as going to the gym, I am now on a diet too, and ate oats for breakfast, had salad for lunch and couscous and grilled tuna for supper. All good.

This concert will fall in love with you -- official bootleg

Here is an excerpt -- the opening theme and first two variations. Mark filmed this from the wings, and we have only just rediscovered it. The sound comes across fairly well, Ellie's violin being particularly clear.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

A discovery

Lorraine slightly under the weather and glum, while I was just tired. After breakfast, however, we took ourselves for a walk by the overcast sea, and felt better for the fresh air and a long chat.

I had worked first thing, however, on the new 'In Praise of Music' piece Matt sent through. Ended up writing some obscure and vaguely religious words for it.

Anna and Anton off to Jersey today to mingle with crapauds.

Lorraine and I may meet them in Sark in a couple of weeks, at the end of their holiday and the beginning of ours. Sark, of course, is in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Better yet, returning from our walk, Lorraine played about with the movie camera and found some film of the This concert will fall in love with you which I was convinced had not been saved. Absolutely delighted to have some record of these first events. I will post something here later. Called Matt with the happy news, who said there had been a parade gathering in the street outside his house making huge amounts of noise which prevented him from working.

Saw Inception, a movie about being able to control dreams and influence other people through them. An imaginative and well made movie, although full of bullets and fighting. But visually impressive and well worth seeing, and both of us liked it. Someone took a phone call a third of the way through the film, saying clearly: "Hello. I am in the cinema," which made people laugh.

Happy tonight that I don't have to go to London tomorrow.

Below overcast by the beach.