Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Off to Guernsey

Early start. French work to do still, which was only finalised in the departure lounge from my crackberry. Flight delayed for an hour due to fog on the island. I responded in time-honoured beer in airport mode.

Auringy flight pleasantly uneventful, and was met by Richard and taken right away to The Farmhouse where we sat by the pool, where R had a coffee and I gulped another cold beer as Richard updated me on the immense amounts of Guernsey progress he had made. Then home to sit in Jane's beautiful back garden among hosts of flowers, then inside to dine on pear, pea and mint soup, and pasta and salads and strawberries and wine.

An early night and went to bed full of cheer. Before I went to sleep, tried to decide what to read tomorrow at the launch. I discovered that I had made a mistake in my contents page, and fell uneasily asleep amid gloom and self-recrimination.

On the launchpad

Flying off to Guernsey later this morning to launch the book in St Peter Port. Running about the house like a ferret in a warren.

PK stalkers can hear me live on BBC Guernsey some time after 10am on 1st July 2010. Live streamed here.

Meanwhile you can watch Graeme putting out his car fire here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Framed

In the afternoon I went to visit Adrian and Di Turner at their studio, and saw some excellent portrait work Adrian had been shooting. Di and I went for a coffee afterwards at what is becoming our usual place. They are preparing to go to Arles for the photography festival where Adrian has a show. I gave them a copy of A Guernsey Double as something Di had said to me in the cafe a few months ago had informed my poem The Little Chapel. Adrian's work looks spiffy here. His seascapes are simply fantastic, and these are what they are showing in Arles.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A thumping

After getting up early finishing a draft of some words for a song that I pinged to Matt, and tidying up, Lorraine and I walked to Hove to see Janet's work. It was the hottest day of the year. Infuriatingly as I hadn't printed the map of the place out, and got lost. Turned up late, missing Janet and Ken by what later turned out to be five minutes. However Janet's pieces looking great. She'd attended a textiles class, and has produced some lovely work.

After the exhibition, nipped into Tescos, bought beer and nibbles, and taxied back home in time for the England v Germany football game. Cath, Beth and Mark, and Sam all came around to sit in the dark as the sun blazed outside. We scarfed pizza, and drank a few regulation beers as England lost heavily to a superior German team. Unaccountably, England who have some of the best players in the world, managed as a team to run about like a headless chicken, while the the gleeful Tutons helped themselves to goals.

Still it's only a game, eh. And as England didn't deserve to go any further there was no real injustice.

In the evening called up the Tobster, readying himself for his summer break, for a long chat.

Below two of Janet's pieces, a three dimensional Canadian forest piece which I particularly liked.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Opening doors

Saturday morning at Lorraine's, walked home to feed Calliope and fix her cat flap. Some time ago another cat, sporting a catflap magnet, came in. I kicked the catflap door to scare it, but instead the catflap burst spilling magnets, springs, batteries etc. I replaced this today, with Calliope watching attentively. By coincidence, the evil intruding cat I chased into the yard naked with a carving fork the other night tried to sneak in later, but the catflap barred him. All good.

Richard has been networking like crazy in Guernsey. Looks like Thursday and Friday next week will be busy for the launch, as he and Jane have arranged a book signing on Friday Lunchtime in the Guernsey Press Shop in St Peter Port. Thursday, with luck, there will be a radio appearance in the morning to precede the launch at 5:30pm. And thanks to Richard, the book is already on sale in the island, and there may be some interest in the paper too. All rather exciting.

In the afternoon met Matt in The Basketmakers Arms (for all our business must be done there, and they will need a blue plaque there at some point) to meet James Turnbull. James works as a producer. He had an interesting chat with him about next steps for staging This concert... He'd seen the show, loved it and thought it was an original concept. Very switched on guy, and I liked him.

Matt and I also discussing that we should create a name for our various plans and schemes, Matt suggesting Calliope Productions, as he has fallen under the spell of my weasel. Some quaffing of Summer Ale. Lorraine joined us for a beer or two, and then L and I went off to have some cheap Chinese grub before returning to the gold sofa for football and a snoozes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Winding down

Feeling rather queasy and off colour today. Luckily for me, I had little pressing business, so I slept and snoozed during the day, and felt hugely better for it. In contrast, Richard was being busy and effective, seeding A Guernsey Double into various outlets in Guernsey, and letting me know his progress during the day.

The quease did not preclude curry with Lorraine and Beth and Mark. I opted for pleasantly bland curry and a side dish of over the counter (OTC) proton pump inhibitor antacid drugs (as us pharmaceutical marketing hep-cats say) to prevent spewing. Much to celebrate, Beth and Mark having finished their school exams are poised to be released into the wild, and of course for me having A Guernsey Double in my hairy palms at last. Lorraine just happy to have made it through a particularly stressful work week. The new government creating fear in Education, and folks feeling uncertain about their jobs.

Everyone quite shattered and an early bed had by all.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Guernsey Double arrives, and a day of children

A spot of French work, before walking in the hot sun to Stanford School, arriving just after nine. Feedback day, and the year five children had read the first seven chapters of Skelton Yawngrave in the Second Kind of Darkness. I spent three sessions in three classrooms talking to the children about it. When I arrived at the school (to kids saying there's Peter Kenny and telling me they liked the book) I felt an overwhelming desire to puke, as I have a minor stomach bug. Pictured myself spraying the children Exorcist-style, which was not helpful.

Interesting how the different classes had different ideas about the story, and the children themselves were delightful, and very well behaved. In a nutshell they liked it, but thought the opening could be speeded up a bit. They seem hooked now on the story. Lots of full and frank feedback, and book reports, and a tape of conversations to take home with me. All went without a hitch and was fantastically useful. I can't wait now to re-address Skelton Yawngrave in the light of 90 comments from the target audience. A few more autographs as I left, and some applause. I think children at this age are top.

Two spells in the staffroom. Some really pleasant people, despite the Neofascist signs about putting your cups in the dishwasher, and flushing the staffroom toilet. Left school at 1.00pm, promising to return. Home and after finishing my French work went off to the printer.

At the printers--thank God--there were a 100 copies of A Guernsey Double. The bulk having been shipped successfully to Richard in Guernsey. The book looks pretty good, and I still haven't got my head around it. I expect it will all seem more real at the book launch. Took a taxi home, and I will admit to some stroking of the book, and sliding it among my alphabetised poetry collection under K, and mentioning it on facebook.

Then off to babysit my Godbairns while Anton and Anna went to school to discuss Oskar's reception class next term. Hard to believe the little lad will be starting school in a few months. Sat in a pile with the kids and we read Lady and the Tramp, and Mr Happy, a Mr Man book. They are adorable.

Home to do a little more work, and then Lorraine came by and we had a cold beer in the Batty. I blame these hot days. Lengthy discussion about my big and cleverness. Home, and feeling nauseous again. Lorraine returned home, and I went to bed fairly early.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Goal!

A new, sunny day today. Off to the gym this morning and though slightly underpowered, felt better for it. Pre-natal book anxiety abates. Called early by the printers, who were dispatching the books off to Guernsey. I will pick up some of my own copies tomorrow, after going into school in the morning for another Skelton Yawngrave session.

In the absence of French Work wrote a press release for A Guernsey Double and then, after a chat with Richard repaired to the Eddy in the afternoon to watch England squeak through their match 1-0 against the, um, mighty Slovenia. The pub lively, but not too crowded, and a cheery atmosphere and people near me chatting. Enjoyed sipping lager, with the sun shining through the windows, briefly finding common cause with a football tribe. A huge roar of beery delight when our chaps managed to score. They played quite well today, and seemed to dimly recognise one another, and that they were on the same team.

Then home to spaghetti, and a snooze on my sofa followed by more football and cups of tea.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Black dog

Beset by a persistent depression. Attended joylessly to the things that needed attending to. One of those glooms that dropped out of a clear blue sky. Thank God for the distraction of the World Cup which I watched intermittently, watching the bizarre self-destruction of the French team.

Lorraine returned hot after a round trip to Manchester, and she and I and Beth met up for a quick beer in the Battle of Trafalgar, which was cheery. Then I chatted to Richard and Jane who'd had their day distrupted by a sudden plummet in Rufus health. And so to bed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Projectless

Brain not working that well, but after finishing a wedge of French work this morning, off to the gym, where I stopped after about twenty minutes as I felt nauseous due to sore throat etc. Otherwise a fairly relaxed day. Want to start something new, but have little brain power. A little more work this afternoon, and attended to bits of admin. Listened to a podcast about Neanderthals, and to The Invisible's album The Invisible which is rather good. A nice note from the agency I was at last week too.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Modern times

Hard to extricate myself from bed this morning, despite Calliope's best efforts. Lorraine feeling similar. Eventually I got up and worked for a few hours on the French work. Broke off to listen at one point to a bootleg-style recording of 'This concert' made by Basil who was singing in the choir. The music sounds fantastic, but as my speaker and voice were pointing away from Basil you can only hear me with difficulty. Typical. The good news is the music sounds beautiful. I'm looking forward to having a proper recording of it. Listening to the recording took me back to the performance so strongly I felt exhilarated and nervous all over again.

Flashes of anxiety all day. The reasons for this hard to pin down. A sense of being caught up like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times by forces beyond my control. Weird though, because life is going really well for me. By my own lights I am succeeding at the moment. But I feel like a moulting crab, still soft shelled but larger.

After French work was done, I slouched on my sofa and devoted myself to the world cup, and making a hot pork curry. Lorraine and I both feeling sore-throated and sluggish. L left for home in the evening and left me to catching up with my blog. And so to bed.

Below Chaplin in Modern Times


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Making the bed

Taking apart a desk and a double bed, carrying them up and down stairs, and dangling pieces over the mezzanine balcony, and then reassembling them with Lorraine and Beth this afternoon. This all curiously quite fun, despite being laborious, with the cats jumping about us while we worked.

Then off to meet Matt in the Basketmakers. There we had a general planning session about our next steps, and there is a lot to do. Talking about taking This concert on the road in the first months of next year, and also to record it. This would both be rather smart. Several other new projects to discuss, and some to get started on early. Greatly looking forward to all this new work. But it was nice mainly just to chat, have a few pints and hear more about his pastoral brass band piece, which sounds excellent, and learn the difference between an Oratorio and a Cantata. I really like knowing people who know things I don't, especially Matt.

In the evening up to Lorraine's old neighbours for yet another birthday get together. Dawn was there, Pat and Angie, JD and Sarah. Angie showing off her new iPad. JD who is a very famous and very modest French rock journalist, mentioned he had 5,000 friends on Facebook. Now that's popular. A perfectly pleasant night, but I felt rather braindead and marginal. A reviving walk home with Lorraine back to my house in the cool night air.

Below Betsy's invitation design for A Guernsey Double.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jesus at Clapham

Friday... Up and working on some French work for the lovely French clients. Struggling to focus today, and rather tired. Took myself to the gym this afternoon, which helped a little. Also paid the printer, and there is nothing to do now but wait for the book to be delivered.

In the late afternoon off to London. Strange scene on the train. An man of perhaps 70 boarded the train and began preaching in a grating voice about Jesus and the appaling nature of everyone else. Eventually one or two felt provoked enough to angrily debate with him. General tetchiness. One person asked him why he had to shout, and he said that his mother had been epileptic and deaf. A detail which made me rather sad for him. People were being very threatening to him, which suprised me. English manners are changing, instead of simply ingoring him, people are becoming more agressive about not being imposed on.

From there to meet Matty boy in The Brown Dog as he was having a beer or two for his birthday. Matt, Graeme and First Matie had been involved in a canoe trip down a river and were all sun reddened and extremely healthy looking. Craig was there too, and a few other pleasant friends of Matty. And puffin the dog. The Barnes backstreets deathly quiet as the England football match was on. I thanked my lucky stars I wasn't watching it as was by all accounts dismal. Anton and Lorriane texting me during the ordeal. Left at a very sensible time to return home at a decent hour. Very tired by the end of the week. Lorraine, bless her, had let herself into my house and warmed a pizza in time for my return.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Almost

Toby's birthday. Felt sad I wasn't able to have a cheeky beer with him. Toronto seems like a long way away sometimes.

My crackberry buzzing and winking its red light all day. The main business however was to go to the printers. This a very stressful prospect, as I am out of my comfort zone here, and as this is such a personal project screwing everything up now would be a disaster. However Betsy zipped down from London to be a responsible adult with me. There were haggling and decisions about paper stock to be made. We have opted for laminated matt cover (the lamination prevents the paper cracking and revealing whitish bits underneath where the cover is folded).

They also claimed delivery to Guernsey wasn't in their estimate, despite me making this clear at the outset. Further discussion. Their final estimate when they resupplied it, was the same as the original, so all good.

Betsy's cover looks great. The double fronted thing is simply excellent.

Listening to Betsy's charming American accent sparked in me a burger hunger. So we went to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen scored burgers and cokes, and gossiped. Then a fond farewell to Betsy, who wandered happily into the Lanes with shopping on her mind, and I mooched back home to resupply the middle pages on pdf as they were falling into the gutter too much.

This also gave Richard a chance to alter the structure slightly of Vazon Shoreline so it fit more happily on the page. Then a crisis about the size of the barcode, was it too small? The printer was no help. Richard and I made our decisions, and next stop, God willing, is delivery to Guernsey in a week's time.

In the evening detained in the twitten by neighbours talking excitedly about two baby herring gulls which had been found in Wan's garden, and now were being looked after before being released back into the wild. Then off to an enjoyable relaunch of The Gallery Restaurant in Hove where Wayne now works, with pleasantly murmury live Jazz music. Lorraine and Beth came too, and we met Matt and John and Linda there. Photographs taken by someone from the press. Lots of free fizzy white and rose, and finger food. Nice to chat to folks, and to especially to Beth who is going through her what next? end of school moment. Matt working on a long pastoral brass band piece at the moment.

One person asked me what I did, and I explained I worked as a writer, and for the first time in my life, when I was asked if I had a book, I simply pulled out the proof copy which was in my bag, and said... Almost! From the restaurant to a pub garden, before Lorraine drove me home, and I watched a little footie before retiring gracefully and unhurt.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Whew.

Final day's slog on the HIV pitch in London. The work looked good, and everyone pleased. Home at an early 8:30 and Bob waiting for me at the station, having texted tantalising descriptions of cold beer as I travelled. Rather enjoyed Keith's agency this time, although as usual the commuting made me feel astonished that I used to do this journey every day. It exhausts the soul.

Bob and I went for a beer in the Caxton, then into the Lanes where we were met by Lorraine. Ended up having a fairly unpleasant pizza. I felt somewhat tetchy. But despite this, a good time was had by all. Everyone staying at my place, which of course looked like a bomb had hit it, as I've had no time to straighten things out for days. Gratefully boofed into bed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The dark horse scores

Three hours sleep a poor preparation for another day's pitch work. Busy finalising lines and concepts, and writing an elaborate rationale. Spoke this morning to the printers as I walked through the graveyard, who are now more focused about meeting their deadline. Spoke to Richard, and Betsy briefly at lunch. Also Mas and Matt.

Able to leave early, so that I was home by eight. Calliope seeming hunted again, and signs of feline intrusion. Ate fish and chips, and wandered down the twitten to pay Martin the money he lent me on the train, watered my window boxes, and watched dark horse team North Korea take on Brazil, and only lose 2-1. And so, gratefully, to bed.

Below Yun-Nam Ji about to slot one in for North Korea.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Catmurderer

Up at seven and off to the smoke. On the train I met one of my fellow Twitten denizens Martin,who works for a hotel chain as an interior designer, and we chatted till Gatwick. It was fortunate he was there as I had left my wallet at home, and he slipped me £10, enabling me to buy tea. 

Work was frustrating and looooong. My computer did not work for several hours, then a long slogathon of tetchy meetings, and looking through thousands of photolibrary images for the concepts. Made me think of Nev who, when we used to work on the Dell account together, used to loathe trying to find computery images that didn't suck.  I left them to it at 10pm and was at home at 11:30. Found Calliope traumatised and wired on my return, and other cats had been in the house. 

Sleep was hard to come by, not helped by a large white cat breaking into the house and yowlingin the kitchen at 3AM. Full of murderous rage, I rushed downstairs and drove the huge beast out. It was insolent and looked at me on the other side of the catflap. I charged out after it grabbing the nearest thing, a carving fork, and brandishing it wildly in my yard with no clothes on. I suddenly understood homicide, or at least felinicide, or whatever the word is. The bad cat bolted before I could spear it fortunately.

Back, unblinklingly to bed. I ended up getting up, and looking at my computer for a while listening to Calliope, strangely rejuvenated, unravelling the toilet roll for the thousandth time.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gold sofa day

Up off to the gym this morning, a few chores, then a long chat with Richard, and a visit to Sainsburys, then home to idle the afternoon away on my gold sofa eating and snoozing, with Lorrainiope and Calliope.  Who needs a life when the world cup is on, and you can watch Germany take on the Socceroos, the Australian team?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Family tree

Up very early thanks to Calliope leaping on me. Got up and went to the gym for 8.00am. Then to Brighton Station to meet Lorraine, and we travelled off to Ashford by train, where we were collected by Pat, Lorraine's Dad.

Then back home to meet Lorraine's brother Derek, his wife Laura and their children Jason and Claudia. They live in Finland, and Laura is Finnish. Really nice family. Derek a quiet man, and his wife talkative and friendly, as are their two teenage children. Jason who is 17 is in some demand as a soccer referee. Claudia who is 15 and independently minded, has willowy model looks, and has considered work as a model. Laura has had crippling rheumatoid arthritis since her teens, and needs help walking and standing, but has not a shred of self pity. She and Derek seem devoted to one another, and her English and the children's is something close to perfect.

Lorraine, Derek, Claudia and Jason went for a walk to some nearby woods which Lorraine called the Broomies, which were beautiful. There must have been a million bluebells there in spring too. L hugging a tree of course. Then we walked past Lorraine's old school, which has been converted into houses.

Maureen making me laugh with her aquarium, which is full and thriving. One of the fish, a Siamese fighter called Lucky, had been looking quite poorly, so Maureen had been feeding it by hand. She lifted the tank top up and stroked it, and pushed some others away, saying they were jealous.

Much watching of the world cup, including England's lamentable game against the USA. Then home on the train to Brighton, with loud people on the carriage. Finally, blissful bed.

Below in the broomies a family tree drawn on a stump, and the rusty orange lichen on the trees.





Friday, June 11, 2010

Anchored

London again. This morning, however I didn't work on concepts on the train, and was able to listen to audiobooks instead. Work fine, and after I met Matty boy and he and I went to sit in the sun outside The Blue Anchor by Hammersmith Bridge. An old haunt. Later we were joined by Craig too, and it was really nice to have a quick beer with them both, and this was the best part about being in London this week. Both as ever are great company, and always intelligent and stimulating. I told Craig later that I thought he should be on the radio. He has such a good American accent and always tells a story so well that you would pay to listen to him.

Matty had to scoot home on his bicycle, and after another beer Craig and I wandered up to the tube station. Only when I was on the Brighton train did I realise I had left my card behind the bar in Hammersmith. I called them and they said people do this all the time. Home to watch highlights of opening World Cup games, and fall asleep on my sofa. Friday at last. It had been a tiring week.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pub punch up

Up again to the smoke. Better day today, and in the afternoon, I presented the ideas Andy and I had come up with. Our ideas were spread out on the floor, as we'd been working in a room with no table, as the agency is being refurbished.

Home at a reasonable time. Finished The Girl Who Played With Fire, on the train. Once back in Brighton, Anton and I slipped out for a late feed in the new Vietnamese place, which was fairly good, and then for a cheeky beer in the Nordic bar, which was full of people singing happy birthday in what may have been Finnish. From here we caught a late cab to the Eddy and were enjoyably discussed our footballing allegiance to North Korea when a row erupted between the barman and a drunk punter. The barman was of the opinion that the punter was a prick, while the punter was loudly sharing his opinion that the barman was a c-word.

Suddenly they were outside sorting it out. The friendly woman who runs the place rather caught up in it too, so without thinking I went outside and found the two combatants grappling on the tarmac. I managed to pull them apart before they did any damage to each other, and propelled the barman back into the pub, as the other guy slunk away into the night wearing a particularly infuriating face.

I rejoined Anton and attended to my drink, when the barman began to berate me for having stopped him, because he had hit the lady manager outside. Lady manager quietly crying at this point. Another guy in the pub got the wrong end of the stick and, glancing at me, requested a bottle. I thought things were about to get rather lively again at this point, but it all calmed down and the barman shook my hand and Anton and I were able to resume our conversation about North Korea unmolested.

Despite this, an excellent and rather overdue evening out with Anton. I still like The Eddy.

Below view from the pitch room.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Morlock moments

Woken by Calliope at 5 this morning. Atrocious weasel falling off the window ledge behind the blind and scrabbling for what seemed ages on the edge of the radiator, like a feline Buster Keaton.

Up, showered and off to London, then listening to my Girl who played with fire audiobook again. Bought a cup of tea on the train and it was execrable, necessitating an undignified pursuit of the tea man, to get a new one without rancid milk. Then into the tube like a Morlock. Once out of the tube, and walking through Magravine Cemetery (a familiar haunt) I talked to the printer and to Richard, and was overcome by a wave of cheeriness on the way to work.

Working on concepts for an HIV pitch with a freelance art director called Andy, who is perfectly pleasant. For some reason we found ourselves in an arduous and unproductive slog through the day, with me developing quite a throbby headache making it even more difficult to concentrate. We are already we are behind schedule. Not helped by the project bring back so many vivid memories of the day Rosa died as I held her hand.

Cheery call to Betsy during the day. Then rewinding backwards to home. And, more excitingly... The files are now with the printer, and a Guernsey Double will be printed shortly. Betsy will come down to sign off the proofs with me next week, which is a boon. Then they will be shipped off to Guernsey, bar a batch I shall keep back for my, um, eager public in Blighty.

Below Morlocks.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Hammersmith rain

Up early and off to the smoke this morning, and to Glamoursmith and work with Keith at his agency. Raining, of course, tumbling down on the empty building site by the river. All day till late talking about treatments for HIV. And for me a steep learning curve during a three hour meeting, followed by a briefing after work hours. Keith a very animated person, full of laughter sometimes in a very impish way. Also great to see how far treatments have come these days, and how for many HIV is a very manageable condition if they have access to treatments. Made me think of Tim and Rosa, my friends who died of AIDS, and feel sad that their lack of luck and timing.

It appears I shall be in London for the rest of the week, which is good for the Kenny coffers, and means I might catch up with Matty boy for a cheeky beer.

Lots of messages, not least that Richard and I have agreed to use the Brighton printer, the ISBN numbers have arrived and we are good to go. Also random contact from a parent enquiring when Skelton Yawngrave woudl be published, a recruitment person, an ex-colleague suggesting I may be able to do something in her school, and lots of other stuff. Things are definitely happening.

Home shortly before nine tonight. Bought fish and chips. Calliope all nervous, and judging by her uncharacteristically scaredy cat behaviour, there may have been a cat intruder. Lorraine voluteered tonight to pick up a new catflap. She is a treasure.

Worn out now and ready for bed. Up again to start it all over again in a few hours.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Back to school

Up and off to Stanford school this morning. Slightly apprehensive, but once I started to talking to Mark Rodericks beforehand, I felt instantly relaxed. Mark is plainly an outstanding teacher, and he introduced me to the year, putting the whole thing in context. The session lasted an hour in the school gym, and the 90 ten year old kids were excellently behaved. Very much winging it, not knowing what to say particularly, but I outlined life as a writer, and then told them how I got the idea for the story and so on.

Some interesting questions from the children. And again, they particularly liked Mum's paintings, and seemed to enjoy the first chapter of the book when I read it to them. They all applauded at the end, and bemusingly, several of the children approached me with scraps of paper so I could autograph them. They persisted, even when I explained again I was not famous, so I gave in and did it. I really hadn't expected that.

Home and it was only 12ish, so I went to the gym and had a sweaty work out. The afternoon not so good. I had some French work to do, and this proved extremely hard to concentrate on, and I didn't finish it till this evening. Received the quote from the Brighton printers, which I have forwarded to Richard.

In the evening, watched Cloverfield, a stylishly hand-held, but horror-free horror movie, and did the various things I need to do before going back up to the smoke tomorrow.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The waters break


Up at 7 and finished off the amends to my poems for A Guernsey Double, Jane and Richard's feedback very useful. They are now, officially, done. Feels weird, and I want to get on with the next thing now, whatever that is.

Off to Brighton Marina, where Lorraine and I scuttled about avoiding surges of seaspray on the breakwater, and after getting thoroughly drenched went for a coffee. I spent the evening quietly at home, twitching about going into school again tomorrow morning.

Below breakwater on Brighton Marina. The water makes for amazing photos.


Saturday, June 05, 2010

Hard yards

Booked flights for my book launch today. And secured a booking for La Barbarie for a couple of days too. Yippee!

Lorraine and I worked like dogs today, cleaning my yard, emptying sharp sand, and hefting slabs about in my back garden. Calliope hugely enjoying it. Sadly, the result was horrible. The grey slabs that were salvaged from Lorraine's old yard with huge effort, looked all wrong in my garden. I have also decided the job needs a professional, this only after we had worked on it for hours. Still it was like going to the gym, as I sweated a good deal, and it has helped define what I actually want.

Lorraine suddenly needed to go for a walk by the sea. Meanwhile I chatted with Richard. He and Jane had an absolute bloody final look through my manuscript, and thanks to Jane I will not be talking about patios in the book, rather patois. Lots of helpful comments, mostly on punctuation. Both of us in a happy place about the book now.

Rather worn out this evening, we watched movies on TV. Both Lorraine and I revived by wine and fishcakes.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Beer is good

After taking care of business this morning, off to a Brighton printer to ask for a detailed quote after providing detailed specifications. Hot day, and enjoyed walking across Brighton in the strong sun in a short sleeved a white shirt, past people tottering off towards the sea. I discovering the One Digital printers not too far from Bear Corner, on the Vogue Gyratory (a road intersection named after a defunct porn cinema, very Brighton).

On the way back popped into Lorraine's who was working from home, and sat outside in her yard sipping tea. Then I sauntered off to the hairdresser. A good job on my hair. Then home to order ISBN numbers, and conduct other top level business, such as hoovering, and addressing the house's usual slide towards chaos.

In the evening off to Lorraine's to have a curry in her local restaurant. There is something really nice about the ritual of Friday night curry and a cold beer, especially on a hot day. Beer really is the stuff. On cold dreary English days, there is nothing better than sitting by a fire in an English pub having a beer. While on hot days, there is nothing like a cold beer to look forward to at the end of your labours. An early night. It had seemed a long and arduous week.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Kicking stones

Up with the lark this morning, and in a frenzy of completion. A long chat with Richard first thing, some amends from his end, and a fiddle with the map in the middle of the book. Then off to the gym again, and on return printed my poems and took myself to the magic cafe to interrogate them.

Lorraine and Rachel, with Sam, Beth and Mark arrived in the cafe before pushing off to the beach again, and I worked until I sent my poems off to Richard and Jane who have kindly offered to have a final sense check. Rather tired after my poetic labours. Watched a programme about Russian art, then took myself to the Batty for a cold beer and a read of my book on Presocratic Philosophy. Ended up being joined at half ten by Lorraine, Sam and Beth.

Sam on exhaustingly philosophical form, announcing he was a solipsist he advanced opinions on a wide range of matters. The sooner that boy goes to university to find people he can debate with the better. Despite an interest in philosophy, and having a degree in it, my days of debating are long gone. I distrust people with opinions. As Bishop Berkeley said, "All men have opinions, but few think." But my sympathies also lie with Dr Johnson, who in his refutation of Bishop Berkeley's subjective idealism, or immaterialism (i.e. that everything was a figment of the imagination of Bishop Berkeley, who -- confusingly -- was in turn a figment in the mind of God) was to powerfully stomp a nearby stone and bark, "I refute it thus!"

Below Dr Johnson. This is the face to wear when interrogating a text I think.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Dolphin derby

The summer arrived with a blaze. In the late afternoon met Lorraine and Beth by the seaside, and spotted my first burnt noses of the summer. The beach smelling seasonally of suncream and fried fish. Lorraine's old pal Rachel and her husband Andrew and their two girls were in town. Wandered about on the pier, which was fairly busy, and the visitors went on some of the rides, and we all played the dolphin derby game, which I have walked past 100 times, and never played. Dismayingly, my dolphin (no.10 "Tuna Fish" powered mysteriously by balls you roll into holes) came in third last so I didn't get to win a fluffy fish. Then into Gars Chinese restaurant for some grub.

I really liked Rachel, who used to teach Beth and Sam. In her gap year after school, she went to live with missionaries in India for four months, dispensing health advice and showing people how to safely deliver babies (and I have no idea how this worked) using a shoebox and stockings.

Otherwise I slid into the gym, and had a day finalising the book, Betsy emailed the cover and the spine and Richard and I are well pleased with the result. We now within touching distance of finally finishing. There is, of course, something slightly terrifying about this. Richard's poems are fantastic, and I am so close to my own I have no idea of their value. Still, both of us tweak on, with A Guernsey Double heading for what we hope is the winning post.

Have been booked for a few days up in London with Keith from next Tuesday working on a pitch for HIV treatment, which is nicely timed, as it allows me the screech-inducing ordeal of going into a new school to discuss Skelton Yawngrave on Monday afternoon.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Betsy's got it covered

One look at Calliope's reproachful face made me go shopping for prawns this morning. Spoilt weasel. Otherwise a busy day. Sent Matt an idea for the music piece, did some copy for the Guernsey literary festival to be held next year. I've suggested they call the festival Inspired by Guernsey, which they seem to have gone for. Also speaking to Betsy and to Richard, from whom I recieved a bag of Rwandan coffee in a complex joke that's best not gone into here for reasons of human decency. Richard also puffing having been running again. He is already a slim well-proportioned gentleman, and it's a good thing I've been going to the gym as we don't want to look like the Laurel and Hardy of Guernsey literature.

Spent the rest of the day tweaking the book's innards, and fiddling with the last bastard poem which will not quite sit right. Still I have a few days before it goes to print, so why worry? My brain not functioning well.

Below the mock up cover of A Guernsey Double from Betsy. Our book has two front covers, and half the book is printed upside down to the other. A few colour tweaks to the colours to come, but we're there. We're opting for a bluer look. Richard and I really happy with it. I'm liking the block print feel a good deal.