Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Feeling vile. A bad night's sleep full of aches and sweats. As the day progressed, however, I began to feel somewhat more human. Naturally, as I am ill, I have work. Spent the morning editing long documents about strokes and AF. Because I was so brain dead I started it all wrong, and wasted a couple of hours. Meanwhile Max had come to Brighton to be on the beach with her bairns but I couldn't get free to share my bugs with them. Lorraine, however, made of stern stuff. She was off and out to work without complaint, and not back till 11 having attended a leaving party.

In the late afternoon, having finished, I went for a coffee with Cath in the park cafe. I'm enjoying having a park so close, and to see trees and smell the rose garden, and watch the gangs of children happily eking out the last of summer.

Lorraine's TV system allows you to watch all the stuff you've missed when you want to. Saw a documentary by Peter Ackroyd on the Romantics. And later, on 'live' TV, a documentary about Earth's core. Rather fascinating. Learned about the South Atlantic Anomaly, where the magnetosphere is closer to the Earth's surface than other parts due to gravitational weirdness in the core. Ended with the idea that the poles could potentially slip and move about, which was I thought was common knowledge. Beth came home while I was watching this carrying a large clothes basket stuffed with sensible pre-college purchases such as three pairs of florally decorated scissors and purple chopping boards.

Richard and Jane in Guernsey understandably upset about their poor dog Rufus who is seriously ill. Coincidentally received an email from Marcella cancelling a big BBQ because of her cat may have to be put down. I used to write for The Blue Cross (Britain's Pet Charity) and remember reading about their pet bereavement services, for the loss of a loved pet is like losing a family member. God knows what I'll feel like when it is Calliope's time.

In Wrong there is a piece of dialogue about an anomaly, made better by Beth initial inability to pronounce anomaly.

Beth: So how do you explain Timmy then?
Mark: Timmy is an anomaly.
Beth: What's an anomaly?
Mark: I'm not sure really. But I know Timmy’s one.
Beth: I think he's more of a symbol than an anomaly.
Mark: You just won't stop talking about Timmy. If you knew how sick I am of bloody Timmy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Alone at last

Feeling increasingly ill as the day progressed. Lorraine ill too, although less bad as mine is a Man Flu. Spent the day faffing about designing web pages, and being frustrated by an inexplicable technical glitch in Corel Draw. Lorraine working from home on the desk next to me, which was rather nice. Returned the costumes to Masquerade and was in luck: every alien and pirate item was there.

Cats getting more fighty as the pheromones are wearing off.

Lorraine and I had only our first night in alone together since I have moved in, but we spent it guzzling paracetamols on the sofa, and coughing off to an early bed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sam and Pat's Birthday

Refreshed and up early. Drove to the Twitten to rescue various plants, including my vast tree-like jade plant, which I grew from a single leaf and must now be twenty years old. Then L and I to the gym. I noticed how Lorraine gets the same strangely noble expression while excersising that she does while singing.

Then to The Sussex Yeoman to celebrate Sam's 21st and Pat's 78th birthdays. Sam was on excellent form and pleased with his presents. I got him a Gresham Blake token (Blake is a local tailor and very stylish). Sam, Mark and I all scoffed venison burgers which was rather fine.Sam joined shortly before he left by a friend called Penny teetering on high heels.

Then home, via the Twitten where Dawn was working at decorating my house, and we gave her some of the sponge-free, chocolate free cake Lorraine had bought for Sam (which had been served with candles and mini Jolly Roger pirate flags).

Home and I went to bed for two hours with Calliope sleeping next to me. When I came to again, Lorraine had developed a cold, and I found myself shivery too. I stayed up late expecting a call to contribute to the late show on Radio Devon run by JKT. Sat expectantly by my phone listening to JKT, Richard and Jane till midnight (and having a protracted facebook conversation with Paul who was also listening while busy dissing the music choices) but call there came none.

Thence, very gratefully, to bed.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Bad hangover. Very bad hangover. But no rest for the wicked. Into town to buy cards and presents for Sam and Pat who, grandfather and grandson, share a birthday tomorrow. Set off by bus in blazing sunlight, pausing in a charity shop run by a pleasant transgender person with bosoms. Sun turned rapidly into rain. Sodden, we dived into a cafe, then more shopping and Pat and I chatting outside, and listening to a street jazz band. Later Lorraine, Pat and I back to the theatre to collect the various alien and pirate costumes and props. I then lay down wanly having taken some headache pills.

In the evening we all watched the Da Vinci Code, in which characters stand around explaining things to one another. It was entertaining enough, as was Match of the Day and Arsenal's massive 8-2 defeat at the hands of evil Manchester United.

Pat, Lorraine and Maureen in the Laines. Note evil sky in the background.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cavorting at the Marlborough

After popping by Matt's place this morning to collect a turntable for Sam's birthday, off to the seafront this morning with Mum and Mas, where we had a big breakfast outside at the Meeting Place cafe between Brighton and Hove. Beautiful sea with white horses, and striations of darker blue under the clouds. An effect I was enjoying till Mason pointed at the darker horizon and said this is exactly what a tsunami would look like.

Then to an art shop in Hove that Mum knew of. She floated happily about the aisles and I found myself buying some oil pastels, which I have never used before, imagining fondly that I would have time to use them.

At lunchtime the changing of the guard, with Maureen and Pat arriving from Kent. And Lorraine and I took both sets of parents off to The Battle of Trafalgar and a jolly little drink before it was time for Mum and Mase to return to London.

Shortly after I went to the theatre. Everyone more calm today. Becky had arrived early giving us the chance to get the lighting and sound cues right tonight. Also Beth's pal Laura being incredibly helpful. More pub grub downstairs before the show. I helped where I could and did meeting and greeting duties. Another healthy crowd tonight, with Mark's mobs of family and friends. Wayne particularly enjoying himself. The show was better today. Wrong was fine, with lines heroically remembered. Mark's Pirates Anonymous again went down very well and I like this piece the more I see it. And Betty the Spacegirl much more assured tonight, with Beth clearly enjoying herself as the intergalactic heroine, and the alien boys doing some hilarious work.

Then sadly it was all over. The bar packed afterwards and some serious drinking to be done. Suddenly I needed to get out and walked off to the pier and stood in the dark looking at waves crashing on the shore for ten minutes before rejoining the throng. As I walked back I had the comforting feeling that all this activity: Beth Mark and Callum acting their socks off, Mark writing his first play, friends giving up their Friday and Saturday nights, connections being made, laughs being had all because at one point I had decided to simply go for it. Later in the bar with the bitter enders, chatting lots with Matt about the opera. I think that's one of the reasons Matt and I get on so well: it's all about the next project.

Tarik and David at the theatre very supportive on the nights. The bar staff living up to their legendarily grumpy status. But many of us enjoyed a lively lesbian disco in the other bar, which I cavorted in briefly. Then late home in a taxi. Pat and Maureen to bed sometime after midnight. Lorraine and I decided more drink was a penetratingly good idea. I had an absolutely bloody final sloe gin left over from last Christmas, and went to bed drained and exhausted.

There are many images from the show that need to be gathered. These will come shortly. Meanwhile a snap of Callum and Mark in the green room, and Lorraine, Mum and Mas by the sea. This would have been a good shot if Lorraine had kept her eyes open.


Friday, August 26, 2011

First night

Lorraine and I drove the props and costumes to the Marlborough, while the others taxied over. Once in I left Beth, Mark and Callum to cover boxes in foil, organise the lights and get themselves ready. Lorraine and I off to collect Mum and Mas from the train station, and taken home, before I left again for the theatre. The afternoon spent on rehearsals. A dire dress rehearsal ramped up the tension even more, with me rather tetchy. Not my finest hour.

Ate some surprisingly great chicken burgers and then it was time to roll. Our sound and lighting person Becky arrived with an hour or so to spare. I sat nervously downstairs with Mum and Mase, Paul arrived with a lady friend Channa and then between about 7:15 and 7:45 not one person arrived. Then, thank goodness, several groups of people turned up at the last moment and suddenly there was an audience. I lurched upstairs with Tarik, and introduced Pack of Three show and off they went. First was Wrong, which had been performed to general hilarity first time. It is one of those comedies with a tragedy just below the surface, and this performance was completely different to last time, loads of attention paid by the audience. We'd had trouble with Wrong in rehearsal, with chunks of lines going awol. Beth and Mark performed it flawlessly.

Mark's play Pirates Anonymous was a revelation. This had been a bit one note during rehearsal, but we'd spent time working on the monologues in the afternoon, and it was an incredibly impressive piece by a 19 year old writer. Betty the Spacegirl was great fun too, with the great physical comedy elements from all of them. Being self-critical I felt it betrayed the fact it was written in a hurry, but it got a good few laughs. I think with theatre its only when you see your piece performed do you get an idea of what it's like. But confusing this is the fact that no two audiences, performances and so on are the same.

Massively proud of Beth, Mark and Callum to have got through it in one piece. The rest of the evening then given over to soothing beers in the bar and generally had a rather good laugh.

Below snapshots from Betty the Spacegirl, Pirates Anonymous and Wrong. More to come.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bowling along

Calling mortgage people this morning, gathering information about my next moves. Otherwise there seems loads to be done and for one reason or another I can do none of it and am feeling very frustrated. Lorraine working from home on the desk next to me which was nice though, despite me feeling I was sending out waves of tetchiness. In fact I was in a poor mood all day, although I had a pleasant interlude walking through Preston Park to Brighton bowls club, sat on a little bench by a sunken bowling green and watched as four highly-competitive games were in progress between the home team and a visiting one. Something almost zen-like about the bowls rolling gently up and down the green, and the sagacious nods and murmurs of the uniformly grey-haired players in their bowling whites.

In the evening off to the Marlborough theatre, left the costumes there and Mark, Beth, Callum and Becky sorted the lighting out, with the stylish Tarik clambering up ladders to tweak the lighting positions and put in the plastic gels, which slide over the lights to turn a white light red or green or blue depending on what's called for. The youngsters very professional about this and creating their lighting states. I learned a new word from Beth, which is a 'tab' which are the flaps by the sides of theatrical lights. The theatre has been really poor in its marketing of our play and seem only to have found the posters I delivered almost two months ago for the venue, and set up the online buying site a few days ago. Really poor. I might move the Christmas play I am planning elsewhere.

Then we repaired as a group to the Basketmakers, for me to buy everyone a beer. There discovered Matt who was celebrating an excellent start at Chichester's music department today, where he will teach composition. Showed me his photoID with STAFF on it, and was full of the possibilities the new job will open up. Handed out a few more of our flyers, Beth spotting some former teachers to hand them to, and me the man with electronic cigarettes. Then all home, me scoring a disreputable Chinese meal on the way home, and eating it happily before bed.

Below: a random moment with Beth and Callum in the Theatre. Beth on the phone being the quietly-efficient organiser as well as comedienne extraordinaire.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Scooby snacks

Catflap malfunctioned in the night two bedraggled cats in the rain this morning. Clearing up this morning in preparation of the visitors we have coming over the next few days. Today Glynis, Beth's Grandmother, and Beth's Godparents Jean and Nigel arrived. Jean and Nigel who are now in their seventies met at a Sunday School teachers convention, and are a lovely couple. I liked Glynis too, and didn't feel any of the potential awkwardness of her being Lorraine's ex-husband's mother. She is greatly respected in the family and I could see why.

After I had shopped in the nearby satisfyingly bourgeois deli, and we had constructed massive scooby-snack lunches (me thinking of my Great Dane loving former art director Nev) I left the family to it to head to the Twitten.

There I had a chat with Dawn, and met John who is going to do the repairs and garden, and handed him an eyewatering cheque. Also went to the gym for another sweaty session. Called Anna who was sitting beside a river in France, and this made me feel rather jealous.

The evening brought more rehearsals. And Lorraine Beth and I sat listening to hundreds of SF sound effects to get the right ones for Betty the Spacegirl, plus some pirate theme tunes. And so, we whooooooshed off to bed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My life is a soap

I decided today, that living at the Old Church Hall is currently like inhabiting a soap opera. There is the daily sporting of alien costumes and piratical roaring of the rehearsals. Regular visitors turn up to add colour to the story, such as Cath today returning an umbrella she borrowed yesterday and for a fast wee, and there are comedy moments with random pieces of machinery or IT malfunctioning every day, and cats gambolling about and having hissy fits.

Lorraine and I popped up to the Twitten and saw Dawn hard at it. She has also liaised with the builder, and work will start shortly on the garden and kitchen. It is all costing a small fortune.

Then off to the Marlborough Theatre with Beth, Mark and Callum to meet Tarik to discuss staging the show on Friday and Saturday. Very haphazard organisation, and the venue has added nothing to our marketing other than distributing the flyers I provided. Luckily Beth has been an absolute star in this respect, and we should still have a pretty good audience. Tarik a very nice man, sporting a steampunk brass touches to his waistcoat. We talked in a room full of props including a stuffed weasel or stoat, which I had to throw my jacket over as Beth has stuffed animal phobia.

After this meeting in the late afternoon, Beth suggested she and I sneak into the Basketmakers for a brief interlude. Lovely chat with her, while Lorraine did a spot of shopping. Then Beth and I home, via Sainsbury's. Beth cooked a fantastic hake, sausage, bean and vegetable dish, although I had to wander about in search of sausage after the chorizo we bought was found to be mouldy. I returned with a boomerang wedge of Polish smoked sausages which worked very well.

Matt arrived and we went upstairs to listen to the recordings and make copious notes about the to prepare for your next session of mastering and mixing with Simon Scardanelli. Meanwhile Beth talking to Becky who is producing the show, announcing that she can only be at the theatre an hour and a half before the performance.

Matt and I had a fast and cheeky pint, with Matt full of ideas for the opera and the sense of an optimistic horizon. Then home to Lorraine and Beth armed with a small amount of toffee popcorn covered in chocolate.

Suddenly I'm feeling very at home in the Old Church Hall.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Aliens, Lazarus technology and The Cloud Of Things That Must Be Done

Vets again, to put a new chip in Calliope who bolted as soon as she saw the carrier and howled piteously there and back in the car. What a simple idea it seemed at first to put a catflap through the glass door. But of course the glaziers cut the flap hole in the wrong place so the generously-proportioned Basil becomes lodged in it. New glass is coming, so theoretically all three cats will now be able to use the flap. Now we need to get money back from the manufacturers of the cat flap which should have recognised Calliope's original chip. Multiply this small saga by about twenty and you have The Cloud Of Things That Must Be Done.

On the positive side Dawny is already busy painting and decorating in my place. Meanwhile Betty, Mark and Callum returned from shopping sporting hilarious alien clothes. I'm feeling very optimistic about the show this week. Betty and I go to meet Tarik tomorrow to discuss practicalities.

I had a few hours to do some work between dodging the effects of the new broadband we've had installed which is intermittent at best. But felt slightly more in control by the end of the day. Agency may or may not give me some work this week. Not knowing the basics of what every day brings just adds to the stress.

Miraculously , my iPod which spontaneously died three weeks ago simply threw off its winding cloths and worked again: Lazarus technology.

Lorraine and I off to the gym this evening, both of us are slowly losing weight and encouraging each other, which can only be a good thing. I am using weights to tighten up my upper body, as my legs are like taught stringy whipcords thanks to the Hulk Legs machine, but my upper body a crime against God. Home to chicken fajitas. Yum.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Toby's last morning in Brighton. A large breakfast to send him on his way. Toby, Lorraine and I went for a walkabout through Brighton before seeing him off at the station. It had been great to see him, and I was pleased at least we found some time to talk here and there. Sad as ever to see my brother leaving, and wished we could live in the same town. But at least I get to travel to Toronto to see him and Romy, which is a bonus.

Home to a phone call from Mum wondering what day Toby was returning, and the manly business of screwing newly-waxed bookcases to the walls with L-shaped brackets to prevent one of those ghastly book crushing accidents you are always reading about. Then emptying boxes of books and placing them on the shelves: naturally my books filled these up in a trice and there are still several unopened boxes. Sam here too, helping Lorraine sort out an old computer. I gave him a thick philosophy encyclopedia, as he will probably get way more use from it, going off for three years to study philosopy, than I will.

Meanwhile more rehearsals going on. I sat in for a while as Mark has finished Pirates Anonymous. Generally good fun and full of shouty piratical madness.

Everybody walking about the house saying Narr and Yarr and Arrgh a good deal. After Callum left, we settled down to watch The King's Speech, which was surprisingly enjoyable, and extremely well acted. Some stammering mixing in with the general piracy.

An early, and blameless night. With eyepads, me hearties.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mock Turtles

A slower start to the morning. Lorraine and I soon waxing our new scaffolding bookcases like furies. More rehearsals for Pack of 3 going on today too.

Toby and I went out for a long walk around Brighton. It was thronging with tattooed pasty-faced Londoners spilling down onto the seafront. We popped, more properly, into the Mock Turtle for a traditional cream tea: stiff mountains of cream and jam, and four immense scones, and a pot of leaf tea. After a short spell jostling about on the seafront, we escaped into the Museum by the pavillon. Then to the Basketmakers in the hope of meeting Matt and his parents (we just missed them) and to gulp a much needed lime and soda, Toby a shandy. Wandered slowly home, really nice just to wander about with Toby slowly catching up.

In the evening Lorraine Toby and I went to the Shahi, for a delicious meal. For example we ordered onion bhajis and they were splendid. For the first time we ordered from the house speciality menu, and it was like being in a different restaurant. The dishes were fantastic. Toby and Lorraine talking lots about teaching while we addressed ourselves to the knife and forkwork. Home only to find myself unaccountably stricken by tiredness. I was falling asleep in Match of the Day.

Lorraine had sent off for eye pads to wear at night, as the sun pours through the velux windows on us at this time of year. To bed like a pair of raccoons.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Costumes and tapas in the park

Lorraine and I out to buy food and wood wax first thing this morning. The wax bought from a wood shop where there were several buckets and a rather morose man serving as water fell from the ceiling. Then home to eat a large breakfast with Toby, who had been watching The Jeremy Kyle show. Betty, Mark and Callum were there too, gathering to rehearse for Pack of 3.

Then Toby set off for a slow walkabout in Brighton. Lorraine went to the Twitten bearing doubloons to pay Dawn for the paint she has bought to do my house. Lorraine and Dawn also met a general builder who is going to fix my kitchen ceiling and the back yard. This all constitutes progress, but involves spending lots of cash.

I was at the Masquerade costume shop, which is handily just around the corner from The Old Church Hall with Betty, Mark and Callum as they tried on various pirate and alien costumes. Betty has an excellent spacegirl outfit. Much laughter. Loads of clobber hired, but a useful discount for sheer quantity prevented my wallet yelping in a too appalled manner.

Then after a chat with Lorraine and Dawn sitting outside Brighton station. L and I went to the gym, Lorraine and I working out for about an hour, before undoing all our good work by going to the Basketmakers with Toby to share portions of chips and slake our thirst with a pint.

In the evening taxied off to St Anne's Wells Park, where rather randomly tapas was being served. Lorraine, Betty, Toby and I met Rosie there. We sat in the cool low sun, and were brought agreeable tapas, and wine at a table in the middle of the park. Then we wandered down to Rosie's flat to hang out for a while before walking across town to The Basketmakers again. Here we drank some beer and talked late into the night. Were joined by Sam, rather cheery about going to college and his results. Toby enjoying a proper no-nonsense pub night I think, and Sam and Beth left and at midnight Toby, Lorraine and I poured Rosie into a cab and we three sloped home feeling no pain.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Forgot to mention yesterday that the front of the oven, which is glass, burst apart shortly after Lorraine had cooked. Lorraine thankfully insured, and mysterious glass explosions are covered amazingly enough.

An atrocious night's sleep. There are two black cats who live locally who Basil and Brian have been warring with. They invaded at about 4pm and Lorraine and I started awake to the sound of a riot downstairs. Sam called Lorraine at 6:30am with the excellent news that his place at Leeds University had been secured, and called later having learned his A level grades. A fabulous two As three Bs at A level.

Bookcases were delivered. These have been recycled by horny-handed gentlemen of Brighton from wood used by scaffolders. A late breakfast then with the Tobster and then off to Charleston House, home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and haunt of the Bloomsbury crowd, including Vanessa's sister Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes and many others. A fascinating house, with an excellent guide. I'm not a particular fan of Bell or Grant, but I really enjoyed the tour, picturing all the worthies gathered around the faded painted tables.

The artists cottage garden was full of vivid colours and towering hollyhocks and red hot pokers, and a hundred other flowers all walled in by a typical Sussex flint stone wall. And outside was a big pond with fish breaking the surface with gulping circular mouths.

Stopped off at Middle Farm for some foodstuffs. Toby and I wandered into the cider section with a sackful of pressed apple pulp outside and sniffed the enticingly cidery air in the room full of bottles and barrels. Lorraine meanwhile was busy bumping into her pal Rosie.

The evening meal was shared by Toby, Lorraine Mark and Beth and we all forked into fabulous fish curry, rice and dahl Lorraine had made. Callum arrived and the three young actors got busy upstairs rehearsing for Pack of Three this time with fewer bloodcurdling screeches. They are really enjoying it, which is great to see.

I introduced the Tobster to vile and very funny The Inbetweeners, and we sat snickering at a few episodes of this. Lorraine hates it but sat tolerantly working on a patchwork quilt. An early night, and a blameless one too with Toby, Lorraine and I foreswearing alcohol for a night, and not before time.

Below some snaps of the lovely gardens at Charleston. Was intruiged to spot this head in a roped off glasshouse, and other other views of the garden and pond.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Beeping Toby on the street

A new day and more to sort out. The new cat flap admits cats by assessing the chips on their shoulders. Calliope's won't register. Lorraine and I pushed the unwilling cat into its travelling basket and it complained all the way to the vets and back again. Her chip registers so she may have to have a different chip added giving her two chips. Otherwise Calliope leaping up to the tabbies full of fun and mischief, batting the end of Brian's tail and creeping up on Basil and touching her with the lightest of touches while asleep. She appears to be alpha feline which is pretty fast work.

This cat business done I sat down to catch up with my blogs only to find that there was some French work to be written. Happily working on this the sumptuous tastes of Southern France for a couple of hours while Lorraine was had her back cracked at the chiropractors.

Off to the gym this afternoon, and as we were picking some things up from my old house we went by car. Passed Toby strolling down the street and beeped him. After we'd got him properly lassoed and pointed into a cafe, L and I continued to the gym which Today Lorraine joined, doing particularly well on the hulk legs machine.

Then home to the Old Church Hall having collected some bits and pieces at my place. We sat about chatting as Lorraine cooked us all lovely supper of roast pork and vegetable parcels and roast potatoes and sweet potatoes. Some discussion over supper with Beth about the nature and species of fruits, Toby finding them on his iPhone before the ladies found them in their books.

Toby and I off that night to the London Unity pub where The Shakespeare Trio were playing. The night disorganised and some toe-curling poetry at one point. Richard and Dipak held over to top the bill and played beautifully though he talked too much between numbers. Maria, Richard's guitarist wife was there too, and gave me the name of a classical guitar repairer.

Walked home down the hill chatting with Toby both of us rather tired.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fish business and rehearsals

Calliope tearing around the room like a mad thing in the night with her claws out.

In the morning at last being able to get down to moving boxes around like fury. Lorraine and I dervishing about in the morning, as Betty and Mark sat quietly on the gold sofa. Then off to the Twitten to rescue the fishes. Lengthy business of draining the tank and bagging up all of the fish, pausing only to cope with a leaking bag, emptying gravel and stones into buckets. Then to transport cabinet and tank and fishes to the Old Church Hall. Everyone arrived safely, and we set up the tank and the fish all alive and accounted for a few hours later when released back into the water.

Callum arrived and Beth Mark and Callum began a very noisy rehearsal upstairs. So Lorraine drove us up to the fish shop where I bought some new plants, and the tank looks well in its new environment. Fatty Basil one of the tabby cats, is a great fish fancier and is well pleased.

Home and a discussion about Betty the Spacegirl. Everyone not sure about how it works, I sat with them as they went through it, gave them a few notes and am very reassured that it will work excellently. The cast all happy now. Reherasal particularly noisy, especially during Mark's piece Pirates Anonymous, which requires unihibited pirate noises. Lorraine spoke to the neigbour to explain that there wasn't actually a mad axe killer on the loose.

Rehearsals finished, we all had an exquisite Thai curry Lorraine had made. And Betty, Mark, Lorraine and I repaired up the hill for a cheeky beer before bedtime.

Another tiring day. There is, however, no end in sight.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hand out of the grave

Like the end of film Carrie, working on the job that refused to be die today even when buried and the last rites had been read over it. I had been booked to work remotely, which does not mean staring out of the window and not answering when people speak to you, but instead at home. Wrote the first draft of an advert about tooth decay and Lorraine used an iron and the power went. Fortunately this was a one off, but the job did not finish till gone five, having started at eight am. Feeling very frustrated at not being able to get on with all the stuff I need to do, such as unpack boxes, organise my life etc. not to mention my dimly-remembered life as a writer.

Cat politics still fascinating. Calliope rising to the top of the league now.

In the evening off to Matt and Wayne's place. It had been sunny all day, and hot and sweaty in the roof of the Old Church Hall, and they had arranged a barbecue. Naturally it began raining heavily minutes before it was due to start, but we all had a splendid time. Sam had arrived at the Old Church Hall shortly before we left so he came too, sporting his beret. We picked up Rosie en route. At Wayne and Matt's were Ruth, who Matt had been walking on the Downs with that day after drinking Brighton dry on Sunday afternoon after we had left them, Tanya and Catherine who I like more each time I meet them, Guy as funny and entertaining as ever, and John. Some great conversation, although I personally fell short of the full Oscar Wilde due to tiredness. We all drank and tucked into some nice food, listening to Matt's light jazz choices and chatting till late.

Lorraine and I taxied home shortly before midnight.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Breakfast of bacon sandwiches with Maureen and Pat. Lorraine and I went with them to the station, and to the gym. I had planned to stop of at my house first to pick up a shirt and a towel, and then have a shower there after the gym.

I didn't have my keys, though, and nor did Lorraine. I went to the gym for a bit anyway, surging about on the hulk-legs machine and then having a shower. Having no shirt to change into, I simply took my gym shirt into the shower reasoning that it was one of the high tech quick drying variety. Standing about after trying not to look selfconscious drying myself and sodden teeshirt with a hairdryer. Gah.

Off then to The Sussex Yeoman to meet John and Matt and Matt's great friend Ruth down from Edinburgh. A really nice Sunday Lunch, apart from the stupid wet shirt. Really liked Ruth, who studied composition with Matt and is a fantastic piano player (though sadly she hates performing) and arranges musical events in Scotland.

Home and slept soundly for an hour in the afternoon. Creeping about feeling tired for the rest of the day, and enjoying the Swedish Wallender, before Lorraine and I working on more endless house tidying. And then the return of Match of the Day, and some football to watch.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday of interludes

Fantastic not to have to get up at an ungodly hour. Instead Lorraine and I saw Dawn at 12:30. For Dawn is going to paint my house for me, and we walked about with Dawn suggesting all the things that needed doing, and me agreeing. Although she repeated her earlier rudeness about the orange yellow highlight I have in my downstairs.

I left Dawny and Lorraine to it, for I had business in the Battle of Trafalgar where I met Richard and Dipak, the Shakeseare Trio, to discuss their CD launch. I offered a degree of unwanted marketing advice and other suggestions. But mainly it was quite pleasant to be sat outside in the hot suntrap of the Batty's back garden for an hour or so. Lorraine joined us after a while too, although sat at another table for a while making phonecalls. Dipak talking about mastering of the tracks and other technical matters. Richard keen to keep gigging but resistant to thinking laterally about the venues they are involved in.

After this was done, Lorraine and I surged back to the house feeling rather tired, before heading off to Eastbourne by train. Sat opposite a boy who told us he had been to the Pride festival and felt sick, and sat glumly opposit us with a plastic bag at the ready. Here we met Lorraine's parents and extended members of Pat's family who had gone to Eastbourne to watch the airshow. We all went off to a Chinese restaurant, walking past a hotel with an iron stag outside it, which Pat and I enjoyed remarking to each other that it looked a bit dear.

Lorraine and I the youngest in the party, which is not something that happens every day, but it was a very jolly evening and the matriarch of the family Joyce who was around 90 made entertainingly ribald comments about sweet and sour chicken balls. She told Lorraine that it was nice to see her again despite the fact 'we didn't have much to say to each other' which struck me as funny. Pat and Maureen back on the train with us to Brighton to stay overnight. We all walked down the hill from the station at London Road, past a man-sized rhinestone flipflop, a souvenir of the Pride festival that had been going on around the corner from the Old Church Hall in Preston Park.

To bed and a night disturbed by nearby parties.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Brighton oasis

Gah. Dragging myself through Friday by my fingernails and gulping teas and even a diet coke to stave off the tiredness. Trying to be manically focused on completing things. A typical agency experience, the days becoming inreasingly frenzied as the week progressed. I was again working on tooth decay and kibbles, helping myself to the bowls of sweets and candies they leave here and there to celebrate Friday.

A feeling of huge relief as I was at last released back into the wild. Tried to sleep on the slow trundle down to Brighton but didn't. Fed my fish, then strode manfully down to The Basketmakers to meet Lorraine, for this had been the oasis to which I had been crawling all day. There had a very cheery, if tired, drink with Lorraine, Dawn, Cath, Betty and Sam before sloping home, mumbling at a takeaway and slumping exhaustedly into bed.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

We three meet again

Woke up at six, dragged off to London again, buying a cup of tea from a vendor outside the station who gave me a loyalty card. Read the newspaper cover to cover. Then a tiresome day at work, being give a series of small but complex briefs, and discussing work rather than having any time to do it. Lots of time devising a strategy for kibbles only to be exasperatingly told that it was far too creative.

The evening in contrast was excellent. I hurried late to The Salisbury where I met Toby recently arrived from Canada and Mum enjoying a drink tucked into a curving seat in the old gin palace pub. Toby looking well and cheery, and Mum happy to be out in the wild and spending the day with him. Obviously much general family business to discuss: mad relatives, the doing of our Canadian family, and the airing of extreme opinions about things. Toby had a major assessment of his teaching this year, which he came through with flying colours after threatening his class with dire consequences. After a couple of sharpeners we wandered up through Chinatown into Soho, where we went to a pizza place just around the corner from The French House where we consumed large pizzas. Great to see them both, and the first time the three of us had been out together for ages: Mum and her two boys.

Then they slunk down into the tube and found my way to Victoria. Dead beat on the train, but simply fell asleep and found myself in Brighton in what seemed like no time. Lorraine and Betty also had been up in London to see The Cherry Orchard. But arrived home even later than me, past midnight.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cash for kibbles

Up to London again reading about riots again in The Guardian, though things have quietened down in the capital, there was a strong police presence in St. Pancras Station this evening.

Missing my iPod on the long homeward trips.

A trouble free day, writing mainly about kibbles. It does make you shake your head in wonder when you have kibbles to thank for doubloons in the Kenny coffers.

Happy as I am to be writing about kibbles, part of me would dearly like to tear myself away and work on the thousand other things I have to do. Leaving home at 7 and returning at 8:40 doesn't leave time for much else. Although I did sneak off during the afternoon with The FB for a chat. He's having a horrid time with his sister who is seriously ill with cancer. This rather put my own house moving stresses into sharp relief. Despite this we had a few laughs, with the FB fondly recalling his own juvenile outbreaks of public disorder. Returned to work and stayed a bit later to compensate.

Back in the Old Church Hall, Lorraine has been steadily sorting out the place. New broadband has been installed, and there is new glass in the front door with a hole for the catflap cut in the wrong place, so the will have to replace it. They have left the wrong glass in for the time being, and Brian has learned to squeeze out of it, while fat Basil had to be pushed through it like a cork. When I finally got home tonight, Lorraine and Beth and Mark where there all on the gold sofa. All quite cheery and soon I was scarfing a beany dish of Lorraine's invention and drinking a cold can of lager.

Calliope is passive aggressively ignoring me. Another early night.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Trouble and kibbles

Up and off to London at 7:00, after some early hissing between Brian and Calliope over who had the right to be on the bed with us as we woke up.

iPodless, I bought the Guardian and read this from cover to cover on the train. It was full of news about the riots in London. As the train stopped at Croydon station there was a strong smell of woodsmoke, which must have come from Reeves Furniture store which had been spectacularly burnt to the ground last night. Everybody talking about it at work on facebook and so on. The reactions have been confused and angry and in some cases fearful. The motivations of the rioters are so mixed, from an understandable frustration and feeling that there is no future for them, along with big doses of sheer devilment. The day peppered with rumour about where the next riot is going to be, including down the road in Brighton.

Work up in Tavistock Square today. Disorganised and stressful start to the day, which proceeded to get a bit better. A first for me, writing about Science Plan kibbles, which are medicalised dog and cat biscuits. Apparently when the pets bite these kibbles the texture of it scrapes their teeth clean of plaque and tartar. Sat saying 'kibbles' to myself quite a bit, which reminded me of the old Star Trek episode Trouble with Tribbles.

Was copied on the email from the agency's HR, advising people to leave early to avoid the riots if they felt they had to.

Meanwhile Lorraine was indoors unpacking things still, and getting the electrician back, who found shorting wires behind the dishwasher. This was good news. However a few minutes before I returned home, another appliance tripped the electrics again. Gah.

Also Lorraine chasing some new glass for the front door, into which will be placed a catflap. However the people have the contract for Tescos, who thanks to the riots suddenly need lots of glass. Big events conspiring to thwart us.

I popped into the Twitten tonight to feed the fish, and then walked home in the low sunlight. I found Lorraine to be coldy and subdued tonight, but she had cooked a lovely meal and it was great to be home.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Bad trip

Monday and taking a brief for work to be done from home. Electrics holding up enough for this. After various tripping switches during the day, which of course knocked out my computer too wiping the work I was doing, a friendly electrician arrived. Of course when he was there we plugged and unplugged all the electrical applications, and of course everything worked while he was here. But within half an hour the whole thing was tripping again.

The traffic controller being particularly dithering today at the agency and it was only in the evening that I learned that I'm needed in London tomorrow. Very frustrating not being able to plan ahead more than 48 hours. Meanwhile Lorraine worked like a Trojan while I faffed about writing about osteoporosis, and pet food. Both of us very tired, and as I had an early start to tomorrow we went to bed early. Not before my trusty iPod finally died. Have managed to destroy quite a bit of IT in the last few weeks.

The news full of riots.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

A bit of a shocker

Calliope given the run of the house today, provoking growling and hissing from Basil, and staring matches with Brian. Despite this, they all rubbed along surprisingly well and were all seen in the same room from time to time without fighting. This is a great result as I had been dreading this part. Calliope not intimidated, which is makes me happy.

Arduous unpacking of boxes, and Lorraine and I both felt very tired. Then as Lorraine was cooking a lovely Sunday lunch, the fuses tripped and precipitated hours of fiddling with electrics. This also meant that after futile attempts to light the oven, it had to be carried into our neighbours who kindly finished it off for us. Beth and Mark had Sunday roast with us, when it was eventually ready. But I felt so tired I could barely speak to them. Lorraine frustrated by not being able to get things straight, but spoke to her dad Pat about it who has been a Sparky. But there seemed little logic to how the electricity is going off and on, although upstairs seems to be okay. And this is where my computer is. Naturally as I am working from home tomorrow morning this was worrying.

All this heaped unnecessary stress onto the general stress of moving.

Managed to get the TV working again and watched Swedish Wallender, which seemed like a fantastic treat. Big thunderstorm and an hammering deluge, out of which Sam emerged late in the evening with his clothes utterly sodden.

Boofed eventually into bed, overtired and unable to sleep without a sleeping pill.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Moving the big things

Up early, with Calliope noisily exporing her new environs of the bedroom. Lorraine and I back blearily early to the Twitten. Cath and Dawn very kindly arrived to help. Then Steve and Lance, the 'nice man big van' guys sparked ant-like ferrying along the twitten, past the talkative man waiting for his drugs, and into the back of the big van. Dawn seemingly able to carry her own bodyweight. Beyond, the centre of town unnusually lively around the station with Brighton football supporters, who played their first league game in their new ground up at Falmer.

At the end, Lorraine reminded me to lock the back door of my house, and I walked in again, noticing my footfalls echoing, and I felt a moment's contentment. I've had a great time at that house, but I am ready and very happy to move in with Lorraine. I left the aquarium there to be collected in a day or so.

At The Old Church Hall, a mere five minutes away, Betty and Mark were ready with tea and biscuits, and a special moving in mix of tunes and the unloading continued. I couldn't help but notice how I seemed to carry a a plethora of heavy boxes myself as one of the men became asborbed in the Rubik's cube business of reassembling my futon.

The Old Church Hall looking like a bomb had hit it at the end of our endevours. Paid off the nice men, thanked Dawn and Cath profusely and consumed quorn sausages cooked by Betty and then began the endless box opening and the fitting of two houses into one. My gold sofas look good here.

Cat politics: Basil burst into the room Calliope was in and both very alarmed and suprised. Hissing, and some growling but Basil fled so Calliope won her first match. But, as they say in football, the season has only just begun.

Then at six around the corner to visit Di and Adrian, and to be treated with cold rose and nibbles. They have a lovely big house full of light, and embellished with Adrian's amazing seascape photography.

Then home again and after more work, off with Betty, her pal Laura, Matt and Wayne who had arrived with a bunch of enormous sunflowers, to go for a curry in the Shahi. My top hat on slighly askew by the time I reached home. However Sam arrived and wine had to be drunk with him too.

Luckily there was an enormous party outside with a live band, which we had been told about weeks in advance, but it only which abated at 2am. We slept on the other side of the house in Beth's room, but Calliope cried continuously like a dripping tap until we returned to the big bedroom. And so, at long last, to a slightly drunken sleep.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Citizen Calliope

Lorraine and I packing like mad all day, after I had got up early and written some copy about strokes. Lorraine also trying to sort out the rent on Beth's college digs, while I fielded a few work things. And at the end of the day we had ferried some of the precious things, like computers, guitar and some paintings over to the Old Church Hall. Most precious of these of course was Calliope. She was busily involved in all the business of the day, until the moment when she found herself being stuffed into the cat carrier, holding onto the side with her claws, and she realised that she was the business of the day. I felt like a criminal abducting the Princess of the Twitten and smuggling her past Brian and Basil her new brother and sister into the Old Church Hall, where she will be just one among three: Citizen Calliope.

Once she had arrived, she was instantly inquisitive and set about exploring. When we left her in the bedroom, she retreated to a hidey-hole under the wardrobe. Quite touching a little later when I returned and she ran out to me purring as if I were a walking piece of home. Amazing to watch her absorb her environment so acutely, warily listening to every sound, sniffing everything, and tentatively exploring her new domain. So far so good.

I was far more worried about Calliope than myself, for I think I am going to be very happy in the Old Church Hall with Lorraine. We had a splendid evening with Beth and Mark. Betty back from St Tropez, bronzed and sophisticated after ten days of nannying to the stars. And we drank a few Lithuanian beers and some Cava, ate a delicious meal Lorraine cooked, monitored Calliope, while Beth and Mark partook in outbreaks of free dancing.

And so to bed.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


A day of packing. Atrocious pouring rain this morning when the box delivery man arrived dripping. With Lorraine's supervision, I made decisions about packing and Lorraine and I gradually filled a dozens of boxes. Calliope persistently climbing in as we did so.

Meanwhile the agency calling to squeeze some work out of me on Friday morning. It was ever thus: the times when you make it absolutely clear you can't work is when folks beg you most to do it. Tiring work, and dust from the more untroubled volumes of books making Lorraine sneeze. Calliope scratching at the boxes and climbing on everything.

In the evening off to the gym with Lorraine, who is already 100 times friendlier with the people there than I have ever been. Another good session. Both slumped after on the gold sofa having done a decent day's work.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Playing Bob Marley's Exodus this morning, and it is time for the movement of I Jah Man Kenny. So I booked a self-styled nice man with a big van, to move the bulky bits to Lorraine's, known from now on as the The Old Church Hall in this blog, on Saturday. Calliope beings her new life on Friday when I take her and the other precious things over in the car.

Then fielded calls from the agency. Ordered packing boxes, painted out graffiti on my green fence, collected my hard drive and other bits from the post office, backed up everything on it and tried ineffectually to catch up on the backlog of work.

Then packing and sorting. When I decided the time had come to place my head into a doorframe and slam the door on it repeatedly, I chose instead to go to the gym where I became embroiled in a extra long workout. Emerged rather starving and was resting my bones when Lorraine came around. Probably prompted by seeing Mason yesterday, an appalling desire had grown in me for a Sussex Yeoman burger which just the sight of Lorraine triggered. Lorraine had something altogether more sensible, and I quaffed a brace of cold beers. It's the heat you know.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


Woke from a lavender-induced coma and sidled downstairs to have cups of tea with Mum and Mas. Snuck off to snap the cat factory pictures below. Mum and Mas then drove me to Edgware station and the dubious pleasures of the Northern Line (aka the Misery Line) train to Euston. Not over fond of the tube, and in the hot claustrophobic rush hour I soon felt twitchy.

Spent the day getting to the root (arf) of the dental caries work. Had lunch with Slug, who was also freelancing there. Stood outside a pub lapping a cold cider and talking philosophically of life as an advertising creative.

After work was done getting home proved straightforward as there was a 50% train service running, and I managed to clamber aboard a train and sink into an audiobook. In need of a shower when I got home, not least as I had been wearing the same clothes for two days in a row. Luckily my extreme moral virtue is reflected in not being the smelliest person in the world.

Lorraine had been through a gym induction this evening, and arrived at my place glowing, having done all kinds of unlikely exercises. To celebrate the start of her holiday and my clocking off for the week so as to be able to move, we went for a cheeky late night curry. I have to say this sounds disgraceful but we tend to have tandoori chicken which is skinless chicken cooked on skewers in a hot oven, so is not actually that fattening. Yet more cold lager though. The Plan: I regain control of my diet again tomorrow.... etc. ad nauseam.

Below Mum's cat factory.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Stranded in London

So to London again to work in Tavistock Square. Feeling cheery this morning, as I was to work on some interesting stuff to do with dental caries (tooth decay). Made Pooterish observations about how the work was boring and the same old drill, though no one seemed to appreciate this. Hot sweaty day, and the office air conditioning seemingly at its last gasp. Sidled up to Marks and Sparks with Kate at lunchtime for a chat as we bought our lunches. Worked with Keith in the late afternoon. I find working with him quite exhilarating sometimes.

Then shortly before I set off from home Lorraine texted me to say that as she was driving home the radio had said the trains between London and Brighton were doomed. A burst water main had created a small landslip onto the track which had made it impassable. Quick glance at all the websites showed that to get to Gatwick (half way home for me) add four hours onto your journey. Plan B was to leap into the sweaty sardine tin of the tube at Euston and zoom off to Edgware.

This all turned into a lucky evening, as Mum and Mas took me to a local pub where we ate steaks and drank cold beer and chatted for hours. Mum on particularly good form having come off her anti-shingles medications, which were a form of tranquilliser which made her a bit strung out and hippyish. Talked lots about all manner of dark family matters until it was time to go home and sprawl asleep. Mum was persistent about the virtues of lavender and she put an oily dab of this under my chin to help me sleep.

Below the landslip near Croydon that disrupted travel to the South Coast. As a non-expert in this field it seems that if one of those blokes had remembered to bring a shovel they could have cleared it up in ten minutes.