Friday, September 30, 2011

Gold sofa time

Another stunningly beautiful day, the rays even peeping through the Cloud Of Things That Must Be Done. Sloped off in the hot sun to talk to helpful carpet people in the laines. I explained it was carpet for rented accommodation, and was instantly shown durable biscuit coloured ranges.

Lorraine working hard at home since lunchtime, both of us sat companionably up in the mezzanine level office. I meanwhile kept running into maddening glitch with the website I am building. Richard and Dipak, aka The Shakespeare Trio, have uploaded some of their lovely tunes, and are about to launch their CD. You'd be mad not to listen to The Shakespeare Trio here.

Reworking the words for Matt and my CD. Suddenly realised that the three compositions actually all had something in common thematically. This Concert concerns itself with a speaking voice trapped in a piece of music, Clameur starts with the choir singing about being trapped in a tube train, and Minotaur is about being in a labyrinth. Texted Matt with this insight.

Was put in touch with a charity by Cath late in the afternoon for a spot of copy editing early next week, which was a surprise. Nice just to be relaxing with Lorraine and watching TV on the gold sofa.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Under Saturn

Up early to supervise the blokes taking away a dead sofa, bookcase, manky mattress and so on. Then noticed the liquid nails hadn't worked. I had placed heavy things on a piece of metal in the floor, and it simply sprang merrily back up after I took them off.

Feeling curiously twitchy today. Adding itself to my list of ailments is now a form of diarrhea and hyochondria especially when I read my horoscope and it said that I had to watch my health due to the draining effect of the conjunction of Saturn with my natal sun which happens once every thirty years. Astrologers would say that many of the tiresome things that have been happening lately are due to this. Many others would say that I need to get a life and stop looking at horoscopes.

I went instead to the Twitten and let myself into the house. The radio was on so I realised Dawn was doing some work there. I changed into my work clothes, and then heard Dawn locking the door and being unable to get in. I began shouting at her through the door, thus activating her pet phobia of being killed violently. Anyhow we managed to sort this out, and I painted the exterior wall on the twitten, and then a wall in the garden, and as Dawn was working on the kitchen we chatted really pleasantly for hours. Really hot blue-skied day.

Home and I felt wussy and dehytrated, and had not eaten. This made me feel very odd which then I attributed to malign Saturn and grew convinced my time was on me. I had a word with myself and felt rather better after drinking lots of water. Then up the road to meet Matt and discuss all the things we needed to discuss, such as CD wording, timelines and so on. Good to see him, and we sat outside in the beergarden of The Open House. Working with Matt is so easy and pleasant. Lorraine joined us before we left, L and I having a takeaway before an early night. Lorraine working on the sofa for much of it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bardic business

Another day in what feels like limbo. Lorraine having long, long hours today, which makes me feel a real slacker. Out shopping in the morning for glue called liquid nails, and a little food. Went for a walk in the park in the late afternoon with Cath who called up.

In the evening off to The London Unity to see The Shakespeare Trio, who arrived with a charming Kiwi called Terry with them, who used to live in Brighton in the 70s. Fingers also there. I arrived early and spent time chatting with Pemma who runs the evening, and is a singer songwriter. She gave me a slot to read poetry, which I rather enjoyed, desite being interrupted half way through my first poem by my own phone ringing, but this easily laughed off. Nice to be doing readings again even if it is just in a little pub in the backstreets of Brighton.

Richard and Dipak performing two new sonnets, and both of them absolutely excellent. Generally a beautiful performance, and for once a very attentive audience.

Sloped home successfully avoiding Ace pizza.

Below Richard and Dipak about their dark and bardic business.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


A unseasonably sunny week ahead expected. Tuesday, I decided, was a getting things done day. Arranged to have house move rubbish cleared by the council, sorted out mail forwarding. Naturally this involved filling out forms online, and then the site not accepting my new address, and then having to queue in a post office to fill out the same forms. Then to Hove to get the year's parking permit for Lorraine's car. Lovely to be out and about in the sun, even if it was just doing chores and shopping.

Spoke to Matt who is having returned from holiday has walked into a world of pain with his choir, and his new lectureship. We'll meet on Thursday for a long-overdue catchup. Still unnaturally attracted to playing guitar. This is a limbo-ish week for me, and I feel as if I am mainly slacking about. This made worse by Lorraine having to work very hard in a climate where new redundancies are about to be announced. We are living in interesting times.

Watched the new leader of the Labour Party Ed Milliband give the leader's speech to the party conference. Everyone willing him to be good. Sadly he is not. The big (in a Lilliputian way) idea, and this is not a joke, is "something for something". We want to live in a country where people get something for something, as opposed to getting something for nothing. This vacuously enough can mean both undereducated underclass slackers or fat cat bankers. Very depressing. Whoever is writing his speeches needs to have a word with themselves.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Motivation takes a hike

Coughing again in the night, and my motivation bypass highly successful. Pottered about tidying up and toying with work in a desultory fashion. All I want to do at the moment is play guitar which isn't an exactly productive business. Cath popped by for ten minutes too, and is off to Newcastle for her brother's wedding this weekend.

Beginning to feel like writing a bit, which is a good sign, also keen to read. But until The Cloud of Things That Need to Be Done diminishes, I can't see a hand in front of my face.

If in doubt tidy up, is a good policy, so I did this fairly enthusiastically for a while. Cooked in the evening for Lorraine who had a very frustrating day, and slipped blamelessly into bed fairly early.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Home again

Narcoleptic start to the day. Luckly I had not been coughing too much last night. John and Sue had so successfully created a relaxing atmosphere that I slept for hours. Lorraine doing some work in the morning on her headship course. I finally emerged, after fiddling with a poem and then needing another lie down, to a lovely seafood pasta. In Sue's guest room there are curtains with patterns on them in which faces emerge if you look at them long enough and this began a chain of thoughts which started me writing, which I haven't done for ages.

Then we drove off with Sue and John to have a quick lurk about in Kiftsgate Court Garden. Sue and John's splendid teenage daughters Harry and Maite both have a Sunday job there in the cafe, but John had to drive Maite home as she wasnt' well. Enjoyed some freshly made lemonade before dropping Sue back at her parent's house, who we had also met at the gardens. Sue's dad is 80 and likes nothing more than setting off into the wild blue yonder on motorbikes.

Lorraine and I feeling quite rested after our short stay. Slightly sluggish three hour journey home listening mainly to Radio Four. However the low sun was bringing out the gree and gold of the woods and fields beautifully. I love this time of year.

Home and the cats all alive still, and the house not decorated by cat by-products which was nice. We snuck off to have a late curry before heading to bed, after Lorraine had caught up with the TV show Spooks.

A few snaps in Kiftsgate gardens.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Turn back the clock

Sleep broken by coughing again. However a pleasant day. A nice leisurely breakfast followed by a trip to Stratford. Sue, Lorraine and I ambled along the river and then took a chain pulled ferry across the narrow river to meet John and have a drink in The Black Swan, or The Dirty Duck as it was renamed by US GIs who camped nearby by the River Avon during the war. The pub is in a 15th Century building and with the Royal Shakespeare Company down the road, it is a mecca for luvvies having post show boozes. Had a nice chat with John there, who told me about their recent trip down the Nile and about his current researches into autism on the Internet.

In the evening we four went to Purshaw, a nearby town, and saw a theatre show, a collection of monologues and songs by Joyce Grenfell called Turn Back the Clock, with Cheryl Knight as Grenfell. Very much a nostalgia fest, but no bad thing for that, and the theatre was crammed with silver-haired devotees, many of whom seemed already familiar with the production.

The strength of Grenfell's monologues was very clear though, and I really enjoyed hearing them. A surpisingly good night.

Then back to Sue and John's for dessert and match of the day. Chelsea won, and even John's beloved Arsenal won. So all smiles at the end of the day.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Feeling cheerier and more relaxed than I have for a long time during the day, though my cursed cough is returning. Hearing is definitely in stereo however, though still far from perfect, and lots of loud tinnitus.

Long journey up to the Cotswolds this evening. Lorraine driving us of course, both with the feeling of going on holiday listening to CDs in the car. After a couple of hours we paused to eat Kentucky Fried Rats from a service station, and then pressed on arriving after 11. Just in time for Sue and John to tell us a weird tale for that morning Sue was woken up by her mobile phone. It was John, though John was snoozing happily next to her. Sue woke him up to explain he was ringing her. Later John found his phone in the glove compartment of his locked car parked behind the house. The phone showed that it had called Sue at six something in the morning. The start of a good mystery.

And so to bed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sausages with Ross

Off in the evening to the Shakespeare's Head to have sausages with Ross my new 'bromance'. I like Ross, we don't have a good deal in common but we seem to have plenty to say to each other. Wide ranging bloke stuff like the nature of the universe, and the treacherous capacities of machines, and why not to explain to your close friends that have made enough money at the sperm donor bank to buy an iPod.

There is an incredibly keen chef at the Shakey's Head who prowls around discussing the best combinations of the eight or nine sausage varieties, with the half dozen types of mash, and the four gravies and sides of things like cabbage or beans.

Another nice night, and feel like I am normalising a bit, at least in mood if not in actual health.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


No trip to London this morning, but up early. Living with the lovely Lorraine often means a cup of tea first thing which is unutterably fantastic.

Finished off a little agency stuff in the morning, and even found half an hour to play with the pastels I'd bought a while ago. I can't seem to write anything of my own though, but it may not be a bad thing to let the field lie fallow for a while, while I continue to blunder through The Cloud of Things That Must Be Done.

Seized the opportunity to doze happily dodging the cough which seems to be returning. Also had a chat with Mum who was talking about flat wooden cats which she has been making, but is growing bored with.

Cooked a large vegetarian chilli and basmati rice. Lorraine has a slightly OCD way of cooking basmati which I am trying to learn, though until now I always considered I have cooked rice perfectly well. Lorraine explained that I had left the lid on the rice as it was being brought to the boil, which is the cause of its disappointing stickiness.

In the evening I went to The Evening Star to meet Richard, Dipak, Fingers and Steve. A funny night, and Steve making us laugh with his account of being smitten, through a window, by a pair of snakeskin (which Steve maintains are python) cowboy boots. He intends to wear on stage at the next Sumerian Kyngs gig, which is in October and about two hundred yards from The Old Church Hall, which can't be bad. Fingers back from looking at whales in Novo Scotia, and driving through the great Canadian outdoors. Dipak and Richard making good progress on their CD.

Brighton played Liverpool tonight, and the pub filled with some football fans after it was all over. One Liverpudlian lummox shouting LIV-ER-PUEL! like a cat spraying new territory. But all fairly good humoured, and my musician mates seem indifferent to football. Came home with the very pleasant sensation of life beginning to normalise again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Up to Tavistock Square again this morning. The bleary routine on the train, reading The Guardian and a poem or two by Akhmatova, whose poetry is wonderful. Having her collection with me is like carrying around another person's soul in your bag. A novel is a self-contained world, but in a substantial poetry selection you have a life: the poet in all moods and ages. People who won't engage with poetry lose so much.

Anyway, once in the agency I began to have good ideas. This, however, was all for naught as the pitch was suddenly cancelled by the client taking my week's work with it. This has never happened to me before. Everyone apologetic, and it is not the agency's fult. But rather galling as I had bought a week's travel pass, and turned down a job on Monday morning as I was double booked. Andy the art director I was going to work with, simply went home, and I was found some interesting jobs to do in the afternoon. But there is nothing for me to do tomorrow. Feels as if I am eking my earnings from an unwilling world day by squeaky day.

I had a lovely lunch with Matty boy and First Matie. We sloped around the corner to a little Italian cafe and I had a lovely comforting lasagne. We all shared a restrained bottle of fizzy water for the boozes of yesteryear are no more. Matt is off to India at the end of the week, for two weeks holiday, and then to do some work there for the agency.

Taking a positive gloss from this, I still have a raw throat, am partially deaf, coughing in the evenings blah blah blah. So this not the worst time for a pitch to fall through. Nice to be home amid warring cats, and waiting for the lovely Lorraine who wasn't back till nine. Both sprawling on the gold sofa talking about our days till it was time for bed.

Monday, September 19, 2011

At the sharp end

Met Dawn at the station as she'd given my keys to her daughter by mistake. Then off to London to work on a pitch with my chums in Tavistock Square. Reading the paper on the way up. The train snaking past The Shard near London Bridge station, which is climbing ever-more piercingly into the sky.

To Tavistock Square for a fair amount of chin stroking culminating in a teleconference in a roomful of people with Matty boy and The French Bloke on the phone. The FB sounding understandably a bit ropey. Working with Andy, and art director I worked with a year or so ago, and who is refreshingly easy to work with.

Then home on the train, reading the paper and one or two Akhmatova poems. Not trusting my ears enough to use earphones. My dodgy ear is now gradually improving. Clicking and gurgling a good deal, which must be a good thing, and there are time when sound is definitely coming through it. Lorraine cooking a fricassee tonight. Not entirely sure what a fricassee is but it tasted rather splendid. Lorraine on Skype talking to her brother in Finland, and her niece Klaudia, who is going to stay with us in February. To bed early.

Below the shard in construction shot through the grimy train window.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In search of bananas

First Matie over for breakfast this morning. I sloped off to get middle class food from Arkwrights. On the way back was stopped by a man who asked me to walk him to the bus stop. He said was about to be eighty and was having trouble with his arthritis. As we neared the bus stop, he mentioned he wanted a paper, so we toddled on to the newsagent, but as we approached the newsagent he said what he actually wanted was bananas so I took him all the way back to Arkwrights. I left him at the shop and returned feeling vaguely guilty that I hadn’t waited to walk him home. A persuasive and charming gentleman.

Then bacon and eggs with First Matie, who had stayed with pals in Hove last night. She harvested our cardboard boxes for her next move, which will see her living on Strand on the Green. Not under cardboard of course, but in a house. Forced Katie to listen to some of the CD and drank teas before she drove off in her green Subaru. After Kate left, I noticed for a few moments I could hear more from my left ear. I think this may be A Promising Sign.

Later Mark, on the brink of his move to Southampton University tomorrow, arrived to collect his bicycle. Then Rosie arrived, and we all went to find a late Sunday lunch in the Open House. This plan was not successful, so we wandered increasingly starved down to The Basketmakers where we had nice roasts, and a couple of beers. Bumped into Adam Bushell and his friend Rachel who teaches piano and we all sat tighter and chatted.

Meanwhile evil was abroad, and Manchester United were busy beating Chelsea. Naturally there was a crowing text from Anton. Watched the Match of the Day horror show with Lorraine before going to bed.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Lorraine up with Betty in Kingston all afternoon and early evening which gave me a much needed opportunity to nurse my dreary sore throat and deaf ear and snooze a little. Nothing happened in abundance. Calliope tormenting the other cats, read a poem or two by Akhmatova. One of which mentioned the plant burdock. I couldn't picture this plant so I availed myself of Lorraine's book of British plants. Here I discovered all about The Burry Man of South Queensferry near Edinburgh. This is a man who dresses up head to foot in burdock burrs, and lurches around town accepting nips of whisky which are taken through a straw. He has two supporters who keep him upright when his labours begin to take their toll.

Otherwise wrote a draught of the liner notes for the CD. And watched junk TV till Lorraine arrived sneezing in the evening having had an excellent time with Beth. All well. Match of the Day. Bed.

Below: the burry man.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Figuring it all out

Completed the Sisyphean task of doing my books for my accountant. Sacrificed a few goats etc. to celebrate. There is something aesthetically satisfying about seeing all the figures in rows and neatly arranged figures. But it is a dark and suspect art.

I also did some billing for the smatters of work I have done in the last few weeks and arranged to work in Tavistock Square next week, increasing my confidence that the much-plundered Kenny coffers will eventually have doubloons in them again. I spent all my twenties worried about money, and I am not enjoying this squeaky episode.

Broke off to get my 'good' ear cleaned out by the nurse. Nothing much emerged, so I was left wondering if had been successful. From there up to the Twitten where I worked in the garden cutting back the jasmine which was growing over the top of my fence to provide an aromatic roof for the midnight micturators.

Home, and finished all my work by four, and lurked pleasantly in the house till Lorraine came home. After scarfing some grub we slipped up to The Open House for a cheeky beer. Eventually found a seat, and Lorraine placed her beer on the table, which was sloped and polished like an ice rink, it instantly slid off and spilled all over the floor. We were given another beer, as we were told, this happens often. Both of us were overtired and the noise in the pub was very distracting for the newly deaf me, which made me irritable. Home to watch a documentary about Pink Floyd which was a lovely nostalgia trip for me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On the side of Keats

Up early with Lorraine. Before I started work, I watched the final Peter Ackroyd documentary about The Romantics, which allowed me to revisit my various opinions about them. Soulful Keats has always spoken most directly to me, I think some of his best poems arrive somehow still dripping with silence as if they had been hauled out of a dark psychological sea. Ackroyd emphasises his empathy, which is think is right. In contrast Byron, portrayed as a prototype celeb, leaves me almost completely unmoved. He mocked Keats as a Pissabed, and accused him of mental masturbation. Byron, in my opinion, was a flash git.

Then on to my accounts, which refuse to be finished despite being manacled to my desk for hours . In the afternoon I worked on more ailment stuff for the agency, and was pleased to be doing it as financially things will be squeaky as a pipistrelle for the next couple of months. Lorraine needs to tighten her belt too. After discussing this for a while, we began planning a few days in Guernsey. There has, we reasoned, to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Spoke to Betty twice today: wanting an opinion on broadband and to see if she had any post. She seems to be quickly sorting herself out. Lorraine working tonight at home as she has to focus on her National Professional Qualification for Headship work that she needs to do in the next few months. Then an earlyish night, after a fortifying glass of wine.

Still unable to hear anything through my left ear. I am also treating the right one so it can be syringed and there are now times when the sounds or the world are reduced to mere skull vibrations. It is giving me an uncomfortably real insight into the life of people like my friend John who have partial hearing. It is socially alienating, and frustrating especially in crowds, and the world seems at one remove.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Excitement at Sticky Mikes

Feeling more cheery. Worked hard sorting out my accounts so I can fish around for mortgages armed with up to date accounts. Turns out in the last tax year I earned a reasonable amount of money. This means lots of tax to pay this year though, which has been a bit leaner. Did a spot of work for the agency too.

The French Bloke's younger sister died. He put a note on facebook and I duly sent my condolences. He knew it was coming, but that makes it no easier. Put my own peeves into perspective.

In the evening, went out. I met Anton in the Great Eastern. Anton helpfully told me to put my deafness down to old age. And from there we set off jauntily to a club called Sticky Mikes. The Hi-Sides were playing there, and it was good to see John, Rick and Pete and see that their sheer exuberance of playing still communicates itself.

Having a deaf ear was almost an advantage in the noise of the club when the rock bands started. After the Hi-Sides there was a young three piece band called bizzarely Press To Meco, who blended interesting dynamics with a melodic and progressive metal edge, and great musicianship. Anton and I found ourselves chatting enthusistically with Luke, their guitarist and lead singer. I felt genuinely excited by rock band, which hasn't happened in a long time.

Anton and I popped next door for a beer. Then we joined the Hi-Sides who had repaired to the beer garden among the smokers. Anton and I then threaded through the streets, parting on Trafalgar Street. I succumbed to Ace Pizzas on the way home, which Betty says serves the best pizza in Brighton, and is handily a hundred yards or so from where we live. A reprehensible episode guzzling a late night American Hot. Did me good to let of some steam though.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Glowing mono

To the doctor again. At least it is a chance to read the paper in the waiting room. Apparently my deaf ear should sort itself out in time. Meanwhile we discovered that my other ear is blocked by wax, which needs to be sluiced out. So in a few days I will be able to hear better in glowing mono.

Managed to find my accounts for the last couple of years. Also started doing my accounts for last tax year, and was in touch with my lovely accountant. Generally feeling much more in control about all this stuff now.

I love the onset of Autumn. These next few months are my favourite time of year, and I keep sneaking off to the local park to hear the wind in the trees. Tody I spoiled myself with a flapjack and a coffee after a stroll around the park.

Find I really enjoy cooking for Lorraine when she comes home, tired after a long day.

Sam arrived to collect the last of his things. He had been out celebrating like fury the night before. He looked extremely dapper today in a new jacket with leather patches on the elbows. Every inch (and at six foot five there are many inches) the philosophy student. He showed me the pink leather wallet he had got at Gresham Blake with the token I had bought him, which was stylish. They hugs all round and Lorraine drove him off to his dad's house before a crack-of-dawn train ride up to Leeds.

Both L and I tired, sloping off to an early bed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

In a spin

Lashing with rain all morning. A proper Monday trying to make sense of my filing enough to apply for a different mortgage. Stressed by my dull head, looking for my accounts which have gone west in the move, trying to work out what has been lost irrevocably on my broken hard drive and where the hell are the notes I made not more than two weeks ago?

Luckily after a couple of hours of this kind of thing, I had a visitor. But Cath, feeling miserable having just had to sign on, instantly began crying when I handed her a cup of tea asked her how she was. She sat on the gold sofa and talked for a while and went away a little better I hope.

Was contacted by the agency and had an afternoon's work writing about atrial fibrillation and strokes. This work seeming almost cheery and straightforward compared to all the other stuff going on.

Still feeling run down and very depressed. Enjoyed cooking for Lorraine when she came home, and listening to Alison MacLeod, who I've met a couple of times, talking fluently on the radio about her short story which has been shortlisted for BBC story of the year.

Walked out in the park with Lorraine tonight. Huge harvest moon full over the park, the sky with only a few clouds skidding in the wind. A beautiful sight. The wind in the trees was making me think of Icart Point, and we both wished we were there to see it.

My deaf ear beginning to affect my balance, and when I got to bed, my head was sickeningly spinning like a drunkard's.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Under the cloud

Woke despondent. All too conscious of The Cloud Of Things That Must Be Done but ennervated by illness. But now that Lorraine and I are on our own it is much easier to start getting the place straight, however, and I felt much more cheery once we started sorting everything out. Any day now I am going to start absolutely loving living here with Lorriane.

Sam around disassembling the mighty beast of a gaming computer, and collecting domestic bits and pieces for when he goes up to Leeds University later this week. I envy him this fresh start. After, Lorraine and I took a short walk in the park. Autumn has started, strong winds (the dregs of a hurricane) rain and a big harvest moon looking through the velux windows tonight.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The strange ways of cats

A peaceful sleep. Celebrated by dragging beds and futons around with Lorraine. My ear is still drearily deaf and half my head painful. I can't identify the source of sounds and have to ask Lorraine to repeat everything. Gah.

Meanwhile Calliope blatantly tormenting the tabbys Brian and Basil. She clearly does it for fun: rushing them, sprawling provocatively in their way or ambushing them from strange angles. I feel ashamed of her: I didn't bring her up to be a bully. Beyond these domestic struggles are The Black Cats: three black cats who have staged invasions of the house and stare insolently through the glass of the front door. Brian and Basil are their sworn enemies. I don't know how Calliope fits with them yet.

Oddly Brian and Basil don't hate Calliope, and they all touch noses from time to time, and rub along. The ways of cats are strange.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Peace at last

At long last a peaceful night without coughing. Still resolutely deaf, sweaty and tired on waking, but this has to be a good thing. Now I'm at the stage of boredom but finding it difficult to focus on anything more taxing than sleeping and alphabetising poetry books. This of course, a deeply satisfying activity. We simply don't have enough bookcases for my books yet.

Betty called, sounding strangely like a chipmunk in the back of a bus, to report that she had survived a night on her own in the new house, and had been exploring Kingston. She was excited and happy. I hadn't expected that her experiences would take me back to my time at Warwick so strongly. I've been vividly recalling the journey up from London with two suitcases, and finding with delight I had a great room in halls, with its own sink and taps, which was a great novelty. I also recall how paranoid I was when my course started, when we were told that there seemed to be 21 people on the course, and they were only expecting 20. For weeks I expected a knock on the door and to be told apologetically that they'd made a mistake and I would have return home.

Spoke to Matt this afternoon, and he is incredibly busy: full of enthusiasm for Operas. Anna and Anton asking me out for beers, and I turned them down, feeling a bit sorry for myself, like the world was having fun, and I was sitting about with sweats and earache. Lorraine home and we crept across the road for a curry. Loved having a relaxed evening, and to talk things over with Lorraine. She is very excellent to talk to on all matters. Then home again early. The house very quiet without Betty.

Thursday, September 08, 2011


Another sweaty night of continuous coughing. My left ear is deaf, roaring with tinnitus. Ironic that having made a CD last weekend, I can't listen to it.

I went to the Twitten where I paid John for decking and kitchen fixing. I seems a job well done. Dawn there and luckily she is expert at talking to stern, taciturn builders. She has been my guardian angel in all this house business.

Today was Beth's big day. She set off, finally, to The University of West London. Mark stayed overnight and travelled up to Kingston with her. Leaving the Twitten, I met them and Lorraine at the station. Some crying from Betty and Lorraine, but generally all cheery as we said goodbye. Several texts and calls from Beth during the day.

Amazingly Betty and Mark were outside Norbiton station, wondering where to go from there, and my pal Sarah randomly recognised Betty from the play in March, and gave them a lift to Betty's new flat. Something reassuring about Sarah suddenly manifesting herself like this.

Then, the angelic Lorraine working again, I slept through much of the afternoon. and had an early night feeling strangely protected.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Another night coughing and sweating. Ear only mildly painful now and leaking noxious things. This kind of illness makes me intolerably self-centred too, so I spent the morning lurking about sorting out a few bits around the house to make things look a little straighter when Lorraine returned. Also I completed a job for the agency at home. Also chatted to Mum and Mas. Really looking forward to a time when I am not continually soaked with sweat.

Recieved a post operative text from Bob yesterday: Survived. He is having a big cartilage sort out in his knee.

Beth up at lunchtime after a night of mad dancing, with all her reunited pals. Sam joined them too, and it's not every brother and sister who enjoy partying together. The man came around to replace the glass in the front door so now the catflap is correctly positioned. After a lunch of an apple and a corn on the cob I went back to bed.

This evening was Beth's last evening and Sam came around and we scarfed Chinese takeout companionably enough. Betty was given a flip camera as a going away present. Beth and Sam selecting cutlery, plates and pans to take away with them. Sam declaring at one point that he never used spoons.

I repaired to bed after speaking to Dawn, who is also ill. My decking and kitchen are finished. I will creep up there tomorrow.

Re-read The Door in the Wall again for what must be about the sixth time. Matt and I have been discussing this as something to base some work on, but I am beginning to think it may be too thin. Interesting story though full of unresolved symbols: two spotted panthers playing with a ball and so on. I suspect, somehow, that these are unoperatic panthers.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The van Gogh option

Appalling night of ear agony, which led me to briefly consider the van Gogh option. Woke up from half an hour's fitful sleep in the morning and my ear was leaking noxiously, which this had relieved the pain a little. Walked to the quack in the morning through rain feeling weak as a kitten. He gave me antibiotics. Home, and sweating profusely from chesty flu decided to go back to bed and slept intermittently till 7 o'clock. Poor Lorraine snuffly and miserable too but working from home. Beth in the final stages of getting ready for college. Beth and Mark had Amy around, before they went out. Amy is going to Guernsey next weekend and I have given her a copy of The Guernsey Double, which has quietly been selling from Amazon too. Not in droves but at least in a trickle.

Forgot to say that I was approached lately by Livia in Guernsey who wants to use some of my poems for an exhibition of Channel Islands poetry running from October till next year, which is fun.

Was far too ill to work today, so had to say goodbye to two days of Freelance work, which is a first for me. I simply can't afford to turn work down, but I had no choice. Watched a little TV, before going to bed and sweating again from my horrid chest and ear infections. The tinnitus is huge, and I hope this goes away as my ear calms down. To bed, Lorraine coughing lots. When she stopped I started, and the long night began.

Below The road not taken.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Flesh unit rebellion

Feeling really rough today. Gave myself the chance to actually be ill and spend most of the day hacking in bed and on the sofa, after a brief foray into the outside world to score honey and lemon linctus, an egg hog (egg wrapped in a falafally sphere of goodness)and drop an envelope through Callum's door. The day suddenly feeling Autumnal and the big horse chestnut tree in Ditchling Rise has been spilling brown conkers onto the street for a couple of weeks now. Managed to fall asleep briefly in the afternoon, but was woken almost instantly by a man ringing the bell with a delivery for three doors away.

As the day wore on, my left ear, which has been roaring with tinnitus and mostly deaf for the last 48 hours began hurting really, really badly. In fact it felt as if someone had rammed a screwdriver into the depths of my ear and was continually stirring it about. I went to bed early in as much pain as I can remember, easily equivalent to the worst migraine. Lorraine, who despite feeling ill herself, found my cocodamol and these eventually blunted the agony.

As the night wore on I realised that the two days work I had agreed just this morning to do in London were in jeopardy. But the flesh unit has rebelled.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The yellow duck army

Feeling sorry for myself, with endless coughing fits. Lorraine, who is feeling poorly too, rented a white van. We drove to my place, filling it with a few bits and pieces. Lorraine turned into White Van Chick and had a bit of a fracas with Zimbabweans.

Then back home and packing Betty and her stuff, and yellow ducks into the van. Brian wanted to come too, and climbed into the van at one point. Off all wedged in the front to Kingston. Slighly highly charged emotioal undercurrent for Betty and Lorraine. But today wasn't the big goodbye, but was all about setting up her new room, which has a leafy view and now has Kath Kidson stuff and yellow ducks in it to make it homely for Betty. Met two of her housemates, a young couple, who seemed not the sort to say boo to geese. Once all satisfied, the three of us home via the Twitten where among bouts of swearing we dissassembled the bed. Bouts of lung-wrenching coughing making me feel wretched and grumpy. Some sleeping, and a quiet evening thank God. Lorraine cooked us the excellent comfort food of sausages and crushed potatoes.

Below... Betty begins her journey to college. But she won't be moving properly till next week. Exciting stuff for her, and made me relive my own journey to college with suitcases on the train to Coventry then to Warwick. Heady days.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Alarms and sweet music

Mark had gone out after work with some friends, including Matt partner of Sarah who Beth works as a nanny for sometimes (and is head of the stage school Beth and Mark attended). Mark and Matt where having a chat at about 3:00am sitting down on the beach where they were randomly attacked by a gang of youths. Mark was picked up and thrown into the sea, and Matt who has had army training was set upon by half a dozen youths kicking him in the face. They arrived at our house at about 3:30 Matt covered in blood. Lorraine and Beth tended to them and put Matt to bed after checking for concussion. Shamefully, I was feeling so rough at 3:30am that I didn’t even get up.

In the morning poor Matt's face was very colourful with an entirely closed eye, a broken nose and covered in bruises, and after Sarah came around Mark and Matt went to the police station to give their statements. I lent Matt a pair of shoes as his were covered in blood. Sinks full of soaking blood spattered clothes.

Meanwhile I was feeling positively ill today, and coughing in great gasping bouts.

Lorraine drove me off, happening by Matt in the street, to go to Dr Scardanelli's Recording Studio. Here, despite my persistent hacking coughs, we did another excellent seven hour session editing the CD. It is all coming together now, and sounding wonderful. I feel very proud of the work we have done. Really like working with Simon too, a really interesting man whose suggestions are in our best interests, and he has a real sensitivity to what we’re after.

I got a new piece for my phone, but this meant that all my contacts, settings etc. are lost. I need a password to sort out the email, but of course I have lost this. More annoying stuff to sort out. And my IT Jonah worked in Simon's studio with his mixing software repeatedly crashing. I am honestly beginning to think it is me.

We took a break and walked down to Fanny’s of Hanover, a fine food emporium who also sell 'I (heart) Fanny’s' teeshirts. I was rather tempted. Matt bought a small pie, and I a baguette for myself and Simon. Listening so hard for hours is exhausting work, and I was feeling so ill and tired at the end of it I simply went straight home instead of drinking beers with Matt. Sat on the sofa utterly shattered, listening with some pleasure to the latest version of the CD that had been 'bounced down' by Simon.

Betty and Mark at home. Beth packing to get ready to transport her stuff up to Kingston tomorrow. Mark trying to cope with the emotional after effects of his horrid night. Lorraine and I bought a takeaway curry. And we ate this before repairing greatfully and utterly exhaustedly to bed.

Below an egg-boxy corner of the studio, and a corner of Simon too.

Friday, September 02, 2011


Working hard this morning on various ailment copy. The man cold has now settled onto my chest and I am intermittently feverish. Once this was done I went off into Brighton to buy a few pressies for Anton, as it was his brithday. Also to sort out my Blackberry, which is not only frozen, but now officially dead. After some to-ing and fro-ing they have agreed to courier the part of the phone that does not work any more tomorrow. Every piece of technology I own is failing piece by piece.

Went into a record shop and sore a vinyl single called Virgo Four Perfection, which seemed an ideal purchase for Anton. However when I got it home, the title had changed to Virgo Four Resurrection, which isn't the same thing at all. I also went into a charity shop and got some more vinyl for him. It staffed by a pair of least convincing angular male to female transgender ladies I have ever seen, both rather tightly lipped and unsmiling until you start to chat.

A nice afternoon, though somewhat worn thin by coughing and so on. In the evening up to seven dials through a thick sea fog. Anna and Anton sitting outside a restaurant with intermittent heating as banks of Jack the Ripper fog drift past. Both looking tanned and relaxed after a couple of weeks in France. Some friends of Anton and Anna's passed, talking about pea-soupers. Then off to the new Seven Dials where Martin and Sam were waiting. The place is under new ownership, but the food was disappointing and took forever to arrive. I had crispy rabbit starter, but spent much of the time wishing they'd get a hop on. It was nice to see Martin and Sam who I'd not seen for at least a year.

Home through the fog, feeling rather tired and wussy, before diving swiftly for bed.

Thursday, September 01, 2011


This morning my throat felt as if I had been eating cactus sandwiches. I hadn't, of course, so the raw throat business was highly annoying. Morning briefing teleconference rescheduled three times. During one of these interludes I sloped up to my barbers, accompanied Betty who was also on her way to get her hair done. At Betty's place they give you glasses of wine. At Just Gents all is changed. Only the walrus-faced butcher remains, and the other two, both rather good barbers, have been replaced by surly lurkers. Far worse than this is the unavoidable fact that the area of concern is aggressively spreading: the remaining hair on the top of my head is increasingly sparse. As the sausage-fingered barber worked on my thinning thatch I could glimpse the curve of my gleaming scalp like the horizon of a hostile planet.

Back to work on newsletters for people attending a congress about haemophilia, and a bit more on strokes. All this good for the Kenny coffers of course. The evening spent with Lorraine and Betty discussing budgeting as life as a student. I sensibly kept out of this, cooked some turkey currey and watched Futurama, which I love and could not get on my old TV.

The latest thing that doens't work is my Blackberry phone. Yet another thing to sort out.

Starting to write Sophie and the Angel, my Christmas play. Coughing lots. Bah.