Monday, October 31, 2011

Kindling enthusiasm

Up at 6:30 today, which seems infernally early. Up to the smoke again, reading my kindle. Was gripped with the concept for one of those inspirational books about giving yourself permission to be creative, and jotted down the chapters and approach. This all before 8:00am. I always have my best ideas first thing.

The working day was largely spent thinking about growth hormone deficiencies, which is an interesting area that I've never written about. Sat in a teleconference listening to feedback from qualitative research. Time in teleconferences is of a different order to usual time. Delighted to be working however, and nice to be in the same office as Matty boy, First Matie, The French Bloke and Keith to name but a few.

Left work in the dark, but home refreshingly early before 8pm. Reading WB Yeats poems on my kindle on the way home. The formatting is poor, but it's great to be able to browse a library when you are on the train.

Home and Lorraine in before me, which was nice. And watching Gordon Ramsay shout at chefs was a pleasant end to a likeable Monday.

No witches today. Nor trick or treaters.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ticking boxes

We heard Cath slip away early in the morning, and later I got up due to the persistence of cats and their infernal demands for prawns and food. Tidied away (with some disgust) kebab nastiness before Lorraine got up and we had a slow breakfast.

Cats sitting like chess pieces on the paving stones outside as we drove off to the Twitten. Today emptied my house of almost everything, cramming Lorraine's car with yet more boxes, spades and various unlikely salvage. Called in on Anna to drop off the record player stand Anton had lent me, and had a chat with Mark and Hilary, and helped them carry sacks down the Twitten. Then the supermarket followed by a much-needed flop on the sofa. Lorraine cooked roast chicken and many delicious vegetables for supper, and we watched a fair amount of nonsense on the television.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

White night

Lazy morning with Lorraine. Then off to town. I went to Waterstones with the token Brian had given me for my Birthday and bought a book by Patti Smith. Then off to the gym, where I had a good workout.

The structure of the weekend is beginning to change, as Chelsea were again beaten today, which means Match of the Day is to be avoided.

Instead, however, a fantastic night out. Seems half of Brighton emptied out into the streets. Lorraine put on a pointy witches hat, spider earrings and a bat called boris dangled from her waist. I donned a grinning skull mask, and we set off into the night with Cath, and a pal of Lorraine's called Wendy. Walked down London Road and came across Klaudia walking along with a posse of her pals and Anna the Godmother. Klaudia dressed as a witch. Anna recognised me despite having a grinning skull mask. Klaudia giving me a hug when she saw it was me.

Quite enjoyed wearing a mask, feeling in a tiny way I was adding to the fun.

Then to The Basketmakers where we were joined by Dawny, whose birthday it had just been, her pals Caroline, Mark and Jane. Had a quick pint there, and set off into the night. Huge fun in Brighton, with madness everywhere. A team of people parading about with what looked like the skeleton of a whale, another big crowd in New Road laughing and singing along to the dual Dolly Parton impersonators, or dancing in the park to an eclectic 1940s and 50s disco. Thousands of folks about and luckily the night was warm and there was a wonderful carnival atmosphere: Brighton at its best. Elsewhere we wandered into the Stein where there were other tents and events, including a Charleston tent where people were cavorting in a lively fashion.

Then to The Marlborough, where Wayne and Matt were, and I begame embrioled in various highly competitive pool games with them and Cath and Lorraine as revellers and music surged all round the table.

Home along London Road slightly worse for wear, Lorraine had the idea of having a kebab, as we'd eaten very little during the day. Disgraceful donner at 1:30pm and Cath, Lorraine and I shooting the breeze until Cath availed herself of the guest room and L and I finally chrashed out. A wonderful night out.

Below Lorraine and I setting out. Dancing in the Charleston tent, dancing in the Park, crowds on New Street listening to Dolly Parton impersonators.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Low key Friday

Queasy morning. Lorraine working at home, and nice to be catching up with my blog and so on as she worked next to me. To the Twitten this afternoon, to stand about talking to Mum on the phone as Jim the sparky sorted out the earthing business. Also James, a young pleasant chap from a residential letting agency come around and look at the place to disuss valuation and so on. As I will be in London next week it makes sense having someone to work on letting it, and show people around and so on while I am working on ailments.

Lorraine and I celebrated the end of the week by popping into the local curry house. I opted for the extra chilli approach to gastric maintenance. Curiously, this worked a treat.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Snake boats

Up to the smoke again in the dark. Didn't feel so shattered today, which was a big relief. Spent much of the day reading about growth hormones, in preparation for the week's work they are giving me. This fantastic news for the Kenny coffers, and due in part to Nicola, another former colleague who is great at her job, taking over the forward planning part of the agency.

Lunch with Matt today, eager to hear about his experiences in India. He loved it, and told me about going to the Snake boat race in Kerala, where people were incredibly friendly and ushered them to a VIP place by the riverside. They discovered that each boat was crewed by members of a different religion. So that you'd have the Hindu boat, the Christian boat, the Jain boat, and so on. He also did lots of yoga, and felt very relaxed by the whole thing.

A drink after work with The French Bloke, Matty, Nicola, Karam and others. Then the long schlepp home, falling asleep on the train and waking just before Brighton. Not done that in a while. Home to cats, as Lorraine was spending the night with Beth.

Gorged on despicable pizza again, watching Question Time on TV. Feeling much relieved about cashflow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gratefully back to work

Up at 6:30 after a night of thunder and heavy rain, with Calliope curled up at the back of my knees. Of to Brighton station in the dark feeling sorry that I was not in Guernsey still. Typically, as Lorraine had a day off work, I had a job in London. Very pleased to have it, however. Had started my kindle trial download of The Guardian and read the paper on it as we trundled slowly off to London. The driver warning us of leaves on the line, or as I began to think of it, old chestnuts on the line. Reading the paper on the kindle is less good than having the actual paper, but means that you don't elbow your neighbours nor have a newspaper to dispose of afterwards.

Working enjoyably with Keith on a tick and flea collar. Working in a room overlooking the plane trees of Tavistock square. From where I was sitting the whole window appeared full of leaves, falling around Gandhi's feet below like damp, tawny offerings. Inside, however, Keith kept drawing dogs sporting fishnet tights, which was wrong on many levels. Lunch with him and Karam in a nearby pub. At my prompting, Karam retelling his story of how he conducted a seven days sleep deprivation experiment on himself. He says that after seven days he found himself after a party in bed with a woman he had just met, but fell instantly into a profound sleep as soon as they climbed into bed.

Had a very sensible pea and spinach soup and soda and lime. After the gorgefest that was La Barbarie, I'm due a respite.

Evil office lift providing incontrovertible evidence that I am rapidly balding. All these years a full head of hair... And then this treachery. Of course baldness due to the high and manly testosterone levels that surge through the Kenny frame, unlike those of my more feminine hirsute acquaintances. However this explanation does not ring true to me yet.

Home again browsing in my kindle library, a smidge of Samuel Pepys diary here, a few Guardian articles there. Home, and Lorraine had cooked a dhal curry for Pat and Maureen. Lovely stuff. Slunk off to bed early as Lorraine, in the last act of her holiday, stayed up late to watch the final episode of Spooks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Last day in Guernsey. Be rude not to eat a large Guernsey Breakfast. I slunk away to visit my Grandparent's grave. Then we took a walk to Icart and sat there happily chatting, the sky bright and cloudy by turns, and then walked around till we were above Saints Bay. We sat again, and Lorraine read her book in the fresh air, and I ventured down the cliff path down towards the harbour. There I came across two WW2 concrete storage huts which had been shattered since I last had walked down this particular track.

I ventured in and walking through them, came across a concrete walkway behind. I followed this and it led to a bunker which was open. There was a huge bee or hornet buzzing in the entrance, and a black bag full of something unpleasant. The door opened into darkness and on the right hand side were four small rooms, possibly to store arms or shells in, or perhaps rooms for the soldiers to stay in. These were very dark, and I used the red light from my camera to look into these, and flashed my camera. The place was covered in sprayed graffiti. Often in these places there is demonic writing on the walls, and there was something about the devil on one of them. It was rather creepy in there in the dark, but the writer in me naturally loved it.

Then back up to Lorraine and we walked off to La Croix Guerin for lunch and cups of splosh. Lorraine listening to three older women on the table near us. One, a Guernsey woman with a proper Guernsey accent, was explaining the rules of Euchre to the others.

Then home, via the Gran'mère which had been garlanded. Would have made a wonderful photo but as usual there was a white van parked in front of it, and a blue one parked in the entrance to the church two foot away. Cursed these van wankers with feeling, but it forced me to photograph her from unusual angles. Then to the back of my old school, pausing at the abandoned glasshouses to take photos and back to La Barbarie, and a last quiet drink there. Had a nice chat with Laura who works there who is a writer, and working on songs with a composer.

Taxi driver spent nine months in Guernsey, and the rest of his time in the Himalayas. He told us a story about seeing a tiger in the wilds of Nepal as he took us to the airport. Pleasant flight home, and arriving back at the Old Church Hall, a hearty chicken and potato soup cooked by Maureen. I showed Pat the 1944 Star I had bought, and he was fascinated.

Lorraine and I to bed, feeling rather tired.

Below dark clouds during the day, the colours of the cliffs, and inside the bunker.

Below Glasshouses and La Gran'mère with a garland.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Giant Egg

Squally, rainy morning. We decided to go into Town and were waiting for the bus, when a local man stopped in his car and said that the bus route had changed and he didn't think there would be a bus there, and he'd give us a lift to where the bus would come. Once we got chatting we realised that we'd been at school at the same time, and we chatted all the way into town. Unexpected kindness.

Then mooching about looking at clothes. Lorraine muttering in a disgruntled way about the clothes, none of which were right. So we had coffee instead. Nearby was a second hand shop where I made a fascinating purchase for a mere £3. A copy of The Star (Guernsey's oldest newspaper now absorbed into the Guernsey Press)for Tuesday May 2 1944. The front two pages of this four pages crammed with offensive Nazi propaganda, and updates 'From the Fuehrer's Headquarters'. Strikingly antisemitic and horrific of course. But it is in the smaller Guernsey news that the truth of the occupation leaks out:

Who wants a giant egg?

A keen supporter of "The Star" Help-the-children Fund has made a generous donation of by giving a very large egg which is to be presented to the donor of the highest contribution to the Fund by next Saturday.

The egg may be seen in the window of "The Star" shop, Bordage Street, and all sympathisers with the objects of the Fund are asked to do their best to earn what will be a really sumptuous meal for the lucky recipient.

Sumptuously dining on a large egg. Says so much. Lorraine and I were going to spend more time out and about, but the weather was of the steadily raining type, so we spent a relaxed time reading and chilling in the afternoon, before our last evening meal at La Barbarie, where we sumptuously dined on roast pork belly. The staff very friendly to us. And we had a few drinks afterwards, and were bought one by Andrew. Cheery and convivial.

Below I painted this picture of cliffs (not actual cliffs but provoked by them) in the afternoon.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dowsing for beginners

Walked to Icart first thing this morning (after a large breakfast) and wended around to Moulin Huet. Here we took the steep slope down to the bay, and sat on the bench taking in the gorgeous view. Before we lost ourselves among rockpools, and watching the lively sea surge among the rocks with slaps and booms.

Then it was time for lunch, and we repaired to the Captains again, where it was busy with Sunday roasts being served. It seemed rude not to have one too, so we were found a table and slaked our throats with more cold Pony ale. Nice food. Yelps from the other part of the bar where Manchester United were beginning their worst day's football in decades, being hammered by Manchester City 6-1. I thoughtfully texted Anton with six smiley faces in the afternoon, but then Chelsea went on to lose unexpectedly so I deserved it. Anton texted the season is over for me football does not exist in my life. And later, as the bitterness grew, fergie and the toupe wearing scouse need to come back with two cups before I will even take an interest in them again.

Lorraine and I indulged in a brief afternoon snooze, and then were collected by Richard. Fab to see him as usual, and he drove us up to the Vale where Jane had prepared a particularly yummy meal. We drank wine and shot the breeze for Richard and Jane are very good company indeed. Richard told me a story I'd never heard about when he lived in Northern Ireland, and how he lived in a flat above a shop selling musical instruments. The owner stopped paying protection money, and the placed was bombed, taking Richard's flat with it. In comparison, Guernsey is his respite and a place where it is peaceful enough to write.

Among Jane's numerous activities, including learning how to build websites, her Camilla work, and generally winding down having taken early retirement from her exhausting education career, is in dowsing. She had two copper handled metal dowsing rods, which spun about when you held them. Most intriguing. Some people use them as a way of finding out more than where water is, but as an aid to decision making and various investigations.

Everyone a bit bushed when the taxi came at 11, and the driver told us all about his decision to move to France and work in Guernsey. Lorraine has a knack of making taxi drivers say really interesting things.

Below trees in Moulin Huet valley, down in the bay, Lorraine looking at rockpools, the Dog and Lion rocks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Silver sea

Bright, sunny and fresh. After the obligatory huge breakfast, Lorriane and I walked in the fresh air down towards Moulin Huet, stopping at the Moulin Huet pottery place and walked about the shop but nobody was there, apart from a television leaking the unpleasant bickering of Coronation Street, which made Lorraine wince.

Then we walked through the wooded valley, and took the cliff path towards Jerbourg. Gorgeous day, and the cliffs patched with rusty bracken, yellow lichen, and all the turning greens. Spotted a kestrel, among the gulls and occasional rook. Lorraine and I ambled along feeling happy, chatting to another couple for a while. The sun silvering the sea beautifully over the pea stacks.

Lorraine and I loving the opportunity to unwind and be together, with nothing to be done other than talk and have fun. We just needed to have some mental elbow room to process all the events of the last few months.

We took the path back from the Doyle Memorial back homeward. We stopped off at The Captains for sandwiches and a brace of Pony ales. These are kept in a fridge in the back room, and the barmaid always look surprised when you ask for them, odd that they are actually brewed in Guernsey. Enjoyed sitting there and trying to remember exactly where the patios bar was. Lorraine and I talking about the demise of public and saloon bars in pubs.

Then back to La Barbarie for a luxurious afternoon sleep, and a relaxed evening: another feast featuring for me an extremely satisfactory steak and ale pie. Lorraine and I revelling in all the beautiful catless sleep. Can feel myself feeling increasingly relaxed hour by hour. Wonderful to see Lorraine doing the same too.

Below the silver sea towards the Pea Stacks, the cliff path leading above Moulin Huet, and a shot of the west side of Moulin Huet.

Friday, October 21, 2011

To the gem of the sea

Off to Gatwick in the afternoon with Lorraine. After a morning tying up loose ends. Zoomed through but found we were delayed, giving me plenty of time to sink a couple of beers in the Flying Horse while watching the screens.

The flight very nice however climbing out of clouds to the clear skies over the Chanel Islands. Soon in Guernsey and even on the runway, the soft, fresher air hits you. Off to La Barbarie in a taxi and after dumping our cases, and getting a warm welcome from Andrew Coleman, and other familiar people in the hotel, Lorraine and I walked to Icart point in the growing dusk. The old curved streetlights in the lane down to Icart looking especially Narnian. A feeling of unreality about the walk because even though it's just a short hop over the water, it takes a little longer for your soul to arrive.

Sat on the bench high above the sea, looking southwest as the stars emerged, until the cool and the thought of food tempted us back to the hotel. After a pint of Rocquette cider, we had a delicious supper of their roast pork belly, as part of the island's 'Tennerfest' (which began life as the island's hotels and restaurants charging £10 for a meal, but is now in La Barbarie £15, and great value) and quaffed a bottle of rose wine between us generally putting the world to rights. To bed slightly drunk.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Elephants with furry faces

Lorraine up with the sparrows and me not far behind her. I made my way to the Twitten, and showed a nice couple in their 30s around the place. And in the afternoon showed Jim the Sparky the equipotential bonding problem, for this is the kind of thing I now do at the drop of a hat. He says it is an easy fix and will do it next week, and thankfully he mentioned a price which didn't Van de Graaf what's left of my hair.

We have a Bulgarian cleaner called Sonia. She showed me her passport and seemed keen to show that she was a Bulgar and not a burglar. I like her but communication is difficult. It's weird, I am about to become a landlord, and I have a cleaner. The young and briefly-Marxist Peter Kenny would look at me with starting eyes.

Poor Lorraine not home till 9:30. I cooked a spinach and chicken curry. Basil the cat barging about the place excitedly as I did so. Basil is so porcine she cannot fit through the catflap, neither Lorraine nor Betty like it when I allude to the fact that she is humongous. It is the furry elephant in the room.

Calliope still top cat by virtue of the fact that she enjoys stampeding the others. Most days she earmarks ten minutes at seven o'clock to torment Basil and give her an aerobic workout. There is no love lost between those two.

Reading Sherlock Holmes stories on my kindle. The idea that a honed intellect and careful observation can solve any mystery is very comforting and, of course, wrong.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A monologue

Cut myself a little slack. Found things to do that were fun. Got keys cut for the cleaner, caught up with emailing, and in the evening went off to the London Unity where The Shakespeare Trio were playing. I was given a free copy of their excellent CD. Dipak and Richard on fine form, and really touching to see how cheery Dipak got having to sign copies of the CD and knowing that at least one person had come from as far away as Kent to see them. They played wonderfully.

Fingers at The London Unity too and arrived with Claudius and a Danish friend called Bo, or certainly a name like Bo which I attempted several times but not to Bo nor Glen's satisfaction. Also chatting to nice speech therapist Pemma who runs the event. I tried out a monologue, but this not very successful as I hadn't completely memorised the words, and the pub was exceedingly noisy by this stage. But it was useful as I think there is the germ of an idea in that monologue that could be the start of something rather exciting.

Home late via the despicable Ace pizza, where the south Asian pizza guys were dancing to the loud music they were playing. Full of students scoring late night foodstuffs. Home with my booty and ate half a pizza, watching a re-run of Sex in the City, before creeping by the light of my Crackberry into bed where Lorraine was fast asleep.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Lorraine up at six and out before seven. Found myself worrying about money as I drained my pre-seven cup of tea and Calliope rubbed my face. The sooner I can get the Twitten rented the better. The drain from the Kenny coffers has been unrelenting for the last few months, and earnings have been patchy. After my wee break in Guernsey this weekend I need an unrelenting focus on filthy lucre.

A haircut this morning. I have begun a sudden thinning on top, and the area of concern is annexing virgin territory. When my hair grows the side bits are still thick, which makes my head look ridiculous and vaguely-table shaped. Barber was a man with one of those earrings which stretch the skin into a stringy loop around a hoop, and played in a heavy metal band.

Then to the Twitten, to show a charming American writer called Victoria around my abode accompanied by a Springer Spaniel dog who she spoke to in French. I met them at the station, and discovered that they divide their time between New York (to help the Obama campaign) the French countryside and the UK. Both, however, were wary of the steep stairs.

Cooked a bean jar today. The first time the beany aromas have pervaded The Old Church Hall.

Matt came round early in the evening, and we had a final listen to the CD before giving Simon the thumbs up. Matt has resigned as musical director of the Rainbow Chorus, and says it is like a break up, except with 50 people. He also obtained an ankle injury sliding down some bannisters at Wayne's leaving drinks.

Lorraine home late after sitting in traffic for 3 hours, and then had more work to do. Fed her bean jar. She fell asleep on the sofa, and so to bed.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Limboish monday, feeling that I am driving with the handbrake on. Posted shoes to Beth, went to the gym, and while there people began replying to my Gumtree house ad, which cheered me up somewhat. Some seeming geniunely interested, and others offering to take money from you to readvertise it.

Card from Beth extolling the virtues of beer. Otherwise the weather taking a turn for the worse. Cath came around this afternoon just as it began to pour. She has got a new job and is contemplating a holiday in Cuba, and flashing about her new Blackberry.

Looking forward greatly to going to Guernsey this weekend with Lorraine. To bed early, rain drumming on the velux windows.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wild park

Another stunningly beautiful autumn day. Lorraine and I went in search of trees and drove to nearby Wild Park. Sadly best known locally as the place the bodies of two young girls were discovered 25 years ago. There is a little memorial to them there.

Otherwise it is lovely built around a small valley with a football pitch in it, and surrounded by tree-flanked downs. Lorraine and I scrambled up to the top of one of these and walked about in the woods, stopping in the cafe to sit on a veranda in the strong sun. Here we talked about Lorraine's career and the choices she has at the moment. Just to be somewhere different put these in good perspective. Phoned by Betty who had her training day at Chessington and was sensibly spending her lunch break with penguins.

Felt lovely to be among trees again. At one point Lorraine stopped us and we could hear the papery rasp of leaves falling to the floor. As readers of this blog know, I am no hairy-chested adventurer, but I have always felt at home in woods and forests. Snatches of Frost, Shelley and Keats popping into my head: I have been treading on leaves all day until I am autumn-tired....Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead are driven,/Like ghosts before an enchanter fleeing.... Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn/Among the river sallows.... and so on.

Home again via the garden centre to buy cat food and look at plants and fish. Then to work this evening. Lorraine on her work things, and me uploading the photos and creating my gumtree page to try to rent my house. The Tobster called tonight, and we had a long chat. Then bed, after lolling on the sofa watching match of the day, as Lorraine Skyped Beth. All well.

Below, some trees.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The world's my lobster

Forced Lorraine to relax. First a lie-in this morning, followed by Lorraine and I taking a trip to the gym, which I enjoyed. Home to a sensible Quorn sausage sandwich, and less sensible chocolate which I'd been given yesterday. Some snoozing on the sofa too, and reading of a nice letter from Richard.

Letter from the Community charge people to Lorraine Symons and Kenny Peter.

In the evening to the Lion and Lobster to celebrate Rosie's birthday, which was on the 13th. Rosie's friends very pleasant. I sat next to an interesting woman called Sam Toft who is an artist who has created a set of characters who inhabit all her works. Matt arrived too, and we had several chats. He is going through a painful separation from his choir, which he has been musical director of for nine years. It will, however, free him to work on other projects, including an opera. Both the restaurant and bar areas of the pub rammed with people, and very airless on account of them not wanting to open the windows as they are in a residential area.

Lorraine and I home late again. A nice night, although I was feeling a bit tired and jaded, and pleased to be walking home in the cool sea air. Generally feeling much more cheery lately than in recent months.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Up a ladder

Up early and off to the Twitten as Alf the plumber came to check my gas. This the final check I needed before I can begin to rent. All fine until the very last thing he checked, which needs an electrician to make sure the gas is properly earthed through the electricity box. Gah.

However I had a very productive morning dabbing paint on here and there, gardening and generally tidying. Also took some photos of the place to put on Gumtree, which is a site for advertising houses to rent among other things. Got talking to Merlin, one of my neighbours in the Twitten. He was cutting his hedge, which drifted small bits of debris onto the widow frame I was painting. But he kindly lent me a large ladder which I precariously ventured up a few times to peer at windows and so on. Good view of the Twitten under a wonderful blue sky. Merlin rather likeable and works charitably supplying bicycles to Africa.

Home in the afternoon, Lorraine working from the home office. I did a few bits and pieces in the afternoon, before we walked to The Sussex Yeoman to meet Anna, Anton and Brian to strap on the nosebag and celebrate my birthday. Cool night and needed a coat. Lots of nice presents, including a book on foraging in the wild, which made me want to lace up the walking boots and denude Sussex of its nuts and berries. And pressies from my lovely Godchildren. Anna very up and cheerful as her business has taken a big turn for the better. Lovely to see everyone. Brian he has moved to Windsor, and is now a neighbour of the Queen. Anton explaining about his cat management technique (they also have three). He leaves them hungry so they all start turning on each other.

All of us seemed rather tired, and we drifted off at closing time in a very well behaved manner. Home, and blissful bed.

Below a snap of my empty house.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Steady as you go

Steady progress today, working in the Twitten, and then doing more admin, finally signing off my accounts, and resupplying an invoice to my French clients, this time with a date on it.

Walked back to the house along London Road again today, it really does have extraordinary people wandering along it. Many of whom are clutching cans of beer in the day, and looking as if they have just walked off the set of the Jeremy Kyle show (a British version of Springer show).

Reading The Picture of Dorian Gray on my Kindle whenever I could today, and in the evening too. A fascinating read, and where it works it works fabulously. It was Wild's only novel, and has to my eyes gaping flaws but manages to be utterly compelling too.

Having ideas again now for writing, but my interest in them expires as soon as I get them down on paper.

Lorraine is working too hard.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The picture of Peter Kenny

My birthday was, luckily, unaccompanied by gloomy brooding on mortality. Busied myself gloating over the kindle Lorraine bought for me, and downloading free books onto it. Including The Picture of Dorian Gray, which I have never read before. I am not much of a Wildean, but despite the surprisingly virulent anti-Semitism directed at the character of the 'hideous Jew' Isaacs and the fact that everything in it seems artificial, I am enjoying it none the less.

Day taken up with practicalities, such as sending for my permission to let, doing some billing, writing to accountant, talking to cleaners in sign language and broken English and so on.

I like my kindle very much, poetry downloaded on it doesn't work so well, with some of the free downloads not even respecting line breaks, or centring every poem, which is all kinds of wrong. But it is wonderful for prose, and the fact that there is enormous amounts of stuff you can download for free onto it. I will be reading a good many classics I think.

Lots of messages on Facebook and in email for me today, cards from Mum and Carl, and old friends getting in touch. Betty called to say happy birthday and say that she has got a job at Chessington. All very pleased with that. Lorraine home early and we took ourselves to the local curry house and had a very cheery time there. Great fun just hanging out with Lorraine. First Matie called too.

I am feeling happy, much happier than even a few weeks ago. It seems every day I become a little more relaxed and philosophical.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


UP early and off to the Twitten to let in the carpet laying man. He worked efficiently and had the carpet done in an hour or so. I then spent most of the day working on the house. Much of this on all fours, scrubbing the kitchen floor, polishing the wooden floors, then cutting back the jasmine in the garden, washing windows and other time-consuming tasks.

Called by Anton who was telling me about his meetings with charismatic captains of the IT industry, and by Bob who was reporting trouble with a cockapoo. I believe this is a sort of dog. Bob has to sleep on a sofa because of nocturnal howling due to abandonment issues (the cockapoo that is, not the old Mad Dog).

Up to see Janet and Ken in the late afternoon. Nice to hang out and chat with them about politics, crafts and buttons. Ken showed me a French academic hardback written by four authors, and he was listed first. A rather fine achievement.

Then home, feeling dog tired and my back aching due to the all fours business. Discovered the mortgage people have at last sent me the correct information, and my accountant has sorted me out nicely for the year. Then Lorraine arrived home early, and we zoomed off to get some chips and collect a mysterious package from the Post Office. Lorraine reading a boring looking article on the sofa tonight, and keen for an early night. Betty off to Chessington World of Adventures tonight for an interview.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Quiet Adventurers

I don't believe in writer's block, but I am finding it impossible to write at the moment. Apart from jotting ideas that, if I had been able to write, I would have written about. Welsh Tracey called by this morning to have a long chat with Lorraine about data. Needless to say, I left them to it.

Then off to the supermarket. I am trying to introduce some logic into Lorraine's shopping patterns. For example she will walk through the entire supermarket to get to the sparkling water, which is the heaviest item, and then go back to where she started, rather than collecting it just before checkout, which clearly is the sensible way. Surprisingly she is resisting change, generally good fun though. Not every day you can say that about a trip to the supermarket.

Betty returned home this afternoon and filled in an execrably long online application form to be an entertainment host at Chessington World of Adventures. This is for a part time student job, but they asked the same questions they might have asked of a Marketing Manager. Absurd. I have never been to Chessington World of Adventures. Apparently visitors are referred to as 'Adventurers'.

A roast Sunday lunch. Thank God for ovens that work, and Lorraine who is a wonderful cook. After Betty left, Lorraine working again. I read: some Coleridge, and a book about drawing, and then watched a documentary about the rock group U2 before pulling up stumps for bed.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Sofa and steampunk

Subdued morning, due to enthusiastic imbibing the night before. Lorraine and I boofed onto the gold sofa watching the TV. Lorraine who had been working incredibly hard all week, sleeping again for some time. Eventually we unpeeled ourselves in the middle of the afternoon and walked into town, to meet Betty, Mark and Richard and Glenda in a pub called The Mesmerist. I realised I'd heard of this as Tarik from the Marlborough Theatre hosts some kind of a Steampunk event there, and there was a distinctly steampunk pictures on the wall, one of an elephant-like steampunk gasmask.

A cheery afternoon interlude. I really like Mark's Ma and Pa. Richard wearing one of his trademark Hawaiian-style shirts. Today's one was patterned by breakfast designs, like forked sausages, eggs and bottles of sauce, and was loud enough to interfere with a television if he stood too close to it. Mark drinking a pint of cider that was naturally cloudy and smelled and tasted like something pruduced from a kidney ward of a hospital.

Walked home again, scoring Chinese food en route and we cemented ourselves to the sofa watching the appalling X Factor on TV, which is a species of guilty pleasure. An early, water-sipping night.

Friday, October 07, 2011

A busy Friday night

Up and off to the Twitten again today, where I met a man called Barry who looked at windows and walls and shot laser dots about the place and poked his head into the loft so that I could get my Energy Performance Certificate. I also rather liked Barry and it turned out he also had his own IT company and may need a writer to scribe some blogs for him, so doubly good.

Back home and had breakfast with Betty, and later walked with her into town before I headed for the gym. I still don't have much energy or stamina but it is reassuring to be going there and doing something. Cath came around to use a computer as her broadband had failed and she needed to complete some job applications. I left her to it working on the gold sofa for an hour and clambered up into the mezzanine area to press on with world dimination.

In the evening, after a judicious nap, off to The Basketmakers to meet Matt and Betty and Mark. Mark enjoying his course too, which includes the theoretical analysis of comedy. The pub rammed at one point and we were getting elbows hovering in our faces. Lorraine joined us, and later Dawn and Rosie popped in too. A lovely thing just to sit in the Basketmakers and have a few beers, something I've not done for far too long. Good to catch up with Matt too. He is having a tricky time with his choir, and we chatted about this for some time and then generally enlarge on how big and clever we are. He likes the video I made, which is good. I scarpered round the corner to catch The Sumerian Kyngs, I bought a ticket to their gig, bought a beer, and watched them complete the last three or four bars of their last song. Gah. Nice chat with Steve though, who was very buzzing with how the gig had gone.

I returned to the Basketmakers, and Lorraine and I eventually lurched home, stopping at Ace Pizza for the guilty pleasure of an American hot pizza. Ah blissful bed.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Lording it

Learning all about how to be a landlord today, thank God for the Internet. Reading stuff from Government sites, and various Landlord sites, and have clear idea of the things I need to do. One of these was to realise that I needed an Energy Performance Certificate before I could rent the place. Organised this, and am seeing a man called Barry tomorrow morning at the house. Felt a wave of rage at how much personal bandwidth this is taking up.

In other news, however, I began to post the video below, and Matt and I have agreed the CD cover. So, in a few weeks, we will soft-launch the CD, before a big launch around Valentine's day.

Quite surprised to see such an outpouring of sadness about Steve Jobs, the Apple guy. They played a speech he gave about making the most of your life as death is inevitable, which was quite refreshing coming from 'a factory owner' as one acquaintance called him. Jobs was interested in Buddhism and this was reflected in the contents of his speech. What I noticed was how refreshing this element of spiritual self-analysis was among the collective corporate drone, of people saying the same sort of things all the time.

Fun tonight as Beth came home, really good to see her so full of bounce and cheeriness, holding Calliope aloft and singing the song from Lion King, and doing funny impressions of hte pepole on her course. Lorraine tired after another hard slog of a day, but she cooked a delicious peppered beef with rice and slugged about chatting until I forced Lorraine to go to bed.


Here is the little video I was putting together for what is probably the maddest track on Matt and my forthcoming CD... Filmed with me skimming walls to odd looks in Brighton.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Appalling Calliope attacked the soles of Lorraine's feet at five this morning. Lorraine jerking awake in a fury. Not exactly a restful start to the day, and neither of us sleeping much afterwards. For Lorriane this was not a particularly restful day. Her work is being 'reorganised' again, but luckily she seems still to have a job.

Admin this morning some billing, paying for painting and decorating work, closing a small and redundant account with a hundred or so quid in it, and researching the landlord business. All I want to do is write, but until I get all this other stuff sorted my mind won't let me. Insanely frustrating watching all my creative momentum drain away. To the gym, reasoning that a short session was better than nothing. Working on the CD packaging today and tonight. Lorraine working again.

And then to bed, Lorraine taking precautions from suprise attacks from Calliope.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Smile of the Mortgage Gods

So up early to complete a few tweaks to the HIV piece. It was written in academic language for a specialist review, and was very clear one. When I was a student I was so reverential I thought I was stupid for finding academic language so hard to understand. Now I realise that much of it was simply poorly written. Gah. If only I knew then what I know now... One of the eternal laments of humanity.

Then off to the Laines to talk a man called Peter about carpets. I have selected - flawlessly (arf) - a durable and inoffensively biscuit-coloured one.

Decided to renegotiate my mortgage having conducted a displacement activity masterclass for the last few weeks. After half an hour I was delighted to be told that, contrary to all previous advice, I could keep my existing mortgage. This means that I won't be stung hundreds of pounds in rearrangement fees, and that I just have to purchase a permission to let agreement from them for £100 and I am in business.

I went for a dazed walk in the park afterwards, finding that fact that the Mortgage Gods had smiled down on me hard to process. Talked to Mum and Mas as I strode about in the windy park, and then returned home suddenly tired by the release of accumulated tension. The Cloud of Things That Must Be Done is thinning at last.

Lorraine late and working all night once she got home. I cooked. I worked on a few bits and pieces and went to bed, reading Coleridge's Frost at Midnight, a poem I love with its perfect opening line 'The Frost performs its secret ministry' with Calliope wedged under my chin periodically wiping her face on me, and Lorraine reading Lark Rise to Candleford.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Back to the gym

A cheery Monday, working on a small but interesting little job about the support HIV positive teenagers receive in Africa. Also fiddling with the video for the eccentric Minotaur piece from the CD.

Went off at lunchtime to meet Peter the carpet man who measured up in the Twitten. And then having done this I slunk to the gym for the first time in weeks. I did rather a gentle workout, but it was a real boost to be there, and pushed back the frontiers of hypochondria.

Worked quietly in the afternoon. Lorraine back late and had an early night after we'd guiltily scarfed chips and cold chicken.

I watched Hell's Kitchen USA. I have watched several of them now. Gordon Ramsay simply bullies, swears and shouts at a bunch of unfortunate chefs, and then fires one with a disgusted look at the end of the week. That's what I call entertainment.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Out of bed this morning and straight into the park to film a bit more for the video. Lovely low slanting light, and hot sun. Then home to cook breakfast for Lorraine, and read the paper.

But it was then I realised I had lost my glasses. I searched for my spectacles almost unceasingly from 9:30am to 1:30pm, which involved going to the Twitten twice and searching the Old Church Hall methodically, asking at the supermarket etc. Lorraine joined in too and it was her inspired question, 'have you looked inside the shoes' which led me to finding them in the wardrobe, inside a pair of old canvas shoes I was wearing yesterday while paiting. What I noticed is that I was resigned to having lost them after the first hour of searching. I need to sort my head out for I am expecting to be frustrated, and that surely can only invite frustration into your life.

Excellently, our oven was replaced this afternoon by a shiny new one. The glass having exploded on Lorraine's oven on the 15 August. They were so late with the repair that their own rules forced them to provide a spanking new one. Roasted an chicken to celebrate.

Below one of the painted statues in Preston Park in the morning.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Sundrenched day

Had an idea for a video for Minotaur today, and I mooched about filming walls in Brighton garnering quizzical looks as I went about my business. We sloped off to my old house, and chatted to Dawn, then Lorraine went to have her hair done and I did some painting and replaced the thermostat on the central heating. Also had a chat with Alex my neighbour. With the strong sun streaming in the freshly-painted empty rooms, I felt a pang of attachment.

Back out into the blazing day, and I met a nicely-haired Lorraine for coffee and a snack, and we headed down to the seaside where we basked happily among half the population of Southern England, many of whom danced over the painful pebbles into the sea. It was unbelievably crowded, as the snaps below attest.

Then home, with me filming walls and looking out for things to do with bulls. Saw a astrological glyph for Taurus, and quite near home found a bull's skull in a shop. I have a theory that if you look for something, like a bull in a town centre, you will find it.

Walked outside the library where there was some folk dancing going on, and surprised to see Adam Bushell playing a variety of instruments in accompaniment.

In the evening off to Wayne and Matt's, for it had been Wayne's birthday during the week. I told John, who has partial hearing, about going deaf in one ear for a few weeks. His needs to leave the Basketmakers, and stand outside in the quiet is no longer a mistery. If you are partially deaf, noisy pubs are alienating rather than social.

Lots of good chat, and Lorraine home rather late with our top hats askew.

Below some folk dancing in the square with Adam banging a drum, and Brighton beach utterly heaving on October 1st.