Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chip Suey

My former stepfather Gerald, who has not proactively contacted me in 30 years, sent me a Linked-in request today to join his business network. Didn't see that one coming.

A hard to describe off-kilterness to the day. Cold moving onto the chest now. Bah. Working on the mystery prose for a few hours. Then called Janet to find out how she was and have a brief chat about politics and so on. Then into the city abuzz with people who have just been on a protest march through town. Vanloads of policemen to ensure that the lawfully protesting public sector workers: those selfish nurses, teachers, local council workers and so on who are having their pensions reneged on, didn't turn violent.

After I met Dipak for a breeze-shooting session at Marwood's cafe. Discussing musician stuff (I'm an impostor) and hearing a rough recording of the Shakespeare's latest sonnet. This followed by a rendezvous with Lorraine at the Twitten to stuff a final box into the boot of the car ready for Gary to move in.

Brian, Lorraine's silver tabby, has finally noticed a big new fish tank. His sister Basil has long stalked a golden sucking loach, even continuing its persecution when I moved to the big tank. She ignores all the others, just focusing on the loach. Now Brian has conceived a lust for it too, scrabbling at the glass from all angles. Unfortunately, after an hour of this he suddenly, and entirely unprovoked, violently savages Basil like a teenager crazed by computer games. All very odd, and he has been thrown outside twice in the last 24 hours for his sins.

Lorraine and I explored our takeaway options tonight, and went to our nearest Chinese fish and chip shop, Chip Suey, for some fish and chips, which were perfectly okay.We enjoyed waiting as our fish were being fried and chatting together. Strange how little moments of happiness arrive at the strangest of times.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stormy

Writing prose for several hours today. What I am writing exactly I don't know, but it feels good to be doing it.

Spoke to people about CD production. One company says they are unable to keep up with demand, which surprised me when I thought downloads were king. This means I am going to use the people in Brighton that Dipak and Richard used.

Total gloom reigning in the Economy. I watched our unctuous Chancellor's autumn statement today. We are in trouble and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

Lorraine phoning me to tell me about the wild sea she was driving past, prompted me to go for a walk. I found myself in a bad mood as I passed the protest camp that has grown up in the green lawns of the Old Steine and walked on the Pier towards sundown. The pathetic fallacy of the rough sea with the wind whipping the starling murmurations seeking refuge under the pier.

Home in teeming rain, feeling rather better and I cooked a large vegetable chilli for Lorraine and we had a relaxed and cheery night watching Masterchef.

Below the sea from the pier.



Monday, November 28, 2011

Camilla strikes again

Woke up with a northern cold, souvenir of Yorkshire. Tended to only the most necessary of business, before abandoning myself to the luxury of reading. Finished A Prayer for Owen Meaney. What a cracking book, one of those books that it is a shame to reach the end of, although the end is brilliantly worked. Now reading Summer by Edith Wharton which seems altogether less good, although I enjoyed Ethan Frome.

Otherwise had time to marvel at Jane's site Camillalookalike.com which if ever you need a Camilla lookalike it would be foolish to turn elsewhere, as is self evident from the picture below. Jane looks like the Platonic Ideal of Camilla.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The owls are not what they seem...

is one of my favourite quotes from Twin Peaks. But Leeds, it transpires, is full of owls. The arms date from the Corporate Seal of 1626, when the Borough of Leeds was first incorporated by Royal Charter of Charles I, when the wealthy Sir John Savile, of Howley Hall near Batley, was elected the first alderman of the Borough. He was also M.P. for Yorkshire. The owls come from Savile family's coat of arms.

Up gingerly this morning, and Lorraine and I met Sam downstairs for breakfast. I had not slept particularly well: too much to drink the night before, and the wind had been wuthering in the windows. We consumed a huge breakfast and then Sam and Lorraine went to buy a coat and I went to the Art Gallery.

This proved to be closed, so I spent a happy hour before it opened rubbernecking in Leeds, which is much more attractive when not viewed in the rain. In fact it has magnificent buildings, and is a magnificent city. Nice streetnames too, including Swinegate. A wealthy place, with huge industrial buildings now converted to swish appartments down by the River Aire and expensive shops according to Lorraine and Sam.

Leeds Art Gallery was just across from our hotel (The Radison Blu). A fine collection with some important late 19th and early 20th Century British Art. William Roberts (a teenage hero of mine, now much out of fashion), Sickly Sickert, Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer. Also some moderatly interesting prizewinning local contemporary artists. I had an hour and did not see everything.

Then met up with Sam, now the proud owner of a long black coat, fleece, gloves and a tub of vitamin pills (the result of Lorraine being in full 'Mum' mode). Coffee and for me a Greek Salad, Sam and Lorraine opting for sweet things. Then we wandered up to the charming and cheery German Market, complete with bumper cars and merry go round, and loads of tents crammed with Christmas goods and drifting with the scents of crepes and candyfloss, mulled wine and German sausages in buns. Then around the corner to a pub for a last drink with Sam before we bade him a fond farewells.

The journey home was dire. Someone in the midlands threw a bicyle from a bridge which went under a train severing a cables, adding another two hours to our trip. This resulted in dozens of trains into London being disrupted. We arrived in Brighton after 11pm. I moaning that we could have flown to Canada or New York in the time it took to get back from Leeds. Luckily however, I had a good thick book, and my reading of Owen Meany is almost complete. A wonderful book.

Lorraine had her laptop with her, and did lots of work so making next week much easier for her.

Below some Leeds owls in the crest on a bridge down by the Waterside; great golden owls; a Leeds streetscene; a small protester camp in the City Square; random snap of light that took my fancy; in the German Market; a seller of Dwarfs.







Saturday, November 26, 2011

To Leeds

So up earlyish and up North to Leeds. Bought a paper which Lorraine started reading and before we'd left the environs of Brighton was already experiencing an outburst of Tourette's Syndrome reading about The Tory Government's Education Secretary Michael Gove's approval of 'Victorian' (his word) standards by sending a version of the King James Bible to every school. While I would not deny the importance of this translation to the development of thought and literature in English (which even resonates in the lyrics of Bob Marley for example) what I object to is the fact that Michael Gove sees fit to write an introduction to it.

Anyhow, the journey very painless and we found ourselves in Leeds at around 2:30. Raining, obviously, because we were up North. Mounted policemen (as there was a fiercely-contested football game) and generally more Northerners than you could shake a stick at. Our hotel pleasant, and a pleasant room with nice tiling, and one of those full length mirrors that by a trick of light make you look taller and thinner.

We met Sam in a nearby Carluccio's. Lorraine very excited to see him. Sam going through one of his periodic bouts of insomnia, but otherwise enjoying his course and philosophy is definitely the subject for him. I am fairly certain he is more of a philosopher now that I ever was, when I studied Philosophy and Literature at Warwick in the dark ages.

After some food, we sensibly repaired to a pub, home to many marvellous beers of which I availed myself with some cheer. I felt really happy to be in the north of England again, for I love it up here and have had many good times. There really is a distincly different Northern temperament to us Southern Softies. There is a directness and a mingling of gloom and good cheer that can't help but I warm to.

We went then to eat a Northern curry in a vast Indian restaurant called the Akbar, where we waited over an hour for a table at the thronging bar. Obviously a destination restaurant. Once seated, the food proved fine and reasonably priced, the waiters threading through the tables with naan, hanging like bready sails from hooked spikes.

From there sensibly back to the hotel and Sam off home. Watched Chelsea win a football match, before sleeping.

Below a shot of the cool, but camera-shy Sam, indulging me outside Sam's Chop House.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A walk on the mild side

Writhing and itching through the night, due to MSG. However once up began to get things done. Wrote to Simon Scardanelli after agreeing with Matt that the latest mix of the album was the one.

Wasted half an hour waiting to talk to someone from the EDF power company. Out at lunchtime to go to the bank and I dropped in to Brighton Museum and Art Gallery to see an exhibition of Ragamalas, Indian miniatures inspired by music. Simply exquisite.

Met Dipak this afternoon at Marwood's cafe, where they do - excuse me - a damn fine cup of coffee. We were discussing our CDs and hooking up with the Shakespeare Trio for a performance in February. We ended up going on a long walk, around the pier and then along the coast to the Marina where we stopped for another coffee and a beer and talked for some time in the Weatherspoons pub there, which has big windows overlooking the marina. As Dipak and I talked a murmuration of starlings gathered swooping in the air, as dusk arrived they stooped down in swathes to land under the pub. We were looking at them from a few feet away. A spectacular sight. Suddenly felt mild-mannered and relaxed, and really pleased to be able to have time just to look at starlings and chat to Dipak.

Betty called from Oxford Street to say she had been for an audition for something on MTV and had to eat a cream bun,and had been buying clothes and was off to see Billy Elliot.

Home and cooked a rather good fish curry for Lorraine when she got home. Watching Masterchef on TV. Then I watched the final documentary in the Symphony series describing the development of the Symphony over time. Rather good. I'm liking Sibelius.

Below some yearling gulls; the new wheel which arrived in Brighton a couple of months ago; one of the Ragamalas.





Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chelsea buns

Up with the sparrows, or considerably before the sparrows as the evil black cat that torments our cats was fighting with Brian through the cat door. It sounds as if people are crashing into the house at five in the morning. If I could ever catch that black cat I would give it a good hiding, for this is a psychocat: elusive and violent. It even went for Lorraine the other day when she was shooing it.

So, up and finishing the brochure about short stature in children. Then other practical tasks to do with renting my house, taking meter readings, catching up with billing, popping into the gym and so on. Had a leisurely afternoon however and in the evening the cats and I watched a slovenly Chelsea performance where they threw away the game in the last ten minutes.

I support Chelsea because of a currant bun. It is Dave, my Grandfather's fault. As a teenager, shortly before the second world war, he was working in his parent's cafe on the Esplanade in St Peter Port cafe. Some of his pals came in and asked him what football team he supported. He didn't support any team at the time, but happened to be serving a Chelsea bun so he said Chelsea. He later went on to call his house Chelsea, and have a small Chelsea shrine in the corner of the dining room. Growing up around this meant that, for me, being a Chelsea fan was not even a conscious choice. So when I find myself grinding my teeth watching the Blues, it is because of a wretched bun.

Out of my own slovenliness forked down a Chinese takeaway scored before the match from a local place. The food is laced with MSG however and I found myself itchy and flushed afterwards.

Lorraine returned this evening after her conference. She'd only been gone one day and I had missed her and felt a bit lonely. After years of living on my own where I never felt lonely, it is a bit bizarre and sinister that I missed her.

Below the bun of destiny.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An interlude of work

Working on growth deficiency copy. But wonderfully this was being done from home, so I had three cats and worked with the sound of rain falling on the windows, which is a sound I love. The job took all day, and it was a quiet day and quieter evening as Lorraine had to stay away from home today having attended a conference.

I met up with Gary in the Basketmakers and we his move into the Twitten for an hour over a couple of pints of seafarers. All good, and as well as having the rent money, will be delighted to have the place inhabited.

Home and chatting to Lorraine on the phone, and trying unsuccessfully not to finish off the party snacks and cheese which are still lurking about.

And so, shepherded by Calliope, to bed.

Monday, November 21, 2011

To the studio again

Mopped the floor and hoovered this morning first thing, then after doing a few worky bits and pieces went to the gym before lunch in an attempt to reverse some of the excesses of the weekend. Two calls at the gym: spoke to Max as Elijah's favourite zebra toy has gone awol and to Gary arranging his move into the Twitten. Called the useless letting company to sack them.

In the afternoon off to meet Matt at Simon Scardanelli's studio, and spent some time fixing the levels on track four. The mixing software playing up today however, so it all took a bit longer than it should have done. Then Matt and I repaired to The London Unity, which is just down the road, to have a quick planning meeting over a beer. We are going to formally launch the CD as close as we can get to Valentine's day next year, and the actual CD will soon be ready at long last. Matt told me again that Cem the violinist on the CD has had to temporarily stop playing due to RSI.

Spoke to Mum and Mason today, and also Janet and Ken. Janet broke her arm today tripping over paving stones poor thing. Home and a nice evening chatting to my Lorraine.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A hearty aftermath

Up surprisingly early this morning after a few hours sleep. Lorraine and I up, finding a slightly-wan looking Betty on the sofa accessorised by three cherubic children who were all sitting on her. Gave Betty birthday presents -- as today was her actual birthday. Then a long slow morning nursing hangovers, Lorraine cooking breakfast and The FB and Max and Kate emerging with various need for liquids, toast and painkillers and antihistamines for Max's cat allergy.

Matty boy returned looking fresh and rested after a night in a hotel, as did Richard Gibson and Maria. Richard was too worse for wear to cycle home the previous night, and searching for his guitar capo, which later on manifested itself in his jacket pocket.

When everyone had left, Lorraine, Betty and I had a short few minutes doze, before starting the party again in the Sussex Yeoman where we ate roast dinners with Wayne and Matt. A cheery lunch before Betty had to go back to college. Then the rest of us made off to the Brighton Tavern. Matt and Wayne on sparkling form, and we were offered a table and warned that the jujitsu people had booked it, so as we chatted our eyes kept drifting to the door waiting for martial artists to burst through and dispossess us.

A much needed quiet evening dozing on the sofa. All this partying takes it out of you, but we decided we shouldn't wait too long before we do it again, as it was huge fun and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Lorraine and I chatting about how it felt like we had drawn a line under recent stressful months.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Party time

So today zooming about getting ready for a large party to celebrate Betty's 20th birthday and me and Lorraine living together. Lorraine off to get an astonishingly red hair cut n' colour which everyone agreed was rather smart. Then Betty, Lorraine and I going off to buy quantities of boozes and food in supermarkets, blow up ballons, prepare food and move furniture about. Very tired all day but a shower and a stiff drink worked wonders.

Max, The French Bloke and their cherubic children Tahlia, Zemirah and Elijah arrived an hour and a half early, which effectively started the party with the children zooming about. Betty upstairs glamming herself up with two of her pals, watched awe-struck by young Tahlia and Zemirah. Another pal Linda arrived somewhat before the party started already drunk and slightly chaotic.

Then lots of guests, First Matie and Matty Boy, The Shakespeare Trio who gave us a bit of a tune accompanied by Steve Cartwright on banjo, Claudius, Matt and Wayne, Ross and Lene, Mark, David, Richard and Glenda,Reuben and Claire, and two of the boys, Adrian and Diane, Dawny, Denise and Rosie and Beth's pals Jo, Amy, Becky, Sophie, Sarah, Matt.. and various boyfs. Rather a lively night with a good deal loquacity, drinking and dancing.

Beth, Mark, Kayleigh and Amy doing a rather smart singing spot, and all-in-all a brilliant night. To bed at around 3:30am, the exact details of the going to bed part being rather unclear.

Below forgot to take any photos other than of Tahlia and Zemirah being cute before the party, others obliged with random snaps of general party melee with Lorraine's hair from the back, Betty surrounded by adoring public, Lorraine and Betty dancing with a fat bloke; Claudius, Steve and Dipack and the back of First Matie's head, and Jo, Becky, Beth and Kayliegh.







Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday

Friday thank goodness... Laughing aloud on the train reading Owen Meany. Spent the day in and out of a large room with folks talking about digital apps interspersed with bouts of work. I found myself drawing on a whiteboard two circles side by side, which made Keith snicker. Broke off for a sandwich with First Matie, and then back into it. Felt tired and jaded as I left work, as it had been a typical agency against the clock Friday frazzle.

Fairly fast journey home however, catching up on a Melvyn Bragg podcasts, one about Continental philosophy which was particularly interesting, despite this I couldn't get home fast enough.

Home, and I dragged Lorriane and Betty who returned today out for a celebratory curry. I was interested to hear Betty talking about the work she's been doing at college.

Below two snaps in the still-autumnal London.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Leaves

Up to London again. Working with Andy on a somewhat confusing pitch brief.

Lunch with Keith and Hamish in a pub, me on chicken and two pints of soda and lime laughing about unfortunate medical accidents, starting with digital rectal examinations and prolapsed rectums and moving down market from there.

In the afternoon Andy and I soldiered on, mainly in a room overlooking Tavistock Square's autumn trees shafted by low autumn sunlight. It was so beautiful that it kept drawing my eyes. On the opposite wall light and shadows were playing on the wall shifting and filtered through the leaves. Andy took a couple of snaps.

After work a quick drink in the office with First Matie, The French Bloke and others, and found myself talking people's heads off about Mexico, smallpox and the Aztecs mode of warfare all about taking prisoners, rather than killing people (having listened to a podcast about it recently). The FB talking knowledgeably about Derbyshire Thicknecks, people with iodine deficiency.

Home late, and Lorraine even later. Bought an evil Ace pizza which I ate slices from. I have to start worrying now as they knew my order when I went in. Had a few slices, and a couple for Lorraine, then bed. Calliope treacherously scoring the soles of Lorraine's feet in bed as I brushed my teeth.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ticking the box

Off again to London again this morning. Listening to Clameur and Shakespeare Trio bits and storyboarding wee videos for them in my head. Matt scheduled to finalise CD today but this has been bumped till next Monday so we can do it together. Trying to stifle dual waves of frustration at how this simple job has taken months to complete and how pitifully small my creative output has been in the last months.

Very happy to be working again though, as this is boosting the Kenny coffers nicely and means I can pay all my bills. Just a bit more work and I will have money to live on too. Splendid. Working with First Matie today on fleas and ticks, which is always a pleasure, and taking a pitch briefing from Matt who is a stylish presenter these days.

Home again reading Owen Meany still. Jolly good book all round. Home and had to pop in next door to babysit Joe for a few minutes while Mark went off to buy bread. They have so much on their plate, but the baby is now much improved after its hole in the heart operation. Lorraine and I then scarfed more vegetable lasagna as we watched Masterchef and then a BBC documentary which was mainly about polar bears and bloody faced birds picking at carcasses. Plus penguins stressfully milling about.

Noticed that Beth's fish tank appears to be leaking.

L and I both feeling very tired and had an early night.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Poetic interlude

Up early and happily working on my new poem, which is about a pebble and God and is set in Moulin Huet, which was a rather nice place to spend a poetical interlude. Also I explored more on my other concept, which is too new to talk about but is a kind of 'how to' book. I also briefly tweaked some copy for Amanda in NZ who has added game inventor to her list of accomplishments. Her new board game is called Komodo, and sounds great fun if you like storming at your relatives and friends.

Off after lunch to show Gary, Lorraine's ex-husband, around my house in the Twitten. He finds himself in need of one, and although a slightly weird thought at first, this may prove to be an excellent and rapid solution to my renting situation.

Lorraine working from home this afternoon before going off to a governor's meeting. I was called by Nicola this evening, and have three days work back up in the smoke starting tomorrow. Rather good for the Kenny coffers, bad for poems and so on. I will be working for First Matie, however, who called later to explain that revenge was sweet.

Eating vegetable lasagna co-cooked by myself and Lorraine. All well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Monday

Damburst of ideas, and the best part of a poem written first thing this morning, and the outline of another project down this afternoon. Slipped off to Sainsbury's to buy ingredients for supper, as Lorraine would be home quite early. Cooked sausages and a mash made from butternut squash, carrots and potatoes with a little parmesan grated into it, plus a gravy thick with leeks, onion and a smidge of chilli, served with peas. It was good comfort food for Lorraine who was feeling the Monday morning glums.

Off this evening to The Coopers Cask pub where The Shakespeare Trio were doing a full set. As well as Dipak and Richard, were Richard's wife Maria Grazia and Steve Cartwright. There was a good guitarist in support. They asked me to do a turn, so I read Revolution of the Eagles, and The Trojan, which were both heard attentively. Richard and Dipak were excellent, playing lots of new material. Beautiful fluent stuff, and particularly enjoying Dipak's languidly economical guitar style. Richard on fine form too, in good voice and playing excellently.

Below walked home from Hove and had two fox encounters. The second fox was utterly untroubled by me, and sat down obligingly in the middle of the road and let me take a few snaps of him.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunny Sunday

A beautiful day today, more like spring than November. Lorraine and I busy, loading up the car to take things to the skip, some last bits from the garden of the Twitten, and random clutter from The Old Church Hall. Stopped off at Anton and Anna's place to give them two lovely advent calendars that Maureen had made for the children.

The sea was unbelieveably silver in the low sun as we drove towards the marina. Lorraine had Bexy (her car) cleaned as it is going to be replaced by a new cheaper model due to the dreaded cuts. As the cleaners were about their business, we repaired to Cafe Rouge for coffee and moules & frites. Then, in the aromatic clean car, off to the garden centre to buy aquarium plants and talk to people about lights, as those in Betty's tank have failed. As we left a thief in a motorised buggy for disabled people was caught red handed making off through the door.

Home, and much cheery cleaning of aquariums, and a large sort out generally. It was a happy day. In the evening we watched the second half of Scorses' George Harrison documentary, which I had found unexpectedly fascinating. He was in some ways the most intruiging Beatle of all, and I want to root out his music again.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jelly babies and quiet beatles

A terrible night's sleep. Had a vivid dream that I was on a plinth while a man in some sort of crow's feather costume loomed over me. Woke up rather sharpish from that one. Somewhat pale and wan today as a consequence, although orc foot improving steadily.

Lorraine's and my missions of limited scope: we went in search of winter flowering pansies, and booze for the party we are holding next weekend. Bought a serious amounts of booze, and then found a garden centre over the downs where Lorraine happily nosed among the cyclamen and pansies, some of which we bought.

We also bought some jelly babies, but these were the best jelly babies I have ever tasted. We guzzled an entire packet in the car. They were like the Platonic ideal of jelly babies bursting with fruit flavour and with a delicious texture all for £1.99 and made by sweetmakers of genius called Bon bon. I'm not one for sweets, but these were incredible. I need more.

Home and both crashed out for the afternoon and evening. Much needed gold sofa time. Watched the first half of a really good documentary George Harrison: Living in the material world by Martin Scorsese. It has only just been released in cinemas and is now on BBC 2. Spellbindingly good documentary which made me see the whole Beatles story in a different way, not a mean feat about a subject matter that is so familiar.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11

... had no mystical or numerological significance for me, as it seems to have done for some people. My Orc foot somewhat better today, though I had to cancel a planned yomp through the countryside this weekend with Anton. An enjoyable stint in Tavistock Square and especially nice to work with Nicola again after a few years, as she'd given me a copy of A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Trains screwed up from St Panrcas, which necessitated cramming into the tube for a session of claustrophobia exposure therapy across London in the evening rush hour. Once at Victoria got the fast train home.

I have been carrying a small black stone from Moulin Huet in Guernsey around with me. I read something in Owen Meany about how the indigenous people of North America thought everything had a soul, not just people. I found myself posing the question 'what if this stone had a soul?' And ended up thinking stony soul thoughts all the way home.

To the Shahi, where beer was drunk and a chilli-freighted curry consumed, and the world generally put to rights with my lovely Lorraine.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pass me my fez

Off to the quack this morning as ankle still terrible. They are piping music into it the waiting room these days. I'm not sure Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin was exactly the right choiceand for doctor botherers. My very likeable quack gave me an prescription for gout pills, and Zapains (codine and paracetamol) and we laughed about them zapping the pain. After buying a gout stool, fez and smoking jacket, made off to London again.

Work fine, loped alongside Nicola at lunch to score some food. She has leant me A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving which I began reading today. It is a wonderful book judging from the first 60 pages or so. One of Nicola's favourites. The character Owen Meany is tiny, and it is a rather fitting read as I am still working a bit on growth disorders in children.

Home again, the Zapain working well, although making me feel vacant. Home to Lorraine, who had cooked a lovely meal, but had to go next door and babysit little Joe for half an hour or so as our neighbours were both at the local hospital with their other baby is recovering from a hole in the heart operation. Progressing well, however.

Otherwise a welcome quiet night, with pain levels at manageable, and the orc foot pills beginning to kick in, thank God. Calliope and Basil fighting in a playful way. Spoke to Beth who is doing well at college by the sound of it, despite having a challenging personal life at present. Enjoyed watching the Big Bang Theory, lately credited with increasing the number of students wanting to study physics at university in the UK, with Lorraine, before bedtime.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Adam's ale

Grim start to the day, foot extremely painful. Running late I set off armed with a hiking stick feeling tetchy and full of self-pity. Lorraine, qua rescuing angel, gave me a lift to the station. Sweaty on the train, next to a man smelling strongly of garlic, I tried to catch up on the concept work I could not do yesterday. Wet soap thoughts slipping away before I could grasp them left me wondering if I had lost 20 IQ points overnight, so tidied my stuff into my bag. Discovered that a capless pen had leaked all over my nice mushroom coloured trousers.

Hobbled into work and drank four pints of water one after the other. Within two or three minutes my brain miraculously able to string thoughts together again, and I did more in the next ten minutes than I had done in previous hours. Clearly I had been badly dehydrated by painkillers and other pills I have been taking.

Lunch a pleasant wander around the corner with First Matie to score baked potatoes. Helicopters roaring in the air for a hour or so monitoring the big student march which had started nearby. First Matie and I swapping ailment stories (as she has an ulcerated eye) as we waited for our potatoes to be heated together in the same microwave. Kate aghast as I had opted for mushrooms and she feared her food risked contamination by their disgusting slimy smell or taste.

Home feeling rather better than I had done in the morning. Cooked spaghetti which I fed to Lorraine who was at home late after another gruelling evening session. Both rather keen for the weekend.

Below Finished Just Kids by Patti Smith, mainly about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Very atmospheric about bohemian New York in the early seventies. Patti Smith is also a fabulously photogenic person. Mapplethorpe took the iconic cover shot for her first and most famous Horses album. Talk about establishing a whole image with one snap. Amazing. I've yet to fall in love with Patti Smith's poetry or music, but I really enjoyed this book. Although she and Mapplethorpe dedicated themselves to their art with undoubted intensity, they were also in the right place at the right time. She was offered a poetry deal on her first reading, and the head of Arista records happened to see her first ever music gig at CBGBs.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Mush head

Orc foot in full flow now, making it painful to walk, and difficult to sleep. Really poor day's work: my brain utter mush. Trying to do concepts this afternoon around prostate cancer, and nothing of any virtue was emerging. Working with April, who is a nice woman from the US. Embarrassed and frustrated by simply not being able to think.

Bumped randomly into Reuben as I popped out to score a baked potato.

Talked to the property people who I've outsourced trying to find a tenant for my house to while I am working in London. They eventually called back as I was on the toilet. Being caught literally with your trousers down is not conducive to taking the stern line I'd planned with them (as they are proving useless). In pain, tired and fed up, celebrated homecoming by pesistently moaning to Lorraine, poor girl.

Mood much improved as Lorraine had cooked a delicious chicken stewp (part soup, part stew). I had two bowls and, briefly, stopped moaning.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The return of Orc foot

Bad night's sleep and woke to find the dreaded Orc foot had returned: I am hobbling again and grimacing with pain and a Sauron addiction. Cramped, uncomfortable journey into work even more trying. I like working in Tavistock Square however, and noticing as usual at this time the patterns made by the autumn plane tree leaves driven flat into the black road surface.

Work fine, but the trains were doomed, which meant I had to hobble across town to take a different route home, thus galling ankle even more. Gah. The journey home was fine and I finished linished listening to I, Partridge, We Need To Talk About Alan, which was very funny in parts. Absolutely loving Just Kids by Patti Smith too.

Delighted to get home, and revel on the gold sofa with Lorraine if only for an hour or so. And so to bed, feeling dead beat.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Recharging

Felt a good deal brighter this morning, although my ankle is griping after the gym session. Really laid back morning, having a slow breakfast with Lorraine, and then we went food shopping. I enjoy shopping with Lorraine. Then home to chat to Beth and Kayleigh who'd stayed overnight.

Beth back to college this afternoon so we four had a large Sunday lunch. It had been really nice to see her. After she left, Lorraine and I spent the evening on the sofa reading. I am thumbing through 'Just Kids' an autobiographical book by Patti Smith talking about her relationship with Robert Maplethorpe. I am really enjoying it, despite not really knowing either artist's work paticularly well.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Guy Fawkes Night

Up just after 5am delighted the cats with an early breakfast. Lorraine had to go to a conference about leadership today, so I contented myself with trying to catch up with everything I've let slip over the last week or so, with only a small degree of success. Beth up and out without eating off to see Mark and other pals.

Tired and an upset stomach, but I went to the gym thinking this would make me feel better. Working up in London has made me fatter within a week and a half.

Went to Anna and Anton's. Watched Anna on TV in a programme about mackerel, filmed catching them and then making them into sushi, and giving a rather assured interview about her opinions about mackerel.

Then the family and I drove off in Anton's swanky new BMW to Martin and Sam's place in Hove. Lorraine arrived shortly afterwards. Martin and Sam have a nice house, and there was lots of nice food and hot punch available. Klaudia was the only girl and there were six or eight boys running about excitedly with toy guns and revelling in the firework display Martin had put on. Oskar's face a picture of delight and anticipation when the fireworks were happening. I failed to photograph his expression as it was too dark. Klaudia, who had never been keen on explosions, cramming pieces of cucumber in her mouth, and very much liking the sparklers afterwards.

A pleasant couple of hours chatting, and a spot of playing with my Godchildren, plus tucking into sausages dips and me into the mulled wine. Loved standing outside with Lorraine the sky full of the reek of gunpowder and explosions. Children zooming about in the dark, and the sky over the cricket ground like sheet lightning of all colours.

Home in Lorraine's car and a much needed quiet night. I went to bed at 9:30 shattered and happy that tomorrow held no fear.

Below Klaudia with a sparkler in the dark. She is getting tall now, and was measuring herself against me and she comes up above my elbow now.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Friday at last

Kept awake by the stormy night, and what my Hypochondriac's Handbook (a thoughtful recent gift from Richard and Jane) tells me is Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.

Up hideously early walking through a rainwashed Brighton. Train slow this morning, crawling north. Work quite hectic. Agency Fridays are often a bit frenzied as everyone rushes to meet deadlines of one sort or another. Deafening fireworks near the office, then spilled out onto the street at 5:30 with The French Bloke, and had a lightning fast drink before I caught my train. The FB is growing a moustache for Movember, and it is making him look like Lemmy out of Motörhead.

Straight to The Basketmakers. Betty, Lorriane, Matt, Wayne, Cath, Linda and Linda's mate Karen squeezed around two tables. Supped pints of seafarers and talked to all these friends for hours, before Lorraine and I with Cath walked home. Beth collected by Amy and Jamie. L and I bidding farewell to Cath outside bloody Ace pizza as I had not eaten. Home and ate pizza, before succumbing to tiredness. Friday at last. What a fop I am to be so shattered after just a week or so.

Below two stencils that I noticed lately on my way to work.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Secret Squirrel

Stole away from Mum and Mason's house in the morning, full of crumpets and armed with four home-made jams (2 crab apple and 2 wild plum)and off into London. A happy day today. Had slept very well at Mum's house and was full of beans. Off with Keith at lunch to buy a salad. And a very fast drink at the agency with Matt and The French Bloke before zooming off to Brighton where I had a secret squirrel mission.

Met Betty at Brighton station at around 8 o'clock. Betty looking very slim, and she was in a day early to suprise Lorraine. Lorraine out doing some school govenor training, so Beth and I ordered a Chinese takeaway and sipped a cheery beer together in a pub just around the corner. Texted Lorraine who discovered me talking to a mystery blonde a few minutes later. Lorraine and Betty very pleased to see one another, after I had collected the chinese meal and we all forked it down with gusto.

And so to bed, rain thundering on the velux windows.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Up to Edgware

Whimpering quietly to Lorraine about having to get up at 6:30. How is it that 7:00 is fine, but 6:30 is unutterably appalling? L often gets up at this time, and so her sympathy was rationed.

Listening, during my morning's commute to the tracks from the CD. It is a work of towering genius, even if I do say so myself.

Into town and another pleasant day's work, including presenting work to Germans about flea collars and writing more about short stature in children. A brief lunchtime interlude with Keith and Karam in a pub. Karam talking about high and lofty things.

In the evening up to Edgware to see Mum and Mason and rather nice bottle of wine, kindly provided by Toby and Romy. A good deal of cheery sitting about and eating with them. Afterwards Mum showed me her flat cats, and puma heads, which I thought were particularly fine.

Phone call with Tash, Matty boy's athletic acting sister whose wedding reception L and I went to in the summer, about doing some work together. An exciting prospect.

An early night, after a call with Lorraine who was surrounded by cats on the gold sofa.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The smiling beer

London again, sans pinches or punches. Feeling quite cheerful, and reading the paper on my kindle. Particularly following the story about the anti-capitalism protesters camping outside St Paul's and the PR disaster for the Church of England this has turned out to be, who now appear to be siding with city fat cats rather than people who are trying to assert a moral standpoint. One protester contrived a placard which said 'What would Jesus do' which has prompted, I imagine, some soul searching in the Church.

Work fine, and cheery to be working with people I really like. Working on growth disorders today. An interesting area. Found myself reading about psycho-social short stature, which is a condition where a stressed child does not grow in size. Apparently JM Barrie experienced this, which may have fed into Peter Pan and the idea of a boy who did not grow up.

Gallingly I managed to delete the last couple of hours work as the very last thing I did before I left the office. A schoolboy mistake, which I blamed on First Matie who was standing over my shoulder at the time.

In the evening a cheeky beer or two with First Matie. Ages since we'd had a beer together in London. Just lovely to catch up. I took a photograph of my pint of beer which had a smile in the bubbles, which matched how I felt.

Snoozing home on the train. Lorraine had cooked a fantastic shepherd's pie. Forked this down with some gusto and later grew cross with L for cooking something so delicious that I ate an uncomfortable amount.

And so to bed.