Monday, April 30, 2012

Zombie Gunship

To London, and finishing off the pitch work I was involved in before those presenting it zoomed off to Zurich. I had a leisurely sandwich from Waitrose, and a slightly lower key afternoon, with only the  photographs the innards of people with ulcerative colitis to distract me.

I finished Solar by Ian McEwan yesterday. Well written, and a comic novel which made me guffaw once while listening to it. Noticed McEwan's trick of slowing the action down for humorous effect, so that something that took a few seconds spreads over pages.  This wore a bit thin for me, but McEwan is generally fantastic I think.

Instead, I spent the journey home playing Zombie Gunship, an app I downloaded where you shoot at zombies from a big plane. The zombies are chasing handfuls of people as they try to escape into a bunker. Your job is to clear the way for them by slaughtering zombies. I combined this ultraviolence with listening to classical music. Felt a strange serenity sweep over me as I slaughtered the tiny antlike Zombie hoards on my iPhone.

Called by a potential new client on the way home. We agreed to work together at the beginning of the year, but nothing followed. Welcome work may be arriving soon.

Home before eight. Spoke to Anton, Mum and, once home, to Max about her forthcoming wedding. She is seeking advice about bands and music. Not strictly from me, but through my connections to Lorraine, and Lorraine's connections via Beth to a world of young folks. Supper with Lorraine on the sofa, and then a half hour dose of Match of the Day before bed.

Turns out April was the wettest April since records began, and we are still in drought.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Working on Sunday

Another deluge. The train slithering to London Bridge, and I got off amid lost tourists looking at maps. Claustrophobic Northern line to Tavistock Square and the day spent working on a pitch with Pat and Keith and a few others.  

Then back to Kings Cross and down the tunnels to the Northern Line. The platform was crowded and when there was some kind of accident and cries from the other end of the platform,  my claustrophobia kicked in and I had to find another way home.

Home to a plated up roast dinner, however, and in time to kiss Betty goodbye before she set off for college. Lorraine at home having been thinking about job applications which had driven her to sip wine in a slightly dismal way.  Even inviting her to watch Chelsea beat QPR 6-1 on match of the day didn't entirely do the trick. And so to bed.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sweet indolence

A slight cold today, which Lorraine has too.  I sprang up and went to the barber, whose wife had chest pains this morning. When she phoned from from the hospital, he cut the conversation short to continue finish my hair. Odd priorities.

Balked at the gym and instead I met Lorraine in Sainsbury's, then we drove to the Twitten to remove my old bed, humping bits of stuff down the Twitten like in the old days. Although I am happy in the Old Church Hall, I miss the Twitten too.

Sweet indolence this afternoon, with Lorraine playing on her iPad. In the evening off to Cuckfield where her pals Jess and Andrew are. Nice evening, with wine and coq au vin. Lorraine driving us home in the sheeting rain.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Circus x 2

Up then with a song on my lips to head off for London again. Actually I was feeling oddly sweaty which, given the robust health I have been in in the last few months, is typical. A busy day at work, mostly trying to figure out what needed doing, and being given lots to do at the end of the day. Had a cheeky drink with First Matie on the way back to the station, for it is her birthday tomorrow and she needed to be bought a cider.

Home late and then out immediately to a pub called Circus Circus where Beth's pal Laura was having her 21st birthday party. It was a jungle-themed party so there were people dressed as bananas or lions or in pith helmets and so on. Amy and Beth were dressed as parrots, which explained the tell-tale feathers I discovered on walking through the front door.

Lorraine and I went in civvies, so felt badly under-dressed. Glenda and Richard were there too, and we had a few noisy beers with them. Was feeling a bit tired, but managed a protracted cavort.

The band featured Laura's brother, and they were a perfect party band, leaping about full of fun. All in all a really cheery night, with the bonus of it being about 200 yards away from home, so we were able to creep home with ease.

Below a blurry snap of Laura singing at her own birthday.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Up to London

Ineffectual morning, catching up with correspondence. Then to Tavistock Square in the afternoon, where I was given a complicated brief in ten parts by Karam and others.  Very pleased, however, to be starting some freelance, which should extend into next week too.

The briefs made my brain hurt a bit, but soon there was a celebration of someone's 10 year service, so the FB gave a funny speech and cracked open the champagne, which I found myself sharing too. Nice chat with The French Bloke afterwards before zooming home.

Fell asleep in the carriage briefly, missing a chunk of Solar by Ian McEwen. Happily home.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Early riser

More torrential rain today. I woke up at 5AM and was wide awake, so got up and began work by 6.00. Funny to be working for hours, and to realise that it is only 8:45. Ventured out to go to the gym, and buy Oskar some belated Lego-based birthday presents. Home again and generally faffed about in an unfocused way. Was pleasingly booked for some days work up in London. This splendid news for the beleaguered Kenny coffers.

After cooking for Lorraine and chatting when she got home, I sauntered up to Anton's place for an hour or so, before taxiing to the London Unity pub where Richard and Dipak were open-micing some new sonnets. Dipak's birthday today too. All three Shakeys songs excellent, though hot off the press. Had a nice chat with Steve Cartwright who was there too. He said that the lyrics I sent him for The Sumerian Kyngs, (called I think, The Dance of Horses) some time ago are now about to transform into a song, which may be unleashed on an unsuspecting world on Saturday night.

Steve is also keen on shooting clay pigeons and invited me along with him.

Home late, and tired.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meeting Mario

Sleepy and unfocused as the lively weekend took its toll. I went to London today for a general mooch around and to meet Mario Petrucci, who is an old friend who has become a fairly famous poet. I waited some time for him at Baker Street station, where I was early and he very delayed by appalling trains. Reminded me of times I used to meet Mum there when we both worked in London as I lurked by the Sherlock Holmes statue. Waiting gave me the opportunity to do a spot of freelance tour guiding, being obliged to point people to the nearby Madame Tussuad's.

Great to see Mario, who I had not seen in a couple of decades.  He had commuted down from Brunel University, where he has a residency. We repaired to a local cafe and spent two and a half hours chatting. I had re-read his iTulips recently, and this really is a magnificent book; spare and modernist, but full of beautiful words and imagery and vibrant emotion. I told him how much I admired it. He told me it contained part of a sequence of 1,111 poems, the last of which would be in eleven parts. He started on 11 November 2011, at 11:11. He said five minutes before he felt overcome with nerves that he would have nothing to write, but when the hour came round at last a dam burst of poetry was released.  When I asked him where his fluency came from he said, after a moment's pause, "faith", and the belief that the channel would be open.

Otherwise we indulged in a fair amount of gossip, lots of it about poetry, giving me confirmation if any were needed, that I am far from the poetry world these days. Lots of news to share, of various relationships and life events. I found Mario at something of a crossroads having made some heavyweight personal and professional decisions lately. He signed my copy of iTulips, and I gave him a copy of A Guernsey Double. Felt important to have reconnected even for just one afternoon. Mario says his social life is minimal, so I felt lucky to have hooked up with him.

Fond farewells, and then having talked myself out with Mario, I decided to head home via Waterstones near Piccadilly Circus where I bought a copy of Memories, Dreams, Reflections which is Jung's autobiography. On the train home I finished A Very Short Introduction to Jung, which feels like a key to a door locked inside me.

Greatly stimulated by seeing Mario, and my mind buzzing with Jung.

Although I was unable to watch it, not having the despicable Murdoch owned Sky TV, Chelsea miraculously drew away to Barcelona, and now find themselves in the Champions League Final. Astonishing, and Torres, the striker who is psychologically unable to score, managed to score the goal that sealed it for them. Catharsis. Chelsea captain John Terry, however, whose slip in the mud snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for Chelsea in the final several seasons ago, will not be able to play in the 2012 as he was sent off today, which must seem like a personal disaster.

Below Sherlock Holmes statue outside Baker Street station. The green dome of Tussaud's behind.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Goodbye to Alnwick

Another fantastic breakfast. I think with all the wedding food (marvellous lamb) the amazing breakfasts not to mention the beers that I have put on lots of weight in the last few days. Orinsay was a nice B&B and Lorraine and I were already discussing coming again, but this time with a car to go beyond the town.

A cheery taxi driver who drove us to the station, pointing out that all the signs to the nearby village of Shilbottle had been assiduously altered by local youths to read Shitbottle, apparently they have also altered roadsigns on the A1 too.

The train smelled of drains but otherwise the journey home quite good, with Lorraine swiping at her iPad. Felt relaxed tubing across London. Lorraine and I were home before 5pm. It was good to be home too, which is nice to know. We both felt like we had been on a holiday -- albeit a rather drink sodden one--with lots of friends. Lorraine and I feeling very happy with each other, which is excellent.

Nice to eat a quorn stir fry tonight, with lots of fresh vegetables, then a much needed early night.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lorraine's birthday

Lorraine's birthday today. I gave her my present, which was an iPad, and she literally cried with happiness which was good to see. She had loads of cards to open too.

Up for a breakfast, I had Crastor kippers, which were wonderful. Understandably Lorraine and I had a rather delicate start to the day. But once we were up and running, we decided to take ourselves to Alnwick Gardens, which are spectacular as you can glean from some of the photos below.

The rain held off. We had just emerged from the bamboo labyrinth when we bumped into Lorraine's pal Jess and Andrew, plus Jess's daughters and mother in law. This completely random as we were all over 350 miles from home. Met them in the cafe later for birthday cake and coffee. It was a real treat for Lorraine to have Jess just appear. It was our third coincidental event of the weekend. Lorraine absolutely loved being in the gardens. It was really well designed, with an amusing tour around deadly plants, and a lovely walled garden, huge cascades.

From there we popped home before going out in the evening to celebrate again with Kate, Matt Hindley, Tom, Craig and Mel, and some American pals of Craig's in a pub known locally as The Dirty Bottles, on account of their being ancient dirty bottles sealed into the front window. Really good night out, ending up with a curry. Loads of talking. Lorraine very happy all day, which was great to see.

Below the view as you enter the gardens, in the walled garden, inside the bamboo labyrinth, Lorraine on a rope bridge, and a Tolkeinesque tree house.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Craig and Mel get wed

Lorraine and my B&B is called Orinsay, and we had a good night’s sleep. Reading Jung in bed and his discussion of synchronicity and coincidence. Breakfast was delicious and even included haggis alongside local sausages, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes.  All ingredients excellent. Lorraine and I chatting to Ian, a pal of Craig and Mel’s who was staying at Orinsay too. He mentioned Strand on the Green where Matt, Graeme and Kate live (and I lived for many years) and I happened to glance above his head and noticed that the painting above his head was of Strand on the Green and Kew Bridge.Quite a coincidence.
Lorraine walked in the castle grounds, shopped and later found a cafe for a light lunch. Waiting for Lorraine outside a nosebleed inducing  shop, I turned around and realised I was looking at the shop of Gordon Caris who mends watches and clocks, the shop only opens two days a week, Thursdays and Fridays and was empty as today was a Saturday. Gordon Caris is the name of my real father’s brother, I have seen neither of them since I was about five. I idly googled their names a few years ago, and the only name that showed up is this one, and of course I had forgotten all about it. Felt like the second coincidence of the day. I looked at in at all the timepieces in the empty shop, and wondered what would have happened if he were in there, and he was the same Gordon Caris that was my uncle.
So, stepping back from my personal Jung world. Lorraine and I squeezed into our dresses and suit. Lorraine blagged a ride in the taxi with First Matie and Nicola who staying across the road and I walked off to the Castle where Mel and Craig were having their wedding. Beautiful place, and stunning venue for a wedding. Drinks reception outside in the courtyard, and then the wedding itself.
Mel looked beautiful, and Craig was very smart. They had written their own vows, and when Craig declared his love for Mel, Nicola, First Matie and Christina who were sat in the row before Lorraine and I, simultaneously picked up their hankies and cried. There was a tear in my eye too, and of course Lorraine’s. They are a wonderful couple.
Then after photographs, we all went to our tables. Delicious food and Matt made a very good job of his speech. Matt Hindley had written to everyone from the Queen to Obama inviting them to the wedding. And had received replies from Prince Charle’s office and from Will’s and Kate’s office, which he read out. Most of the Americans thought it was an example of British humour, and were astonished by the fact they really had replied.
I had been asked to write a poem, which I then read out. This went down better than could have been expected, and there was crying then too, which is always a result (unless it is a marker of just how excruciating your poem is). People very complimentary afterwards and the most important thing was that Mel and Craig liked it.
After this I could relax and enjoyed the company of Robbie and Tom who Lorraine and I were sat near. Then there was more dancing and general cavorting. Lorraine dancing lots too and huge amounts of fun were had. The party was over at Midnight, but the partygoers were mainly still up for it. Lorraine and I found ourselves in a hotel near where we were staying partying until three, before it was time to slope homewards our top hats askew. An excellent wedding.
Below: Craig and Mel, Alnwick Castle where they got married, and looking down from the high ground near the castly onto the River Aln.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Northward bound

A frenzy of packing and a rush to Brighton station. Then a fairly easy journey to London, across London to Kings Cross and then we caught the Edinburgh train for Alnmouth Station for Alnwick close to the Scottish border, which Craig had fallen in love with as an exchange student.

Heavy rain as we descended from the train, and jumped into a taxi with Sylvia and a friend for the ten minute drive into town. A pleasant bed and breakfast and, after settling in, we took a walk to Barter Books,  built in the old railway station building, complete with model trains rattling above some of the shelves of second hand books.

A secondhand bookshop isn't the best place to find my current obsessions of contemporary findings in paleoanthropology and now Jung, as I have this idea that our blurry prehistory, is akin to our personal prehistory.  I was reading Jung: A Very Short Introduction by Anthony Stephens on my kindle on the train, and it is really exciting me. I have read Jung before, but not for years, and not systematically and this overview is really excellent.
Lorraine and I wandered into town, and bumped into Robbie Rae, Naturally we quickly found a pub where First Matie, Tom, Graeme and Valentina and others were gathered. Then to another pub, where Craig, Mel and Matt were, and the group snowballing with wedding guests.
Then a visit to a steakhouse (where I had chicken) where I sat next to Matt's new girlfriend Isy, who I liked a good deal. Then a mob of us bundled into another nearby pub, and mingled. Chatting to loads of people, lots of Americans too (Craig and Mel are both from the US) who were enjoying this wild English outpost with a real castle. Lorraine having great fun chatting to people too, especially Matt Hindley who we both really like.

Below: the War Memorial at Alnwick, inside Barter Books, and two views of the newly rebuilt roof of Kings Cross station where we caught our train North.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Loose ends

Up at the crack of dawn this morning to work on the eye health stuff I was briefed on yesterday. Did this in a highly-focused fashion until I was able to slip out in the afternoon to buy Lorraine's birthday present. Persistent rain again today. Announcement of the English drought (accompanied by dire hosepipe bans and warnings that it will be worse than 1976) has coincided with days of continual rain.

Lorraine home early, and we cheekily slipped out to buy fish and chips. Feeling too tired to pack tonight for our trip up to Northumberland, and left everything to a morning frenzy tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Flying in the face of the natural order

So up with the things that wake larks up, after having yet more tangeld dreams featuring ghosts. As wll as nightmares, sleep was interrupted a burst of heavy hail thundering on the roof, by the Basil fighting with the BBC*, then an episode shortly before dawn of crazed keening from a nest of nearby seagulls. Lorraine up hideously early but I did get a hideously early cup of tea, which improved things a good deal.

Raining steadily for most of the day, as befits an English drought. Working on the New Idea and waiting for a brief which finally arrived at 5pm. There's nothing like sitting about Waiting for Godot all day to work my nerve.

Cheered in the evening by talking with Lorraine and Dawn, who popped by to give L a present. Then when Dawn skipped off, Lorraine and I scored a cheeky takeaway and settled down to watch Chelsea play the world's greatest football team, Barcelona, in the semi-final of the European Champions League.

Amazingly, by a display of defensive resillience plus loads of luck and one outstanding goal, Chelsea won. This flying in the face of the natural order of things incredibly cheering. Chelsea have a return leg in Barcelona next week of course, where they will almost certainly be put to the sword. But a jolly good show by the chaps.

*Bastard Black Cat

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cardboard in the rain

Dreamt I was a shaman last night who was able to magically fix other people's problems. Lorraine and I both had bad night's sleep, with the evil black cat and Brian having their 5 am fight through the cat flap.

Working on my New Idea today which is beginning to take shape excellently.

Late afternoon, and I took myself to the gym for a long workout. Then at 5:45 to Klaudia and Oksar's school with the intention of walking them home, feeding them, and putting them to bed before Anton got back from work. This plan thrown into chaos when I realised at 5:44 that I had left Anton's keys at my home.

Meanwhile Klaudia and Oskar had been busy constructing very important sellotaped cardboard things to be taken home. As soon as we stepped outside it began to rain, and Oskar had to be sent back in for his coat. As we walked out Oksar's construction began to fall apart and he kept singlemindedly running off to retrieve its pieces, with Klaudia steaming ahead, and me dancing about with a fragile cardboard tower and gym bag, and holding hands across roads. My iPhone began at this point to make random trouser calls to people too. Eventually we got down to the taxi rank outside the station, we drove to my place were we leapt out, eventually found Anton's keys, and then I taxied back to Anton's place.

Everything else went more or less according to plan and Lorraine arrived at bedtime after toothbrushing to help with story-reading duties. Oskar and I read one about snow. When Anton got home, he cooked some of his famous pizzas, which Lorraine and I scarfed hungrily. A pleasant chat before Lorraine drove us home.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Back on The New Idea

Getting my act together today. Trying to finishing the poem I shall be delivering at Craig's wedding next weekend. There is a worrying potential for looking like a huge buffoon, especially as there will be several writers there. Also working more on The New Idea for a business book which pleasingly is taking shape. Nicola called me to say I have a smidge of work later in the week which is good.

Otherwise I maintained a low profile, apart from a trip to the shops. Also scrabbling about on my back for some times trying to fix our kitchen island, which is on wheels one of which has inexplicably come off. 

Lorraine's first day at her new school today, and she seemed to enjoy. At the moment she is doing two days as week there, and then doing her existing job for three. This will change as time progresses. I cooked tonight and it was just nice to hang out chatting. I let Lorraine play Angry Birds on the iPhone this evening, which kept her busy for hours. Those things are addictive.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Up and feelings surprisingly fresh. Tidied up the debris below, and made tea and bacon sandwiches for Lorraine and then First Matie. Beth up eventually and Sam came around again.

I walked First Matie to the station and then found myself compelled to spend the day in thoughtful reflection, and gradually tidy up the place. Watched Chelsea triumph in the FA Cup semifinal this evening against Spurs 5-1. All is good. Betty and Sam heading back to various Universities.  Lorraine and I creeping to bed early. A pleasant aftermath, and beyond a lack of sleep I felt fine -- although certainly not up to taking Matt's option to go to the pub at lunchtime. It pays to dance more than drink.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Party time

Lorraine's birthday is next weekend, but we will be in Northumberland.

So today we had a party which kicked off officially at 8:00pm but by 5:30 we were having our now traditional pre-party party with early arrivals, an old friend of Lorraine’s called Lesley who is a headteacher. Plus Sarah and Matt and their children, then Betty's pals started to arrive, and First Matie showed up and the party effortlessly moved from pre-party to the first hour of the party, which of course was the quietest. Sam looking incredibly dapper. Di and Adrian arrived with some grandchildren, one of whom introduced various sweets and peanuts into one of the fishtanks, but these were fished out with no harm done. I felt sorry for the kids, who looked very guilty afterwards.

Anton and Brian, Wayne, Matt and John, Dawn and Denise, Richard and Glenda, Richard and Maria Grazia, Steve Cartwright and many more. A very pleasant and affectionate night, with Beth breaking into song, and Cath producing a lovely cake for Lorraine, and a rousing happy birthday sung.

We ended up with a full house and another rocking party. We do seem to have splendid ones. I spent much of the night engaged in my patented Tom Jones on acid dancing, luckily I there was hours of dancing. The evening ended with Lorraine, First Matie and I as the bitter enders, before slumping off to bed.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Apps and snacks

I always notice it being Friday the 13th. Not that anything remarkable ever seems to happen, thankfully.

Instead Anton came by this morning to help me set up my iPhone. Downloaded apps such as the Guardian, which, for a few quid, updates itself on your iPone all year, plus things that let you look at the stars and tells you exactly what you are looking at, apps that update all the train times for the commutes I do, local bus apps. There is a whole world of information that is available only to people with iGadgets. Anton my Virgil into the app world.

By lunchtime Lorraine mysteriously tiring of iPhone talk, and it seems to me that she may actually prefer some of my recent discourses about paleoanthropology. Anton made off into the sunny day, and in the afternoon Lorraine and I did a big pre-party shop for the beano we are having tomorrow. Feel vaguely like an alcoholic wheeling out of Sainsburys with beers and spirits and mixers and so on, not to mention party snackage.

In the evening Sam and Beth, back from Spain were home for supper. Sam looking brown and handsome, but with his wrist still in a protector. Lorraine excelling herself with a lovely curry. Beth talking about eating lots of octopuses in Spain. Cephalopods fear her.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Lorraine lying in bed this morning, listing the things that need to be done, which is how to holiday the Lorraine way. We got up and did these in a frenzy until Sonia, our Romanian once a week cleaner came by. Sonia is a nice woman, whose English is greatly improving from the mutual incomprehension of our first encounters. She is going on holiday to Greece soon, I'd quite like a holiday one day too.

Still a dearth of freelance work. I was in touch with another friend in the industry who places freelancers in jobs, who told me freelance work was thin on the ground at the moment.

Lorraine and I off to town to visit the cobblers, look a little half-heartedly for earrings and so on. And as my crackberry was well past its sell by date, I was able at last to join the 21st century and upgrade my phone for the latest iPhone. Doing swipey movements with my fingers and blowharding about apps is clearly the future. L and I reflecting on how if we had gone back in time an iPhone would have seemed like magic: that you could take photos, listen to a library of music, play games, point it at the stars and name them etc. etc. from something slimmer than a packet of cigarettes. Lorraine and I off to the Bath Arms for lunch, where were served by a very friendly German girl, who was full of enthusiasm for iPhones seeing my box fresh baby. Rather a nice shepherds pie in there too.

In the evening back into town to meet Bob in the Cricketers, and Anton popped in too. Nice evening, and funny seeing Anton and Bob in each other's company again for the first time in years, under the stuffed stags heads of the pub. Nice too that Lorraine is very fond of both of them. Bob, Lorraine and I went off to scarf a pizza express pizza. There was a silent projection of a 1960s Italian black and white film against the wall, and it was making me nostalgic for Italy. Then into the bar at Bob's hotel, the my hotel in town, before lurching home after a cheery day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Into the trees

Anton called around this morning shortly after nine, and after cups of tea and some faffing about on my part headed out into the outside world. A nearby bus stop took us on the route 17 past Henfield, where Lorraine and I had visited Dawn the other day out to Manning's Heath. The sky was dark and threatening, and the familiar sight of teeming rain confirmed we are in a drought. Luckily when we arrived at our destination it was sunny with puffy white clouds. We plunged into the countryside and walked for four hours mostly through forested areas, across a couple of fields, down idyllic country lanes and so on. An interlude of hard rain and thunder as we squished through muddy wood tracks.

Much to discuss, and the world to be put right as we walked about. Good fun, although Anton going through a particularly difficult time at the moment. Still, good to see him accelerate away from the Beware of Dogs sign like a young pup.

Eventually we arrived at a homeward bound bus stop. It bus stopped outside The World's End where we had a couple of refreshing beers and Anton ate a plate of ribs. On a nearby table an author and an editor were drunkenly banging on about Steampunk. Only in Brighton.

After calling home, squeezing Lorraine, being fed by Lorraine, off again into the night. This time to the Evening Star, where I met Richard and Fingers. Glen particularly pleased when I told him that I had fallen in love with Rachmaninoff's second symphony. Also met a furniture designer and a lecturer in fine art, so the conversation was interesting, especially with Richard slapping a beermat down and proclaiming it to be God, and commencing an ontological argument with all comers.

Home at last to Lorraine watching a detective show on TV.

Below the bus stop and a threatening sky; Manning's Heath and the start of the walk; into the trees; a chocolate box pretty house; and the view from the bus stop home.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The New Idea

Working today on The New Idea, which is too early to talk about but is very much on the business end of the Kenny Spectrum. However it began to fall into place rather quickly, although a flying start isn't necessarily a good thing.

Lorraine, who is on holiday, off to see her pal in town during the day. I worked on T.N.I. and then at about four did some more painting of white things whiter.

Enjoyed listening to a Great Lives on R4 about Oscar Wilde, who Will Self had chosen.

Lorraine home, and we had a nice evening watching a wartime drama called Housewife, 49 written by Victoria Wood and based on letters written by a housewife in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria to the Mass Observation Project. Then rearranging the bedroom back to pre-painting positions.

Monday, April 09, 2012


Betty off to Spain this morning, to holiday with Sam and her Dad. When Lorraine returned from dropping her off in the station, we got busy painting our bedroom with a leaf green wall, and painting over cold mauves and blues with white. I have always been quite affected by colour, and greens on the whole make me feel content.

Lorraine and I busy painting and prepping most of the day, which is just as well for it was a typically English Bank Holiday, cold and raining most of the day. Lorraine tuned the radio to Classic FM which had its anual reader's poll of the nation's favourite classical music. We listened to it for hours and I was introduced to one or two pieces that I loved. It was an education.

Ended the day sipping a rum, orange juice and rum drink on the gold sofa, well satisfied with the day's work, as I watched Chelsea achieve a disappointing draw against Fulham on the TV. We slept in Beth's room tonight, which mightily confused the cats.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


Easter Sunday. Woke up with a new idea for a business flavoured project in my head. Then Lorraine and I off to Henfield, where Dawn is currently staying at her parent's place. Had tea and coconut and chocolate chip buns, freshly cooked by Dawn, and after a long and illuminating chat about the meaning of life, set off for a short walk on the hills behind the village. Overcast day, and Lorraine and Dawn pulling too many faces to be photographed. Lovely views towards the South Downs. Then home to Dawn's place again for more tea in the back garden, which was full of birdsong. Blackbirds mating in the next garden, the brazen beasts.

Conceived the idea of living in Henfield for a while, and tried to imagine if I would go mad in the country. At least I could shoot things with a shotgun. Then we visited the local farm shop and bought produce including an aromatic bag of oyster mushrooms to drive back to the city with.

Home to chill out with Beth in the afternoon, watching Toy Story. In the evening we roused ourselves to slope up the road to The Signalman, where we had a cheeky beer, and Betty handed in her CV angling for work there over the summer. Cheery evening, and the headache that I had sported for two days, simply dissipated with the first sip of a rather nice beer called Iron Horse.

Below a glance over my shoulder at the path we'd taken near Henfield.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Off to Kent

Off to Kent this morning with Beth and Lorraine, to see Lorraine's folks. Lorraine's car had been broken into, however. Luckily only a few CDs and the SatNav had been taken, and the car was otherwise undamaged.

Nice drive and Maureen being particularly funny describing Lorraine's cousin's twins, who had rampaged around her house the day before. All off to the local pub, Hooden on the Hill, for a (strangely) Mexican flavoured repast, somewhat at odds with the bunches of traditional dried Kentish hops hanging from the ceiling.

A relaxed afternoon, with an old friend of Lorraine's, Sharon, popping in to see Maureen and Pat. Some old videos were found, and I saw Sam in Lorraine's arms as a little baby, and Pat's 60th birthday party, where Beth was just a little dancing poppet of about two, with Sam scooting about as a little boy. An odd sensation being able to open such a vivid window into Lorraine's past. And not entirely comfortable either, seeing your partner in a world where you are completely unknown.

Fond farewells, and then a long journey home, with me watching a huge orange moon rising. Quite a magical sight that followed us home, Betty snoozing in the backseat.

Below some contemporary cave art, I spotted under a bridge in Ashford, near where Pat and Maureen live.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Beers in the Batty

Up early to buy some green paint, for no Easter is complete without a spot of DIY. At lunchtime into town where we met Anton, Klaudia and Oskar. We did some milling about in the Brighton Food Fair, which was filling the air in New Road with sizzles and mouthwatering aromas. Curiously we didn't eat any.

Went to the Pavilion Gardens, had a cup of tea and I played a good deal with my Godchildren, especially Klaudia who was demanding to be carried about a good deal. Then off to The Battle of Trafalgar, where we sat in the garden in the back and sipped a beer before Anton took the bairns home. A warm and lovely day, before the sun set.

Lorraine and I waited for a short while before being joined by Paul and his son VJ. VJ being a reading prodigy at 7 or 8 and already an expert in train and tram stations. Then Betty and Amy arrived, to make for an eclectic gathering. But good to see Paul, who was his usual characterful self. After Paul left, Lorraine and I continued to refresh ourselves with Amy and Betty in the Batty for a bit, before I suddenly badly needed a curry in our local restaurant. Here we sat in the window, listening to one of the friendly waiters who has just passed his PhD tell Lorraine about the job he is going for in green science.

Sitting in the window, and were able to wave and grin at Cath who was on her way to a date. Home to the gold sofa, and uninhibited snoozing.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Cave crazy

Gah. Just finding being able to concentrate very difficult. I have a thousand ideas, but can't seem to concretise anything. But right now nothing seems more interesting that paleoanthropology. The evolution of early man is fascinating stuff. Watched a bit of The Cave of Forgotten Dreams by Werner Herzog about the Chauvet Cave in France, which Betty got me for Christmas. Lorraine and I had seen it in 3D in the Duke of York's just last year. Knowledge on this subject is growing at an amazing pace. In the documentary for example someone asserts that no art was created by Neanderthals. But only a few months ago images of seals, dating back 43,000 years were found in the Nerja Caves in Spain and are thought to be from Neanderthals. If true this means that current opinion about the nature of Neanderthals has to be re-evaluated. And of course we now know that Neanderthal's contributed to Eurasian DNA too, so these guys are also partially us.

Other hot topics include homo floresiensis, the so called hobbit people whose remains were recently discovered in the island of Flores in Indonesia. Also the denisovians, thought to be another species entirely whose genetic traces are found in modern humans too.

A quiet night in with Lorraine, sipping hot chocolate, and watching Chelsea squeak by into the Champions League semi final tonight, their reward is to face Barcelona, widely accepted as the world's best team.

Below this may be the first confirmed example of Neanderthal art. Although UFOlogists and others might suggest a double helix, the image is thought to be of two seals.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


My recent interest in paleoanthropology is producing strange dreams. Woke up this morning after dreaming of myself as some kind of cave man. I was able to see my face which was mine, but more primitive somehow. Could see it clearly as I woke up.

Broke off from working to wash gravel and add it to the tank. Suddenly feeling quite holidayish. Betty and her pal Kayleigh popped in while I did this, and it was good to talk to them. Kayleigh has just taken her exam to be a dance teacher.

After work, off to meet Matt in the Shakey's Head for an overdue catch up. Matt recovering from a cold and has longer hair than I've seen him with. I think composers should have long hair, especially if they conduct their own work. Our plans for this year are fairly modest, due to an absence of funding and time, but that doesn't stop us assembling new material. However there will be a concert of Matt's new choir in June who will do some of our work, and possibly another in October to look forward to. He finalising the last few bars of his setting of The Boy Who Fell Upwards for a tenor and is pleased with it. Good to see him.

Gary has asked to stay in the Twitten for another six months, which means I don't have to re-advertise it and so on, which is excellent news.

Then off to meet Anton in the Caxton for a serious chat and a less serious game of pool. Great place for a game of pool as it is free to play. Then home to find Lorraine, Beth and Kayleigh chatting on the sofas. And so to bed.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Suddenly there are titles...

...on my long running blog. So Monday, and rather nice to wake up without a hangover. Lorraine working from home, and good to be working in tandem with her. I went to the gym for a lengthy workout after the debauches of the weekend. Listening to Ian McEwen's Solar, which made me guffaw with laughter on the cross trainer.

Otherwise a relaxed day, sent some poetry off, uploaded music onto SoundCloud, and sat about thinking about business, and ate vegetables with Lorraine. Otherwise an unremarkable day, but pressed on with some poetry, and sent a poetry MS off too.

A couple of tracks on Soundcloud here: Pollard & Kenny

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Pasties and fools

Wide awake at 6:30am and eventually I got dressed and after leaving a note for Mel and Craig and headed back to Brighton. Beautiful morning, and was home a little before ten enjoying the sunny trundle through the countryside, reading the paper. The Observer today carried an excellent April Fool article that lead singer of the famously drug-fuelled Happy Mondays, Shaun Ryder, was now an adviser to the Tory Party. After breakfast with Lorraine and Betty, I simply went back to bed.

Marvelling at the terrible week Prime Minister David Cameron has had. One strand of the debacle (which also involves sleasily selling access to the PM at Number 10 for donors to the Tory Party who are then able to influence policy) revolves around the humble cornish pasty.

The government has decided to slap tax on hot food, so a man buying a hot pasty will pay 20% more for a hot pasty than a cold one. The (not just April) fool then claimed that he liked pasties, and bought one at York train station only last week. This was done to suggest that the millionaire aristocrat was actually a man of the people. As the week progressed it became clear that the York station pasty shop had been closed for five years, and the whole thing was a lie.

The afternoon taken up with fish business. Lorraine and I bought new plants, and I changed the pink gravel in Betty's aquarium, chosen when she was 16, for something a bit more natural. Happily walking about with buckets, while Lorraine cooked a Sunday roast chicken.

Betty had been filming her yellow plastic duck Beans in various Brighton scenes with Amy. And they came back for a roast chicken dinner with candles. Amy doing well in her music course up in Chester (where I'd been last week with Carl, Jayne and Ellie).

Rather revelling in not drinking today. Very good to slump on the gold sofa on Sunday night with my Lorraine who, rather annoyingly, I seem to miss a good deal when I am not with.