Saturday, June 30, 2012

A fete better than death

Feeling in better health and my penny drop of recent days has allowed me to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I feel happier than I have felt in a long time. Helpful too that the steroid-induced paranoia and depression appears to have worn off and I am thinking straight again.

With Lorraine to the fete of the school she has been seconded to. Met a few of her pleasant colleagues, and saw children running about, or sitting behind stands offering free tattoo transfers, or challenges to assemble lego cars. I felt a bit like Dennis Thatcher or Prince Philip having to somehow radiate being responsible member of society in a supporting role. Met some of Lorraine's new colleagues (one fuming because some of the children had been helping themselves to the float money). There was one room with containers full of exotic animals, including an fat, obnoxiously-proportioned tarantula. I also enjoyed a hilarious display of local cheer leading. Whoever was guiding these girls forgot to tell them to smile. One particularly caught my eye, slouching through the routine with a downcast face, a very English cheerleader. The rain held off though.

Then Lorraine and I hoofed into Brighton, and spent some time mooching about the shops and Discovered a little Japanese Festival outside the Moshi Moshi restaurant. Lots of milling about, in a vaguely Japanese way, with various teenagers wearing Japanese inspired fashions and miming to Japanese pop music in states of high excitement. Some Japanese food there, and L and I had some delicious crunchy vegetable dumplings.

In the evening I took myself off for a quiet and cheery drink with Anton. As sometimes happens with Anton we had a two person book club, talking about the Steve Jobs book. Meanwhile he has been enthused by a book called The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, and we even ended up talking about Buddhism as some of its thinking seems to derive from a Buddhist perspective. I am looking forward to reading it. Anton also disparaging, in an illuminating way, about social media (farcebook, LinkDim and as he calls it).

Below is not my best shot.

Friday, June 29, 2012

In tune

Feeling cheerful. This even more remarkable as I had stabbing eye pains, compelling me to undergo a personal triage about acute onset glaucoma, and preventing me working more than a few hours. Eye strain almost certainly caused when I was on steroids and, feeling crazy, listened to audiobooks and played an obsessive bubble-shooting computer game. The drugs made it hard to focus, I think.

Finished the Steve Jobs audiobook, an interesting depiction of a complex and hard to like man. Went to the gym today, for the briefest of workouts. Had to accept that I couldn't do much as the muscles in my calf have been pulled, as I have been loping orc wise for several weeks.  

A lovely evening, having met Matt in The Basketmakers, something that has not happened for some time. Huge amounts to discuss, and really great to simply have a few beers and shoot the breeze about music, writing and approaches to creativity - not to mention general gossip. It had been far too long, and great to discover we are still in tune.

Home to my lovely Lorraine and all well.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Penny drop

Had a penny drop moment today. I have been feeling unhappy lately (not helped by weeks of pain and an adverse reaction to steroids), but I noticed I have been falling into the trap of wasting energy being aggrieved that things were not as I believe they should be, rather than simply dealing with things as they are.

I need to reboot by being grateful for what I have and where I am. Also the fact that things have not worked out particularly well this year, has forced me to be innovative and create The New Idea which has forced me to think in new ways. As ever, I am left with the realisation that the one thing that you can exert any influence over is your own conduct.

A good day, gradually feeling human again despite weird possibly steroid related pains in my eyes preventing me typing more than a few hours. Having some good ideas and feeling fairly cheerful. Absorbed by the Steve Jobs biography, but certainly not in an admiring way.

A mooch in the park at lunch time, listening to the Jobs thing and having a cup of tea outside a cafe. Watched a helicopter land in the park, and interested to see people streaming towards it from all over the park, magnetised by curiosity alone. It was an air ambulance, but it didn't appear to be on a mission. Almost like the Close Encounters film.

A long chat with Sonia, who was telling me that she missed the days of Communism in Bulgaria. These days  it is full of corruption and she was lamenting uncontrolled developments in beauty spots.

Chatted with Matt too. He's writing in a different way at the moment, although the weight of the real has been pressing down on him and he has little time for work. He is putting a song I wrote, called Aubade, to music however. I consciously wrote it as a song rather than a poem.

Went to the doctor this evening, getting quite good at using the time in the waiting room to meditate now. Then feeling quite cheery home, and suggested to Lorraine when she returned that we go for a curry. Betty out with some friends, but joined us as we'd gone to the restaurant late. Cheery to be back there...

Below a strangely magnetic helicopter.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A sleep full of sweet dreams

Tiredness today, but no psychosis. Bonus!  Pressing on with the business book (aka The New Idea) until my eyes started hurting. (I need new glasses). Then I listened to the Steve Jobs book, which as a portrait of a profoundly-repellent narcissist is quite compelling. Not often do you read a biography when you actively desire the downfall of its repellent hero.

Phone chats to Anton and Marja, who I'd not heard from for ages and who is sounding fine, arranging a meet up with her and Sarah. Made time to meditate, and wasted time trying to clean the sofa with ineffectual cleaning fluid. Tonight Lorriane booked us a cheapish holiday to Greece. The idea of curling up like Endymion in the sun, sea, mountains and cicada-haunted olive groves is intoxicating. 

Below, for no good reason, Calliope drinking from a sink. My cat is still very much my daemon and sees herself as a thing above the tabbies Brian and Basil. A newish thing is to steal illegally into Lorraine's drawers, which L unknowingly shuts. After some time there is a demonic picking of claws in the room that seems to come from nowhere, and the source is only revealed when you open the clothes drawers and see her demented eyes among the socks and undies.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Long distance didgeridoo

Thank God off the steroids today although brain is still mushy. I seem to have lots of good ideas but can't get any of them down. Off at lunchtime to meet Anton for a coffee in the Marwood Cafe. Able to sit outside in a little courtyard garden for a while too as it wasn't raining. He had been reading some of the latest draft of The New Idea and had some good suggestions and a few thoughts on the story so far. Excellent to get some feedback, and good to have coffee with Anton, still gloating over his iPad and announcing that he is going paperless.

Bought the audiobook of the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson to keep abreast of the Zeitgeist. Lots of people are very impressed by Jobs.  Have listened to a few hours of it. On this account I think I would have found him obnoxious, although clearly an incredibly successful businessman. Interesting to follow a thread through California and the IT and business story that I was dimly aware of working for IBM in the 90s in London.

In the evening after we had eaten yet another salad of my preparation, went for a walk around with Lorraine in the park, chatting and smelling the roses and looking at flowers.

Anton gave me two CDs that Christiane had left for me when she had visited. Meditative, conscious Australian music... with didgeridoos! (Or didjeridu as it is spelled on the CD) The CDs were made by her husband Mark and his group called One Tribe. Just splendid and great to meditate to, which I will attempt shortly. The One Tribe healing website is worth squinting at.

Monday, June 25, 2012

You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland

Felt like Neo in the Matrix gulping the last of my morning's six red steroid pills. On the plus side, I am able to lope adequately again, on the minus side I have never experienced such episodes of confused depression and paranoia as I have done in the last few days. They do not agree with me, and they are done.

Today's tactic was to keep my brain occupied with listening to audio books and playing a repetitive computer game.  Finished off Fatherland by Robert Harris, not my normal fare, but an intriguing alternative history, set in the sixties after the Nazis had won the second world war with its hero a policeman uncovering the truth about the camps. Reading an introduction to Heidegger. I've read it before, but then Heidegger has large ideas.

The pills wearing off in the evening, and a pleasant time with Lorraine, munching virtuous salads, and Betty and her pal Laura being cheery.

Below the choice...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Out of it

Penultimate steroids day. Scarily dark and paranoid thoughts. Checking the patient information leaflet it said that psychological problems could start right away. Found things difficult to cope with, despite Lorraine and I simply going to a plant nursery and doing bits at home. Still there was football, Engerland justly being put out of the Euros by Italy, after a long drawn out talent-free resistance to the Italian's silky skills.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Healing not hobbling

Feeling less bizarre and dark as having Lorraine around prevented my steroid-induced mental drifting. Instead did a few practical things, shopping, cleaning up and so on, and lots of talking.Plus a heavy drug-induced sleep in the afternoon, but thanks to the drugsI can now walk properly, with limbs normally aligned and I am not in pain.

Finished Mrs Dalloway all too soon, made me hungry to read more of her work. Such a deftly-written book published in 1925, with rather disturbing themes of repressed love madness and the magnetism of death. I doff my imaginary cap to her, and can't believe it has taken me so long to get around to reading any of Virginia Woolf's work. I will have to research what to read next.

Enjoyed chatting with Lorraine and shopping. I can even enjoy cleaning up cat litter with Lorraine. We decided not to go to  a party we'd been invited to tonight. Luckily Anton popped around and we had a good chat for a couple of hours, while the TV had the tedious Spain vs France playing in the background. Anton expressing an interest in Buddhism, after reading an article about how positive thinking isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day tripper

Six steroids pills this morning, which made me prey to dark, drifty ideas and feelings of confusion which gradually wore off as the day progressed. Too fazed to work so I instead listened to Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, which drifts between its characters interior monologues in a slightly hallucinogenic way. I am certain that it is a masterpiece. It is exceptionally well written.

In the evening, after Betty returned home after an exhausting day in the cupcake industry, I caught the number 17  from the bus stop at the end of the village of Henfield to see Dawn where she is staying at her parent's house, prior to buying a flat in the same village. Really picturesque bus ride of about 25 minutes, past wooded parts of the downs, and rabbit dotted fields. Lorraine already there straight from work, and Dawn had cooked a lovely curry followed by a pear and ginger trifle. After, it being a day off the shortest night, we took a short walk to the edge of the fields and a stroll around the village look at the outside of Dawn's flat which, thanks to the steroids, I was far more able to than yesterday. An enjoyable night, with Lorraine and Dawn staving off my feelings of weird disconnectedness.

Snaps from an evening walk. The village green at Henfield with long grass encouraged by the wet weather. Potato fields with the line of the South Downs on the horizon.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The slings and harpoons of outrageous fortune

Sorry for myself first thing, sick of pain and feeling my whole life impeded. Hobbled slowly off to the doctors and had time in the waiting room to twice listen to a 20 minute meditation tape. I at least felt centred after this, and had visions of Moulin Huet valley in Guernsey. Snapped out of this to find the doctor prescribing me a stiff five day course of steroids.

Mad people are liberally sprinkled along London Road. I effortlessly blended-in, hobbling and scowling on the way home. When it began to rain it also gave me the opportunity to wear Lorraine's ill fitting wet top, as she had left home with mine.

I paused for a coffee and a sandwich in a cafe and listen to the last two chapters of Moby-Dick. Yay for Moby-Dick who strikes back on behalf of benighted sperm whales/writers everywhere offing Ahab and sinking his ship Peqod. You feel in need of a shower after reading Moby-Dick to wash away all the whale grease, gore and caked sea salt. An amazing book. Later, I started Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf -- a short interlude before I tackle Ulysses.

Home to Sonia, who comes to clean once a week, clearly traumatised. As I was out I had not been able to tell her not to bother with Betty's room. She came downstairs waving her arms around to convey the full horror of Beth's floor-based wardrobe system, Peter! The clothes! she said. I don't know which is DIRTY and which is CLEAN.

Luckily the steroids started to reduce pain and swelling within hours. But they also zonked me to sleep. Lorraine and Betty busy sorting out wardrobes this evening, and that football isn't going to watch itself...

Marvelling over a piece of poetic writing by a seven or eight year old child that Lorraine had brought home for me to see. Some phrases:  "...amongst the darkening skies fireflies start to come alight and dance among the squinting stars... Listen, can you hear something? It's the sound of crickets rubbing their pea-green legs together." Amazing little girl.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Run against the ripe sea-wind

Doctor at a conference today so I couldn't get my results. Foot depressingly painful again, and it is hard to stand. This feels like the objective correlative for all my frustrations, so having dark Job like moods. But I spoke more cheerfully to Bob and Mum, had a few texts, and made some grinding progress on The New Idea, and pressed on with Moby-Dick.

Beth brought me home a small cupcake today, which was very sweet of her. Lorraine late home, and armed with fish and chips. We watching a programme called one born every minute about people giving birth, which was generally appalling.

Sad news at the end of the day. Rufus, Richard and Jane's beloved little dog passed on. He was a fiercely loved pet, and one of Richard's muses. It feels like ages since I went for a walk with Richard with Rufus and Holly ambling along the shoreline. Here's a poem Richard wrote about him. He was a good dog.

Rufus at Chouet

old dog,
run against
the ripe sea-wind:
celebrate your body like a young dog:

oh how my heart fills up with tears to watch
you, who was so

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Snow in summer

Another good start on The New Idea for the first several hours of the day. Then walking to the new barbers in cool and pleasant sunshine. A pleasant man who refreshingly both talks and listens gave me an haircut, expertly drawing attention away from the area of concern. Grey and white hair snowing down. O for the dark curls of yesteryear. All this hobbling about is making me feel like a weary old man.

To the gym, chatting to Anton en route, among other things about 'our' new book. A longer rehabilitation session today, and I doubled my time on the cross trainer, and did some light weight work. Enjoyed shambling among the rows of  robotic narcissists.

Home and Betty up and looking wan on the gold sofa after partying with Amy last night.

I did more on the New Idea and Moby-Dick until it was time to cook a species of fish curry for L and I. Eng-er-land at it again on the TV tonight against Ukraine, getting another freak win. Texting Anton during the game, with Lorraine curled on the sofa. Our national side progress to the Quarter finals, where unless I am much mistaken, Italy will beat England like a ginger stepchild.Foot and ankle hurty tonight. I may have overdone it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Creeping back to the gym

Weird shiny hot thing in the sky. Gingerly crept off to the gym, and did a mere loosening ten minutes on the cross trainer, and a bit of upper body stuff.  Walking better today, and feeling fairly cheery.

I made some good progress on The New Idea, swapped emails with a potential Spanish client, and when Lorraine returned home we went for a walk through the park. Gravitated to our secret garden, where Lorraine drifts from flower to flower like a cheery bee and forgets about work.

On the last bits of Moby-Dick, some wonderful passages and chapters all monomaniacal on whales and whaling of course. Next big read will be Ulysses by Joyce as, emboldened by taking on the great whale, I want to cull a few guiltily unread classics. With audiobooks it is easy.

Below: Betty had her pals Laura and Amy around in the evening, lying about on the gold sofa before getting ready to hit the town. I like Laura's lady car.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Smelling the roses

Lorraine and I went to Southease (where First Matie had lived for a spell) to look at some of the picturesque village's open gardens. It catalysed a yearning for an English Country Garden, maybe with chickens and lots of flowers. I never felt a desire for a row of onions before, but today I felt it powerfully. A row of onions that you had manfully planted into the soil yourself and then, months later, sink your teeth into later seems a noble thing. Enjoyed lurking in the village. Had a light snack there of a delicious flapjack, a cup of tea and a plastic cup of home made ginger beer.

A lovely time drifting about between clouds of rose scent, and colourful bedding plants. The South Downs nearby providing a lovely backdrop.

Then to Sarah and JD's for a civilised little garden party, with sushi, entire rounds of cheese, and impressive cakes to celebrate Sarah's birthday. She works in banking and is having a bloody time of it at work at the moment. I asked her what she thought about more public projects should be funded, and more capital released into the society, and learned that from her perspective this was a good thing. Also spoke to Dawn, Steve Geliot, who is working on a monster art installation, involving a cast of hundreds, Pat and Angie, and two cool Parisian musicians who have moved to Kemptown.

Then home, where we played Raid the Pantry one of Amanda's games, with Beth and then settled down to watch a ridiculous cop drama on TV.

The Tobster's birthday today, on holiday with Romy in Washington DC. Looking forward to my brother returning to Blighty in a couple of weeks.

Below: people taking tea on the village green at Southease, a beetle in a rose, a bench, Southease church glimpsed through trees, Sarah and cakes.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Blue dogs and pink whales

Off today to the North Laine to do some shopping with Lorraine. Popped into the Blue Dog gallery to chat to Mike the owner, who took some of Mum's cat heads and wax pictures. Bumped into some friends of Lorraine called Dan and Abby and I enjoyed being in town. The first time we had been out and about together for ages, what with me hobbling, and we celebrated by buying a bottle of acid to pour down a blocked pipe.

Richard sent through a draft of his new collection. Judging by my first read through, it is excellent and thoroughly enjoyable. After this pleasure, I had a lazy afternoon listening to Moby-Dick audiobook, and idly daubing a pink whale while listening about the pursuit of a white one. 


Friday, June 15, 2012

Footie hurly burly

Normal day of working on the New Idea, and a spot of listening to Moby-Dick. Feeling better in myself than I have done for a while this Friday.

Afore I headed uphill to The Signalman this evening, with Lorraine, Beth and Cath to watch Eng-er-land play football against the Swedes. Much better seeing it in a boozer than in the tranquillity of one's own home. 

England won 3-2 after a close fought match. A few folks I knew in the bar, including Rick out of the Hi-Sides. A lively atmosphere, and fairly good fun. Equally nice to leave the sweary hurly burly and slope home. Nobody has expected England to do well this time, and they haven't utterly embarrassed themselves so far, as they did in the World Cup two years ago. But as sure as eggs is eggs, a debacle awaits.

Ankle better than it has been in two weeks today, but just before bed I trod on a stone in my sock and jarred the screaming bejasus out of it anew.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Freed by foxgloves

Days have replicated, so found little to report yesterday. Worked gloomily on The New Idea, chatted with mum. I will take her cat heads to the Blue Dog gallery this weekend. The son in his twenties of her next door neighbours (the ones with the concrete dogs) is seriously ill with some kind of brain problem.

For me the day steadily improved. I slipped out of my cell to hobble into the park and its secret garden, which was bursting with foxgloves, which somehow transported me to a happy place. They must love the rain, which today didn't fall till tea time.

Lorraine working late, so Betty texted to suggest we meet in The Signalman at five. We had a bite to eat there, with some footie going on in the background. Betty, who had been hard at work in the cupcake industry, seems to be assembling work from several sources, including some teaching at her old Saturday stage school. A boon for me as I have been able to discuss parts of The New Idea with her too. Lucky to be able to have a smart 20 year old to quiz on things to get a younger perspective. After some grub, and my first pint for while, home to await Lorraine who had been at a governors meeting and was snuffly.

A note from Richard saying that a first draft of his new collection is ready. Am really looking forward to getting a first squint.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Back on The New Idea, and benefiting from a break from it with another major ah-ha moment and worked for many hours. I think this is sufficiently a good idea not to be blurting about it yet. Hobbled to Sainsburys to meet Lorraine after work, where I bumped into Adrian Turner over the veggies. L and I trying to buy slim foods. Ate aforementioned slimming foods, but she cooked some chocolate and beetroot brownies tonight to take into a team meeting, and I was undone. Delicious. Rewarded for walk to supermarket with tiresomely painful foot.

Managed to watch football, and listened to a few more chapters of Moby-Dick, which in its slow unfolding becomes increasingly gripping journey into the unknown and mental collapse. I wonder if it was an influence on Conrad when he wrote Heart of Darkness. Must find out.

Monday, June 11, 2012

If a Job's worth doing

One good thing about the steady precipitation is that it keeps the EBC* away so that Brian doesn't have to fight him at 5am every morning through the cat flap. A lousy night's sleep, nevertheless, with unpleasant dreams. I woke to a dark day in flaming June, where it was either raining or just about to rain. Flooding in nearby towns. Lorraine up early and back to the grindstone.

When I am not feeling like Noah, I am feeling like Job. Recovering from migraine but now mysteriously have diarrhoea. On the plus side can walk about again, and I am off pain killers, which at least allows me to reach the toilet with alacrity. Betty at home superglued to the gold sofa with a wretched cold, after being sent home from the job she just got working in the, um, cupcake industry.

Eyes hurt looking at screen too long, so I listened to my unabridged Moby Dick audiobook in the afternoon. I'd read most of it before, but never finished it despite really enjoying it. I am righting this wrong. It is a cracking read.

Been thinking about Ray Bradbury lots over the days since his death. I loved his stories when I read them in my teens. He was very much at the magical realism end of the SF spectrum, and I think for me was a bridge into all kinds of other writing. I loved his lyricism, and his stories made me want to live in the Mid-West of the US, wear things called sneakers and sprint off into the magic of vast empty landscapes. He was an absolute master of short stories, and I loved Something Wicked This Way Comes particularly among his novels.

Watched England play to an uninspiring draw with France in the Euros, cooked for a Lorraine and Betty in the evening, and generally kept out of trouble. Interesting bit to the Have I got news for you, comedy tonight about a cat which had been turned into a working helicopter by its owner on its death.
*evil black cat.
Below Job's tormentors by William Blake.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Wet blanket

Another good night's sleep. Then up for relaxed chats with Sue and Lorraine this morning over cups of tea. My walking is improving and am now less of a loping Igor. In the afternoon we decided to go to Charlecote Park, near Stratford, a lovely photogenic place which I toddled about in quite happily for half an hour, looking at deer and swans.

Then, taking a few snaps, and looking at an interesting doorway when I noticed the centre of my vision had gone strange: a bastard migraine on its way. Sat quietly with Lorraine and then in a little garden watching the sparkling sickle start its gradual journey from the centre of my sight to the edges. Luckily these days my migraines are not accompanied by huge pain just a sudden lifelessness, and I have not had one for a few years. Sat quietly in a little formal garden, hearing the wing beats of woodpigeons across the river. A beautiful place to regroup.

Car ride home, where I dozed lots and felt a good deal better by the time we had arrived in Brighton. Betty with a bad cold. Rain hosing down again all night. Wondering if anyone would think it strange if I began to assemble some planks into a rude raft and got the cats and fish in Indian file.

Below some snaps from Charlecote. The scene of my migraine recovery, flaming June, and a pump. I need to return.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

End of silence

A welcome low key day Sue and John are excellent hosts, and I was able to creep about doing little without feeling I was short changing anyone. Sue and Lorraine went out this afternoon, and I finished the Sara Maitland A Book of Silence which I found wonderful, and was sad to have finished. Also took the opportunity to review my current situation with my projects and make a few decisions.Then a long chat with John over a wide range of issues from royalty, football and paleoanthropology, before settling down to watch a bit of football as the European cup of Nations has started. Lorraine's celebrations when she learned about this new spate of football curiously muted, although she does have updates on some iPad app which ping through with important news about, say, the Croatian team.

Evening eating curry with Sue and John and their two lively daughters Harry and Maiti, and one of their pals. Much singing coming down the stairs in the evening as the adults watched a little TV later on.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Escape to the Cotswolds

Friday to the quack, who personally sucked bloods out of me to pinpoint the cause of seized-up ankle and joints -- I will go back to find the results in a week or so. I like my doctor. Home and marvelling again at the treacheries of the body, that in a few days you can go from doing three 1-2 hour gym sessions per week to barely being able to walk.

An ideal time then for Lorraine and I to drive to the Cotswolds to stay with Sue and John. Grey overcast or raining all day of course. But a pleasant drive into the green, and a few minutes before we arrived at South Littleton the low sun broke free momentarily, and the spotlit fields and trees and the country road were suddenly beautiful against the brooding sky.

A warm welcome on arrival (and an articulate one from Paddy the dog who with the barest tweak to his DNA would actually talk) and we had an enjoyable evening sitting at their big kitchen table, eating and chatting late into the night.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Waiting for changes

Betty had her first audition and screen test this afternoon in London for a TV comedy pilot, which she said went well, and was of course excellent experience for her. The result will not be known for a while, but she felt she gave a good account of herself. Lorraine went with her. The cursed ankle and general illness confined me like an unwilling monk, but at least I was safe from the teeming and unstoppable rain. Worked this morning, then read the Sara Maitland book on Silence this afternoon and spoke to Mum whose cycle of tooth-fracturing, applying lavender oil into her eye in the middle of the night instead of eyedrops-style mishaps is fortunately behind her.

Consulted the I Ching (or book of changes) today for the first time in ages. I asked it how to make the best use of my current situation, and it said, in brief, that there are tides in the affairs of men, and as this is a time of retreat. This time is important, however, as it enables me to order my affairs so that success and advancement are possible later. As ever, common sense advice, not dressed up in any mysticism.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Soreness and silence

Steady rain, my ankle sore and all joints aching. Naturally feeling a bit sorry for myself, and a trip to the quack is called for. I slept a lot and had nice chats and companionable silences with Lorraine, who managed to relax more today between getting her car MOT and ordering new shelves for our study area, plus some plants for the aquarium.

I downloaded an excellent book by Sara Maitland onto my kindle. A book of silence is a jewel of a book describing Maitland's quest for the meaning of silence. I read it voraciously. It was suggested to me by Matt's composer pal Barry Mills, after we'd been talking about John Cage's famously silent 4'33".

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Bad Idea Bears

Off in the evening to see Avenue Q at the Theatre Royal in Brighton. Weirdly I can't ever remember going to this theatre. Nice old place, and Avenue Q (which L and I went to swept up by Betty, and her pals Kayleigh, Amy and Becky) was a fun show. We'd all arrived in a big taxi (being cheaper than a bus fare) in remorseless bank holiday rain.

A music with big puppets and adult content. The girls all liked it thoroughly (I think they'd all seen it before) and Lorraine and I enjoyed it too, particularly liking the Bad Idea Bears, two bears which cropped up every now suggesting characters play drinking games during the show.

Below the Bad Idea Bears.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Jabba's Jubilee

Gah, so my ankle was bad again today, making walking quite tricky. I missed the Silver Jubilee festivities in 1977 as I had glandular fever, and have generally passed on these, choosing to sit about like Jabba the Hut with a sore ankle, experiencing everything vicariously via TV coverage of the Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace, being fed by the ever patient Lorraine.

The Jubilee dominated the TV tonight. London looked nice, and being charitable about it, it was a good enough knees up. The Queen arrived late, and sensibly brought ear plugs to block out the pop longueurs. These events are always good value, and Grace Jones hula hooping throughout her song was rather fun, although she and Stevie Wonder both seemed to think it was the Queen's birthday. Stevie Wonder even singing his 'Happy Birthday to ya' song.

Couldn't help thinking that Queenie would have rather been indoors with a nice cup of tea, followed by few gins than listening to the likes of Cliff Richard, Elton John (sounding like Vic Reeves' club singer) Paul McCartney (surely someone with his songbook could have dug out something better than Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da).

Found myself enjoying twitter today, from the comfort of my sofa, so was at least stream irreverent comments and share them with Lorraine and Betty, which makes almost anything watchable.

Below Grace Jones, hoola-hooping for reasons best known to herself. Fair play though. Jabba the Hut...

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Reign storms

So day two of a four day long weekend, all thanks to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This being June, and England in drought, it rained steadily on the flotilla of boats drifting soggily down the Thames and it was unseasonally cold. The Queen, I felt, looked understandably glum, the flypast of historic planes had to be cancelled, and the BBC's coverage of the event and of the hordes waving their sodden Union Flags was poor. Watching singers, hair plastered to their heads, bobbing on a boat on the muddy grey water belting out Land of Hope and Glory did make me think that our true National treasure is comedy.

Rather conflicted by this Jubilee stuff as I am not a royalist and loath the idea of inherited privilege, but I also have a curious admiration for the Queen. Though after she goes, what's left is shite and onions.

Meanwhile my ankle which had been causing me a degree of gyp throughout the week, exacerbated by several lively gym sessions, felt fiery and tendonish today. I kept close to home, other than shopping with Lorraine and collecting Mum's paintings from Janet and Ken. In the evening played Amanda's Raid the Pantry game with Beth and Lorraine, which we all enjoyed.

Below belting out Land of Hope and Glory in the rain. 

Saturday, June 02, 2012


Anton around with Klaudia and Oskar early this morning, and after a while Lorraine, Betty and I took them to Drusillas Park. An ideal spot to take them (and Betty who loves zoos) as it was full of things to do for children. As well as all kinds of smaller animals, there were farm animals, an artificial cow to milk, little trail books for the children to stamp once they have seen certain animals, and a telephone box to go into and shout into enabling you to compare yourself to various animals. (Mine although not full throated was a disappointing 96 decibels, and only as loud as a Humboldt penguin). Bumped into Tom Norrell with his new baby at the zoo too.

Much enjoyable mooching about in the zoo ensued. Luckily the children enjoyed it too, as there was also an adventure playground, a maze complete with clue spilling talking statues and parrots, restaurants, and a miniature railway that Lorraine and I squeezed into. In short the children were able to get a fair degree of leaping about done. Klaudia horrified at one point when lots of parrots came to Betty who had a tub of parrot food.

Then ice-creams and souvenir fluffy snakes etc. and the sun even emerged at one point. Stopped off at Middle Farm to buy some sausages and once at home, we had a sausage repast before Anna and Anton came by to reclaim them. Enjoyed the day, though was thankful to have Lorraine with me, and Betty too as she is extremely good with children. Later and Lorraine and I enjoyed The Matrix, which she'd never seen. Still an enjoyable SF classic.

Meanwhile Jane had yet another moment of international fame at the England vs Belgium match, where she was filmed sitting in the crowd. Next off to the North.

Below Oskar meets a gibbon, Klaudia comes out of her shell, chinchillas, Klaudia, Beth and Oskar, a Colobus Monkey.