Friday, November 30, 2012

Floating into Friday

As I was in manuscript sending out mode, I opted to send out three more this morning. Another beautiful day, but seemed to spend much of it indoors.

However off to see Anton, talking to Mum en route, for an hour's cheeky beer at 4 o'clock in a new barn-like bar. Weather growing very cold out of the sun.  Bar quite nice, and Anton showing me how to trade-in Audible books I didn't like.

Home again and time to glug lots of water before Lorraine and I went out with Lynne and Malcolm for a cheeky curry at the Shahi. Both are colleagues of Lorraine, who I found I liked. Malcolm has long been into drawing cartoons as well as being a former headmaster, and Lynne very cheery. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The low-fat blueberry muffin of achievement

Finished my poetry manuscript this morning, and posted it off mindful of Paul Valery's comment that a poem is never finished, only abandoned.  There is some excellent work in there. I have called it The Slow Tsunami, and it is about time and memory. I am now able to think about other things... But find myself a bit brain dead after the effort. So after chatting to Sonia about Egypt and Hitler, I went for a long walk about in Brighton, pausing to lurk in a cafe with my laptop drinking an Americano and treating myself to a low fat blueberry muffin in celebration.

Through the Pavilion gardens where a duo of buskers were playing saxophone and one of those large African thumb piano things. The music was heavenly, and even I was forced to chuck a pound in their hat. Then to the pier marvelling at the bright low sun in a blue and cloudless sky. My favourite merry go round was being dismantled and all the horses were stacked together. The fairground part of the pier takes on a distinctly Ray Bradburyish feel when there are few people about. Everything gleamed in the low sun with a an empty jollity that is a hair away from creepy.

Caught a bus home after the luxury of mooching, to do the less enjoyable business of purchasing Landlords insurance for the Twitten, which confirmed for me that the insurance business is a nest of obfuscating weasels. Calliope persistently climbing onto my desk as I talked, until I had to sling her off with a roar of rage, rather alarming the person spouting their robotic insurance guff on the other end of the phone.

Several sneezing fits as the day wore on as I have a slight cold. Made a mash of butternut squash, potatoes and carrots tonight, to supply Lorraine's craving for mashed things, and broccoli and Brussels sprouts and bits of baked chicken. We sat on the sofa gleaming with vitamins as we watched Masterchef.

To bed sniffing, and being told by Lorraine that I don't have a cold.

Below some photos from the pier, dodgems, strange inflatable things, and at the bottom a stampede of horses going into storage.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Poet's Cot

Bad nightmares last night. Lorraine up at 6, and made me a cup of tea before leaving. A quick early morning walk around the park as it wasn't raining, before working on poems for a few hours. Plus re-sending the emails that never arrived yesterday. Must be a full moon thing, like speaking to Bob, who called yesterday, and was cut off in three seconds, and called today and after three seconds I had no reception for some time, and so we did not speak again.

Later I picked up mended shoes and popped into the Brighton Art gallery where I saw an exhibition called SHOOT THE WRX paintings and bits of film by Jeff Keen (1923-2012) who had lived in Brighton for a good deal of his life. I enjoyed this exhibition, which melded influences of everything from abstract expressionism to Marvel magazines. I will return. Especially as I only realised that WRX was 'works' on the way home.

More work this afternoon, but in danger of rushing the manuscript. Poetry will not be rushed, so I am having to drop some of the less finished pieces.

Met Lorraine in Sainsbury's after work, and after we shopped I cooked a large stir fry. Lorraine slightly less frazzled, and we decompressed in our various ways to Masterchef, which is completely escapist stuff.

Below The Poet's Cot, a piece by Keen, and rather apt for the way I'm feeling about this MS, with its plastic soldier shooting out of the gate. And a scene at the bottom of Trafalgar Street I snapped in passing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back to London

Back up to London for one day only. An excellent journey, on time and I managed to do lots of work on the poetry manuscript, which is changing lots in these last few days. Jerry phoned me as I was walking from St Pancras station to say he'd be late as his motorbike was punctured, and his second motorbike's breaks had been stolen.

For me, one of those trying days when IT takes against you. Not being able to sign into to the system in the afternoon and so on, made a straightforward day complicated, also sending emails that were never received.   However I enjoyed sneaking off to buy some lasagna with First Matie at lunchtime, and working with Jerry again. Once home in Brighton, cheerily returning, pleased to be able to focus on poetry.

Lorraine's day had been horrid, but we relaxed watching Masterchef.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rainy Monday

Thankful not to have surge off to London in the heavy rain. Said goodbye to Lorraine and Betty, made a cup of tea and began working on my poems, but sadly not in a particularly productive way.

Calliope and Brian watching the master at work most of the day, when they weren't fighting with the catnip mouse Lorraine had bought at the Open House yesterday.

I walked into town in the pouring rain to get a new watch battery, but chumpishly discovered that the winder had simply been pulled out in the shop. Bought cat kibbles and took my shoes to be mended. More lamb stew tonight. Lorraine shattered and sleeping by nine. Getting ready for London tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Low profile

Hungover I went out to the local shops, during a pause in the morning rain. Then moved gingerly about the kitchen with Lorraine, discovering a bottle of half-drunk vodka, and an insect-like pair of false eyelashes and my evil pizza debris. As Lorraine got the bacon and eggs going, Laura and Betty sleepily eating them on the sofa. Much subdued TV watching, tea drinking and sleeping from the girls.

In the afternoon Lorraine and I went walked up the road to an open house run by her pal Sharon. Then home to one of Lorraine's famous lamb stews, which Betty had requested. As the rain continued outside, we watched an animation called Flushed Away, and did little.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Betty and Funky Fish

Thank God for the weekend and not having to get up before dawn. Lorraine and I didn't spring out of bed till late. Worked on poems today, and had one or two excellent suggestions from Jane. Lorraine doing some work too. Rain all day outside. Spoke to Mum and Mase for a bit, had a pre-going out sleep and then set off in a taxi with Betty and Lorraine.

A really fun night out. Off to the Hove Kitchen for drinks to celebrate Betty's birthday last week. Lots of all our friends, including Wayne and Matt, Jonathan, Rosie, Ross and Lene, and lots of Beth's pals too. Good to see Ross, who I'd not had a pointless beer with for a while.  Jonathan told me that he used to have a speciality juggling with seven or eight lemons. Much taken with this as I have always had the name of a story called "The Man Who Juggled With Lemons" for about 30 years without ever having the story itself. He told me that in the eighties he played classical guitar very well and was employed on a mediterranean cruising yacht playing spanish guitar. When he revealed his ability to juggle lemons, everyone preferred this to Isaac Albéniz, Fernando Sor and the rest. Perhaps this is the story I have been looking for.

From there we all cabbed off to a club called Funky Fish where we were all on the guest list. Any worries about being too ancient dispelled seeing a party with a wheely zimmer decorated with lights and 60 today balloons. There were a couple of hen parties, and people of all ages dancing in the Funky Fish to sole (arf) music from the seventies and eighties.

Naturally I danced wildly all night. More importantly Beth had a good night surrounded by lots of her pals including Laura, Amy and Jamie. Eventually us older ones melted away and left the young uns to it. Lorraine and I arriving home at around 1 o'clock with an Ace pizza.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Back into the wild

Up at six and off to London, as I had to get into the agency early to prepare a phone presentation of the concepts I'd been working on, which went well. Having done this I was released back into the wild for the afternoon and I have most of next week to work on poems until the deadline next friday.  Richard and Jane are kindly having a look at them too -- although Richard off to visit his daughter in Northern Ireland.

Home just after three and after consuming a sensible quorn sausage sandwich, woke up a delighted Calliope and had a snooze on the bed with her. Luxury. And happy with the feeling that next week I can regroup.

In the evening, off with Lorraine to the Shahi, for an enjoyable meal, then back home early waiting for a cheery Betty to arrive, which she did after 11 for a bout of card opening and present giving. Lorraine at last able to show her the quilt she has been making off and on for the last two years, telling Betty that she was making the world's slowest cushion cover.

And so to bed.

Below the quilt Lorraine has almost finished. Just needs a few beads, apparently, to be done.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Living a lie

To work, feeling less tired than of late. Poems on the train, then quite a busy morning.

Out to a local restaurant with seven others for a curry lunch. Unbelievably slow service. You could feel the space time continuum buckled as we waited and the waiters crept about reluctantly as if we had ruined their day by visiting their restaurant. Outside a gale blowing through London again, and it was blowing the sign outside the shop down, and straining the trees and pedestrians leant into it like cartoon people. I sat opposite Matt and next to Pat, and had good fun.

In the evening, after work was done, I had a couple of the agency’s free Thursday drinks, meeting Matt Hindley again, before setting off with Pat and Clare to The Dog and Duck in Soho. This is a corner pub, much beloved of advertising types. We met  Mark Dawson and Barney there and stood outside in the cold for a while. Clare left after a bit, and it was a night of four writers.

Heard the incredible story of Mike Ferg, who I’ve known for many years, who has been battling cancer for the last eight. And with whom I had a bit of a farewell style drink in Brighton a couple of years ago. Turns out that he’d made up the whole thing, and he did not have cancer at all, and he had hoodwinked employers out of thousands in time off fighting the imaginary disease. He was particularly scathing about anything he saw as self-pity, but it transpired his whole life was a mechanism to generate undeserved pity.

Otherwise a really good night. Good to see Mark Dawson again, who is enjoying an evening acting class, and Barney too. Barney Pat and I cabbed to Victoria, and I arrived home late to find Lorraine in bed after a ladies night out, chatting lots before we went to sleep.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Feeling surprisingly okay this morning after last night out Brighton. Lorraine left and then I chorused goodbye to Dawn (arf) before setting off.  

Another fairly quiet day in the agency, working steadily with Jerry. Wild rain in the afternoon and an End of Days sky thick with leaves blown high up in the sky from Tavistock Square, now down to its rags and tatters. Home at a decent time, eating Lorraine's comfort food of mashed potatoes and watching Masterchef with Lorraine.  Nowt much to report, from a ho-hummish day, but good to be home out of the heavy rain. 

Below an unimpressive picture of the weather squeezed through a crack in the office window.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Able to write again on the train this morning, which was something of a boon. A pleasant, if unremarkable, day in Tavistock Square mainly doing conceptual work.  Felt less exhausted too.

Homeward and I soon began to loathe all my poems and other stuff I have on my computer. Having the ability to loathe your own work is important. However these moods are not to be taken too seriously. As are the moments when I am convinced of my own brilliance. In my experience, self doubt is had in abundance by all the wrong people I think.

Straight from the train down to the Komedia where I met Lorraine and Dawn. We went to see The Staves. Lorraine has their album and has been playing it lots, alongside her Mumford & Sons albums. These are three singing sisters, plus two guys on bass and drums. I have to say I really enjoyed their folk-inflected songs, and their harmonies were syrupy and delicious. They were supported by a young singer guitarist called Luke Sital-Singh. He had a truly lovely voice, but his songs were all in a  maudlin mood and tempo. The only break in this coming when he sang a song without the use of microphone, so that nobody could hear him at the back. Needless to say, Lorraine, who loves music to open a vein by, scooped up one of his CDs and spoke to him in what she said was a motherly way.

Good to be out and deciding that Tuesday is the new Friday. I had a couple of beers, but as I'd not eaten kept things restrained. I had a hankering for Ace pizza on the way home, but gallingly I told Lorraine a month or so ago to enforce a veto on my Ace Pizza fetish, and she sternly enforced this.

Below two of the three Staves. Lovely harmonies.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Leaf strewn

Lorraine up at six and I dragged my sorry self into London again. The train to London half its usual size so it was crammed with people and I was unable to work in it, as people were looming over me and a tiny man was reading his wretched Metro and spreading out as far as his body would allow next to me.

A pleasant quiet day, working with Jerry and chatting with Andrea and Jess opposite. I mooched out at lunchtime snapping the autumnal Tavistock square, carpeted with golden leaves. Some of the streets nearby already full of driven-in golden leaf-prints. Home reasonably promptly but dog tired, despite it being only Monday. I intend to take next week off to recover, and try to get my poetry manuscript ready.

Lorraine home later than me, and we ate our microwaved plated up dinners left over from yesterday's roast. At least the bits of it that remained after Brian the cat stealing a large piece of pork. There is no end to the badness of that cat, despite his butter wouldn't melt in his mouth looks.

Below a shot Jerry took of a piece involving silkworms my the Chinese artist Liang Shaoji; a leaf-strewn Tavistock Square.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The shimmer of spider silk

Listening to Lux, the album by Brian Eno returning to his ambient style. I love it.  I listen to Eno's ambient work constantly when I am working.

Slow start to the day, and I slept till 8:30 at least. Wonderful. Pottering around doing low level house stuff, and folding away my new clothes. A trip to Sainsbury's where we inadvertently bought loads of booze, and we cooked a roast tonight and vegged before the TV again.

Lorraine and I walking in the park this afternoon, all golden and long shadowed. I love just mooching about with her.  I took lots of snaps only to discover I had a patch of greasy stuff on my lens, but these weren't too bad: the widespread carpet of spider silk, and one of the doors into the walled garden we love so much.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pre-Christmas spree

Slow start to the day. Both Lorraine and I completely exhausted. Lorraine fighting off a cold, and me feeling worn out and ancient after weeks of antibiotics for my prostrate infection, which is fighting a stubborn resistance.

However a really cheery day. Lurking in bed for hours in the morning, Lorraine reading the new poems in bed, and to my relief liking them.

Off to town today. I called in to the Twitten to discuss showers with Gary, and met Sophie again, with whom he is buying a house. Then off on a shopping spree with Lorraine. Bought a present for Betty, who is 21 this week, and then focused entirely on myself buying loads of clothes. Great to have Lorraine with me, egging me on, and providing a second opinion, and the odd aghast face when I emerged from a changing room with raspberry coloured trousers. I have been feeling increasingly shabby as the year has gone on, so great to be able to afford new trousers, teeshirts, shirts, a warm jacket (to replace the coat Brian ruined by spraying on), and a nice grey hoody. About to embark on a cull of tatty stuff with holes.

We saw an ultra-cool Japanese girl out with her buddies, wearing thick rimmed black glasses, with little chains hanging down suspending a miniature moustache above her top lip.

Enjoyed stopping for coffee and muffins, and then catching the bus home, taking the snap below from the front of the top deck of some Christmas decorations which were put up recently.

After working on cat worms lately, decided that our cats needed worming. Calliope steadfastly starving instead of eating food with worm pills ground into it though. She is a cat with a clear idea of what should be happening to her, and eating worm pills is not on the agenda.

Evening spent lurking about at home. I was yawning my head off by 8 o'clock. Managed to stay awake long enough to watch Match of the Day before bed. Chelsea lost, peskily enough.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mist in the square

More poems written on the train this morning. This week I have enjoyed listening to Music for 18 Musicians, by Steve Reich. The minimalist chugging a perfect thing to block out the chugging of the train and people talking.

Karam boarded the train in London and sat next to me for 20 minutes, and we walked into work together talking about poetry and other artistic stuff. Tavistock Square looking beautiful the last few days, with a sombre English misty drabness that is quite lovely, and not really captured at all in the snap below.

A fire drill in the morning, and everybody filed out through the nearby streets and gathered in a misty crescent. Otherwise working with Jerry is good, and he was showing me a few things I'd not seen, like photos of heavy chains coated with silk from silk worms. Enjoying the people in the office, and I am there next week too.

Reached home zombie tired. Lorraine had survived a hideous day, and we sloped happily off to the Shahi and had a good meal. Just so happy to be home. The end of the week this time was a destination devoutly to be wished.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pizza night

Working with Jerry today, an art director I'd not worked with for some time. He was full of enthusiasm for the job, and has got married since I last saw him.

Off in the evening up to Anton's place, where he was marshalling the ingredients for his delicious pizzas. Lorraine came and we ate unfeasible amounts of pizza goodness -- far better than any commercial ones I've eaten -- and drank beer and listened to a variety of music. Lorraine and Anton inexplicably ganging up on me when I played Anton's copy of The Yes Album.

I went to bed wild eyed, and feeling as if my body was a suitcase strainingly packed full of Pizza.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wan and sweaty

Off up to London again, rather wan and sweaty, however doing good work on the train on my poems, writing decisively and with clarity. Another pleasant enough worm-based day, though an undercurrent of frustration at being so run down and everything a bit of a struggle.

Through Facebook, learned from Diane in New York that MJ's son Jack has gone missing for three days. Jack is now 17 and obviously everyone is worried - though he was seen today in his hometown, so hopefully he's not gone too far or come to harm.

Went to lunch with Matty boy, who briefed me on something to do with the ghastly pulmonary arterial hypertension over a pleasant, and nicely priced Italian food, with some sparkling water. Interesting chats with him as ever.

The shower isn't working properly at the Twitten, so another round of expensive plumber-based activity awaits. Home early, a few minutes before eight. Lorraine still working at her laptop, doing her best to get through a nightmare week, so I cooked a quick stirfry. Left Lorraine to a cop show and wasted an hour failing to upload more photos onto blogger, and failing to copy tunes from one computer to another. And so to bed, after shaving off beard which I had grown tired of.

Reading more of the book Life of H.G. Wells: Time Traveller  by Norman and Jeanne Mackenzie. Sadly entering a tiresome part about the Fabian Society storms-in-teacups.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A reactionary moment

A lazy start, as I had a doctor's appointment this morning: a long wait in the waiting room, followed by a long wait in the pharmacy with three drug addicts and a pensioner.   As I listened to the drug users discussing where they could score after collecting their free NHS methadone, I found myself making first contact with my inner Daily Mail reader. The drug-fuelled burglary I had several years ago has  strained the quality of mercy in this respect, and I found it slightly galling to be paying for my prescription, and their methadone.

Off then to London for work which was mainly given over to pet parasites, but working with a nice Spanish account handler called Yaiza and talking about the presence of Toxocara cati eggs in cat faeces.  Grabbed a cheeky single beer after work with Matty boy, Andy and Anne from the agency, and caught a slightly later train that got me into Brighton at the same time as my usual one.

I stopped off at Sing Li for a bag of fish and chips and sloped home to go through the normal cycle of wolfing them down, followed by a wave of greasy unease.

Poor Lorraine working very late, in what is a difficult week for her. Already yearning for the weekend.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Back to Tavistock Square. My laptop an utter boon on the way to work, and managed to work on the return journey too. The work today mainly concerned with writing about worms in cat faeces, and the two methods of obtaining a measurement. Believe me, you don't want to know.

Comparing today with yesterday, and the comparison was highly unfavourable. Spoke to Mum at lunchtime. Came home, spoke to Lorraine in the evening, who is very stressed by work this week. And so to bed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunset at Icart

Slept in this morning, and up and running about to pack. Once packed, and our case safely left in La Barbarie's Reception, Lorraine and I took ourselves off for a walk down to Moulin Huet. A spectacularly beautiful day and Moulin Huet valley full of the sound of water running through it. Down the steep path to the bay. Just below the cafe, there is a programme to eradicate Japanese Knotweed. A couple of volunteers working away and burning the offending invader.

 Lorraine and I scrambling over stones, and walking on the sand, and watching the tide coming in, and the sun low in the sky even at noon. Warm sunny hours, like summer displaced to November. Eventually clambered up back to the Captains for a late lunch. Managed to get a table after a cancellation, and had a hearty roast, and a couple of bottles of Pony.

 From here to Icart to watch the sun set amid beautiful apricot and steely blue clouds. A proper closure. Back to La Barbarie, where we picked up the cab we'd ordered. We were the last guests of the year to depart, bitter enders. Had a chat with Andy the owner before we went. Flight home fine, looking out of the window at the lights from the islands, the coast of France. Flew over Brighton, and the pier and wheel and marina were clearly visible. Lorraine asked the stewardess as we left if that was her day done, and she said that they were returning to Guernsey. Felt a strong desire to stay on the plane, as five days had not been anywhere like long enough.

 Home to a quorn sausage snack. Had to clean the filter of one of the tanks, and noticed that the tank's temperature was way too low, as the heater had appeared to stop working. After rigging up a new one, the original started working again. Great to be in our own bed, and Calliope wrigging about happily between us.

Below Moulin Huet, and sunset at Icart.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Squalls and howling wolves

With Lorraine there, I managed to sleep like a baby. A worrying development. Does this now mean that sleeping without Lorraine induces nightmares?

A relaxed start to the day, although I got up early to do some writing. Eventually, after a tomatoes on toast breakfast we sloped off to Icart. A fine bright morning, with the sun shafting through onto the cliffs bringing all the autumnal colours out: the dark greens, russets and purple of the cliffs, and the turquoise sea. After walking around to the top of Saints Bay, we decided to walk back. The sky suddenly dark and brooding, and we watched as a squall raced towards us over the sea, the wind picked up dramatically, and the sea turned rough and chopping, as we reached Icart icy rain was stinging our faces, and we were literally blown back into the carpark.

Made off in the pouring rain to The Captains, where we had a late lunch of bottles of Pony Ale, which its label calls a Pale Ale despite it being dark. Sat quietly there engulfing a lobster bisque, followed by a fisherman's pie. Lorraine had scampi and chips.

Home in the afternoon for a snooze, before we caught a bus into town, and found our way to The Cock & Bull pub, simply by asking the people standing outside the pub next door where it was. A nice pub, which was unfortunately showing Rugby on a panopticon of screens. Eventually Richard, Jane, and Lorraine's pals Mandy and Michael found ourselves a quiet place to sit, and chat. A enjoyable drink, with Richard and I sipping glasses of Howling Wolf beer, as befits poets.

Fond farewells as Richard and Jane made off into the night. We are hoping they can come and stay in Brighton with us next year for a sample of Brighton life.

Lorraine and I then had a decent curry with Michael and Mandy who I rather liked.  They are ex-colleagues of Lorraine. Michael is Head of Strings on the island, and has been doing the job for two years and already loves the island. They gave us a lift home after the meal, which was excellent. And so to bed.

Below Icart Point, colours in the cliffs, dog and lion rocks towards Moulin Huet bay, turning weather, the squall approaches.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Lorraine arrives

Another night of atrocious and unnerving dreams. Very strange. Breakfast of tomatoes fried in a little Guernsey butter on toast. Good morning of work, and I went off at lunchtime for another mooch around in St Peter Port. Hung out by the lighthouse, watching people fishing, including one guy catch three bass in ten minutes, and a boy learning how to cast, who almost caught me twice, despite the fact I was standing at least 10 metres from him. Very nostalgic this for me, remembering fishing off the lighthouse and the White Rock opposite.

Then met Jane and Richard in Town, in the little French cafe. Quizzing Jane's on details of her  alter ego as the Camilla-lookalike. The work she is doing with Alison Jackson is extraordinary. Lots of what I was told, Jane warned me not to mention here. It would make your hair curl.

A taxi back to La Barbarie, a local man I chatted to happily. He told me he used to visit Southampton a lot, and I joked that he should have done it while Matt Le Tissier was playing for Southampton, turned out that he was Guernsey's football superstar's older brother.

After a shower, settled happily into the bar at the Barbarie reading my H.G. Wells book and nursing a pint till Lorraine arrived. Uncommonly happy to see her. We went back to the appartment, and Lorraine fell asleep for ten minutes and when I woke her she said she'd been having a nightmare... Gothic plotlines about haunted rooms came to me instantly. I chose not to share them with Lorraine.

Pleasant meal in La Barbarie, and we shared a bottle of fizzy wine. All good and both of us very happy.

Below Castle Cornet, fishing at the Lighthouse, and shot while waiting for the bus outside La Barbarie, and a snap of St Peter Port.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Wandering happily

Appalling nightmares. Rather pleased to be stirring myself to go into La Barbarie for one of the hotel breakfasts. In a The Shining moment I was alone for breakfast for some time till two couples turned up, whispering over their tables as if they were in a library.

I went back to the self catering apartment, which was spacious and great for writing in. Worked on my poetry manuscript till approaching noon, making some big strides, before embarking on another walk. This time from Icart to Petit Bôt along the cliff path. Again found myself alarmingly unfit scrambling up and down steps. Am still on antibiotics for a persistent infection, so this may contribute. Despite this loving the autumnal colours, and to lose myself in horizons, and have the freedom to wander happily along the lanes from the cliff path back to St Martins, walking back along La Rue des Grons, where my Grandparents lived. Every turning full of associations.

Did a spot more shopping, including taking a £1 bag of Guernsey Toms from a hedge stall, having only found Moroccan tomatoes or Jersey tomatoes in the shops - facts which strangely enraged me. Walked past my old school, with school kids playing in the schoolyard. Would have stayed nostalgically to watch them play, but felt this would be misinterpreted.

 Home for a snooze and read, then off by bus to St Peter Port. Popped into the Ship and Crown and enjoyed a pint of Landlord availing myself briefly of their wifi, and looking at the lights twinkling in the harbour, and Castle Cornet lit up yellow against the black sky towards Herm and Sark.

Wonderful evening with Richard, in Dix Neuf restaurant. Loads to discuss as usual, his new book, our various schemes and a broad brushed review of recent personal events, against a backdrop of some enjoyable knife and forkwork - strangely soupy but highly enjoyable chicken pies. We repaired afterwards to the Albion nursing a final beer as Jane came to pick us up, and very kindly dropped me home. Will see them tomorrow too, and have the opportunity to hear Jane's news.

Below Saints Cottage; the little bunker opposite La Bella Luce, the cliff path towards Petit Bôt.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Off to Guernsey

Up just before six today, to the welcome news that Obama had been re-elected in the US presidential election. Lorraine dropped me and my case at Brighton station, before driving off to work. Felt sad she wasn’t coming with me. Luckily, a completely uneventful journey followed, as I was feeling curiously stressed.

The morning was misty, but the twin-engined prop climbed up into the blue and I had a smooth ride to Guernsey above a blanket of low-altitude cloud that covered the channel.

Nice local cab driver, in whose cab I managed to drop my wallet giving me a dodgy few seconds of pocket patting before it was recovered standing outside La Barbarie.

I had arrived early, but they checked me in anyway, and I was given the keys to the apartment. Arrived at La Croix Guerin café, ready for a large breakfast, smearing the buttercup yellow Guernsey butter on my toast and gulping my first cup of tea of the day. These hungrily engulfed, I set off for a walk.

First, I paid my respects to La Gran'mère, which of course had the obligatory white van parked next to it. And popped into see my grandparents grave, and looking at Sadie (my grandfather’s sister-in-law) newish one before walking down to Moulin Huet and along the cliff path to Jerbourg.

Heart singingly beautiful, despite being overcast, subduing the rust, green and purple colours in the cliffs. Sometimes a break in the cloud sent intense beams of light down in patches onto the sea, like arriving UFOs.

I don’t feel quite as if I have arrived yet though, and walked through all the familiar scenes, loving them but not quite connected to them.

Encountered a statue of a greenish donkey, at Jerbourg, proudly standing under a Guernsey flag, with its posterior pointedly directed at Jersey.

I have lost a lot of fitness in the past three months, and found myself returning to the Barbarie after 3 hours feeling weary. The self catering apartment at La Barbarie is homely, and I felt really happy to be on a sofa reading The Time Traveller, a biography of H.G. Wells, and playing about with some of my own stuff.

Very quiet in the room, and I jumped when Lorraine rang. Off in the evening to The Captains for a couple of bottles of Pony Ale and some food. Home and a spot more reading before an early night and another chat with Lorraine.

Below La Gran'mere, a natural arch on the cliff, various cliff views, with patches of sunlight on the sea; a large artificial donkey with its posterior pointed towards Jersey.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The passions of barbers

Met Anton for a coffee in the Marwood at 1pm, and we shared a chocolate brownie, seeing as I was on holiday. Showed Anton my new laptop, and we chewed a lot of cud as Anton has had a dire year. A new start awaits.

A haircut at the new place, but a silent hairdresser, who burst with indignation when the radio news covered the story of a an inconsequential Tory MP joining the reality TV show I’m a celebrity get me out of here where she will be forced to eat things like insects and kangaroo testicles, instead of doing the important work of a constituency MP. As a rule I don’t like it when barbers get emotional when they are cutting my hair. It drove this one to a frenzy of combing and drying the hair he had cut, till my scalp felt desiccated. No to the passions of barbers...

I faffed about this afternoon, getting ready. Realised I’d booked a very early flight, which means getting a very early train so packing had to be done tonight. Lorraine packing some of her stuff into my bag, which is fine, and sitting on the bed talking to Dawn on the phone, and cackling with laughter as I packed, while Calliope sat on top of my case getting in the way as often as possible. Lorraine had quite a significant day at work, with new options arising and we had lots to talk about over a large glass of wine (or two) when she got home.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Voices in the trees

The best thing about having a migraine is that when it begins to wear off, the simple absence of pain is wonderful. Started the day gingerly, and then as my head repaired, gloated Sméagol-like over my MacBook Air loading selected tunes, selections of my deathless poetry, prose and other projects onto it.

Also a long chat with Mum on the phone, discussing the virtues of a MacBook Air, and hearing a little more about her trip to Prague to see Jana, who couldn't have been more hospitable.

A walk in the park this afternoon. The sun low, and lots of people about in all the autumn colours striped with long shadows. I was listening to Allegri's Miserere mei, as I mooched, the unaccompanied voices seeming to float beautifically among the trees, as my thoughts repeatedly turned towards Guernsey.

Guy Fawkes night, so the air was full of explosions and the cringes of cats. Lorraine stepping in from the cold   after a long day. Fairly early to bed, and huge rumbles of distant thunderous fireworks. Made me wonder if this is what being at war sounded like.

Today is the birthday of that old sparkler Richard, and I look forward to a few cheekies with him this week.

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Woke up early to play with my new MacBook Air sitting up in bed drinking tea, while Lorraine dozed beside me. It is a thing of beauty and I worked happily till Lorraine woke up and I tore myself away from its seductive screen to do some food shopping.

Back to cook a roast dinner which Beth arose from bed to eat before going home. Laura remained in bed till well into the afternoon after the girls had returned home in the small hours. Then Beth off to the station, and an emergency drive there to hand her the bag of pies she was using as part of a something she was staging.

Disappointingly, I went on to develop a severe headache so lay low on the sofa for the rest of the day. Despite this, a gripping documentary about Felix Baumgartner's leap. He was phobic about the compression suit he had to wear, and the smell of the rubber made him feel panicky. Knowing this makes me admire him even more.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Apple fanboy

A slow start to the day, Lorraine and I revelling in not having to get up. Eventually hunger for Quorn sausage sandwiches drove us up. Plus the arrival of two secondhand books, one by Roland Barthes, the other about HG Wells.

I had to go to the twitten, to let the plumber in. I misread my times and got there an hour early, and had to wait. Alf the plumber was running late, so I ended up having to wait for almost two hours. Luckily I had my notebook and a pen with me, and used the time to work on my new poem. Alf could find nothing wrong with the shower, after many tests.

Then into town to go about the important business of buying new underwear and socks from Marks and Sparks and a MacBook Air from the Apple shop. Lorraine with me thank God, as the place was incredibly crowded as the iPad Mini was just launched.  I would have simply gone away and returned another day. Lorraine compelled someone to serve us right away, after being told it may take between 5-10 minutes. Lorraine said this was unacceptable, and biff we were soon walking out of the store with a new computer, after Lorraine corrected them on the laptop I'd bought too them initially having brought down a slightly more expensive one. She's worth her weight in gold. Loving my new laptop, on which I am writing this blog in bed. It is thin, light and blade-like and a thing of beauty. I have finally succumbed to being an Apple fanboy. Everything about the computer, down to its packaging is just great.

Gloating over it like Gollum.

In the evening off to The Batty with Lorraine, where we met Anton, and were soon joined by Rosie, Matt, Wayne and Jonathan, and Betty (home for the evening) and Laura. A rather lively night ensued. Wayne on a roll in his new job, and was phoned by the managing director of the company with congratulations in selling lots of kitchens. All good fun. Lorraine and I walked home late, and happy. Ate a naughty post midnight piece of cheese on toast. Lovely.

Friday, November 02, 2012

A day of gladness

Ah the bliss that is Friday. Felt very happy on the train this morning, which was even on time today. I listened to Over by Peter Hammill and liked it a good deal. A really good lyricist, and music from the prog side of the 70s that doesn't sound dated, that does not sound self-indulgent but is often extraordinary. After this I listened to Clameur for the first time in many months, and felt quite proud of it, and I texted Matt to let him know. I have an unfortunate tendency that once I have done something, I simply think it's not good enough and move on. It did me good to actually hear what Matt and I had achieved, and be glad and proud about it.

And this something of a super Friday, as I am not working next week, and it has coincided with the big turning point financial turning point too. A pleasant enough day, working on parasites again and generally keeping out of trouble.

So happy to be home tonight, went straight to the Shahi where I met Lorraine and Jess and Andrew who were still at the poppadom and cold beer stage, a stage I was incredibly happy to join. Pleasant evening, and I came home and had some ouzo to round the evening off, feeling very cheerful indeed at the prospect of having a week off, and having the weekend with Lorraine ahead of me.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Monkey business

Up early, and full of beans. A sketch for a new poem on the train. The full of beans feeling quickly wore off by the time the train arrived late at Paddington. Working on referencing for much of the day, looking at obscure medical papers, and attempting not to jab needles deep into my own eyes for referencing has absolutely no overlap with any of my actual abilities. Nice chat though with The FB who took time out from his busy schedule to evangelise about a book called The Master and his Emissary about the brain. It sounds a must-read.

Otherwise delighted to be home again. Feeling cramped and hating the commute this evening. A parcel from Amanda, containing Kenakalan, her new monkey-based game set in Bali from SchilMil games, on which I wrote a few lines of copy. Amanda seems to be going from strength to strength with her games company. Also received an bargain priced album from Amazon which Slug had recommended to me called Over, by Peter Hammill, who although being a prog rock legend, I have never heard a note.