Thursday, February 28, 2013

Slow progress

Disgusting dream just before waking, tearing hand-sized, spidery, hermit crab-like things from my legs with a pair of those grabby, long-stemmed egg holders. Calliope doing clawing happy feet on me when I woke, which may have added to the dream's horrid realism.

Caught up with Janet: Ken has improved a little she told me, and has lots of visitors. She said yesterday he told a joke and had sung a little. Decidedly more Ken-like behaviour. For the time being I am not adding to Ken’s exhausting guest list till the family, staying with Janet, have all visited, but will keep close tabs on Janet.

I did some good, but tooth-grindingly slow, work on the business book. Progress of any sort hard to come by. In contrast, Lorraine’s long day was action packed, with her taking charge of the school she works part time at. She had the local press in, a flood, a powercut, and parent problems to deal with, as well as an important meeting after school, which must have gone well considering the grateful texts she received when she got home.

Sonya told me that one woman she was working for became really jealous when Sonya went to Egypt. She told Sonya that cleaners shouldn't have holidays, then let her go. Sonya able to laugh at this. Her good humour shines through her limited English. As I went back upstairs to work she told me I should write fantasy stories like Harry Potter and make lots of money.

L and I went to meet Matt and Wayne in Hove after work. We had to abandon plans to visit the Hove Tandoori, as Wayne had spied a shudder-provoking ex-boss in it. Sadly our alternative restaurant dire, and I had to send back a bottle of undrinkable wine. All redeemed by splendid company however. Matt preparing to conduct a programme of John Cage’s work, Wayne excelling in his current guise of kitchen designer and salesman.

Below meanwhile in Guernsey Jane, whose birthday it was on Tuesday, slices into her delicious-looking cake. L and I thoughtfully sent her a pair of Kinky Knickers, only right and proper for a sixtieth birthday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pizzas with my Mum

Up early and crafting 'inspiring' copy for a pharma company, quite a challenge as they have given us no actual content to put in it.  A modern version of newsletters with no news, something I have over the years written a depressing amount. Then a few hours later, I made off to London, reading Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata on the train. Enjoyed being up in the smoke again, albeit for a few hours. While I love Brighton, the elbowy majesty of central London is undoubtedly buzzy. Within minutes had bumped into an old pal Mark Dawson in Villiers Street.

Skirted Covent Garden and met mum inside the British Museum. We had intended to see the current exhibition of 'Ice Age' art, but there was a slot system, and so there was over a two hour wait, which I didn't have time for. Somewhat galling. Instead we repaired to Pizza Express and talked for a couple of hours instead, strapping on a classic pizza nosebag, and sipping a Peroni and mum cider. Nice restaurant with painted glass windows which quickly emptied as we idled there. Talking about my Grandmother Gwen, and her eccentricities. Although she was a fantastically annoying person, I regret my teenage dismissal of her views, which were variants on 'give me a gun and I will shoot Arthur Scargill'. And while she was entirely comfortable with her own racism, when I was 18 and dating Lorna from a  Jamaican family, she took me aside and (probably at some personal cost) said that if we married, Lorna would be welcome to visit. Gwen also told mum hinted at something ominous that she would tell her one day but, typically, never did. Mum believes now that it was that it was the dark secret that, through her father, Mum had some Indian blood.

Homeward again, and we walking down to Embankment. Wan gleams of sun here and there, Trafalgar Square looking impressive. Fond farewells, then an early train and fell asleep on it after reading more of Snow Country, a star-crossed love story which contains some jewel-like moments. Sitting next to a group of young students all on iPads and iPhones or equivalent, discussing battery life with some earnestness.

This evening discovered the work I had lined up for tomorrow has been bumped till next week. Asking glamorous accountant (whom I am distraught to learn is leaving in a month) to chase tax people who still owe me a grand, which would be a nice-to-have at the quiet end of the year.

Lorraine having a tough work week, so I made a mound of mashed potato, which is L's ultimate comfort food.

Called Janet but she was not answering, but had some of Ken's family down today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Visiting Ken

Up early to join a first thing teleconference to brief me on the next stage of some branding work. Then called by Keith with a re-brief of the thing I had done last week. Spoke to Mum, and worked steadily, although my thoughts were turning to the hospital visit this afternoon.

Later, I walked to the hospital to visit Ken. Janet, and their pals Ray and Sonia were already there, as Janet was being told that Ken had a poor night, having a urinary infection that required antibiotics. Poor thing is very much in the wars, and is tired and disorientated -- this probably not helped by the infection, which is notoriously disorientating, plus his poor eyesight, and being plucked from his normal surroundings. Felt very sad to see my old friend like this. Rather impressed, however, by the senior nurse who seemed excellent, and the ward pleasant and well run.

After the visit we four went to the pub on Janet's suggestion. After quaffing a much needed drink to take the edge off,  I left the others to go for a Thai meal, before Janet to return to the hospital.

I walked home again in the cold, to cook using one of Lorraine's delicious cocoa-nutty homemade sauces full of curry leaves. A low key evening, with both L and I feeling tired and slightly twitchy. Lorraine has a thorny work week to contend with.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ken is unwell

Some bad news this morning. I heard from Janet that Ken is in hospital, having had a heart attack on Sunday. Janet, obviously alarmed and sad.  Better news later in the day however, that he was sitting up in a chair and eating again. A stent operation planned in a couple of days. I shall go to the hospital tomorrow to visit.

Otherwise I was worked on the business book this morning. My research leads in all kinds of unlikely directions. Ended up listening to the late, and much admired (though not particularly by me) Tupac Shakur, for example, in my tracking down the origins of bling.

In the afternoon I received some positive feedback from one of the jobs I did last week, and I will be taking a new brief tomorrow.

Lorraine off singing with the choir, and I walked her into town before returning home to finish Inside Out by Nick Mason in the evening. Seem to have a renewed book hunger. Going to devour the rest of Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata next.

A new neighbour gave Lorraine some Belgian chocolate buttons this morning as a hello, and to introduce themselves. What a simple but nice thing to do.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Unexpected places

Almost noon when we got up. Then Lorraine and I galloped out into the cold to do a spot of gift shopping, drifting about in shops that I never seem to notice as I bowl through the North Laine. Food shopping of course. Back in the warm, reading the Nick Mason book whenever I could, a sort of comfort reading about the fallings-out of an ancient rock group.

Lurking with Betty and Lorraine in the evening, as they swooned over Ashley Banjo, leader of the dance troupe Diversity. And then Lorraine watching a programme about maternity nurses which featured the London Hospital, where she had worked as a young 'un and had been grabbed by the shoulder puffs on more than one occasion.

Below things in unexpected places. Graffiti featuring Stephen Hawking, and Calliope in one of Lorraine's drawers, which she opens and slips into unnoticed given half a chance.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Foundations in The Foundry

Beth off early to work teaching dance to under sevens. I had a slow start, delving into the cold outside world to do shopping. Lorraine making her way home from Leeds this afternoon, after having an excellent time with Sam.

I made off to meet Matt in The Foundry, where sitting at the bar over several pints of Landlord bitter, we discussed the way ahead on the opera. Good to be plotting with him again, as well as getting his opinions on Messiane, and talking about politics a good deal as this informs our latest wheeze. But we are in non-disclosure mode about the actual subject matter. Lorraine arrived in the pub, and it was splendid to see her too, although perfectly fine on my own, I did miss her and found myself very pleased to see her again. After wetting her whistle, she and I made off for a celebratory curry.

She had been in the company of lively Bradford City fans, making their way down to London for a cup final today. Bradford are in the forth tier of English football, but have made the league cup final.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bookish day

On my own, which I'd not been for a while. Cats sleeping next to each other on the bed. Sky full of one or two crystal snowflakes from time to time, but they were not settling. Went for a short walk, but very cold easterly wind outside that made my eyes ache as I mooched back from town.  Lorraine having a good time in Leeds with Sam, and also met his friend Jade, who was chatty and friendly.

Naturally now Lorraine was gone, the freelance work quelled itself, and I spent the morning thinking about the Opera Matt and I are planning. Also two books had arrived from Amazon. Started to read Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, which I'd heard reviewed on A good read, a bookish BBC Radio 4 programme lovely stuff so far.

Also reading a chunk from the a book by Nick Mason, who was the drummer in Pink Floyd, called Inside Out, a Personal history of Pink Floyd. which is well written. I love reading all this stuff about zooming up and down the country in Ford Transits, and playing small and often hostile venues, and then cramming back into the van and high-tailing it home.

This along with listening to Quartet for the end of time, a few times, was all I did today. Betty returned home late and freezing. We chatted and watched a bit of TV together, and the first half of Pretty Woman which seems so unbelievably dated. It is a timeless fantasy though: a man reforming a beautiful but fallen woman, and a broke girl catching a handsome millionaire and teaching him how to love and be human.  They redeem each other, which is nice.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

End of time

A slightly sluggish start for me, getting to the end of a bruising week. Lorraine left for Leeds to spend a couple of days with Sam this morning. Betty back to London for a day too. I was left to my work writing an e-blast. This done, I took myself out for a chilly afternoon walk in town. I dove into one or two second hand music and bookshops, which as I had no glasses with me, I found it hard to read the titles.

I had plans to meet Matt tonight, but as he was unavailable, and with Anton away I opted for a quiet night in the warm. Watching an episode of Space: Above and Beyond and channel hopping in a desultorily fashion.

Downloaded Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time composed during his time in a prisoner of war camp listening to birds, and scored for the few musicians among his camp: clarinet, violin and cello, with himself on piano. Rather extraordinary, and is a favourite of Mum's I think. Spiritual questing on a foundation of profound unease. Lovely stuff.

New tenants are to move into the Twitten over the weekend. Spoke to Lorraine last thing, safely in Leeds and having had a good night out in an excellent restaurant with Sam.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Troublesome cacti

Applied desk manacles at eight and pressed on. Working more today with my other UK based new client, who was cheery and very good at his job, which was a refreshing change. A few calls during the day,  and started third piece of work for my old chum Keith.

Beth and Lorraine enjoying themselves and cooking up a storm. Tonight was a delicious pork and beans combo derived from a Jamie cookbook. Lipsmackingly good it was too, like a spicy chilli and tomato beanjar with black-eyed beans.

Finally unshackled, I stole away to the park for some air and exercise. Another business call which chilled my hand somewhat as I had to take my gloves off. Temperature dropping again, and lurking around zero tonight. Gazed fondly on the snowdrops as I sloped by. I have a deep longing for Spring.

Spoke to Mum, who had her pal Diane around and Mum was taking photographs of her for a dating website. A process which involved quaffing fizzy wine. Mas now off on his business trip.

Waiting for a call from a client, I visited iPlayer and heard Di Turner ask a question on Gardener's Question Time about troublesome giant cacti. The show was based around a 'Seedy Sunday' where people swap and barter their rare seed. There are many unsavoury quips to be made about this, but I shall refrain.

Decided to drink some booze tonight with my exceptional supper. Nice chatting with Betty and Lorraine. All well.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A sunset

Up early and working by eight, sent off the animal work, and continued work on the other new brief. All day on this, pausing only to eat leftover risotto. Lorraine out with Cath this morning, and pottering about this afternoon. Late in the day received feedback from the animal work, and it resulted in a rather tricky conversation with the client, who was very stressed and had opposite ideas of how the brief should be interpreted to mine. As I absolutely stand by what I sent, this may prove to be a short-lived new client. Dampened my evening somewhat.

However Lorraine and I drove speedily off to the Hove seafront to catch the last rays of the setting sun down by the sea, cold but lovely to see. Lorraine making more muffins tonight, with pumpkin seeds, rosemary, honey, and cubes of butternut squash.  Betty and I watched an entertaining documentary about a chicken and chips joint in Clapham.

Lorraine and Beth finishing the vast beetle jigsaw tonight. They immediately started on a new one.

Below the lowering sun; low sunlight reflecting on the beach huts; the last sliver of the sun over the sea; dim figures at dusk.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Desk manacles

Up elbowing aside the early birds, to get continue work on the animal disease brief I'd started on Friday, interspersed by a teleconference with a client financial software. Interesting people.  Lorraine working from home too, and is free from tomorrow. Made time for a quick stroll in the park at lunch, but otherwise manacled to my desk.

Lorraine thumbing through cookbooks is always a sight to gladden the heart, and after I was finished working, and we'd popped to the supermarket she fashioned a delicious seafood risotto, cooked with wine, stock, fennel, asparagus, parsley plus of course assorted denizens of the deep. Betty home late from London after a long rehearsal. Lorraine has started watching a new French cop show called Spiral full of tired-looking people pouting and shrugging.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Taking the air

Up and working on concepts for one of my sudden freelance jobs this morning for an hour or so.

Then L, Beth and I off to Sheffield Park for a wander around the lakes, for the sun was out and the sky was a hopeful blue. Wonderful to be out in fresh air and feeling some semblance of sun on our faces. We were not alone in this keen plan as half of Sussex was milling about, but still, lovely to look at snowdrops and the odd brave daffodil anticipating spring, and the sky mirrored in the lakes and appreciate the evergreens.

Stopped off on the way home at a Farm shop, walking past four gleeful grunting pigs in a pen, and a huge bull with a big brass ring through its nose. Into a smallish shop festooned with rosettes for its prize animals, some of whom made it into the giant, and still warm sausage rolls we bought there, along with some veggies. These sausage rolls were the simply the best ones I have ever tasted. A meal in themselves, which we scarfed in the car, with pastry made with lard and delicious.

Home for a relaxed evening. Spoke to Mum briefly, Mase off to Dubai on business next week. Lorraine baking corn muffins, which I have not had since I was in the Colonies. Betty cooking potato rosti, roast tomatoes and leeks cooked with chilli.  A note from Matt who is keen to press on with the new project, and from Anton with a photo of Klaudia and Oskar intently playing chess, saying he had Soviet children.

Below Betty and Lorraine, Betty in the trees, reflections in the lake and looking up into a giant sequoia.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Piecing things together

Up and awake early, and one of those rare days when I simply get out of bed the wrong side, and felt distinctly grumpy. A long and very deep chat with Lorraine helped though. She is a treasure.

Later, after Lorraine returned from a haircut, I fell under the spell into the 1000 piece jigsaw that Lorraine is doing, with what must be a hundred different species of beetles on it. Became slightly obsessive about this. Beth returning with Laura, who made ah sweet noises as she entered seeing us both frowning over a large jigsaw. Lorraine quite a jigsaw fan, and even allowed me to slot in one or two.  A chilled night piecing things together and chatting with L and the girls, who spend half the time in each-other's company laughing.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Good Signals

Manacled to my desk all day, creating concepts for one client, a long chat with the other talking about another client I will be working on next week. Late in the day Keith called and I will also do a smidge with him at the end of next week. Good from a doubloons perspective. As is traditional, because Lorraine is only working one day next week, I am booked every day.  Luckily though all of these are working from home, which happily means I sidestep 20 hours of travel.

Engrossed early by the film of the meteor streaking into the Urals, and talk of an asteroid coming rather close to Earth. Chaos is always just around the corner.

Betty home for the week, giving a little sigh of happiness about being home, and curling up on the gold sofa all afternoon. In the evening L, Betty and I popped up to The Signalman in good spirits, to celebrate Betty's return and Lorraine's half term. I had a nicely hot Thai chicken curry, and L and B were pleased with their snap too.  Drank some beers and soon discovered that, by and large, most things were fine with the world.

Below I discovered the instructions for the Dyson Airblade in the gents toilets in The Signalman had been somewhat tampered with.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Good day for business

A Valentine's card with skeletons on, and a red Moleskine notebook from Lorraine this morning. Felt bad that as she had left early I had not woken up enough to give her mine.

As I had to get more horse pills from the quack, and had a nice chat with him. I took the opportunity to wander about in the sunshine, buying an incredibly expensive pastie, and popped into Waterstones for a futile search for two specific books. It's sad, but there's no wonder Amazon is taking over.

Home and two new clients I'd been patiently coaxing, finally broke cover and asked me to do some work. Signed  two non-disclosure agreements today. One is with a new French client, and I had to agree to be a 'collaborator', which made me smile. Some telephone calls and I took a long brief late in the day. Rather pleased by this little burst of activity, and plenty on my plate over the next week. Good to have two new clients in one day.

Lorraine working late and we sloped off for a romantic curry, though we had to wait half an hour despite having booked a table, which was galling, but we soon fell to happy chatting.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Movie night

A really good day's writing. On days like this I think that maybe I am onto something. Also been thinking and reading a little about winning. Asking myself what are the consequences of winning? I was reading something that said that if we win, we have to let go of every definition we have had of ourselves. Perhaps people actually cling to the familiar, to the not winning because it is safer. I find it difficult to win things, unless I am working in a team. When the winning is just about me winning, I find it very hard, and I wonder if it this is something I can reverse or at least put into neutral. 

In other news, I was not shortlisted for the Brighton blogger project. Why bloody not? was my thought.

A book through the post from Richard today: Jeeves and the Impending Doom, one of those slim Penguin 70s. The title made me feel very chipper for some reason.

Out to the Duke of York last night with Lorraine, Dawn, Rosie and her new boyfriend Tim, who I rather liked. He has spent lots of time in several Africa countries working with aid programmes, and has done lots of interesting things like learning to dive in Lake Malawi.

We saw the movie Argo, which was tense, snappily paced with a few laughs thrown in. I liked it a good deal, despite not particularly wanting to see it. I love the new once a week movie habit. So much more fun that glazing in front of the telly. All of us liked it, and the ladies talking about Mr Affleck's shirt off scene in glowing terms. A cheeky drink afterwards in Circus Circus, before home to bed. Not all of us, you understand, just L and I.

Below Ben Affleck who starred in and directed Argo.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Desk attentions

Terrible night's sleep after takeaway main of MSG with a noodle side dish. Woke up to discover my Twitter account had been hacked, and had, embarrassingly, sent dubious tweets to everyone in my address book. Fortunately changing my password worked.

Paul got in touch with a freelance lead, which I followed up, meanwhile the client who I'd sketched in for this week peevingly quiet. So it goes.

Lorraine at home and we worked side by side on our desks, me mainly on the business book. It is always good when L works from home, not least because it provides Calliope with someone else to pester. She sits with her jaw resting on my wrist as I type and will do so until thrown off, which she resents and returns in seconds, the procedure is repeated several times until she slinks off in a huff. I wonder how many other writers have had to struggle with attention seeking cats.

Below the desk attentions of Calliope: sitting with her head resting on my wrist, which she will happily do as I type; Calliope sprawling on my desk; Calliope sitting on my lap; Calliope getting involved in Lorraine's typing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Making a new start

Hard to get out of bed this morning, and felt sad for Lorraine who had to venture off into non-settling snow as she left home. Another dreary Monday and another bout of brain work on the book. This factual stuff is hard, as you have to assemble them in ways that appear reasonable.

Lurched off at lunchtime to the gym but have been afflicted with savage indigestion all morning I found being on the cross trainer enduring stabbing chest pain curiously unrelaxing despite knowing the cause.

On a much more cheery note, met Matt for a wide ranging plan and a scheme in The Signalman, and we think we have a plot and subject for an opera. I feel very happy about this, and we explored the possibilities of our story line for several hours. I don't want to say too much at such an early stage, but it is  based on real events in the recent past.

Home and bought some Chinese snackage from the local takeaway, as Lorraine had been singing in the choir again. We scarfed this, but the MSG and beer combo worked its evil during the night, forcing me to get up five times to gulp yet another pint of water.  

Below a telephone engineer up a pole I snapped, sadly only on the iPhone, while on the way to the gym. 

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Matt's birthday

L and I to the Twitten this morning, and met Sonia there who had agreed to do a deep clean on the house. Lorraine took the car home, and I sloped off to the obnoxious Budgens by the station, where I had to browbeat them into helping me find oven cleaner. I painted out a small gold tag scrawled on the green wood. But the green I painted on was the wrong green, so I will have to repaint the pesky thing when it isn't raining. D'oh. Met Hilary one of my old neighbours and had a chat with her while her dog, who has always disliked me, barked and strained malignantly at its leash. Unfathomable are the suspicions of hounds.

Mooched around town town, where I encountered Adrian carrying a bag of fresh fish. Chatted about work, and photographing the contents of women's handbags. A brave man. Pressed on buying a plug adaptor and drain unblocker. Met Lorraine in the Laines and we snacked in the Délice before Lorraine left for an afternoon of song with Hullabaloo.

Home to tinker with aquariums, and a surprise visit from Cath who was making plans for long travels in far flung places. Lorraine arrived later, much energized by singing, and she drove us to the Twitten where Sonia had transformed my greasy cooker to a sparkling thing. L and I collected the cleaning things, and bought some excellent fish and chips from Sing Li, where the proprietor was all smiles to see us again.

Out again for the night as it was Matt's birthday. Unsurprisingly to the Basketmakers where Matt and Wayne had been joined by Jonathan, John, Tanya and Catherine. A pretty cheery time, despite a nearby table being a convention of powerful shouters.  Particularly enjoyed catching up with Tanya and Catherine. Matt, faintly melancholy about his birthday I thought. Birthdays can do that to you.

Standing outside the Basketmakers, a great bucketload of water from the awning pleasingly just missed me as we were leaving. Later, when I put up my wet top hood to protect me from the inevitable rain, I discovered it had in fact collected a good deal of the awning water. With a drenched head on to the Brighton Tavern, where we all milled about. Matt and I chatted to a Narcissistic wannabe popstar who was exactly one year younger than Matt.  An absolute final beer before heading home with my Lorraine in the rain. Followed by a regrettable Ace Pizza incident over which I shall draw a veil.

Friday, February 08, 2013


Lorraine working from home this morning, which was nice, although it did involve her reading case studies from a bundle of educational books, two of which made her cry lots.  I pressed on a with the business book, and tentatively arranging some freelance next week. Went to the gym again at lunchtime, and was really pleased to have a much better time of it. Managed 30 minutes on the cross trainer, which was almost three times better than Wednesday. Felt buoyed by this.

Spoke to mum, whose half brother Alex is in hospital very ill with a mystery bug.

Gripped by a strange nostalgia, instead of working assiduously in the afternoon, I simply listened to Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane by David Bowie. Although I remain a fan of Bowie's Berlin and plastic soul periods, these early works had yielded great singles but I wasn't particularly bothered by the albums. A mistake, I discover 40 years later, as they are very rewarding. I'd forgotten, for example, the fabulously off the wall Mike Garson piano solo on the track Aladdin Sane. Bowie always had the knack of surrounding himself with incredible sidemen.

Below, a front cover that graced of many a record shop window in the 70s.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Among school children

An expedition to the school where Lorraine is deputy. L picking me up at Three Bridges station, opposite a pub called The Snooty Fox. Then to school, and meeting a few teachers and so on before L set me up in the staff room in a ring of chairs. Then I had an afternoon with six of the top writers in the school, who had written stories for me. They were all ten or eleven, and you could see they had some real talent, and markedly different styles.

We looked at how you begin a story, and read through the openings of their stories, which ranged from fantasy comedy, to a drama involving shot horses, another about everything in the world being stood on its head so that that Mexico and Egypt were snowy and the central character actually tidied up her room, to a story where schoolgirls made funny and bitchy remarks to one another, and another was a mysterious love story. All were liberally sprinkled with magic and imagination. Interesting for me to see how much the girls wanted to be characters in each other's stories. All their stories started excellently but became more mundane as they went on. Extremely impressed by the the girls and their work though.

I read them the first chapter of Invaders of Guernsey, which they listened to in big eyed silence which was quite gratifying. I also showed them with a TV ad I'd worked on, a piece of junk mail, A Guernsey Double, and played them a bit of Clameur, which they also listened to with more interest than I had anticipated. Fielded lots of questions, including very grown up ones like 'how do you get an agent'.

It was fun, though curiously tiring. Respect once again to teachers. Lorraine drove me back to the station and I headed home,  she returned much later after tiresome meetings, and we sidled off for a tradition-busting Thursday curry.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Creeping to the gym

Feeling cheery. Sudden clarity on the business book I have been writing after feeling wood for treesish on it.  I also emailed my glamorous accountant about a missing tax repayment, and she sorted it within an hour, which will soon be a boon for the Kenny coffers.

I also ventured to the gym, and managed to do twelve minutes on a cross trainer. A few months ago I was doing 40 minutes at much higher load on it before starting on the rowing machine, and weights. But you have to start again somewhere. Scary what months of antiboitics have reduced me to. However even doing ten minutes made me feel good afterwards. The fightback starts here. Friday will see me back again going for a massive 15 minutes.

Looking at the essay Julia wrote about D.G. Rossetti. Julia, it seems, is a card-carrying Rossetti boffin.

Monday, February 04, 2013


Nothing much happening, and I feel I am loitering on the doorstep of life without quite leaving or entering.  

If in doubt, tidy up. This manages to be one of Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt's fascinating Oblique Strategies. Not that I needed oracular help for this. Manged to get my inbasket down to a record single email, filed four months worth of bills and statements. Phoned the tax office. Mind then decluttered pressed ahead with the business idea, now drilling down into how green thinking affects marketing.

Still not springy enough for the gym, thanks to daily diet of antibiotics, but am trying at least to walk for an hour. Popped into a shop called Foot Locker to try to buy some new trainers, although appeared to be  training shoes, most were thin-soled shoes masquerading as trainers. Can one buy actual training shoes for the gym without spending £90? And if so, where?

Spoke to Mum for some time this afternoon, then fed Lorraine when she came home and then zoomed off to choir. A tranquil evening. I have finished Building Stories now, absorbing and thoughtful work.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

In credit

Scooped up a big ol' sack of brownie points by helping Lorraine with a headteacher application for several hours. This done, Betty, Lorraine and I consumed an enormous Sunday roast, and had a bottle of Tanglefoot beer each (three Tanglefeet?). Betty back home this evening. L and I watched concluding two episodes of the Danish Borgen series. Wonderful stuff. TV with heart plus brains.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

An interlude with Oskar

L and I surged off into town to do some chores, and gasp down some sea air. The presence of the sun makes you think that Spring and good weather might one day be possible. We stopped off for a pot of tea in a cafe and saw Anton, Anna and Oskar through the window who then came in to join us. Oskar spent some time clambering on me and expertly deploying gingerbread man crumbs. But we had an enjoyable discussion about whether I could actually bite his arm off and how long this might take, and how many seagulls on strings would a person need to lift you into the air, and if the third iced button on the gingerbread man was actually his willy. He also has a crush on a girl called Summer.

Then, farewells said, surging off into a few shops but found nothing I wanted and Lorraine started looking bleak and hungry, so we went home for restorative leek and chicken soup. A TV-off evening, with  Betty, who arrived this afternoon, and Lorraine working on a large jigsaw with hundreds of beetles on it, while I spent my time engrossed in Building Stories.

Below Brighton seafront in winter sunlight, and what I am told is a regular stand off on Western Road between pro-Palestinians, and pro-Israelis.

Friday, February 01, 2013

True to form

Lorraine working from home, which is always nice. Dawn melting away first thing. I worked on the business book through the morning.  I made a chicken and leek soup of some substance for lunch, but before I'd spooned any of it, I was called with a freelance offer  by a contact I had cultivated last year, which seems fairly promising.

Talking to Lorraine over lunch made me rethink my CV (not a document I have much need of). Nobody's life is a dreary chronological list, few people's career and learning is a linear process, so why on earth force it into one, especially if what you are selling is your creativity.

Had to complete a Landlord's details form this afternoon. I don't know why form filling fills me with such horror and bile. Forms make me feel cross, even though this particular form was completely reasonable. After completing it as best I could I walked it to the letting agents via the Twitten last thing in the afternoon.

Otherwise ticking over on an idea I had yesterday, which is only as yet a title and a sketchy concept and a few lines.  Also spent time reading Building Stories,  which I am loving. A study of loneliness, but strangely compelling.  Lorraine's work done, we sloped out early a cheeky and enjoyable curry.