Tuesday, April 30, 2013

All white

Lorraine working from home, which was splendid. A good start on the book, then broke off to walk in the sunshine to buy a black tie from M&S for tomorrow's funeral. A sunny and cool spring day, the streets quite busy. Bussed back for speed and cooked a delicious miso and noodle soup for lunch.

Heard from Mark Hill, who has jumped the next hurdle on his book, and shared some glowing feedback from the publisher. Inspiring.

In the evening, L and I finished painting the main room downstairs, and it looks white and larger. We work as a good team. Painting the ceiling and got a good deal of paint on my face. To The Basketmakers for a late pint with Matt. He has a new and promising business wheeze for himself, and is gradually adjusting to his new life as a singleton.

Discovered  Lorraine still up having watched some nordic noir crime drama. It makes me laugh that L can't cope with the political arguments on question time as it stresses her, but is quite happy to watch people torturing each other in Denmark.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Working happily working on the business book. Also decided to take myself to the gym, and managed a gentle workout with few ill effects. I cooked for Lorraine and myself a low calorie meal, as Lorraine was on a fast day, and after snacking this down L made off to sing, while I slipped off in the evening to The Caxton where there was a slightly prickly poetry workshop session and with about a dozen of us reading a poem and providing feedback. Several of us attending for the first time. I sat next to a transexual woman who made some insightful comments.

The poem I took was thought good and I found it useful to discuss the bits that were not quite resolved. A good standard of work on offer, and I enjoyed the session and was pleased I'd gone. After two hours, almost everyone left. I had a beer afterwards with the two remaining people, Michael who left shortly after and David a man about my age from Nor'n Ireland, with whom I stayed for an hour or so for a friendly chat and to hear a range of his readily-proffered opinions. I think back to poetry sessions in other places and times in my life and they were a hotbed of friendships and conversation. Can't seem to find this in Brighton, which seems not to make sense.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

In Transit

A beautiful day, and up early to empty the Old Church Hall of extraneous stuff, to make it look all clear and spiffy. Employed my Tetris skills to load up a Ford Transit van and we sped off to Kent, where we emptied the load into Pat and Maureen's garage.

Enjoyed ham and salad rolls at Pat and Maureen's place.  Maureen makes me laugh. She showed me a plant in the garden, and I felt its leaves and asked if it was a holly. 'Yes, a spiteful one,' she replied darkly.

Home and a big tidy up, and then we took ourselves to the Shahi for a richly deserved early evening curry feeling like we had made real progress.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nerf guns and knockers

Busy day. I went up to give Oskar his Nerf Gun, which instantly sent a bullety thing with some velocity at Anna. I fear for Klaudia and the cats, but the boy was well pleased. Anton showed me a squadron of construction kit aircraft that he and Oskar had built, and Anton had painted through the watches of the night. Anna told me she is having problems with her kidneys and extremely high blood pressure and is seeing the doctor regularly to control it.

Thence down to the Twitten to leave a door knocker to replace the one purloined by the Brighton door knocker thief. They weren't in so I poked it into the back garden and left a note.  

Home and a lazy afternoon chatting with Lorraine (sporting this morning's hair cut) and Betty before she went back to London, via a party. L and I spent our evening exhaustingly organising the house, ready to take off excess clutter to store in Pat and Maureen's garage tomorrow.

Below L and I went to the local van hire place to hire a ford transit for tomorrow. Only two lots of leaflets in the dowdy little office there for people to pick up. Only in Brighton.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Film Friday

Feeling a good deal better today, and had a quietly storming day's work on the business book -- feel a real enthusiasm for it again, which is great.  I always think that sitting at a desk doesn't make for very good blog fodder. Writing about postmodern irony in advertising. It is only when I sit down to write do I discover that I have opinions about such things and then learn what they are.

Otherwise little to report until Lorraine went out in the evening to see The Place Beyond the Pines for which the IMDb description hadn't sounded too promising. "A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective." The reality was excellent with classy and fresh direction, genuinely exciting action sequences, and shift about in your seat tension. Well worth seeing, and L and I both liked it.

Home and Betty was in town, and we three chatted cheerfully till well past midnight.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sad news from Sophie

Sad news just before I went to bed on Wednesday, read a text from Sophie saying her father had died. Obviously Sophie and her family are heartbroken, and there is a funeral next week and I shall go to support Sophie and pay my respects to this good man, who emigrated to the UK from Cyprus in his early twenties. Sophie used to take me to the family restaurant in Golders Green, called La Primavera, where he always treated me kindly. He worked hard with long hours, and I hardly ever saw him at home when I visited Sophie.

I had a bad headache which got steadily worse. Not helped by the back of my office chair suddenly sheering off comedy style, and jarring my back abominably. Finding it difficult to focus, decided fresh air might help, and took myself to Starbucks where I sipped Earl Grey and worked on the business book for a couple of hours. I like tarrying in Starbucks, using their free wifi and getting a table to yourself where nobody hassles you. I think they owe us all one.

But my headache morphed into a full blown migraine and I felt sick and weak and the light hurt my eyes. Caught a bus home, and slept on the gold sofa in the afternoon, and thankfully the worst of the pain abated, leaving me limp and wussy. Not exactly the day of powerhouse achievement I planned. Lorraine home after a trying day, and hungry on her diet.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Music over poetry

Busy day in which I felt tetchy for most of the day. Worked really well on the business book this morning, however, then painted part of the downstairs, went shopping and attended to a string of chores. Rather sluggish and tired this afternoon but I simply manned up.

In the evening off to Hove for a poetry reading. This time went alone and didn't particularly enjoy myself, nor the poetry on offer. One of those rare days when I simply wasn't in the mood. After an hour or so of this, and having read a solitary poem myself, I slipped away to sample some music instead. Walking along Western Road with the sea mist rolling in, I bumped into Dipak, hot foot from playing with Richard as the Shakespeare Trio for two or three numbers. He has got a six day a week job, and so has not played with Richard for six months and had enjoyed himself.

A chat with him in the street for a while, before I headed off to the Three Jolly Butchers where Richard had morphed into The Shakespeare Heptet, standing up and was playing with three others who were well into the music, on bass, percussion, and harmonica. It was a bit more free form than before, but great fun and Richard seemed to be in full force. For the last number Claudius got his flute out and played too.

Steve, Fingers, Claudius and Maria were also there and it was good to catch up. Steve has shaved his head rather startlingly, but looked cool. Fingers off on holiday tomorrow. Generally good fun.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hunky Dory

Another dreadful night's sleep, strange devil trains dragging along the viaduct in the small hours, cleaning the lines and shining bright lights through the Velux windows. Lorraine up early so I was too being cat-plagued and keen to make progress. Calliope especially sees it as her mission to wake me still. I got to Sainsburys at opening time to buy some muesli for me and prawns for Calliope, and started work at 8:30.

Got cracking on the business book again, which I enjoyed. This stage is all about metaphor and the darker arts of advertising. Found that my hardback copy of Aristotle's Poetics seems to have vanished, but downloaded one for my kindle (albeit an old translation).

At noon I was called by the Tavistock posse and asked to work in the afternoon on some copy for them, however, which added some cash to the day's equation which is always welcome.

Claudius came around for a business discussion, related to The Shakespeare 'Heptet' as they are now known. They want some marketing advice, which if they get their arts council grant they will shunt my way. I pointed out that it is hard to have a marketing strategy if there is no business strategy. He also left me a magazine about Buddhism as he is well into it.

Lorraine working from home this afternoon. She was on a fasting day, so we ate mild mannered steamed vegetables, a little grilled fish and brown rice. I actually really enjoy this simple fare. A quiet night in, L and I listened to Hunky Dory by David Bowie, L sewing and me reading The End of the Party before we flaked off to bed quite Hunky Dory ourselves.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lorraine's birthday

Lorraine's birthday. Big kiss and cuddle for L this morning, and up early to feed the rampaging cats and make tea, before Lorraine after opening various cards and pressies made off to work. 

I spent the morning slightly disappointingly wading through a backlog of email and admin. Come lunchtime I felt a bit jaded, having had a terrible night's sleep. Had tom yum soup for lunch, and while slurping it down watched a TV documentary about rockpools made my Richard Fortey who wrote a book about Trilobites I had rather enjoyed. Off into the outside world, walking down London Road, which was being its usual conduit of all that's wretched, before strolling about in the North Laine. Also into Churchill Square to buy a species of Nerf blaster gun for Oskar, while talking to Anton on the phone. Also bought Lorriane a present connected to her new craze of embroidery.

Lorraine got home in good time and we made off into Brighton again, she signed on to another season with Hullabaloo Quire then we popped into the Basketmakers, where we saw Matt for an hour, before heading off to Chilli Pickle, for a birthday treat. Food there was absolutely delicious as usual. Very happy night chatting with my lovely Lorraine. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Somewhat hungover this morning, so I got up early and cleared up somewhat, and then lurked back in bed with Lorraine sipping tea, and feeling delicate and wan.

Eventually got up, and so did First Matie. We decided to go out for breakfast, and we popped into a cafe that used to be called Nia, but is now labouring under the name Soup-urb, an urban cafe and soup restaurant. I ate an English Breakfast, which I'd not had for some times. From there, we wandered about in the North Laine, delving for some time in Snooper's Paradise, a shop full of all kinds of unlikely second hand and antique goods. Later I bought a tasteful new manbag, and we three mooched down by the seaside, and eventually found somewhere to sit and have a nice cup of tea, and felt quite relaxed and cheerful almost as if I were on holiday. Actually feeling the sun a little.

Brighton rather lively today as the EDL, English Defense League, a far-right magnet for the stupid and obnoxious, were conducting their annual march. There were perhaps 100 marchers, but many times more in the protest opposing it. Heavy police presence in town, and apparently some scuffling here and there. L and I saw Kate onto a train in the afternoon, with fond farewells. The fascists were all gone, but unfortunately a bunch of EDL boarded the train at Haywards Heath having been shipped out of Brighton earlier, and were according to Kate thoroughly obnoxious on the train.
Lorraine and I back home, where Betty had returned briefly and was sleeping like a baby on the gold sofa after Laura's birthday party the previous night. Lorraine had bought the fresh fixings for tom yum noodle soup. Delicious. Lorraine and I had a little quiet time simply watching TV, which I was very pleased to have.

Below some snaps in Snoopers Paradise, including Lorraine standing behind an empty frame, with First Matie browsing in the distance.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Curries and white paint

In no rest for the wicked mode, a day of painting the hall, stairs and landing white. Up early and a light breakfast, moving things around out of the way, Soon Cath and then Dawn came around to help us and we four worked really well and got the job done in good time. Cath and Dawn worked incredibly hard and efficiently.

First Matie came down to help, but we were so speedy we had finished a few minutes before she arrived. After we made good, I popped out to get some drinks, and had an altercation with the obnoxious man who runs the local off license, so I had to go to another rather than give money to a rude man.

A happy evening with of lots of friends in an early celebration of Lorraine's birthday. As well as Cath, Dawn and First Matie, Rosie and Tim joined us, fresh from cycling on the Downs. John, sporting blue shades in preparation for his cataract operation, and Matt brandishing a large bunch of flowers.

Anton came a bit later on, after the rest of us had dined heartily on some of Lorraine's splendid curries and dahls and we drank many boozes and finished off with some delicious lemon meringue pudding that Dawn had made and brought with her. Lorraine had a really good time.

A lovely evening. Chatting late and deeply with First Matie before bed.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Released back into the wild

Last day in London for a while and fairly busy with a few loose ends. Managed to break away at lunch with Katie, to have a quick drink with a guy called Andy who was leaving today in the Marquis Cornwallis. Kate and I discovered The French Bloke there who had come to say wish Andy well. The FB is now leading another agency, and being rather important. While he was mostly in broadcast-only mode, it was good to see him. Matty boy turned up and for ten minutes or so I had quite a strong sense of déjà vu looking around at these old friends.

After work, a final drink with Andy and First Matie back in The Marquis, before slipping the surly bonds of work  and haring back into St Pancras and the wilds of Brighton. Home to the slightly grizzly scene of Lorraine hacking at a raw turkey with a large chopping knife. We had stir fry and slumped gratefully on the gold sofa to eat it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

London day

Again up to Tavistock Square. A manbag incident on the way into work. The strap coming free of the bag, as I walked on and had to scurry back to retrieve it from the mobs of Dicknsian dodgers. Once at work, given some referencing work this morning which I loathe. Off in the afternoon off to Wise Buddha in Great Titchfield Street in a taxi with Amardeep, a tiny young suit with a forceful personality and Jimmy Choo heels. London gridlocked and it took us about 45 minutes, longer than it would have taken to walk.

In and out rather quickly with a good voiceover artist, with the appropriately stirring corporate tone. Nice client too. After I had to wait for a short time, and browsed through one of their many visitor's books -- which contained signatures from everyone from Cliff Richard to The Doobie Brothers.

Thunder and a deluge as we left, which meant there was suddenly not a single taxi to be had. I was all for walking it, Amadeep said she was going to go by tube, then called me from a taxi window a few minutes later on Oxford Street and I clambered in. Sunlight by the time we got back to Tavistock Square. A few drinks chatting with First Matie and Matty boy after work, which is always fun. Lorraine sucked into an interminable work day and not home till after eleven.

Below a couple of stolen snaps from inside the studio, the editor and the talent behind the soundproof doors.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ditto day

Bit of a ditto day. Mostly the same as yesterday, including the beetroot. Spoke to Mum and Mas at lunch, and in the evening a had long chat with Bob, stuck in a hotel bar in Peterborough.

At work coming to the end of the big job I have been working on. Quite nice to be signing off bits of artwork at last. Tomorrow I am covering for Pat by popping into a recording studio to oversee a voiceover recording for a corporate video.

Margaret Thatcher's funeral today. Even up around Tavistock Square soldiers in evidence, watching bits of it on my screen at work. One thing about this country is that we do pomp and circumstance quite well. Home reading The End of the Party, which is quite soap like. It is not the normal sort of book I read, which may be why I am enjoying it so much.

Learned a few things today, including about asemic writing, which is somewhere between abstraction and writing. It is writing that is deliberately done, but not understandable by anyone. A bit like the graffiti tags you pass in the street that are almost impossible to decipher. I think I shall be writing about it in my other blog once I learn more.

Home and Lorraine preparing for a surprise Ofstead on one of the schools she is supporting -- in between watching a programme about sewing. This a step too far even for me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beetroot and Blair

Up to London sans coat for the first time this year. Armed with a large multicloured golfing umbrella, whose only function was to make me look a little ridiculous.  Feeling tense this morning, and listened to a meditation tape on the train, which helped. Also read on the BBC website that researchers are saying that beetroot juice significantly lowers blood pressure. Slipped out at lunchtime with Kate, to score some.  Turns out that beetroot is one of the things that Peter Kennys like best, and so could become a regular drink. Exotically coloured wee here I come!

Working hard all day, and reading The End of the Party on the way home. It is quite a tense read, the levels of frustration, treachery and duplicity during Blair's Government seems incredible in Andrew Rawnsley's account. I am pleased I never went into politics.

Home to a Lorraine, and a healthy stir fry crammed with vegetables. Brian the cat was looking perkier today, after his bout with a Tasmanian Devil yesterday.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Me in hospital and Brian in the wars

In contrast to the blue beauty of the day, I was under a cloud of apprehension. I set off for Lewes by train and went to the hospital there for my pre-op. I was early and as the person before me had not turned up I was seen almost straight away, with my bottle of wee in my bag. Text from Jane while I was waiting.

However much I try, I don't fail to get agitated when having my blood pressure taken. This inevitably results in a high reading. As I was feeling very tense anyway this resulted in a very high reading. I then had to have a relaxing ECG, having clumps of body hair shaved off me. Luckily my heart was still beating in the approved manner. A no-nonsense nurse, made things even less good. Second nurse decided to do a blood test, but then had to get blood from my hand, dripping some on the floor afterwards. However I was released back into the wild with a date for the operation in a month. Apparently I am not allowed to sign any legal papers for two days afterwards.

Rapidly feeling more relaxed, I walked back to Lewes station. I always come out from encounters with medical people feeling as if I am lucky to be alive, and could drop at any moment.

On return found that Brian had been in a hell of a fight, and had tufts of hair pulled out of him all over his body, and he meowed pitifully when I stroked his head. I left him to sleep, but by the time Lorraine got home he had not improved. L drove us off to a vet who said that at this time of year un-neutered Toms roam about and will attack other male cats. Brian had a nasty puncture in his throat, a nasty shoulder wound, plus lots of scratches.  His coat was covered in saliva, mud and blood, and his claws had clumps of fur from the other cat. A cool £130 for this emergency service, which included antibiotics, painkillers and so on but it was the only thing to do.

Wrote a piece about Thatcher for my notebook blog.

Below in the afternoon I managed an hour's walk in this weird sun stuff. Wandering down by the sea something of a delight. Photos below nothing spectacular, but at least evidence of it not raining for a day.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Doing it yourself

Divebombed into wakefulness by hungry cats at what seemed the unspeakably early hour of eight o'clock. Lovely springlike day, with the sound of amplified encouragement of marathon runners coming from the park. Having fed the weasels, made tea, and put two extra cups in a flask, simply went back to bed. L got up later and made us some breakfast, and we stayed in bed for a long time.

Gradually up enough to go shopping (where I grabbed some curly kale, which the optician said was the single best thing for eye health) walked through the busy park to visit to the sunlit walled garden, Lorraine moving from shrub to shrub loving all the springlike burgeoning). Also watched the second half of Chelsea versus Manchester City in the FA cup semifinal. Chelsea lost 2-1 despite them dominating the second half, scoring and playing with fluency, invention. A thoughtful text from Anton afterwards.

After fortifying slices of Guernsey Gâche (kindly brought over by Jane) and a cup of splosh we then did painting and decorating. I used the roller on a long pole to paint parts of the ceiling while Lorraine did the edges, and we replacing shelves and so on. I am not much of a DIY person, but Lorraine radiates a can-do attitude, which stiffens the resolve, which, when it comes to DIY, needs a good deal of stiffening.  

Lorraine made a notably splendid tagine this evening, having been browsing cooking pages on her iPad in bed this morning. She made it with ingredients including lemons preserved in brine, olives, onion, chicken, coriander, parsley, saffron, cinnamon and ginger. Delicious.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wet on the outside, wet on the inside

Gingerly up after showering I wandered into the balmy morning around to Arkwrights to buys some bread and eggs. Stepping out an hour or so later, after Quorn sausage sandwiches and much conversation Jane, Lorraine were greeted by the first drops of unrelenting rain. Showing people around Brighton in torrents a familiar scenario dating from when Romy and Toby came last year. We walked into town, popping into St Bartholomew's church to wonder at the Italianate design and the vast upside down ark space of the church. Jane really liked this.

Then to the Museum to see the Biba exhibition, which had been on there for some time and I had skilfully avoided. Actually rather more interesting than I thought it was going to be, especially when viewed with the perspective of how much the clothes reminded me of the work of Dr Seuss. Particularly taken with a hat with holes instead of dots. The clothes displays catnip to Jane and Lorraine.

Off then to Specsavers where Lorraine and I picked up our new specs (Jane of course taken to all the most glamorous places) then we popped into Fatface to buy two v-necked jumpers. Marvelling at how sharp things looked through my new specs once we'd seated our dripping selves in The Giggling Squid. Here we engulfed some rather lovely Thai food. L and I had ton yum noodles, delicous soupy goodness and Jane had chicken and cashew nut stirfry. Really good value and lovely grub, although some of us found the chilli makes your nose run. Then out in the pouring rain to the taxi rank and to bid Jane a fond farewell in the rain. Her visit was all too brief, but it had been great to see her.

Then to The Basketmakers. Rather shocked to learn this week that Matt and Wayne have decided to live separately, and Matt has moved in with Irish Tom on a temporary basis. This a big change in Matt and Wayne's lives, and Lorraine and I want to be as supportive as possible. Today this took the form of drinking beers with Matt, John Hood and Irish Tom in the Basketmakers as the pathetic fallacy of the rain teemed outside. Matt keeping things together, and typically trying to take care of others.

I judiciously drank several pints of soda and lime instead of beer, so was in good shape to meet Anton later for a later drink. Lorraine and Matt and Irish Tom were to leave shortly after.

A good chat with Anton and a sedate couple of beers. Anton told me a funny and disturbing story about a mutual friend who, among other things,  has got mixed up in a strange cult believing in aliens.

As it got late, Lorraine called me sounding rather tired and emotional, for instead of going home, Lorraine, Matt and Irish Tom had simply remained in the pub. Went home to find L rather girlsterous and in need of putting to bed.

Below some Biba clothes, which for some reason make me think of Dr Seuss, and one of several grout related phrases in between the tiling in the gents at The Basketmakers.

Friday, April 12, 2013


A busy Friday, still absorbed by Andrew Rawnsley's End of the Party on the train. Makes you realise what a shambles the business of government is. Meanwhile much of the media still going on about Thatcher. Into work, and an almost unremittingly busy day. However did manage some lunch with others of a gourmet fish finger sandwich, sitting chatting with Karam, Sarah and First Matie. Then back to an afternoon of business and finding that the hour between 3pm and 4pm seemed to last for 200 minutes.

Soaked by a downpour as soon as I left work. Train delayed, and stuffed full of smelly dripping people, though at one point I saw a rainbow against the bluish grey clouds.

Home at last, and capered across to The Shahi to find Lorraine, Jane and Cath already in place, and a cold lager brought to me as soon as sat down. A fun night talking with everyone, and feeling very buoyant to have finished the week's work. Cath left early, being rather tired having flow in from surfing on the west coast of Ireland this morning. L Jane and I watched Later, with Joolz Holland, which featured the wonderful Laura Mvula. That girl is fabulous.

Below stickers on a bus shelter in Tavistock Square. The song Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, from the Wizard of Oz is also number one in the UK.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A royal visit

Completely different day, great night's sleep and sprang out of bed feeling chipper. A really busy day at work, however, with the only break affording an opportunity to slope out and buy a salmon and cucumber sandwich. One person so stressed they had to be taken to hospital but thankfully was found to be fine later.

Finished Mark Hill's MS on the train this morning. A very readable read: I think he's cracked it and am inspired by his example.

Home to find Jane safely installed, having flown in from Guernsey this morning and regally explored Brighton during the day. Jane and Lorraine having had a glass of wine having tucked into Lorraine's special chicken grape and lettuce dish. Jane's over to see an Italian pal who is staying in Brighton. However a mix up over dates meant that Jane only got to see her for an hour late in the evening, which meant we had plenty of time to chat. When Jane did slope off she found herself being lionised by thirty Italians, who wanted their photographs taken with her.

I meanwhile, had sloped tiredly but happily to bed. For those seeking a reminder of Jane's special lookeylikey talents click through here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Eventual improvement

Nightmares of frustration and anxiety. Woke early and read in bed. A short burst of palpitations made me feel disproportionately rattled. Still got up and had a nice breakfast with Mum and Mas, despite the fact the cat had brought in a mouse, and Mas drove me off to Edgware station.  Chugged in on time on the Metropolitan Line to Euston Square.

Into work and discovered that the file I had worked on all yesterday afternoon, after personally promising the client would be done by this morning, had vanished from the server. IT people and others helping, but all to no avail, so had to start from scratch.

Lunchtime out for a walk to a bookshop with First Matie, and had a chat with Matty boy next to the statue of the Mahatma about Graeme, who will be having his operation soon. My heart goes out to him.

We sloped off and bought a short life of Dante for £2.99, which was a bargain. Nice to hang out with Kate, who helped me feel a lot more normal after a weirdly  twitchy morning.

Really looking forward to getting home. More The End of the Party reading on the train. At Brighton, teeming rain made it even better to be indoors with my Lorraine.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Odyssey to Edgware

Up to the smoke again. Reading The End of The Party by Andrew Rawnsley again. A very interesting read, Gordon Brown comes out of it very badly. Work fine, snuck out at lunch with First Matie who went off looking at shoes, while I bought stuff and returned to work to find a fascinating website at lunchtime a Virtual Sea Odyssey, showing the Burgess Shale creatures of the Pre-Cambrian ocean. A really interesting experience, and one featuring my favourite extinct animal: Anomalocaris.

After work sped off to Edgware to see Mum and Mas, lots of chatting and we had an enjoyable evening catching up with the gossip, looking at candles, and drinking some wine, and as a special treat I got Christmas pudding and custard, which I wasn't expecting. Played mum some Laura Mvula, which she enjoyed.

Early night, chatting to Lorraine before bed.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Pooterish day

Bleary morning. Dragging myself unwillingly to work. Left my flask of tea on the side so as the dire First Capital Connect trains have nothing onboard drank my first cup of tea at an unprecedented two and a half hours after getting up. A poor experience. Reading an MS by Mark Hill, a writer who I once worked with, who is living Portugal. Interesting book about him leaving London in the midst of a mid life crisis, with a broken heart and a drink problem, and his gradual recovery living in a small village in Portugal.

A series of small things got my day off to a slightly askew start: being shouted at not to use a lift I was walking into because it was for a paramedic in the office reception; an email from the people who are managing my property saying that someone had crowbarred the door knocker from my door in the Twitten and what was I going to do about it. And an irritating discussion with unhelpful colleagues: a collection of small Pooterish peeves. 

In a lull, I happened to be looking at the BBC news site, when news of Margaret Thatcher's death popped up. I loathed her while in power, but she was undeniably a major figure in British life. Didn't feel like joining in the lionisation nor the celebrations of her enemies. But then, outpourings of public emotion tend to alienate me, such as the, to me, mystifyingly disproportionate outpourings of emotion when Princess Diana died.

Lorraine had been working at home tonight, and lovely to get home to her. After the knife and forkwork of the weekend, a grilled fish and stirfried veggies and noodles. Then spoiled by gobbling the small easter eggs given to L and I by Maureen.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Birthdays and Banjos

Off in the car listening to Laura Mvula to Kent to celebrate Maureen's 75th birthday in a pub called The Windmill, which had an all you can eat carvery. A challenge if ever I heard one. Hearty fare with Pat and Maureen, Maureen's old friend Cindy and Pete, who is Lorraine's nephew. Pat bumped into an old friend, whose wife kissed and squeezed Maureen with protracted gusto. Maureen makes me laugh, and has a funny way of saying things. She told me the food she was unable to eat when pregnant, a story now condensed to: 'Lorraine was fish, Derek and Ken were tinned tomatoes'.

Then back across the rec that Lorraine and her brothers played in when they were kids. The sun actually out and it was a pleasant, if still cool day.  A pleasant afternoon.  We walked past the Sir William Harvey pub, which Pat said is where the great man lived. I only learnt about Sir William Harvey this week, funnily enough, at work. He is the man who in 1628 first established that the circulatory system, heart and lungs are all connected. A strange coincidence. Walked into the garden to take a photo of the statue, and a drinker observed "he looks more like a skellington now".

Then Lorraine went off to collect Beth, and bring her home for some cake and a chorus of Happy Birthday for Maureen. Later Lorraine, Beth and I went to an empty pub, with a knot of tiresome regulars and the worlds least efficient barman. Betty being very funny about her Easter job which requires her to dress up as Hoppy the Hop Farm Rabbit, and do puppet shows and so on. I liked that for several days she had only seen the Farm and its attractions through the gauzy eye of a giant rabbit.

Some joking too about the pub, and when Beth and L went to the toilet together they were singing the Deliverance banjo tune somewhat.

Beth delivered back home to Pat and Maureen's with whom she is staying for the Easter job. She has no days off, but will be in the money, by student standards, once she finishes.

All in all a nice day, and managed to get back in time to watch the highlights of Chelsea beating Sunderland too. So all good.

Below Maureen just about to blow out candles on a cake Betty is holding. And a 'skellington'-faced statue of Sir William Harvey.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Spectacularly pleasant

Achey eyes lately, and so went for an eye test.  General eye health very good apparently, which is nice to know. Nice ophthalmologist with whom I had quite an in depth chat about AMD and other subjects I have written about. He was screamed at with glee by two little girls after he took me upstairs. These turned out to be his daughters. Lorraine arrived to give me a second opinion and have ordered some new prescription reading specs. Two intellectual looking pairs on order, both not previously sat on, which will be nice.  

Then to see Janet and Ken. Ken in vigorous spirits, and upstairs with a man helping to sort his computer out. The occasional nautical language spilling downstairs as Ken described cyber struggles. He actually looks much better than I have seen him for some time. Janet showing us all kinds of new techniques she has learned for her embroidery work, which includes printing patterns onto silk using a computer printer. All rather excellent, and Lorraine was getting quite inspired.

I however feeling rather drained, and was very pleased to get home and make the most of a very lazy afternoon, complete with a snooze on the sofa. Luxury. A quiet evening in with my Lorraine, watching a new Swedish Noir programme with Swedes slaughtering each other with abandon.

Friday, April 05, 2013

A cheeky with First Matie

Up to London again. I am going there next week too now, which is good for the doubloons. Working on pulmonary hypertension, a medical condition which is short on laughs.  A busy Friday in Tavistock Square, but left work promptly with First Matie and we snuck off to a nearby pub called the Skinner's Arms.

A long time since I have had a post work booze with Katie, so a good deal to discuss. This drink made even better by the fact Lorraine was in town too, having gone to see an exhibition of early Picasso with her pal Carolyn, and met up with Sam who was down in London, she joined us there too. Felt nice to meet Lorraine up in London.

Fond farewells with Katie. And Lorraine and I got the train home from St Pancras. Phoned ahead for a takeaway which we picked up after a cheeky extra beer in Circus Circus. Home scarfed my food, and boofed to sleep on the gold sofa, while Lorraine caught up with Masterchef and shepherded me to bed when the time came.

Below First Matie and Lorraine up in the Smoke.

Thursday, April 04, 2013


A lengthy day at work, and late home. Some snaps two of buildings round the corner from Tavistock Square, and one of the platform at St Pancras.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Sudden snow

A pleasant enough day at work. Walking in the squares for a little at lunchtime talking to Loraine and Mas. The wind blowing keenly through them, and my hand was cold holding the phone.

Reading Primo Levi on the train home, after doing a little more Invaders of Guernsey. Looked up from my book, thinking there was fog over the Downs. Walked out of Brighton station and realised what I had seen was something of a blizzard. Home coated in snow. Calliope ran away from me when I got through the door. Lorraine had cooked some delicious stir fry. I like having her home when I get back from London.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


Up to the smoke again. Working on the Defenders of Guernsey on the way up. But seemed to have sprung from the wrong side of bed this morning, and felt vile and tetchy all day. Not that the day's events helped, with clarity about what Jules and I should be working on hard to come by.

Late to leave work. Missed the train by a second, having to arrest my gallop on board due to crowd of small children suddenly underfoot. Galled by this and prompted to some John Cleese style ranting on the platform. Galled too, after waiting tetchily for the next train, by the woman I made room for to sit next to me in the crowded train, who held my glove disgustedly between her manicured fingernails. Read the Primo Levi book on the way home. An interesting book, as much for its form as its content.

Home and Lorraine had been painting parts of the living room white, a great improvement, as the wall was a species of cream with patches of dirty white.  Lorraine is on holiday and I feel a little bad about this, and she had cooked too. I was late home but treated royally.  L and I did a bad thing though, and ate a entire large bar of chocolate. I am the sort of person who forgets how nice chocolate is, and usually only have some at christmas. L is bad and has cravings for it, thus reminding me about chocolate. Once I start eating a few squares I have little or no self-restraint. Chocolate, I decided, going to bed early, is a kind of self harming like cigarettes.

Sold another Guernsey Double through Amazon. Sales are slow but persistent.

Monday, April 01, 2013

De wormed

L and I up early, with steely glints in our eyes, driving off to paint and other painting accessories. For we are sprucing up the house, or at least doing a good deal of talking about sprucing up the house.

Decided to de-worm the cats, which although simple to do, and requires only a drop on the backs of their necks. Calliope as usual fine with medical things, Brian has to be swaddled in a blanket and zoomed out of Lorraine's arms as if released from a UFO. I managed to breathe in vapours from the worming liquid we were dabbing on and had a nasty taste in my mouth for hours. The upside, however, is that I shall probably remain tapeworm free for months.