Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pigging out on pork

Up late, after much needed snoozes. I sprang up to go to the reassuringly middle-class Arkwrights shop to buy the fixings for a large breakfast. L and I cooking together, as Betty and her pals Amy and Millie sloped down having crept in shortly before dawn. Had a humongous breakfast with these girls. They sing lots in the morning. It's good to have Betty back home, and to see Amy who we'd not seen for some time.

I got on with my affairs in the afternoon and Lorraine and Betty went off shopping and returned with the makings of a vast Sunday roast. They sat together conspiring and looking at clothes on the iPad and laughing at pictures of internet cats.

Rosie came by for supper, and we all gorged like mad things. Delicious food, roast pork with crackling, a multiplicity of vegetables and apple crumble afterwards. Rosie persistently doing her rather excellent Welsh and Yorkshire accents. All sprawled about afterwards with stomachs like bowling balls. Watched some Glastonbury music on TV, the highlight a single song from Laura Mvula, then Rosie went home and I retired to bed early, leaving Lorraine and Betty to L's beloved Mumford & Sons.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fun in the sun

A beautiful day of warm sun. Up early as Lorraine had a hot stone massage with Jewel, like I had the other day. I decided to go to the gym, after tidying up the place a bit (we had a house viewing) and taking Betty a cup of tea. Feeling slightly tetchy in the gym, and only did the bare minimum, but better than nothing. Felt much better for a hot shower, and mooched off to find a very relaxed Lorraine and we went for a cup of tea in the Marwood, then went to sit by the sea in the warm sun. I then bought three quality shirts at bargain prices, then we drifted happily through the old lanes looking at wedding bands.

Bused back home and went up the hill to sit in the sun garden of The Signalman, where we met Matt and Isy who, much to my pleasure, were in Brighton looking at houses as they are considering a move here. My liver and kidneys giving little squirms of apprehension, for Matt is always the centre of a good deal of enthusiastic and liquid socialising.

Andros and Sophie had unexpectedly come down to Brighton this weekend, so in the evening we caught the bus to Hove where we went to the Giggling Squid, but the one in Hove rather than the one in Brighton. Food still very good. Lovely to see Sophie and Andros again. Sophie in black, and still dealing with the emotional consequences of her dad's death. We did have a really good time however. Christof about to start reading History at Trinity College, Cambridge and everyone, me included, very proud of him. While Electra is making great strides in Chinese, written and spoken apparently. After supper, we found ourselves in the garden of a pub, chatting for another hour or so before fond farewells.

Home by bus, and sat on the gold sofa, catching the end of the Rolling Stones playing live at Glastonbury. Despite some of the playing being a bit ropey and singing being a tad pitchy, you can't help but admire the continuing vigour of Mick Jagger and the boys. They played Satisfaction as their encore and this certainly was splendid.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Good cheer

Somewhat blearily off to work this morning, hung over and leaving keys behind. Keen to get in early but today the train was late, and it was raining. Disclosed the concepts I had been working on this morning, and everyone seemed pleased, which was good.

Off for lunch at a pub called The Somers Town Coffee House, actually a boozer, but a rather nice one, which served food in lunchoxes. Regrettable amount of punning ensued with the gentlemen admiring one another's lunchboxes, and me asking First Matie not to look at mine and so on. Food in the boxes fine too. Walked back to the office with Slug, having sensibly drunk only soda water. Getting on really well with Slug these days.

Feeling a bit tired this afternoon, and was pleased when I could answer the call of the seagull and I could return to Brighton. Very tired, and tried to reboot myself by listening to a guided meditation. Arrived home just as Malcom and Lynn were arriving. Had some bubbly with them, and opened a present they bought, which was a picture Malcom had done from a picture of Lorraine and I kissing on Icart, that was on this blog shortly after I proposed. An incredibly thoughtful surprise. Then off to The Shahi for a nice meal and a good chat. They are good cheery company at the end of the week -- added to when Betty arrived home for the weekend.

Haven't had a chance to take many photos, but stole this from Matty-boy who took a snap of my lunchbox. Not featured the chicken and salad sandwich that was inside it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Matty-boy's news

Another London day. Perhaps because of going to the gym the night before, I was starving by the time lunchtime arrived, and welcomed First Matie's invitation to slope off to The King of Falafel where I bought a tasty chicken shawarma wrap and we ate back in the office. An interesting days work, and the best kind for me, where I am simply allowed to sit with a pad and have ideas about a brief.

Thursday is the evening of free boozes in the agency, so also welcomed Matty boy's suggestion to join in in one. He told me then that he is going to be a father as Isy is expecting. Manly handshakes and congratulations over some beer and wine, and then proceeded to join in the fun office drinks with people from the agency. Interesting conversation with Lisa from Germany, and had a long chat with her about acting and liking Heidegger. Meeting Germans a good deal lately.

Home fairly late and dozing on the train, before heading blearily home to Lorraine and floating blissfully into bed.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's a date

Tea and toast this morning in Edgware, Mum and Mas about to spend the day preparing to visit France for a few days with Tanya and Robert. Enjoyed walking off to Stanmore in the fresh-ish air.

Yippe! A text from Lorraine to say we've booked the registrar for the wedding: Saturday 26th October.  Now it's about finding the money to pay for it. Looking forward to to this beano immensely. Then down to Euston. Another pleasant day at work, and everyone seemed pleased enough in the reviewing progress meeting this afternoon.

First Matie had cycled into work for the last couple of days, and this, in combination with glimpsing my sumo-like self in the mirror of the bedroom at mum's house meant that when I got home, I simply dropped my stuff off and went to the gym for a virtuous late work out. Slightly starving when I got home, but reheated some old vegetable chilli and drank a good deal of water. Deliciously virtuous.

Nice to be back snoozing in my own bed with my own Lorraine (and my own Calliope) tonight.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reading pleasure

Off to the smoke again, in sunshine. Reading more of The Pleasure of the Text, by Roland Barthes, which was on my reading list while at university, but only now, thirty years later, am I actually savouring it properly and not trying to speed read it. Fascinating about the bliss of reading. Makes me want to smoke Gitanes in a raincoat.

Work fun, and sloped off for lunch with Slug and First matie. I had already consumed hummus and oat biscuits at my desk. Had a cheeky beer at lunchtime for the first time in absolutely ages, and after having first worked with Slug about ten years ago, am only now really getting to know him.

After work off by tube to Stanmore to see Mum and Mas now with two cats. The new interloper, Felix, a nervous black and white cat. And of course Salty, who is full of the status anxiety that comes from finding that you are now on equal footing with nothing better than a stray. Attended to some wine with Mum and sat about chatting with Mum and Mase for some hours.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Up to London

Up sleepily to the Smoke this morning, working on the business book on my laptop and sipping tea from my flask. Feeling less sore throaty and wussy this morning. A pleasant day at work, doing some interesting work before galloping back to St Pancras and home to Brighton listening to a podcast.

Lorraine meanwhile had broken off from work this afternoon, grabbed Dawn and had been doing wedding business. They looked at the room in the Pavilion that we might use, and discussed available days with the registry office, and popped back to the venue we looked at for afterwards. It seems October 26th is all but in the bag, will confirm things shortly. I'm excited. Although it has to be said that the Kenny coffers are squirming with apprehension.

Arrived home shortly before 8.00pm and lorraine and I made steamed veg, fish and brown rice. I like these nights, although Lorraine is tetchy on her low calorie days and has to be handled carefully.

Thinking of planning an intervention, gathering close friends and family to confront Lorraine with her Candy Crush habit. She claims her Candy Crush habit is completely under control, but I have my doubts. I play a bit, but I can handle it.

Below one of those things downloaded from the Internet that aptly describe the creative process within an agency. On the wall of the agency I am working at.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A little facetime

Slightly dreary Sunday. Both L and I feeling slightly under the weather with sore throats. We did have the intense excitement however of going down to the Brighton Marina, walking about  in windy carparks and having the car washed. The sea a peevish green, and very wild for June. Did shopping and so on, and returned home only to crash out on the sofa. Rousing ourselves from time to time to write letters from giraffes, and discuss at some length wedding plans until my head hurt.

Lorraine playing on her new iPhone and syncing it with her iPad. When you scratch the surface of Lorraine just underneath is a tech nerd. She is also pleased to have an iPhone as she can play Candy Crush on that too. She has been using iPhone facetime with Beth too, which is rather good. The faces come up really clearly. I had never used it until today either, when I facetimed Lorraine who was sitting next to me for a conversation.

Then we watched Les Revenants, which like Twin Peaks appears to have a shape changing murderer, then bed not too long after.

Below snaps of the cold seaside in Flaming June.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Greene Room

Up fairly brightly this morning. Off on a series of missions after breakfast. But not before Matt had texted me to listen to a Radio 4 news show which featured a play about Gordon Brown, which Matt and I have been discussing writing an opera about.

We went to check on a venue for our wedding party. We looked at the Greene Room, named after Graham Greene, upstairs in the Cricketers. Lorraine in work mode, and shaking hands with people. It seems an excellent venue though. Also walked about doing some shopping, Lorraine's phone contract was up and now she is the proud owner of an iPhone 4s like mine. Except hers is a black one. The pleasant lad who dealt with us is in the TAs and had lately returned from Afghanistan, not often that I find it hard to imagine what someone has been through as I talk to them.

Went to give back a plastic pistol to Matt, who had used it to brandish during his stampede of a few weeks ago. Had a cup of tea at his place and were impressed with Irish Tom who was making crab cakes. Off to The Basketmakers with Matt and Irish Tom for a cheeky beer, but sensibly left before the desire to booze took hold. Tom talking with some animation about his trip to Normandy for the D-Day celebrations, which he knows an enormous amount about.

L and I bumped into Tanya and Catherine on the way home, and had a discussion with them about weddings as they are the poster girls for weddings in Brighton, as their wedding is featured in the brochure for Brighton and Hove wedding ceremony brochure.

A quiet night indoors, and I sloped around to the Shahi to collect an eat at home curry.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Worked at home, then packed up and went to the gym for another workout. From there to the ideologically unsound Starbucks where I consumed a cinnamon swirl and a large cup of tea, and had another good session. I can't understand exactly why I work well in Starbucks when I have a perfectly good study. I can only put it down to a simple change of perspective, and perhaps that I had been exercising in the gym. Really making great strides with the book.

In the afternoon contacted by the folks in Tavistock Square, to discover that I am wanted for freelance up in London next week. Only omnipotent God knows what the story will be on Monday. But the prospect of a bit of coffer top up definitely pleasing.

Lorraine out with various ladies, and Anton, called around for me. He was only partially recovered from a lively night taken out by the agency he employs, which involved several shots called Jägerbombs. I had a few drinks as Anton supped glasses of water and the occasional half, in The Signalman and slightly lairy The Open House and the occasional half before he retired home.

I went to Circus Circus, where my lovely Lorraine appeared at my elbow as I approached the bar, and we sat chatting happily about our various plans and schemes happily for a while before we sloped home. I again bought an Ace pizza which regrettable, but strangely delicious.

A happy end to the week.

Below interesting how Anonymous and other groups are inspiring a new generation of political consciousness. These flypost in Brighton featuring the now ubiquitous anonymous face based on the Guy Fawkes character in Alan Moore and David Lloyd graphic novel V for Vendetta.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The victims of Mrs Nasty

At the crack of dawn this morning, First Matie took Mary her mother to hospital for her hip replacement operation. Unfortunately the surgery had to be cancelled at the last minute thanks to a cat scratch near the site of the incision perpetrated by Mrs Nasty, the cat who lives with Katie's mother in the Forest of Dean.

Naturally galling for Mary. But it also meant that First Matie's journey from London was in vain, and that her holidays had to be rescheduled so she could look after her mother in a few weeks. Mrs Nasty's disruption spread from the Forest of Dean, to Leeds where Kate's brother had to also change his holiday plans, down to Brighton where the pesky feline has lost me a week's freelance work, as I was going to be used as cover for Katie. She called me in the evening, and we laughed about the influence of Mrs Nasty, who is like one of those chaotic butterflies whose single wing flap causes disaster on the other side of the world.

The plus side is that I am now steaming ahead on the book I am writing with large strides every day. I took myself off to Starbucks for 11:30 after having worked at home for several hours, and worked there for several more. Sometimes a simple change of scene is a great stimulus. As I worked, a thick sea mist descended and glancing up from my MacBook Air I noticed that the taller buildings at the end of the street had all been concealed. I was so deep in thought that I'd been staring into space, but in reality at the man sitting in front of me, who on focusing on him I discovered was shifting uncomfortably.

Lorraine on one of her starving days, and working from home when I returned from the great outdoors. I cooked her the fish and rice and vegetable meal we eat on these days. I really like it, and find it cleansing. Lorraine off to a Governors meeting later and arrived home tired and hungry.

Watched several Frazier shows this evening, and still enjoying them immensely. Intermittent ear ache today.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chortling Martians

An excellent two days on the book.  I have been writing about aliens in advertising, which has compelled me to watch the ancient Cadbury's Smash commercial, with its ridiculous chortling martians mocking humankind for mashing up potatoes as opposed to reconstituting a nasty starchy gloop.

Off to have a hair cut, as the sheep head thing was happening again. A beautiful day it was too, despite the heat nicely fermenting the piles of rubbish on the streets. After my crop, off to the gym where I bumped into Claudius, where we discussed medical matters and the Shakespeare Heptet before a very satisfying session. Nice to saunter home in the sun.

Otherwise, property various toings and froings over my house in the Twitten which I am preparing to get valued as well as Lorraine weasel wrestling her estate agents. Stressful.

Eventually discovered that I am not needed at Tavistock Square tomorrow, which gives me another day to get on with the book, good news as I am in the zone.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Zombie dodging

The Tobster's birthday. A good morning's work on the book, revelling in a bit of clarity and time. Broke off to go to the gym, a spontaneous carefree feeling as I trundled creakily on the cross trainer, and even did a bit of rowing on the rowing machine. Feeling cheery all day.

Lorraine singing in her choir and I walked off to the old market in Hove to hear some poetry and read a few of mine. Sat awkwardly at a table with uncommunicative poets until the thing was over and beat a retreat. Not really enjoying the poetry there, and can't enter the social side of it with any gusto.

Walked back along Western Road loving the fresh air after being in a stuffy room, and being able to glimpse the sea.

There has been a rubbish collectors industrial action lately, and central Brighton is disfigured by piles of rubbish being spread about in the breeze. Several homeless people about, and I hurried past a ring of half a dozen homeless folks in a doorway.

On the way home, I met Matt in the 3 Jolly Brewers. He has been reading The Damned United about football manager Brian Clough and loving it. Talking about the rubbish situation on the streets, and he said he'd overheard two blokes on the train saying 'Brighton? Like fuckin' 28 days later'. Actually they are right. It looked like a post apocalyptic zombie film tonight. Nice to catch up with him, and leave the empty pub and wander down the sleepy streets.

Once safely in bed with Lorraine, and Calliope, I spoke to Toby. Good chatting to my bro and looking forward to supping a few pints with him soon. And so to sleep.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Love and French Zombies

A sober day of restraint. Up late and off shopping, after eating a Quorn sausage sandwich with mustard in bed, brought to me by my lovely, and discussing plans for the wedding. Drove off, taking circuitous routes around the place to avoid the bulgy-calfed London to Brighton bicycle riders.

I needed a new office chair, mine having spontaneously exploded a week or so ago while I was innocently sitting on it. We ended up at a place called Staples where I bought a chair called a Tweddle, which after assembling (and then reassembling it as I noticed it didn't look like the picture on the Chinese instructions) comfortable on the back, but a tad unforgiving on the rear. Perhaps my buns will steel themselves.

Otherwise shopping with Lorraine. I always thought Lorraine and I were very happy together, but it seems that having become engaged has made us even closer. Pootling about shopping together great fun. Life is sweet. Eating salad this evening, and Lorraine went off to meet one of her pals but came back after an hour or so of celebratory bubbles.

Also bought a new electric toothbrush which is more agricultural than my last one, although it does the job it also vibrated my head violently.

Spoke to Mum and Mas. They are knee deep in cat politics as Mum has taken in a stray called Felix. Salty is unimpressed. Mas urging me to watch a French series that L and I had started watching last week. The Returned (Les Revenants) is a supernatural crime thriller set in an Alpine Village. It is definitely reminiscent of Twin Peaks (in a good way) but it is definitely its own thing with lots of French brooding and unexplained returns of dead people. Easily the best thing currently on TV.

Below a mother cuddles her zombie daughter in The Returned.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hangovers and hot stones

Dawn bright as a button before leaving early this morning. Lorraine finding getting up more difficult and stayed in bed till around 1pm, having had breakfast in bed. I got up early being plagued by despicable cats.

I was feeling queasy after last night's liveliness. Found a pile of cat sick in the bedroom, which I cleaned up. Fed the ungrateful weasels. Calliope guzzled her food as if she had been starved for many weeks, vomited it up twice, necessitating the cleaning of warm sick from two further locations.

Queased off to see Jewel for a 12 o'clock appointment where I had an hour's massage, with hot stones. Never had hot stones before, but they were hot and slid nicely around all the evil bits of my back. Came out from my massage being able to stand up straight for the first time in what feels like weeks. Jewell does an excellent job and I left feeling like a new man. Even the queasiness had worn off. I sensibly made another appointment for a month's time.

A nice evening strapping on an enjoyable curry nosebag in the Shahi with Jess and Andrew, who were full of helpful advice having recently got married. After eating a good deal, we then sloped off to Circus Circus, for a few more celebratory drinks. All rather fun. Getting to know Andrew better these days. He is an accountant and so has ninja skills in areas where I have none.

Friday, June 14, 2013

My spirit eats oranges

Woke up having had a dream that I was with Lorraine in a caravan parked in Tanfield Avenue in Neasden. A street my family lived in till I was 12.  A golden eagle was flying around the caravan, and Lorraine opened the door to it and the eagle walked in. She fed it with oranges, which it seemed to enjoy. I think it was my spirit animal.

Up and another good morning on my book. Lorraine working from home too. Today I was writing about the Dutch angle or Dutch tilt, which is also known as the Batman angle. This is where the camera is tilted away from the horizontal. In the 1960s Batman series, the villains were always shown in their various lairs with a Dutch tilt, to emphasise their crooked scheming.

After eating some vegetable chili at home, L and I had a naughty evening drinking with Dawn, Anton, Rosie in the Battle of Trafalgar. I think it was the normally light drinking Dawn who suggested drinking Tuaca, which is a sweet liqueur. A noisy night with much laughter. Felt a bit sorry for Rosie, who was emotionally blackmailed to come out, and having come out was later poured into a taxi after several of the aforementioned liqueurs.

I shepherded L and Dawn home as Dawn was staying the night and made toasted cheese on my return smug that I had drunk some soda and lime instead of boozes during the night.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Zen and strawberry tarts

At last a good day's work on the book. Head full of Zen stuff as a consequence and did an ensō this morning, which I found rather fun, and instructive as I found myself writing about them.

A very nice letter from Helen Moser my new pen friend in Germany, who has shown my poem about Heidegger to Dr Denker the head of the Heidegger archive close to where she works as a translator, and he liked it.

At three, and having worked steadily since eight, the brain was empty. What better time then to zoom off to see Janet and Ken, via the Real Patisserie where I scored some incredibly delicious strawberry tarts. Long, wide ranging chat with Janet and Ken and Huss over aforementioned tarts and cups of tea.

Home, and Lorraine was back home at a good time at last. We cooked and ate steamed veggies, fish and brown rice then as it was still light and the weather suddenly improving we sauntered around the park for an hour, watching a noisy jays versus rook war on the top of a large tree, and discovering that the two large hollow English Elms near the walled garden are called the Preston Twins, and are 400 years old. This makes them the oldest extant English elms in the country, if not the world. Brighton and Hove's elms mysteriously survived the virulent Dutch Elm Disease that has destroyed the UK's elm population since the 1970s. Long may they survive.

Sauntered about in the rock garden, enjoying flowers and being outside for some time, then home to watch a BBC documentary about cats who were running about doing cat business with cameras on their collars. If there's one thing I learned is that cats lead double lives.

Below this morning's ensō.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ensō craze

A novelty horror-free day. Lorraine, poor thing, had to be up at six in what is turning out to be a bit of a week from hell work wise.  I was up and about before seven. Worked today on the business book, caught up with a little correspondence, including from Joan who had sent a note wishing Lorraine and I well. Writing to her made me long to visit Deviation Road again. It's like Tom Bombadil's house out there on Deviation Road in Ontario.

Spoke to Janet and arranged a cup of tea with her and Ken tomorrow. They were pleased to hear about Lorraine and I.

In writing the book I am having to read up a lot about Ensō, which I have decided is my latest craze. These are pictures of circles drawn in one stroke by calligraphers influenced by Zen. They require an empty mind, and how you ink your circle reflect the way you are tuned into the world. I love the idea of painting an Ensō every day, and have been thinking and writing about circles a good deal, even creating one of sorts this evening.

Lorraine incredibly busy. Three of her schools now have ofstead inspections this week, and the school she is a governor at also has one. We did a quick shop in Sainsbury's where we met today's representative of the Turner clan: Adrian and had a chat by the vegetables.

Then we drove off in the unspeakably driving rain in the car to Sing Li to buy some fish and chips, to save time on cooking. Mighty fine they were too.

Here is an example of an Ensō. They can be incomplete, such as this one, or closed.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


After working as best I could, and watching a couple of lunchtime Fraziers, off to the hospital. After my exploratory op last month, the consultant told me that everything looked fine, and he'd put in an appointment for four months time. So when I got an 'urgent fast track' appointment I felt understandably apprehensive.

I had managed my hypochondria exceptionally well (by my standards), but I felt very stressed walking up in the fine rain to the cloud-shrouded Gormenghast of the hospital on the hill. By the time I arrived, I convinced myself that I had one of about a dozen dire outcomes. Unfortunately my writing about healthcare has turned me from a hypochondriac to an expert hypochondriac.  

The reception staff seemed to look sombrely at my file. The pleasant consultant's serious expression instantly confirmed the worst. He asked me how I'd been, and listened gravely to me telling him that everything seemed to be good. He told me that the results had all come back negative, which is good news. Then he paused and I waited for the 'but'. But, he said, if we're lucky you won't have to see me again.

Essentially I was being released back into the wild, cured. This was fantastically good news, and I should have been dancing with relief. But as well as relieved I also felt flat and drained. I had been suppressing much  anxiety about this over the last couple of weeks, and all of it for nothing. There is a lesson here. Also the realisation that inevitably one of these visits for something won't have such a happy outcome, and I will have to find a better way of dealing with it.

A free man, I popped into Sainsbury's where I bumped into the lovely Claire Turner and had a nice chat with her. Spoke to Lorraine, who was relieved to hear that all was well. Gallingly had yet another of her schools stricken by an ofstead inspection, so she was back some time after ten. I spoke to the Mum and the Tobster briefly tonight.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Old friends

Started my Monday thinking about Tuesday, where I have another visit to the hospital. Up before seven and off to work. Much happier journey this morning, and did my relaxation meditation, drank nice tea from my flask and listened to a Good Reads podcast. First Matie pleased with herself, having cycled virtuously into the office.

I had a good day's work developing a couple of concept routes and writing copy to apparent satisfaction. I was sitting opposite Karam who had a small plastic spoon, The Spoon of Doom, which has a smiley face in blue or a scowly one in red depending on his mood, projecting from a blue-tac base from the top of his screen. Such is the stuff office life is made of.

Curious attack of nerves presenting in a small and not at all scary meeting.

After work a 25 minute walk from Tavistock Square to The Jerusalem Tavern in Farringdon. This is five minutes from where I did some work at the end of last year. Nice little faux-ancient pub, with delicious beer. There met Anton and his old friend Alexis who he has got in touch with again lately. I'd not seen Alexis for well over a decade, and it was great to see him and Anton reconnecting. They were like brothers when they were teenagers. Alexis now has three sons, a PhD and works in science education.

Luckily from Farringdon there is a train straight to Brighton, and even more luckily we only had to wait five minutes. Popped into the Battle of Trafalgar in Brighton for a half at ten to eleven. Then I sauntered home, armed with a shameful Ace pizza, arriving at 11:40, just after Lorraine who had been working very late helping a school which is having its ofstead inquisition.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

At ease

Hard to get out of bed this morning. First Matie, having been turfed from her hotel four-poster bed, came around and we set off to Southease where Kate had lived for a while. Hung about chatting in this beautiful little village, and nosing in the church and sitting on a bench by the village green hearing rooks chuckle and caw like a bevvy of cider drinkers in the trees, and watching the wind ripple a distant corn field.

We encountered a slow worm that had recently dropped its tail on a path. Its defense was simply not to move until we were safely away. We walked around the quiet village, with its lovely old lichened buildings and crossed the little bridge over the river where the wind was surprisingly cold.

After this mini-outing, we drove into Brighton for a roast lunch and a pint at the Signalman, before we had fond farewells with First Matie at the station. Lorraine and I then met Rosie in the Battle of Trafalgar, and sat in the back garden in the re-emerged sun. We crossed the road to the Sussex Yeoman, were Rosie had some roast and Lorraine and I had a guilty desserts as we put the world to rights.

A quiet evening indoors, after something of a lively weekend.

Below two interiors in Southease church, some snaps outside the church and a stumpy slow worm.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Back in the Basketmakers

Gorgeous day, sunny with a nice breeze. Dawn brought L and I a cup of tea in bed this morning, before she melting away like a little elf. I got up and made us breakfast in bed, feeling a tad jaded from last night's drinking.

Another house viewing this afternoon, so we tidied up somewhat, and went to meet Betty who was passing through Brighton. She was a bit sorry for herself, having done a late show last night, got up at the crack of dawn to take a drama class in Redhill, back to Brighton to pick up her case, and then off to Kingston to do her five hour pub shift.

For Lorraine and I had a classic Basketmakers session from tea time, people joining us to celebrate, via the medium of beer, our engagement. First Matie was down from London, treating herself to a hotel room with a four poster bed and walking around the North Laine looking chic in a red raincoat. Anton was free and joined us despite for altogether wrong headed reasons not being a lover of the Basketmakers, Matt and John were there too, decompressing after Matt's parents just having left for Yorkshire. John full of his plans for his sixtieth birthday bash. Had some nice food and a few beers spread out over hours. Lots of quality gossip to be had, sadly most of it unbloggable at this point. Cath joined us later after a hard day's flint knapping, claiming that if the apocalypse happened, she would be able to fashion hunting weapons and axes. Useful to know.

Sauntered home with Lorraine and Cath, and enjoyed an hour or so on the gold sofa. Lorraine watching Swedes efficiently murder each other again.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Wrong side of the bed

One of those days in which I simply got out of the wrong side of the bed. Ran around the house stressing as I searched for unfindable lost things. Lorraine up at the same time, quietly prepared a flask and some toast for me to eat on the run. Almost choked on the toast crossing the road, then to the station, where I had to buy at ticket, and bought the more expensive one by mistake. Onto the train and decided to listen to a meditation track to get my act together. Was just walking down the hypnotic stairs down into the lovely garden when the woman opposite started barking string of infuriating inanities (starting with'I'm on the train. On. The. Train.') for the next twenty minutes. Decided then to listen to Bob Marley only to discover that my new earphones had an infuriating hissiness in one of the ears.

Poured out some tea from my flask, thinking lovingly of Lorraine and texting her, however the tea tasted strongly of raspberries left over from previous use. Into work, naturally my badge wouldn't let me into the office. Once admitted I swapped it for a new one, which I managed to break by the end of the day.

Given a sketchy brief, for which I instantly had a good idea for, which was squashed just as instantly for no good reason. Reacted tetchily to this, and created a difficult atmosphere. I had to apologise. Later, and quite suddenly, it was decided my idea was not rubbish after all. Sigh. I really have to do something else with my life now.

A quick chat with First Matie made me feel more human, as did the lengthy joke about a tractor fancier she told me in the afternoon. The rest of the day passed off with out incident. Left the office but then realised I had left my specs on the desk, returned to the office, found my specs were actually in my bag all along. Missed train. Gah.

Home at last, and the stress and tetchiness I'd been feeling dissipated. Lorraine and Dawn at home, and we went for a drink. I attended to lager with some gusto. And suddenly the world was fine again. Lorraine is, of course, the tops and Dawn is tops too. All well.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Reggae day

Managed to work on the business book for some time, which seemed the first time I've had a chance to focus on it properly. At least until Sonia came. Apparently Sonia is buying a new house and getting married in August.

Long chat with Matty boy, who was in a German Taxi, who phoned to congratulate L and I, and then had a really interesting conversation about the theory of marketing.

Winnowed out into the outside world later in the afternoon to buy salady things and a pair of sunglasses and look at Bob Marley CDs. I am in a full blown Bobathon at the moment. If it isn't Bob Marley I don't want to listen to it. Been listening to early recordings produced by Lee Scratch Perry. Rather splendid and undilutedly Jamaican. Took me back thirty years to when I was at the height of my Bob Marley craze. His death in May 1981 meant at least as much to me than that of John Lennon who died five months earlier.

Late in the day I was invited to work up in Tavistock Square tomorrow. Spent the evening irritably faffing about and failing to find lost things.  Lorraine having nice chats with people, including one with Sam which made her feel very happy. And so to bed.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Twinkling by the newty pool

Had Lorraine's ring re-sized. It looked sparkly, especially in this weird sun stuff we are having. The jewellers looked hard at the diamond as if it were a fake and started talking happily about  a flaw deep in the diamond, till they realised they were looking at the setting. Also some palaver about the jeweller having to be asked if he would deign to resize it, given that it was not one of his rings. The prospect of his palm crossed with silver seemed to do the trick however. A good job was done, and I brought it home to Lorraine who was working at home this afternoon and she was soon twinkling it.

Otherwise up early, and sent the website copy off, and it seemed to go down well. Otherwise being continually distracted by things like housecleaning, laundry and other time consuming stuff. More happily I managed to go to the gym, for a fairly decent workout. The combination of post-operation lunching and lounging, plus some dedicated knife and forkwork in Guernsey have rendered me porky.

Had someone visit the house this afternoon necessitating cleaning, and L and I have a walk in the park and to twinkle over a cup of tea by the newty pool. A nice evening, with Beth at home with her chum Emily. Supper with these girls before they went out. And so to bed. Lorraine playing the candy crush game until her eyes closed.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

A gnostic giraffe

Up with the larks this morning, or more accurately with the infernal Calliope who, because it is light, is waking me earlier each morning.

A day writing the copy for an agency's own website. An interesting job, and a new client for me. The agency in question seem to have a clear idea of what they want to say, and I was instructed to dial down 'the agency bollocks'. Most refreshing.

This took up the day, with pauses for conversation with the ever-bouncy Max about weddings and also about Skiddadle, a giraffe that little Elijah left here after a party once, and wasn't found until discovered recently wedged behind a wardrobe, near some Aramaic scrolls. I intend to send it back to Elijah with an account of its travels. Also talked to Bob, who was loping through Manchester on the way to train people in legal software.

When Lorraine got home we stole away to the Shahi for a cheeky bite, as working up in the warm study on website copy had produced a keen need for a pint of lager and spiced food. One of our two favourite waiters, handed Lorraine his card with his PhD on it, and his job title as anaerobic digestion specialist. A job title you don't see every day, as he works in sustainable technology.

Betty popped back to stay this evening having gone to bingo with Laura.

Monday, June 03, 2013


Up early and Lorraine off to work. Another amazing day of sunshine. I started to turn the tanker of my emotions away from holiday cheer to getting on with stuff.  However I told lots of friends about Lorraine and I, which meant I had texts or spoke to Anton, Carl, Sophie, Bob, First Matie and Matt -- plus putting a mention on Facebook has an amazing amount of response and good wishes.

Walked Pat and Maureen to London Road station, they were being really nice and are evidently delighted by our decision. Then back home to phone the Pembertons who are, um, managing the property in the Twitten as the tenants had contacted me.

Beth at home this morning before returning to Kingston to work. Betty very supportive of the whole marriage scheme. Over some lunchtime noodles watched some of The Mighty Boosh on the gold sofa with her. This was a wonderfully surreal show, which makes me laugh out loud.

In the evening cooked for Lorraine who is on one of her starving days. Walked her off to the choir practice.  I had time to watch the biographical documentary Marley by Kevin McDonald, which was excellent. Although I have read lots about Bob Marley this documentary gave me some fresh insights and wonderful footage of Bob doing his thing. It made me want to listen to all my Bob Marley chooones again. The man was a one-off wonder, not least because he could inhale marathon spliffs first thing in the morning and then go for a huge runs. Apart from the spiritually necessary imbibing of weed, he lived very healthily.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Happy Returns

Up early to pack, after a bad, possibly cheese-inflected night of nightmares. The first into the restaurant this morning for a hearty full Guernsey breakfast, and then a cab to the airport.

Both of us feeling sad to leave after what had been such a wonderful break. This morning beautiful too, and the early flight back to England smooth. The weather not so good as in Guernsey with cotton wool clouds, but not bad at all compared to what it had been like lately. Through Gatwick, and to Brighton by train, playing this infernal iPhone and iPad game called Candy Crush which Lorraine is addicted to and has got me hooked too.

Beth, who Lorraine had told our news, waiting for us at the station with a bunch of roses. Lorraine crying with happiness. I am very pleased that Beth is happy about it. Home by cab in time for lunch. Pat and Maureen had been looking after Lorraine announced our news and I am pleased to say they were both very happy too. I called Mum and told her too. Mum said that she and Romy had been speculating on this subject lately. When I spoke to Toby later he too wasn't particularly surprised. Nobody seems appalled at the idea, which is nice. Lorraine also spoke to Sam, who was happy for us too. And we both spoke to a tearful Dawn, who was completely happy for us.

A roast dinner at The Signalman, followed by watching some tennis on TV with Pat and Maureen followed by a much-needed, slow and quiet evening. L and I to bed, feeling a bit sad that it is back to normality tomorrow.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

A long walk in loveliness

A kippery breakfast for me, and a haddocky one for Lorraine. After a slow start and, with a moment's sad pause, asking Lorraine to apply sunblock to the area of concern we ambled down towards Moulin Huet again, but turned onto the cliff path to Jerbourg. Another stunning, almost painfully beautiful day as we wended around the coastline looking down on the blue water and out at the cloudless sky.

Once at Jerbourg we had some much-needed tea from the kiosk and then walked smartly to Icart on the roads, admiring the gardens en route. Arriving there an hour later (somewhat footsore) we met Richard and Jane, and Holly the dog . We went to the tea garden, for helpings of Guernsey gâche and carrot cake. The mad-hatterish theme maintained as we poured our teas only to discover that the pot contained a rogue peppermint bag too. A happy hour chatting with Richard and Jane in the sun. I wish this was something we could do once a week.

Kindly dropped off back at La Barbarie, but the bar suddenly magentised us with the penetratingly good idea of cold lager. These carefully drunk and the paper read, a snooze before a duck supper. Andy the owner very pleasant and bought us a free bottle of wine with our meal. Sloped tiredly but happily to bed, although feeling sad at the idea of leaving tomorrow.

Below on the way down to Moulin Huet, snaps on the way to Jerbourg and the bottom one from Icart.