Thursday, October 31, 2013

The last glass

Last day in the Barbarie. Lorraine not wanting breakfast this morning, so I strapped on the nosebag alone, reading the paper. Andrew Coleman came and said hello, enquiring after Mrs Kenny. Lorraine is enjoying being called Mrs Kenny at the Barbarie, after several years of being there as my fancy woman.

A walk once we'd packed, back to Icart and a short turn on the cliffs. Tried out the panorama function on the iPhone. Both of us feeling quite sad to be leaving so soon, but so happy to have had this break and time together after all the frenzy of the last couple of weeks.

Back to the Barbarie for a ham sandwich, where I found I could not resist a final pint of beer. Then a taxi to the airport. The flight home obnoxious, the plane bouncing and bumping around. (The pilot had claimed it would be a 'relatively' smooth flight, a weasel word if ever I heard one). I hate not being able to see anything through the window, other than cloud, but when you can see nothing my imagination gets to work. Mercifully short though.

Collected the car, and Lorraine drove us home. The cats happy to see us, and actually really nice just to be able to collapse on the sofa. I cooked up a bit of pasta and great to sip mineral waters and teas. Went to bed shortly after nine, both feeling ready for bed, having been untroubled by trick or treaters.

Below two panoramas (click them to make sense of them) and the last glass.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fine friends and fine dining

Something of a slow start to the day, tucked into breakfast and hung about in a leisurely way, before going for a walk. Wandered down La Rue des Grons, looking wistfully at the old family home. Walked back into St Martin's where we caught a bus into town.

The driver refused to charge us double, which is a controversial new States of Guernsey policy, with the bus price for locals being half. By chance the bus also had one of my poems Hooked as a poster in it. You can't help but be cheered by this sort of thing.

Some wandering about in town, a spot of shopping, with Lorraine buying some tops, before meeting Richard and Jane in Delice. This is the new name for the old market square cafe I have haunted for many years. Richard and Jane had made it back to Guernsey safely, and had caught one of the few trains available, meaning they spent a good deal of time waiting at Gatwick. Good to be able to chat to them properly for a bit. Had a glass of wine, and they introduced us to galettes, which I'd never had before. These are folded crepes, and are delicious. Lorraine and I ate ones filled with goats cheese and bacon, and drizzled with honey, which really was delicious.

Fond farewells to Richard and Jane, then home again on the bus, for a nice doze.

That evening we caught a cab to The Auberge at Jerbourg, where we had an spendid and elegantly presented meal for Rosie, as a wedding present, had booked us a table there. I ate a starter of pan fried local scallops with twice cooked local pork belly, carrot & star anise puree, as a main I had pan fried sea bass fillet, cauliflower puree, crispy fried onion rings, sultanas, pine nuts, and capers. While Lorraine had a starter of Venison Tataki, which was thin slices of seared venison loin with sesame seeds, soy Sauce, rice wine vinegar & maple syrup with wasabi cream. For main course she had local scallops, pan fried in garlic butter with tiger prawns, and spring onion mash. Both of us had an elaborate blackberry parfait for afters, and shared a bottle of prosecco during the meal. All quite lipsmackingly good.

A cab home, talking about football with the driver, and then an absolute bloody final drink in La Barbarie before bed.

Below Lorraine snapped this shot of me beneath my poem on a bus. The plates wot I ate. Perhaps that should be the slates...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

With my wife in St Martin's parish

A lovely day in Guernsey with puffy white clouds hurrying across the blue sky. After a full Guernsey breakfast, much improved ingredients this time, spent much of the day wandering happily in the parish of my childhood. Pausing to put yellow flowers on my grandparents grave, and chatting to the woman in Brouards flower shop, going into St Martins, saying hello to La Gran'mère and telling her Lorraine and I had got married and other essentials.

We went into La Bella Luce and had a cup of pleasant but pricey coffee there, listening to strangely lounge style pop classics, including a very weird one just as we were leaving of Let's Stay Together, which was our wedding song.

Then down to Moulin Huet, which was at high tide. We sat on the bench overlooking the bay, watching large waves surge in and swell and whiten between the rocks.  For me this is one of the magical places in the world, and Lorraine is spellbound by it too. We spent an hour or so there, before climbing back up and then deciding to climb further up the water lane to the wishing pool, which Lorraine said, looking at me, works. Proof, as if any were needed, that supernatural forces had been at work in our marriage. We made our wishes, and I made an additional one for First Matie, for we had promised this.

I felt highly emotional all day. Feeling extremely happy about Lorraine and I, then like sobbing over Gwen and Dave's grave, transfixed by the beauty of Guernsey, then raging at people who tarmac their front gardens for their cars. Lorraine says she feels emotional too. Getting married is a very emotional business.

Also more house stuff to sort out, despite having told people I would be on honeymoon.

Back to the Barbarie for a deep late afternoon sleep, a good supper and a shared bottle of wine. So happy to be back there, and revelling in this time alone with Lorraine.

Below my lovely wife and I with La Gran'mère, the foot of the hill that leads up to the wishing pool, the ancient terracing on the hill, which you can see clearly in Autumn, and views of Moulin Huet with spotlights of sun on the sea.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hurricane honeymoon

Wild gales and hurricane force winds overnight. One of the Velux widows was yanked open by weird air pressure. And the rain battered the roof in a savage way. The morning a little calmer, though exceedingly blustery. No trains to Gatwick from Brighton, so Lorraine drove us. Luckily, we encountered no obstacles, and arrived in good time.

Amazingly the plane was exactly on schedule too. As we were flying into the remains of a hurricane, I took the precaution of taking a tranquilliser. But this proved unnecessary, for beyond a fair degree of lurching and sheering as we landed, it was a surprisingly pleasant journey, passing between white castles of cloud.

Waiting for the case to arrive on the carousel, glanced up to see people standing on Brighton beach discussing the weather on the TV. Pleasant local cab driver took us to La Barbarie. A warm welcome, and after Raivis gave us a free cup of tea and coffee we were upgraded to one of their lovely new rooms, where we found a small bottle of Tattinger champagne, a Guernsey lily and a handwritten card.

After unpacking we walked straight away to Icart point. Approaching this place I felt a huge wave of love for Lorraine and an intense certainty that we belong together. Stood hugging moist-eyed in the lane, and then went onto the cliffs. Nobody else mad enough to be on the cliff path as the wind felt so strong it could snatch us up and plonk us inland. We went back to the place where I had proposed and stood there surrounded by all the beauty in the salty buffeting wind, too strong to hold a camera still in. Lorraine's hair whipping about.

Then the wind bullied us around the headland towards Saints. The sea beautiful and the light changing quickly. Curiously hungry we walked to The Captains where we had a spot of lunch. The tranquilliser had definitely worn off by now for I found Eastern European charm school the barman had attended second rate. But I got over myself and we tucked into a pint and some lasagne and chips, enjoyably stodgy comfort food after walking in the gale. Back to La Barbarie looking at hydrangeas and oak apples and other things in hedges. The air unbelievably fresh.

The luxury of a quiet doze in the evening, and we sauntered back to the restaurant and had a three course meal and wine. Sat chatting happily in the bar afterwards before returning to the comfort of our room. It's rather nice to be married.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Aftermath in the Eagle

The house to ourselves, Lorraine sat in bed opening Wedding presents like kids on Christmas day.

Luckily we both felt fairly fresh this morning, Lorraine because she hadn't drunk too much, and me through audacious luck. After a hasty breakfast, we sped off to The Cricketers. The staff were dancing when we entered, and stopped sheepishly.  All very friendly, and we collected left over Sussex cheeses, various table dressings, flowers and other bits and pieces, and one of them told Lorraine that he thought it had been the best wedding they'd had there.

Then to Anton's place, where Anton, Anne and the bairns were in the car outside, and Anton let me in to collect my suit carrier. Hugs from Klaudia and Oskar, then we parked around the corner and stuffed my suit back into the suit carrier, flapping about in what had become a very strong wind.

Down to The Old Ship Hotel to collect Pat, Maureen, Mum and Mas. The wind down by the sea enough to lean into. Leaving the others for a few minutes, Mum and I walked via the suit hirers to return my wedding clothes, then to The Eagle where Lorraine had already driven the others before dropping the car off home. We had the room upstairs booked for us, although it was slightly atmosphere free we could all hear each other and sit down.

Sam and Jade (who I like a great deal) arrived quickly, then many of the London contingent of Matt and Isy, First Matie, Tasha, Craig and Mel, and locals Cath, Matt, John, Wayne and Irish Tom. Had a few more cheery drinks. Good to be able to spend more time talking with people. Nice chats with Pat and Maureen, who during the wedding had muttered darkly I am your mother in law now. I made her cry saying I would look after Lorraine. Mason enjoying chatting to Mel and Craig. Tash brought her dog Arthur with her, who happily hoovered up the bits of roast dinners we all ate.

Ken  the manager making sure we were all happy and supplied with roast dinners.

Even more presents given to us.

Then gradually everyone left, the Londoners off to London. Lorraine, Mas, Pat and Maureen off in a cab to the Old Church Hall. Mum and I walked home. Then after cups of tea Mum and Mas got a cab to the station, Pat and Maureen a cab back to the Old Ship. And then it was just Lorraine, Betty and myself. What a weekend.

But then we had to pack to go to Guernsey the next day. But this done with some trepidation as the gale began in earnest and the rain hammered down.

Photos to come

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I get married to Lorraine

Our wedding day started as usual with the cats plaguing us resentfully for breakfast. A bit of bleary tea sipping as an excited Beth bounded in, and shortly after the flower lady delivered the bouquets. Beth out to collect more gypsophilia as well as arancini and egghogs from the reassuringly middle class Arkwrights. Sam making coffee, and Lorraine and I cooking a large breakfast for everyone, figuring we'd be too nervous for food later.

Then Dawn arrived to take Lorraine, Beth and I in her wee green car, which we loaded with boxes of flowers, candles, table placings, iPod, etc. as well as the wedding cake that the lovely Dawn had made us, and drove off to the Cricketers. People were paid, tables were sprinkled, gypsophilia and white roses arranged, and emergency repairs done to the cake which had shifted slightly in the car.

Then all back home. Sam and Jade had left, and then all the ladies went off to Paul the uber-hairdresser  armed with sparkling wine. While they were there they were surprised by Amy arriving with judicious cups of coffee. In the end Paul did not charge Lorraine for her styling, as wedding present.

Meanwhile I paced nervously about, before jumping into a cab and going up to Anton's house.  Felt much more relaxed being with Anton and the bairns and Anne. Klaudia playing candy crush with me, and wiggling one of her molars in a rather sickening way before it came out.

Here I changed into my clothes. Light grey suit with tails, waistcoat of red and gold, gold and red cufflinks, my pointy Ted Baker shoes with dark red laces, a white winged collar shirt, and a burgundy cravat which, after struggling with in a futile way, Anne came and sorted out for me.  A good deal of nervous lurking about before the taxi arrived, which Anne, Anton, my Godbairns and I all piled into.

Only the presence of my Godchildren prevented me from freely sharing some opinions with the taxi driver who did not know where the Brighton Pavilion (the city's most famous building) was at this point. Oskar then asked me in a serious sort of way what would happen if Lorraine said no, which made everyone laugh, me in a slightly hysterical way.

Then to the All Bar One at 4:20. Feeling rather floaty with nerves at this point. Lots of people arriving there for a sharpener before the ceremony. Mum and Mas there, with Pat and Maureen, Bob, Matty boy, First Matie, Craig and Mel, Max and the French Bloke, Sue and John, Lesley and Jeremy. Matt assured me that the music was all sorted. I sipped a large gin and tonic, which rapidly melted the frozen stress feeling replacing it with a happy excitement.

Meanwhile, at The Old Church Hall, Ed, Kayleigh's boyfriend arrived in a Mercedes to drive Lorraine, Beth and Dawn to The Pavilion. Some colleagues of Lorraine outside to wave her in.

Anton and I walked across to where Sam was outside, suavely ushering people into the building. Richard and Jane, Janet and Ken already there. More people arriving as I gave my details to the registrar.  Then I sat nervously with Anton, breaking off to greet people. Ellie played pieces of violin music, which felt particularly appropriate in the stunning Red Room. Eventually we were asked to stand, and Ellie played the beautiful wedding fanfare that Matt had composed to be played on Lorraine's arrival. Beth and Sam leading the way, then Lorraine finally arriving.

Lorraine looked very beautiful, a gratifying intake of breath as she entered. She had the wild red shoes on, which were very high, the top secret beautiful mid calf ivory dress with a lace Bolero, her hair was all gleamy and gold, and she was made up beautifully. In her hair she was wearing a jewelled pearly headband and was beaming with smiles. She also had a sixpence in her shoe, given her by a teacher from one of the schools she works in.

We said our traditional vows to each other looking into each other's eyes. I thought I might feel all kinds of emotions, or like crying. But instead a huge feeling of happiness welled up in me as I looked at my lovely Lorraine, and we simply beamed at each other. Anton proffered the rings and I tried to put it on Lorraine's wrong hand but this aside all went smoothly.

Time to kiss the bride, which I did with gentlemanly enthusiasm and was kissed back, amid a round of applause from our guests who were our witnesses Dawn and Anton, Mum and Mas, Pat and Maureen, Beth, Sam and Jade, Sophie, Andros and Christof (who had broken off his first term in Oxford to be with us), Bob, Anne, Klaudia, Oskar and Anna, Richard and Jane, Ken and Janet, Sue and John, The French Bloke and Max, Matty boy and Isy, First Matie, Tasha, Brian, Kayleigh, Craig and Mel, Lesley and Jeremy, Rachel, Andrew and Libby, Helen, Matt, John, Rosie and Cath.  

The signing of the marriage certificate, photographed by Talib. Lorraine and I were then led to the beautiful Music room where a series of photographs were taken before we were led out to walk across town.

Slightly nervous about this as the weather was in treacherous mode, and it spotted with rain as Lorraine and I left the Pavilion. Amazingly it held off, and we followed Sam, leading the way nonchalantly smoking a cigarette as we walked through the lanes. A somewhat dreamlike experience, being flash photographed like celebs by Talib with people looking out of windows at Lorraine and I, and a small group breaking into applause as we passed them.

Then to The Cricketers, and pushed through the throng at the bar and made our way upstairs to The Greene Room where glasses of prosecco were poured. Once we'd got everyone inside, Sam made us a handsome toast, and I said a few words thanking everyone for coming on behalf of myself and Mrs Peter Kenny.

The caterers did us proud with the buffet, with a mixture of hot and cold food, gourmet mini-burgers, bacon and maple syrup sausage rolls, parmesan and black olive pastries, mini fish and chips, smoked salmon blinis and lots of other stuff.

Then it was time for our special dance, which is rather toe curling, but we squeezed each other to Al Green's Let's Stay Together. Some dancing then kicked off after that, which continued sporadically through the night. I danced, ladies shook tail feathers, and other people cavorted about.

Later came the cutting of the cake, which Lorraine and I stabbed unceremoniously. It proved to be delicious. Then Beth, accompanied by Amy on guitar, sang beautifully and movingly a song called Lovesong (written by The Cure) which was a lovely surprise. Lorraine crying. Later Beth, and Amy sang some Motown covers too, which everyone loved.

Another surprise: Dawn, Angie, Helen and Sarah (Lorraine's former Compton Road posse) then read a poem that Dawn had written celebrating our marriage.

Meanwhile lots more friends had arrived, including Paddy I was at school with, Glenda and Richard, Tanya and Catherine, Wayne, Richard and Maria, Claudius and his family, Steve Cartwright and Dipak, Lynn and Malcolm, Jess and Andrew, Lesley and Derek, Tracey, Carolyn, Irish Tom, Laura, Angie and Sarah, Clare and Reuben.

Lorraine and I had so many lovely conversations, hugs and congratulations. Just a lovely evening with so many wonderful people.

Lorraine and I, with Beth and Laura, eventually poured into a taxi at around two o'clock. Home and Lorraine and I getting ready to slope off to bed, as Laura and Beth set off to go clubbing. Exhibiting the hardiness of youth at 2:30am. I sprawled on the sofa, and Laura had helped me off with my shoes.

And so Lorraine and my wonderful day ended with us repairing to bed, man and wife.

Below Lorraine arrives outside, greeted by Sam; Lorraine entering the building; Anton, me and Dawn waiting for Lorraine to arrive; Lorraine walks in; during the vows; I sign on the dotted line; our guests inside the Red Room.

More wedding photos

Below after the ceremony in the Red Room, we pushed off to the Music Room in the Pavilion to have some snaps taken. Lorraine and I looking like we own the place.

Pat and Maureen, L & P,  Mum and Mas

Betty, L & P, Jade and Sam

Brian, Anna, L & P, Anton, with young Oskar and Klaudia

First Matie, Tasha, Isy, Matty boy, L &  P, bouncy Max, The French Bloke, Craig and Mel.

Libby, Rachel, Andrew John, Sue, L & P Jeremy and Leslie behind Jane and Richard 

Friday, October 25, 2013

The penultimate day

The wedding process on Lorraine's organiser down to its penultimate day of preparation. Up and scarfing Quorn sausage and egg sandwiches with Lorraine and Betty to fuel the day.

Lorraine showed me the box of memories that her friends had assembled. An old tin with a Japanese-style design, which, like the tins in The Basketmakers, was full of messages: all lovely things about Lorraine: poems, old coins, memories from the past of times with her girlfriends, and heart chocolates and so on which Lorraine obviously loved.

After breakfast Lorraine and Betty powered off, while I relished an hour trying to keep calm and smoothing the cats on the gold sofa. The ladies returned with the wedding dress, my wedding clothes, and Beth had bought me some wedding socks.  They had also picked up flowers for the table decorations. I was banned from Beth's bedroom due to Lorraine's wedding dress hanging in there.

Spent hours struggling with iTunes on my temperamental desktop. Lorraine came and sat with me when I wanted to punch the screens, then Beth and I downloaded tunes to to freshen up my old playlists, then adjust all the volume levels on the songs and so on.

Pat and Maureen arrived for supper, then formed a cottage industry with Betty and Lorraine arranging the table decoration vases, keeping the gypsophila from entangling by covering them with plastic shopping bags. Lorraine also showed Maureen her shoes, which after Maureen had said, I hope they're not the colour of your nails, then gasped with shock then delight when she saw them.

Lorraine and I then returned Pat and Maureen to Old Ship Hotel where they are staying for the wedding, and went to the station to collect Sam and Jade who had travelled down from Leeds.

It was the first time Beth and I had met Jade, and Lorraine had only met her once. I liked her right away, and she and Sam seem very well matched, down to bantering about philosophy in a way that mystified everyone else. We all stayed up for a while drinking and chatting with them. With Lorraine taking Jade off to see the dress and the amazing shoes.

Midnight, and it was time to go to bed. A big day, in fact THE big day, tomorrow.

Below one of Lorraine's shoes pictured in the shop when she first saw them, now waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Excitement mounts

Excitement mounting in the Old Church Hall.

Lorraine off to meet Betty, who came back this afternoon, to have their nails done, where Lorraine said they were told an appalling tale of a kitten being savaged by a terrier, but surviving.

I went to the gym, for mild mannered workout.  Bob called while I was there. Home and after I showered, Lorraine and Beth arrived brandishing gleaming red talons. Much scurrying about, mainly by me as Lorraine claimed her nails prevented her from doing anything. I cooked a spag bol then Lorraine and Beth sauntered out to be picked up in a taxi, for a girl's night out sipping cocktails with twenty of Lorraine's girlfriends.

Meanwhile I sauntered off to meet Matt in the Foundry, where we had a few cheeky beers and a good chat. Then to The Blue Man where the Shakespeare Heptet were doing their thing.

I'd never been here before, a lovely place, and the band playing well. Lots of folks there I knew. Chatted with Matt, members of the band, as well as a friend of Dipak's called Mike, Richard's wife Maria, and Pemma who I'd not seen for some time.

At around 11, just after Matt left, my lovely Lorraine and Beth arrived, and the three of us had an absolutely bloody final beer in the Waggon and Horses, wobbling on stools before grabbing a taxi home to eat toast, and I, less than sensibly, had a glass of bubbly before heading off to bed feeling little pain.

Below Lorraine and Betty ready to go out. The top one a selfie taken by Beth; the groovy scene in The Blue Man.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Red room

Lorraine off work now too. So we are both feeling officially holidayish. She up and off to Hove to have her hair lovingly tended to. After going to the gym in the morning I met Lorraine, with gleaming sleek hair, outside the Pavilion.

We went inside to meet Sarah, who took us through again for a look at the Red Room, which I'd not seen. Lovely venerable room, with paintings of the nobility and plush touches of the Orientalism that pervades the whole building.  Sarah then walked us through to the Music Room, which although Id seen it before, I was still taken aback at the visual feast it represents, and it will be a marvellous backdrop to the doings of Saturday, which is where we'll have some snaps taken.

Meanwhile my solicitor says things seem to be on the move and I authorised her today to sign the contract on my behalf. This means, God willing, that the sale will go through in the next few weeks. Officially parking the whole house sale malarkey and its attendant stress till after the wedding now.

Home to attend to various correspondences and then we had a quiet night apart from the bottle of bubbly Lorraine insisted we drink. All well.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Getting my ducks in a row

Trying to forge a semblance of organisation, getting my ducks in a row.

Property ducks: wrote to solicitors, the house buyers and so on. By the end of the day it seems like things are edging towards completion. Have now done all I can do on this, so am going to forget all about it till after the wedding.

Project ducks: Dawn around for an hour this afternoon, planning a writing session for gifted and talented children using a wartime bunker and the power of the imagination. It is an interesting project.

Gym ducks: still feeling like I don't have the full bounce, but did a reasonable session. Amazing how after ten minutes or so your mood naturally and very quickly lifts. It is worth exercising simply for the psychological lift it gives you if nothing else. Popped into the pharmacy today, which is being redecorated but is still working. A single desk and till in a stripped bare brick room, with rooms behind where the pharmacists are working still the same.

Wedding ducks: wrote a brief for Talib, a friend of Betty's who is going to take photographs. Lorraine got a reply from the Cricketers. Texts from Betty, and cards from folks. Including Toby and Romy, and a call from Lorraine's Aunty Doris. (Lorraine has an impressive five aunts all like Maureen).

In the evening L and I watched the final of the Great British Bake off. Retreating into a world of crumbs and soggy bottoms.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Back up to Tavistock Square. Train late. Worked very hard on lots of digital copy with charming people, but this made the day pass in a flash, only squeezing in time to talk to my solicitor about the house sale, correspond with the buyers and so on. The house sale drags at me like a giant tapeworm. Today the buyer's solicitors took a turn to be squirm hatefully in the GI tract of the sale.

Nice chats with Matty boy, Pat and First Matie.

Then a draggy journey home. Someone under a train somewhere, meant delays, two trains replaced by one small one, and crammed with passengers. Arrived home feeling tetchy and stressed. Lorraine returned home from singing in the choir to compose an email to the Cricketers, after an unsatisfactory reply. Rain enthusiastic. Saturday will probably be wet. Gah.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The turning of a page

Up and off to Steyning to see Dawn for danish and coffee. Dawn's charming daughter Ellie is staying with her at the moment, and Russ, Ellie's nice boyf with a beard.

Lots of chatting with Dawn, about the wedding, and also planning the session for gifted and talented children we will do early in November.  Lots of ideas flying about, Lorraine joining in too. When I've worked in schools before I have been thrown in the deep end and had to sink or swim mostly alone, so working with Dawn will be great, and I can learn lots from her.

Home and then to The Basketmakers for a late lunch and to catch up with Matt. An utter deluge just before we left, and during our walk there. Preston Road at the bottom of our street, a running torrent. A couple of snaps below, but what it fails to capture is the rushing sound the water made.

Dried off in the Basketmakers, eating a roast that was exponentially better than last week's one in the Signalman. A couple of beers with Matt and chatted to Irish Tom.  Tom the manager who has been running the Basketmakers for the last few years to general acclaim, and Kate who is Tom's lovely new fiancée (who has also worked with him there for the last year or so) completed their last-ever shift, to a smattering of applause and photographs. They are off to New Zealand,where Kate is from, to start a new life together there. Wished them good luck on the way out, with kisses and shaken hands, and they wished us good luck for next Saturday. The turning of a page.

Home to a quiet night in, girding my loins for a day up in London tomorrow, and Lorraine has two days to do, before we both focus entirely on the wedding.

Below the impromptu river along Preston Road, and Tom and Kate bid farewell. The people photographing them at the time out of shot. Irish Tom far right in the bottom shot.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Taking care of business

L and I up and at em' (albeit slowly) this morning. Off to The Cricketers to discuss things about next week. A bit of wrangling with them, for although we booked the rooms for the day, they have also booked in a small party there during the afternoon, potentially disrupting our decoration of the room.  All part of the process, but wearying.

This done off to get my hair, or what remains of it, cut. Area of concern is fully established now; a powerful country in a fading continent of head hair. An attentive cut that involved taking care of business with a new upsurge in replacement hairs such as eyebrows, rogue neck hairs, ear sprouts etc. for a £10. Bargain.

To the gym then, for a substantial workout, having been up in London for the last few days. Home and football focus on the gold sofa, a bit of a snooze, then off to Seven Dials, still half asleep, to meet up with Rosie to celebrate her birthday (which is the day after mine) with some of her pals.

Went to Blenio for a fairly nice feed, had a nice chat with Emily, Rosie's sister who I like. Afterwards, Tim, back from Africa, Rosie L and I repaired to the Cow next door. Overpriced beer in there, but quite nice. I had Anchor Steam Beer on tap, which is rather good and takes me back to my visit to San Francisco many years ago. The Cow is a place where people go on the pull on a Saturday night. Young blokes in trendy clothes, young ladies attention seeking and rebuffing blokes in ironed shirts.

Walked home with Lorraine finding it was gone one in the morning. And so to bed.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Back to front

A ghastly start to the day. Somewhat bleary due to Mai Tai consumption (an unpleasantly pineapple hangover), sometime before six we heard Brian arrived through the cat flap doing his triumphalist meeping. Sometime later he came up the stairs with a live mouse squeaking in terror. Ghastly scenes, of both cats playing with the mouse, which ran about for its life. I shooed off Calliope and cornered Brian who growled at me and then dashed off down the stairs with his prey. Lorraine was on the stairs, suddenly chased by cats and rodents and screamed quite loudly. Brian took the mouse outside thankfully, and only brought it back to show us it was dead, and I had to tidy it away. No way to start the day, and explained why I spent the first few hours of the morning with my boxer shorts on back to front. Which made me feel I was walking in the wrong direction.

Off to London, through the fog. Crossing the Ardingly Viaduct rather magical as you felt the train was flying through nothing.

Work fine, enjoying sitting next to Pat, who gave me a large wedding present, much to my surprise. Or it would have been to my surprise if Nichola hadn't bumped into him while he was buying it and put it on facebook last night. Chatting to First Matie and Matty boy during the day.

Otherwise a longish thorny job at work, which has been extended to Monday. Working with two very nice women though, Polish Agata and Mari who is a Finnish recent graduate, generally called the Moomin, she was recruited into the agency having been spotted working at a local pub.

Needed coffee in a yawny mid afternoon slump. Home to my Lorraine, having missed her these last few days, feeling rather wan and beat, we went thence to the Shahi to talk and fork, where Dr Raman showed us another picture of his daughter. Home and an early bed after a classic episode of Star Trek, where the water in people's bodies gets turned to an alcohol like substance and Mr Sulu runs around brandishing a foil.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mai Tai

Up to Tavistock Square. Working on a job which is more construction and assemblage than much creativity or copywriting. Highlight of a work day, sloping off to Waitrose with Pat at lunch to buy a banana and a sandwich.

After work drinks at the agency, and I spent much time talking to various ladies at the office keen to hear about my upcoming nuptials. I had three glasses of Mai Tai as cocktails were being served as some new department was forming elsewhere in the building. Can't remember drinking Mai Tais before. Suddenly had to leg off, having noticed the time and realised the Mai Tai's had gone straight to my head. Floaty feeling on the train on which I dozed before getting home to my Lorraine and food she had prepared earlier.

Below a random snap of Autumn marching in to Marchmont Street with an orange coat. The blue plaque is where Kenneth Williams lived.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Back to Tavistock

Poor night's sleep, but up and off to Tavistock Square. Tinkering with advertising copy for Sophie on the train. Then into see my friends at the agency. Sat next to Pat and working on copy for the digital department about the rollout of an app. Pulses not thrumming, but it was nice to see everyone and good for the besieged Kenny coffers. Sloped out at lunch with Katie, in drenching rain.

Interminable seeming journey home. However once back I skipped Niles Crane-like to the decanter, whereupon I poured two thimble sized glasses of PX (Pedro Ximénez) sherry for Lorraine and me. Lorraine had written down our description of it in a special book earlier in the week. We got prunes, figs, raisins, and notes of liquorice. Delicious.

And so, early, to bed.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Great Shakes

Rather a full day. Lorraine working at home today too, still nurturing her heel. I pushed on with the book, did more stuff connected with the infernal house sale,  and sloped off to the gym despite having a bit of a swollen knee, which after a long workout weirdly sorted itself out. Odd. 

Called by my amigos in Tavistock Square to book me for the rest of the week.  Dawn called me too, and we are going to do a session together for gifted and talented children about poetry and advertising, which should be really good fun. Also called by Sophie about an advert for her too.

A rice and fish and steamed veggies supper, then I made off to the a bar full of Scandinavians called Northern Lights, where the Shakespeare Heptet were playing. I have to say they were absolutely excellent. Percussion, bass, banjo (Steve) and two guitars (Dipak and Richard), and a complex lovely sound they are making now was a bit of a revelation. 

The Northern Lights a cool place too. Serving Scandinavian food, and Scandinavian drinks. Full of people too, including lots of people sketching on pads during the music. 

Below the Shakespeare Heptet's setlist... And tonight they appeared as a five piece, and it worked a treat.

Monday, October 14, 2013

B the bungeroosh

Up and off to the hospital with Lorraine, who was having an injection in her heel. Fished for a taxi at Preston Circus and we arrived early. We had to wait in the A&E area, but luckily beyond a vomiting woman and a boy who had come off his motorbike and hurt his shoulder there was nothing too alarming going on while I waited for Lorraine to be needled.

Lorraine walking out looking cheery. Always more fun to be leaving. Taxied home, Lorraine talking in the particularly friendly way she reserves for taxi drivers which always amuses me.

As Lorraine recovered downstairs for a bit before coming upstairs to work. I got on with the book for the rest of the day. The day, however, ended with the latest hurdle of many on the Twitten: wall experts have said the bungeroosh back wall must be treated for damp. Luckily I am developing the first feelings of philosophical resignation about this, and refrained from bellowing bugger the bungeroosh. Between bouts of stress, I am feeling more philosophically resigned. I wish this all wasn't happening at the same time as the wedding though as it is working my nerve when I should be simply living the life of riley.

Lorraine and I played the game that Amanda sent us Get me to the church on time. Have resolved to play it again especially as it ends with kissing the bride.

Another vintage Star Trek. A good deal of casual sexism in the episode Charlie X, which I don't seem to remember. But this was the second episode, which was the first one I can ever remember seeing. It has a bit where Charlie X, an adolescent character with unimaginable powers, takes away a woman's face, which I remember horrifying me when I first saw it as a young un' and it is something that has always haunted me. But I was surprised at how unconvincing and brief this glimpse of a featureless face was in the episode.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fallen conkers

A delicate and wan morning. Felt a glow of cheer though, after what had been one of the happiest birthdays I can remember. Lorraine cooked Scotch pancakes which were utterly delicious. Sprawled about on the sofa and chairs with Lorraine, First Matie and Betty (who had gone out clubbing after we left the Basketmakers... Ah the stamina of youth). We watched programmes about Autumn fruits and all chuckled as a male chef commented about a succession of sweet, tasty, surprisingly large plums.

Eventually the endless cups of tea and mineral water and breakfast and general slumping did their magic work. Betty back up to London, and First Matie, L and I went up the road to the Signalman for roast lunch.

It was nice to walk up Ditchling Rise however, the road gutters gleaming with freshly fallen conkers. Sadly though the food quality at the Signalman has plummeted. Won't be going back there to eat any time soon.

I also had a solitary kill or cure beer: a pint of Darkness, a dark malty beer brewed by the local Dark Star company. Something pleasingly Gothic about demanding a pint of Darkness, although First Matie naturally abided by cider.

Then we drove the lovely First Matie off to the station. Before L and I returned in the rain for a restorative, tea sipping kind of night. Watched the first episode of The Wire (with subtitles as L finds it hard to understand the Baltimore banter). Then the first episode of Star Trek, which looks magnificent.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

My birthday

An uncommon amount of presents and cards. In bed with Lorraine this morning opening my presents almost as soon as I could open my eyes, which included a decanter so that L and I can return home in the manner of Frasier and Niles Crane and help ourselves to a sherry, a bottle of sherry and sherry glasses, and the boxed set of The Wire TV series.

Lorraine then cooked me a substantial and delicious breakfast to set us up for the day. We devoted time to discussing wedding stuff, talking about music during the wedding and so on. Betty arrived home for the weekend after teaching in Shana's stage school in the morning and gave me a lovely card and a book of poems.

Then off into town where we encountered First Matie, loitering outside a shop in the North Laine who had come to Brighton for a birthday surprise.  Kate got me one of those Moleskine notebooks I love. We repaired to the Eagle where we were going to meet Anton and the Bairns for food but it was too busy, as was the rest of Brighton which was really buzzing.

Joined by Betty we ended up walking to Gars Chinese restaurant where they found us a table at short notice. I like Gars, the food is always nice and the staff accommodating. Chinese food appears to be Klaudia and Oskar's favourite. Klaudia who was sitting opposite me was eating egg fried rice and seaweed with a good deal of attention. Anton and the kids gave me three cards, and series one of the original Star Trek in its new, spankingly remastered form and a new edition of Graves' Greek Myths. Good to see my Godbairns who were full of pep and surprisingly at home in a Chinese restaurant. We discovered that by coincidence Anna the bairn's Godmother was celebrating her 40th there too, and we said howdy on the way out.

Then a fond farewell to Anton and the kids who both gave me a hug, and Lorraine, Betty, First Matie and I made off to The Basketmakers. Soon joined there by Matt and Irish Tom, the latter giving me a pebble from Omaha beach in Normandy. Steve Cartwright showed up too, with some friends, which was a nice surprise. Dawn arrived too, with a hardback novel for my birthday. A good deal of talk to be had, and it has to be said that I drank several beers.

Home along London Road with L, FM and me linking arms and lurching along. Firmly steered past Ace Pizzas by Lorraine and First Matie. L substituted cheese on toast and I went to bed, and I slept like a large and very happy log.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Murdering the babies

Calliope has taken to sleeping at my feet again in the night, but where in the past she would reluctantly budge if I turned over, now she lets the chi energy course through her so as to become a cat of unmovable stone. Very annoying.

Up early and working by 7:30 with clarity of mind about what needs to be done on the big edit of the book. Quite good sorting through some of the worst bits of my own writing lately, a sobering lesson in avoiding self indulgence and the necessity of murdering your literary babies. Set to it.

Lunchtime to at the gym and despite the cold feeling better about it today. A cold rainy afternoon. Lorraine home early for the first time this week, and we snuck off to the Shahi, which was rammed with people. Had a nice meal, which I could not finish. Chatting about how in two weeks time, this will be the day before our marriage.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A landmark

The season changed today. From the balmy last few days, the temperature has dropped, and it is feeling properly autumnal. I love this time of year.

Finally reached the end of the first draft of the book just after lunchtime sitting in Starbucks. Gave myself a pat on the back for about five seconds but too aware that there are pot holes to fill in and a damned hard edit required to celebrate yet. But proud of my effort if nothing else. Currently A Galaxy of Light-bulbs, stands at 61k in length.

Finishing touches done in Starbucks today, and then sloped down to the sea to have a quick walkabout. Looking from the Clock Tower looking down West Street, the clouds appeared to stripe the sea. The sea is always up to something. Did my 10,000 steps, though this cold is making me a bit wary of the gym.

Came home and shuffled though the folder of old poems typing in scraps and second rate rubbish. As an exercise in focusing on all that is bad about my writing, this was a really good one.

Spoke to Carl, who was making me laugh with a story about Jayne barging everyone out of the way in her wheelchair to get a cuddle from Russel Brand the comedian at his gig they saw recently. Apparently he smelled nice.

Another long and grueling day for Lorriane. Penultimate day of Frasier, the last CD of the last series. What can I watch after that to keep me sane?

Below, the summer, last seen heading in a southerly direction.