Friday, October 31, 2014

Treats not tricks

Woke up with a sense that obstacles can be surmounted, and that positive sunlit uplands can be reached.

An amazingly warm, sunny day. Lorraine had a meeting with a colleague, Sue, in nearby Cuckfield. I came too as they were meeting in a pub with a Wifi. Sue and Lorraine talked about work and I quietly got on with uploading yesterday's blog and drinking coffee and sparkling water catching up with some of my outstanding correspondence and reading The Rialto in which I knew four of the poets, including Robin and her pal Charlotte.

Lorraine and I then made off to Brighton where we parked near where we used to live, and walked into town to visit a Solicitor called Wendy who is in charge of our next purchase, which appears to be going smoothly. Then a walk around into the Pavilion Gardens with the intention of having a coffee in the art gallery, but the cafe was closed. It was our only chance to acknowledge that just over a year ago we got married there.

Then a mooch about in Brighton in the afternoon. It being Halloween, of course there were people with ghoulish white facepaint and various skullfaces and so on in broad daylight, as well as the usual drunks shouting at pigeons on New Road. We've only been gone for 48 hours and I miss it already. Crossing the road outside the Duke of York's theatre to collect the car, a man sped by, weaving through the traffic on a skateboard adorned with a small flying carpet. He was immaculately dressed in a fez and billowy pantaloons. Standard for Brighton of course, but I realize I need regular amounts of this sort of thing in my life that perfectly pleasant places like Haywards Heath can never provide.

Home a little before six feeling as if it were ten o'clock. A bit of supper, and Lorraine popping out to mingle with trick or treating toddlers (a three year old on her first sortie giving Lorraine a hug, so that my wife returned with tears of happiness in her eyes) and a few episodes of Frasier before constant yawning meant I had to go to bed, and Lorraine came too. It was around 9:30 and we were asleep before 10.

Farewell to the Old Church Hall

Now in Haywards Heath, in a particularly pleasant and leafy former council estate. A minute’s walk away across a little open ground is a fenced path that runs along the side of a field of neat allotments. Few people on the streets, and an edge of town feeling. Looking from my desk across the leafy estate to a tree-lined horizon. It is now Friday morning, the morning of Halloween, and for the first time in a week I have a moment to catch up.

Last Sunday was our wedding anniversary, which we spent packing. And on Monday, we packed in earnest. We recaptured Brian who has been acting weirdly over the last few months, when he returned ungratefully for food before disappearing for the rest of the day. Surprisingly Brian quickly resigned himself to his fate and began to be more like himself again, and once the cat flap was replaced with the original glass sheet in the front door there was nothing for them to do other than stare out like prisoners. John helped us pack for half a day on Monday, melting back into Brighton with a fistful of brownie points.

Lorraine and I broke off on Monday night as it was Dawn’s birthday, and we drove to her parent’s house in Henfield, having nabbed Rosie en route, and had a jolly evening with Dawn, plus her pals Denise, Mark and Jane. Really tired, I cleverly mixed beer, bubbly and port and felt execrable the next morning. Rather than haranguing me for my rubbishness, my lovely wife brought me tea in bed shortly after six on Tuesday morning. Curiously the relentless work, box carrying, furniture wrangling, etc. enforced a 'manning up'.

The removal guys, called Ark Removals, were really pleasant, hard working, cheery, and actively reduced the stress. The first day’s stuff off to The Big Box company on the edge of town, where they sell storage by the square foot of floor space. We had not bargained on the fact that the ceiling only just cleared my head. Lorraine briefly went into Godzilla mode over this weasel trick, and we were soon promised extra room for free if it did not all fit.

While the Ark men were unloading Lorraine and I had a bacon and egg sandwich in a nearby cafe. Bacon and egg sandwiches seem de rigueur when you are about the business of moving. Returned, and it had all just about fit. Home again, and the evening regrouping and organising the cats and skeletons move to Hayward’s Heath. More packing, and then up to the Signalman for some food, washed down with a judicious beer. To bed, feeling utterly exhausted.

Wednesday up at six again, and did it all again. The men from Ark loaded up in a couple of hours, and a frenzy of vacuuming, and last things, and Lorraine and I levering up the covers of the water meters in the rain and taking smartphone shots of them. Raining steadily now. Lorraine on the phone to solicitors, the house sale went through, and as Lorraine was doing this one last turn around the empty house, seeming enormous and echoey, and I closed the door on three years of my life and four of Lorraine’s, poking the keys through the letter flap of the Old Church Hall with barely a second thought.

 Off in the car loaded to bursting with fragile computer stuff, the TV and various precious things and Calliope and Brian squished miserably into the cat carrier. After the initial hissing had abated, they settled down to a steady yowling. The car caught in crawling traffic jam to Haywards Heath just to ensure we gleaned the most from this experience. Once into their new home, however, we subjected our feline companions to three Feliway pheromone plug ins, which has left them malleable, saucer eyed and wanting to listen to early Pink Floyd.

The Ark guys turned up on time, delivered everything and were generally fantastic, then after lying down for half an hour trying and failing to sleep, we set to again. I meanwhile received a particularly idiotic rejection for my marketing book, and someone enquired about my availability for work next week, and then when I replied saying I was available, I heard no more. Lorraine and I then in a frenzy of unpacking, organising our new little home. We don’t know how long we are going to be here, so we are making ourselves comfortable.

I've had quick chats with Mum, and First Matie and Janet since we’ve arrived. Watched a few episodes of Frazier before slinking off for an early night. Thursday spent getting the place straight. Lorraine and I still very tired and I found myself doing stupid things like spilling my lunchtime baked potato and tuna onto the gold sofa or slicing my thumb with a knife.

Went for a walkabout on Thursday afternoon, to the main high street which is about 25 minutes away. Haywards Heath is pleasant and we intend to treat this as a short holiday break (with work and stuff thrown in). Home again, and after we cooked and had a couple of glasses of wine (drink seems necessary), watched a few episodes of Frazier and then went to bed before 10, feeling wiped out. Despite this both of us absolutely delighted to have moved onto the next stage, and now a whole raft of complications has fallen away leaving only one thing left to negotiate, which is when we move into the new place in Brighton. Meanwhile we have no broadband in Haywards Heath till next week, so now off to find a cafe.

Below some snaps from Dawn's birthday beano. Mark and Denise; Jane and Rosie; me and Mark; Lorraine and moi; Rosie and Dawn; Lorraine and I in the back of the removal van; an emptying Old Church Hall.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Packing and perspectives

Unadulterated packing today. Apart from going to a nearby framer. Dawn came by in the afternoon and helped us pack too.

I had a hideous task, which was to murder my remaining tropical fish. An utterly harrowing experience. I had read the most humane way of killing them was to drop them into freezing ice cube water. Emptied all the ice into a small amount of water and added the struggling fish. It didn't seem to work, and the biggest of the fish pushed its face clear of the ice and moved its eyes at me, appalled at my murderous treachery. It really was like a scene from a horror film. Dawn and Lorraine who had retired upstairs as I was at my hateful business. helpfully observed that I had just eaten some fish fingers (eating down things in the freezer) and to get over it. But I felt that my karma took a damned good kicking.

Life in general also put into perspective by reading a brave and loving Facebook post by Graeme, who I have not seen for ages and whose illness is now very serious. Lorraine and I left inevitably inadequate messages on his Facebook page. He is such a kind and brave man, and he is particularly close to First Matie and Matty Boy. God bless him.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gradual progress

Another day of getting my business sorted out and listening to the rain on the velux roof, feeling decidedly cheery that I had time to get things sorted. Sent off Marketing MS again, and got over myself, after I'd written to Catherine and received a morale stiffening reply. She is a good friend.

Then a triage on various pieces of paper, and managed to throw many of them away. Lorraine at the end of one of her school's ofstead inspections and absolutely pleased to be home. We squeezed off early to the Shahi for the last time in the foreseeable future, and returned early and Lorraine sat on the gold sofa in her pyjamas, happier than she had been all week.

Below: today's view from my desk.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Getting sorted

Tsunami dreams last night.

Managed to get lots done today, as well as have conversations with Mum and Mas (being propped up at the table on their iPad as they drank their morning coffees) and later with Janet. Sorted out broadband for the temporary home, filled in forms to do with establishing my Ltd company, worked on billing and other admin, and entered the National Poetry Competition as I am copying Robin and entering as many competitions as possible in a positive way.

Last time of seeing Sonya till we get a new house. Had a laugh with her about how she takes good ideas from people's houses, and has advised her son what kind of shower to have so that it is easy to clean.

Late in the afternoon began to feel nauseous, and had a badly upset stomach so felt pleased that I wasn't working in London. Finished The Guest Cat, which was nice. Toby messaged that he was reading the philosophy of Kant and finding it inspiring. I said he was made of stern stuff.

Had a craving, despite dodgy stomach, for chips with salt and vinegar. When poor Lorraine got home we drove off to buy some in nearby Baker Street, who serve superior fish and chips (at a price).

Various teachers phoning and texting Lorraine for support till 11:30, by which time we were both in bed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Out of the tunnel

Bit of a scramble to catch the train, which after a bit stopped in the tunnel under the downs for ten minutes or so. As my background stress levels are high, I didn't enjoy this much, and very relieved  to be out of the tunnel. Late to work due to these signalling problems, but enjoying The Guest Cat as a light read. Shortly before arriving at St Pancras I had one of those moments when a detailed, chapter by chapter idea for a kind of ghost story, arrived in my head. Was able to jot down a list of bullets in a minute or so as soon as I arrived at work.

A day of work sitting with Steve polishing and tweaking cattle concepts. Thankfully was released back into the wild this evening. There is much to be done before the move, not just the move itself, but all backlog of stuff of stuff I need to sort out - such as getting the marketing book sent out again - beforehand.  Still smarting about the last minute u-turn taken by Kogan Page so need to take action.

Home on the train, delayed naturally, and Lorraine has one of her schools being Ofsted inspected so she arrived home very late after supporting the school. I had meanwhile cooked an excellent fish curry, and fed my wife who had been drinking too much coffee, and administered wine when she got home.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Leaf falls

Working on the train this morning, to get stuff ready for a meeting that never occurred. Still it took the pressure off the morning. Out of St Pancras station to a rainbow, and last night's wind and rain decorating the pavements with leaves.

More animal diseases, snuck off at lunch to buy another baked potato. Reading The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide which Rosie got me for my birthday, as she reasoned that I liked Japan and I liked cats. Quite enjoying it and it is reminding me of Japan.  Thought today was the last day this week, but was asked to do another day tomorrow. Then it is all packing and readying for the move.

Home to roast pork, as Lorraine is emptying out the freezer. Delicious.

Below leaf falls in London, and a wee rainbow.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Back to work

Up to London, weather on the turn with the dregs of a hurricane dragging itself over the Atlantic. Missed my train this morning. Another day in Tavistock Square, luckily feeling a good deal less wussy than I had felt over the weekend. Another day of animal diseases. Weather rolling in and the light doing interesting things through the windows all afternoon. Walked off to buy a sandwich at lunchtime, feeling noticeably less rubbish than of late and enjoying the sight of Tavistock Square.

Home on a slow train, finished The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis -- feeling as if it could have been a great book but left unconvinced. Then once back in Brighton straight to the Three Jolly Brewers for a poetry workshop, which I joined halfway through. A slightly strange atmosphere among attendees, but I was greeted in a friendly enough way. Said hello to various pals, including Robin, Antony, Andie and Susan. A swift drink afterwards, listening to people's opinions, and fishing a Guernsey pound note out of a tips tray. The barman didn't even know if it was currency. Home and chatting to my lovely Lorraine before going to bed.

A view from a window.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

More packing

Wild scrabbling in the night as Calliope cavorted among the boxes.  Felt slightly less ill today, which meant all the more energy to be spent on packing. By way of variation we drove off to Sainsbury's to buy some fresh food. Our Sainsburys briefly became internationally famous earlier this week, as the venue for a large kiss in, in response to a Sainsbury's employee asking a lesbian couple to stop kissing in the store. I love my town.

We are eating our way through the freezer at the moment too. Also found time to do some work, trying to get everything sorted before we move out and, in the no rest for the wicked department, in the evening Lorraine some more work.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Zombies do packing

Felt ill and sore throaty and wussy. Lorraine shattered too. Got up and Lorraine and I sauntered around to Arkwrights and brought some reassuringly middle class breakfast, which we had with Betty and John before they travelled back to London.

Lorraine and I then watched football focus in the morning, and fell asleep again. In the afternoon roused ourselves to do packing, got started on the books in the study but had to stop this after a while and go for another rest. Then a mindless and washed out watch of the X factor. And an early night.

Below Lorraine doing a spot of packing.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday at last

Lorraine up at sixish this morning, and so was I up early to London working on the train, but feeling absolutely shattered and sore throaty and only in the end ten minutes early. Dragged by butt through the day, which seemed to go on forever. Yawning in the airless office, I melted away to stand in Tavistock Square for a few minutes just try to wake myself up a bit.

Eventually home, in a crowded delayed train, listening to the Martin Amis book Zone of Interest, which I think should be much more interesting than it is. It is relentlessly banal but maybe that is the point.

Then straight to The Shakespeare's Head to meet Lorraine, Betty, John, and Rosie where we had some sausages and mash and a few quiet beers. A real thank God it's Friday feeling. Later joined by Betty's pal Laura, and Matt and a Turkish friend Yasin who I really enjoyed talking to about his participated in the Gezi Park protests last year. Much gossiping and chatting, and very pleased to have got to the end of a gruelling week.

Home, feeling really tired, and Zombied off to bed.

Below a momentary interlude in Tavistock Square, looking at the Gandhi statue, and the leaves on the road that I always look at this time of year.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Smiling in the Salisbury

Blearily up to London to Tavistock Square again, for an honest day's work at the cattle diseases coalface thinking up some new concepts. Finished Paradise Lost this morning on the way to work, which felt like something of an achievement. Only took me thirty odd years. Jolly good it is too.

After work I walked down to The Salisbury pub to meet Marja, who I hand't seen for about three years, and Anton, newly back from a trip to the States where he failed to see Toby, but had a good time nevertheless.

Marja is Finnish and ridiculed my pronunciation of Tampere, where Laura, Derek and Claudia live, as I had mentioned that the number of Finns in my life was increasing. Marja currently editing an upmarket magazine called Darling based in Kingston where Beth was at college and seems in good spirits. 

We then walked across the river down to Gabriel's wharf, weirdly for me it was the second time in a week, and had a drink there where we used to go when we all worked together. Then  Anton and I caught the train home to Brighton, and had an absolutely final drink in the Battle of Trafalgar as there was much to discuss.

Beth back from Egypt today, but already fast abed. 

Below Anton, Marja and I smiling in the Salisbury.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Keeping a cool head

Feeling brighter after the best night's sleep I have had in a while. But throat still raw and sore. Improved mood today generally, tinkered with some poems and sent out a poetry submission to an excellent online magazine called Antiphon in the morning.

We have exchanged contracts on the Old Church Hall so we will be leaving here in two weeks to the day, to go into rented accommodation in Haywards Heath till our new house becomes available.

Off to the barbers to get a haircut. It is a fact now that the area of concern is no longer a concern, it is an actual bald patch which is spreading like an angry bush fire. I am going bald, the very word is like a slap on the scalp. And even the artful angle of the barber showing me his handiwork with a mirror couldn't disguise the pilgarlic travesty of my head.

Immediately after this I went off to see Jewel for an hour long deep tissue massage on my rigid back, shoulders and neck. Came out feeling as if I had been beaten up for all the best reasons.

Home and took delivery of a bazillion boxes. Then made off to Lewes to meet Robin for a brainstorm and a catch up. Nice to hang out and talk about poems and publishers over a coffee and make plans.

On the train home a text from Robin saying, by sheer coincidence, that Antiphon had emailed her and said that someone might review The Nightwork, which is cool if it comes off and, if they do, they don't think it is risible.

Home and did stuff and cooked for my lovely wife who had left hideously early and was late home. Up to London tomorrow so an early night all round.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Got on with things in which I could make some semblance of progress, such as completing doing my books to send off to Andrew, my accountant. I will be relaunching myself as a Limited Company shortly. Lorraine working at home all day too, and we went for a stroll about in the park this afternoon. Still reading the huge tome of Kingsley Amis letters, about halfway through. I don't much like him, but they are occasionally funny. Lorraine and I watched The Wire tonight. It is a splendid TV show.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Woke up at 5:30 and got up at 7 even though neither of us had to be up and off early this morning. Feeling extremely anxious this morning, despite not having any single cause for this. Just a sense of everything being out of control. Having to chase unpaid invoices, having no idea when we can move into our new house, intermittent workflow, legal delays, waiting for decisions on manuscripts and so on.

Nice text from Richard though this morning and I spoke to Mum and Mas briefly as I had not been able to contact them yesterday.Lorraine working at home this morning, but she ended up getting really stressed by a snotty head teacher who phoned her to say she was supposed to be at his school, and after she had frenziedly examined her diaries and lists, it turned out to be another Lorraine entirely.

I ended up going for a walk in the park to attempt to reset the day, and then spent the afternoon doing my accounts. Stopped work at 5:30 to then get my second rejection of 24 hours, The marketing book people had done a U-turn. They have however given me some other places I might send it and so on. Intensely disappointing, especially as the main problem with it seems to be its originality. This, by chance, also the crux of yesterday's rejection. Clearly the kind of ideas that one should have are the ones everyone else is having.

More house hassle this evening, too frustrating to describe, that Lorraine had to deal with. This is a Monday that can't accelerate fast enough into the dustbin of history.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

My Birthday

My birthday started rather hungover. My lovely wife however brought me tea and presents in bed. Including two cardigans. I love cardigans and wore one obsessively in my twenties. Naturally the trendy irony of sporting a cardie in your twenties has eroded with the years. Lorraine yelped with laughter and said Hello Granddad to me when I wore one. However they look very smart and are currently quite trendy, like the big bushy beards sported by hipsters everywhere. Everyone's a Granddad now. Lorraine also got me the new Murukami novel, which is splendid, and a poster of Tales from Topographic Oceans by Roger Dean, which will have pride of place in my new study when I am in there. Beth got me a large cup, a special request, and a pair of Chelsea socks.

Then more interminable house stuff, reading the survey of the new house, which seems pretty sound.

Off out and collected by Dawn and driven off to Stanmer House where we met Rosie, Emily and Tim, and Emily and Tim's twin three year old twins Lyra and Phoebe. Rosie's birthday is the day after mine, and we celebrated together. I like Emily and Tim, who I've only met once or twice before.

A converted stately home, with big rooms, widely spaced tables, and walls full of painting and prints. Big helpings of food too. A really pleasant afternoon. Dawn and Rosie bought me presents and cards too, which was lovely of them.

Plans for a healthful walk in the grounds were scuppered due to persistent rain. But I for one was pleased to retire to the gold sofa in the late afternoon. First Matie called to wish me a happy birthday. Received a very nice and thoughtful rejection of the this card will fall in love with you idea, which is a shame. Spoke too to Betty in Cairo. In the evening we watched a DVD of Captain Philips, which was rather good, and ate a piece of New York cheesecake with birthday candles on it.

Lots of good wishes on Facebook, and other texts which was all rather nice. Maureen called me too, which was kind of her.

Below birthday people opening pressies. Rosie with her lovely three year old nieces, Lyra and Phoebe. And me with Dawn. Emily, Lyra and Tim. My lovely wife sadly not pictured.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A day out with Carl and Bob

A special day today. Up early, and up to London. Trains all doomed with rail replacement services so Lorraine kindly gave me a lift to Three Bridges and from there I caught a train to London to see Bob and Carl.  Met them in Leicester Square and we had a steadying coffee Then wandered around the corner to the national portrait gallery.

Good to go with Carl and Bob to a gallery again, for it one of their natural habitats. Had an enjoyable nose around there. Carl going about captioning some of the pictures, such as "Queen Victoria's first visit to her wounded soldiers" and pointing to the white faced man in his sickbed, and telling us he was thinking 'Why don't they all just fuck off'.  From there off in a cab to Gabriel's wharf, where we consumed some Pieminster pies, and mash. Sloped into Doggets Bar by Blackfriars Bridge for a single pint, and then walked along the busy embankment to Tate Modern.

Hugely enjoyable in there. Up to the fourth floor to look at one of their collection displays called 'Process and Energy' which Bob and I enjoyed raging at certain pieces in the collection such as Richard Serra's Trip Hammer. Some interesting work there of course, but there is a certain fogeyish pleasure to be had from snap judgements. Found myself soothed and entranced by some works, and of course lovingly lingered over the Ernst and Klee pictures they have. Carl and Bob have certain styles in art galleries and they had not lost their touch. Bob is generally methodical, but also pauses to seethe and wave his arms at things he disapproves of and will surge across the please do not cross lines around pieces.  In contrast Carl moves in a kind of Brownian motion, one minute he is ahead of you and the next will crop up somewhere behind you deeply involved and prone to suddenly start talking about the The Blue Rider Group or Der Stijl.

After a few hours of this kind of thing, we went off to find alcohol. Urged into Borough Market now underneath the Shard and found a few places in which to drink beer and chat. Beer was drunk and enormous amounts of chat was had. It must be at least ten years since Carl, Bob and myself have all been in the same place at the same time, but the threads of it all were picked up as if we'd all met last week.

Ended up with a curry and rather a good one (if insolently served), nearby and then an absolutely bloody final drink and a play of a general knowledge pub quiz machine before the call of the seagull grew strong in me, and I left top hat askew, and mindful of the pesky rail replacement bus service. Arrived home some time after midnight. Lorraine had been out babysitting and got home minutes after.  A great day.

Below Bob, Carl and I horsing about outside Tate Modern with Carl suddenly pretending to be very short; Bob and Carl coincide momentarily, other snaps of the notoriously uncamera-shy Carl.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A breath of fresh air

Mercifully a day working at home today. So many things to sort out, and admin to catch up with. However I cut myself some slack, and took myself for a lunchtime stroll down to the pier too, which was windy and showery and bright.  Great to just be able to breathe in the sea air.

Shamefully in the afternoon, I slept for two hours, being absolutely shattered. Lorraine working at home this afternoon, and once up again, we rain dodged around the corner to the Shahi, a pleasant night chatting with my lovely wife before returning home.

Snapping various bits and pieces on the pier. Seemed to catch the last of the summer sun on the talking telescope.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Solving the puzzle

Working on the train going up to London, luckily managing to dodge the heavy rain showers.

Once at work I found myself a victim of my own speed and creative alacrity today, having finished the work I was hired to do early, I was released back into the wild till mid next week. Went out for a pint at lunchtime with Karam and Slug and an art director who is about to migrate to the Philippines. Also managed to send off the text for the This pamphlet/card/wee book/ will fall in love with you.

In the evening availed myself of one or two free drinks in the office. Have enjoyed the last couple of weeks in Tavistock Square, and meeting and working with Fernanda - a genuinely creative art director.

Spoke to Bob about Saturday, when Bob, Carl and I are having a long overdue reunion in London. Train ride enlivened by sitting near a young woman ferociously solving a rubric's cube, with her mobile phone as a stopwatch next to her. She was timing herself and regularly solved it in under 20 seconds. An extraordinary sight.

Lorraine out with some of her lady mates tonight, and I revelled in being home at about nine and in the knowledge that I had no commuting to look forward to tomorrow, and am able to get back onto the bazillion bits that have have piled up for me to do in the last few weeks.

Below walked past the statue of Newton outside the British Library this morning. It seemed to loom over me.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Half dry

Thank God for my new wet top, as I walked to the station in an absolute deluge this morning. I wore light coloured corduroy trousers and these were dark and heavy with rain by the time I got on the train, but my top half was bone dry. Managed to dry out during the morning, then went out to buy a sandwich for lunch and was surprised again by another hosing downpour, and had wet legs all over again.

Otherwise an uneventful day at work, although quite pleasant. People talking about ebola. A slow and tedious journey home. Listening to the Zone of Interest, by Martin Amis. Then spoke to Janet walking back from the station after an MRI yesterday. Very happy to be back home with Lorraine.

Reading Lorraine one or two of Kingsley Amis's letters before sleep. He cared lots about his poetry, I read some of it today and didn't like it.

Below people taking shelter at lunchtime.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Was woken in the night by a thunder storm and torrential rain hammering on the velum windows and the roof. Up in the morning and off to work, reworking the original text version of what became this concert will fall in love you on the train as I have managed to persuade a publisher to have a look at this.

Late in the morning of course, as the train was inevitably delayed. Work fine however, apart from the aberration of going out to buy lasagne and chips for lunch as I had a sudden craving for comforting food from a local Italian cafe which Slug is convinced is Serbian. Afternoon Fernanda and I presenting work to US colleagues over the phone - little said in response. Later we pinning lots of stuff onto the wall which, as we are working on cattle diseases, we called our moooodboard.

Home fairly early. Falling asleep on the train. Home to my lovely wife and the full moon above.

Monday, October 06, 2014

A sup with Spacetoad

Up to London again. Settled into the train along with everyone else, but the driver never arrived. A pleasantly busy day at work once I got there. A rainy day which meant I could deploy my new Berghaus and watch with satisfaction the raindrops beading on its surface, rather than simply soaking in as my last coat, lost on the Brighton train, did.

After work off to meet Paul, currently aka Dr Spacetoad at St Pancras. We settled into a pub and had a couple of pints and an interesting catch up. David Ryan, who had run the anarchic Troubadour poetry nights I used to religiously attend in the late 80s and early 90s had died, and he was going to his funeral. He is currently living up north, having moved back to Blighty from Paris. He speaks with some feeling about Paris, and says he is disillusioned with it.

Noticed that Paul does the weird elbow thing I do, which I've not noticed in others before. Interesting to hear some of Paul's adventures as a modern Troubadour, and we parted in a friendly way, him heading up to North London and me back down to Brighton. Slow journey. Dozed on the train or listened to my new audiobook Zone of Interest by Martin Amis.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Ice cream Sunday

Having bought my brand new waterproof top, the next day dawned blue and cloudless. Lorraine and I had a slowish start, and then went for a walk in an Indian Summer weather down by the sea. So warm in fact that Lorraine and I were compelled to buy two-scoop cones of Italian ice cream as we wandered by the sea. We also had a nose about on the pretty street in Hove that Rosie is due to move into shortly. Below the Tsunami line though.

Then poor Lorraine went home to write visit reports for her work, and I much more enjoyably, popped in to see Janet and Ken and drink tea and generally shoot the breeze for an hour or two. Janet has to have an MRI scan next week. She is looking forward to a time when she doesn't have some immediate medical thing on the horizon. Home to a relaxed evening with my lovely wife, and making ready for another week working up in London.

I had also cooked a Guernsey bean jar, and this was really tasty and comforting to eat in the evening. Not made one in ages, and I can't think why.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Revelling in the uneventful

Woke annoyingly early, encouraged by Calliope, but Lorraine and I lurked abed nevertheless. A bus into town with Lorraine to buy myself a new Berghaus wet top, as the one I left on the train has not been found by lost property. Bloody pricey they are these days, but undeniably useful. I bought the usual petrol blue one. Walked home and then finished off some agency work and spoke to Mum before Lorraine arrived home with blonde hair, which as usual looks longer after visiting the hair dresser than before.

Both of us wanted to stay in tonight and just spend time together. We ate a lemon chicken and broccoli recipe that Lorraine made, and later watched a documentary about the group Genesis. Revelling in the peaceful and uneventful.

Friday, October 03, 2014

A Fab Friday

What a difference a decent seven hours sleep makes to my mood. Felt cheery and awake. Even started a poem on the train going to work.  Deeply thankful for it being Friday.

A pre-arranged half hour phone call with a very pleasant woman called Jasmin from Kogan Page today. I was expecting this to be the end of the road, due to earlier discussions about business models and so on. To my surprise Jasmin seemed very enthusiastic about my marketing book -- and totally got the structure and idea. Very impressed with her. She is going now to pass it to some experts in the field for their opinions. Any celebration is premature, but I do feel vindicated in as much as my idea is being taken seriously by one of the World's foremost business publishers.

Rather buoyed by this. And my good mood continued throughout the afternoon, not even dented by a presentation at the end of the day, where Fernanda and I presented excellent work which was received rather dourly.

Home to my lovely wife, and we walked to the Signalman and we had a quick drink there while I talked rapidly and with wild eyes about what the publication of this book might mean career wise. Collected a Shahi curry (horrifically they were too booked for us tonight) and we sunk sighing with relief into the weekend.

Toby called and I had a long FaceTime chat with him about various low smile count family matters. Toby and the Romster have had so much to cope with this year. Great as ever to talk to my bro, or more accurately his ceiling as glimpses of Toby on FaceTime are like Big Foot or Yeti sightings.

And so to bed.

Below walking through Russell Square this morning, I snapped this. Warm, low sun and autumnal leaves. Autumn always makes my spirit soar.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Porridge for the early worm

Slept appallingly and ended up getting out of bed at six, eating porridge and feeling spuriously got at by everything. Made tea for Lorraine and I and sat on the bed drinking it feeling dire before I set off.

Lots of twitter and email action by the time I reached work, in the aftermath of last night's gig. Robin pleased, and some friendly banter. A designer sitting opposite me called Brendon bought a copy of The Nightwork, and he says he reads lots of poetry. There are people out there who do that.

Work enjoyable, despite feeling literally faint with tiredness. Working with nice people helps. I like Fernanda, the Brazilian art director. She showed me, in between looking for reference material, pictures of baby alpacas on google.

Beth and John at home tonight after Beth had spent the day rehearsing her ugly sister role. Lorraine had made roasted veg and chicken with couscous. Spent time sorting out a timesheet for the last place I was working in, then repaired to bed at ten.

The sheer joy of bed when you are exhausted is hard to express.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

In the Poetry Cafe

A bit of an intense day. Feeling very tired, and working hard too with Fernanda the Brazilian art director. A sustaining lunch of baked potato, beans and cheese then, after work, walked off to The Poetry Cafe.

On the way there I was crossing a road, and the lights changed. A psychopath in a Addison Lee cab almost killed me, driving right at me at high speed, and forcing me to leap out of the way.  I banged on his window and shared some of my opinions while the driver grinned at me infuriatingly. It rattled me. 

Arrived at the poetry cafe early and met Robin and one of her old school friends. Our two other poets for the night arrived.  Rishi very much flavour of the month poetry wise, who happens to work at my old agency in Hammersmith, and Anja arrived from Switzerland. Lorraine arrived early to help and be supportive.  In the audience Mum, Lakshmi and her pal Rachel, Craig and Mel and Karam arrived. Good to see Lakshmi, who I've not seen for some time, and Craig and Mel who gave us a present for our wedding last year.

Interesting work from Richi and Anja, and Robin read very well tonight and looking smart in a red dress and black boots.  Robin on good form generally having won another poetry competition too (the announcement of which was embargoed till the day after). Annoyingly I wasn't at my best stumbling over a poem and feeling that I wasn't on it. Hey ho. 

Off to the pub after the reading, with Lorraine, Mum and the handsome Karam (who Mum rather liked) plus Robin and lots of her old school friends. A fast and cheery drink then after farewells,  Lorraine and I made off in a taxi after orienting Mum who marched off into Covent Garden. 

Bought a couple of cans of beer to drink on the train too, and we cabbed home from the station. We arrived home, but tiredness was making me feel tetchy. I have the best wife.

Below me and Robin reading in the Poetry Cafe.