Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bold as a biscuit

Awake and marvelling at the view, seagulls thumping on the roof above us. Our cats looking down on the birds below them with carnivorous longing.

We started painting my study today, as being able to get going on my work is a priority. However the crown white paint we bought on offer is dire and watery. The biscuit does not want to be beaten, and shows through sturdily.

Then Lorraine and I started an experimental scraping of the bobbly biscuit wallpaper downstairs. Hearteningly some of this came away in big strips, and we'd managed to peel a good 40 percent of it off in an hour.

Beth returned this afternoon, and later John arrived. Anton, Klaudia and Oskar dropped by, armed with cards and a bottle of bubbly. Anton going somewhat greenish at the view on the 4th floor, especially when we opened the doors and the children leaned over the rail. The children enjoying going into the walk in wardrobe, and then having the lights turned off on them.

Later Rosie came for supper, armed with delicious heart shaped cheeses. And we all had a roast, rather a lot of wine and beer. Rosie is about to move in the next couple of weeks too, and so going through the last ghastly bits of her Hove move.

Below the view from our bedroom. John, Oskar and Klaudia lurking in the new house looking less biscuity than in reality; Rosie's heart shaped cheeses, neither of which survived the night, and Rosie and Calliope.








Saturday, November 29, 2014

Happy

Lorraine and I had a poorish night’s sleep being somewhat overtired. The disorientated cats waking us up periodically, with Brian springing up from the side of the bed into Lorraine’s face twice in the night.

Can’t remember feeling as happy as I did this morning. Apart from the sheer pleasure of moving in to the house Lorraine and I have bought together, there is the unadulterated joy of knowing that the years of property-related uncertainty, delay and frustration have at last ended. We live here. And Betty is delighted too. After her uncertainty about where she was living, she now knows she has a solid foundation and home to flourish out from.

Very tired but skipping about cheerily. A bit of a survey this morning, and prioritising what needs to be done. The bobbly biscuit coloured wallpaper needs to go pronto. The colour scheme in much of the house is of discordant beiges. Other people's colour sense baffles me sometimes.

Pat and Peter were due to arrive at lunchtime with a van armed with the stuff stored in Pat and Maureen's garage. However there was some last minute hitch, and they arrived (as I was out buying some lunch for us all) in a car, having managed to cram in our old fridge, and a few random boxes. Gave them the tour, and chatted before they drove back to Ashford.

Exploring the house. There is a low-ceilinged cellar here, which we are enjoying calling the dungeon. Then Lorraine and I drove off to buy some vegetables, and spend lots of money mooching about in Homebase on shower curtains, paint, scrapers, polyfiller and other DIY stuff. All this rather exciting: there is much to be done.

Friday, November 28, 2014

New House

Up just after six on the big day, Lorraine Betty and I drinking tea in our last unpacked cups before a final packing frenzy. The two amiable Ark removals guys Martin and Steve arrived to pack the stuff at 8:45. Cats locked into the bathroom, except Brian escaped when one of the movers opened the door, but I managed to snatch him back in the front garden.

The van driven off, and we followed in the car. I was last out, with the hoover, after we had conducted a rearguard of rapid cleaning, and dropped Jo’s key through the letterbox.

A brisk and unsentimental farewell to Haywards Heath and we drove to our new home in Brighton without incident, other than Calliopes weeing nervously out of the cat carrier. Fortunately away from Betty squished in beside them.

Opened up Osborne Road and piled in, cats in the en suite bathroom on the top floor, and the removals guys Steve and Martin rapidly unpacking our skeleton belongings. Feeling elated to be here. Our new home does not disappoint, and seems bigger than we remembered, and was left in good order with things being painted a biscuity colour.

The first thing that strikes you is the amazing views. The house is narrow and tall, and from the rear of the house, facing northwest, especially the converted loft room, which is where Lorraine and I have chosen as our bedroom has a fabulous high rise view from our low rise house of the North of Brighton, with the ranks of Victorian terraces, and the train line to London and areas of trees and the green downs visible beyond, with a windmill on the horizon. The smallest bedroom is going to be my office, and shares this inspiring view.

We all set to getting things straight. First priority is the kitchen, generally cleaning cupboards and deciding where things must be put. Good storage space, and a good oven left by the former owners. We don’t have a fridge yet. Betty off this afternoon to work with Sarah, and Lorraine and I set about dismantling the bed as this couldn’t get into our bedroom. Then reassembled all the bits in our bedroom. Having somewhere to sleep is a big priority. Appropriately enough, Dawn was our first visitor, bearing some bubbly which, when we drank it, went straight to all our heads. Then she bought us fish and chips from a chip shop around the corner, which was rather good and I bought a couple of cheeky lagers. A very cheery night, but Lorraine and I were exhausted by the end of it.

Lorraine, Beth and I shortly after dawn, in the half a minute of relaxation we got while waiting for the moving guys after a frenzy of packing. My self portrait a depiction of my complex feelings toward Haywards Heath.





Thursday, November 27, 2014

Completion and a new moon

More packing today, punctuated by calls from the Solicitor and the Estate agent saying the house purchase had completed -- and gleeful texts to Lorraine and Beth. Then a final walk through Hateful Heath off to the station this afternoon, and trained to Preston Park station, alighted from there and wandered off to the Estate Agents and, pausing only to marvel at the convincing nature of the humanoid replicants, signed for the key to our new house at 4:30.

Stepped out of their office and as I crossed the road a sudden break in the cloud allowed me to glimpse the new moon. For superstitious reasons I had been trying not to see through glass all week, but had failed to see at all. This unadulterated new moon at such a time, seemed a good omen.

A sense of unreality about the walked up  Preston Drove, alongside Preston Park (the other end of the park we lived near before) and paused in the Park View, a nice enough boozer, and availed myself of a pint of beer while waiting for Lorraine. Then stepped outside, jumped into the car, and drove the couple of hundred yards up the road to our new house, opening the door and squeezing in together.

It seemed bigger than I remembered it. We brought in a few breakables from the car, such as the TV and some computery bits, Beth arrived shortly after, making us laugh by miming a cat spraying in the corners of the house, and we shared a glass of bubbly together.

Then off to the Shahi for a celebratory curry. Not been there for over a month and it felt good to be back, a strange surging of emotion expressed through the snapping of poppadoms.  Then, for the last time, we returned to Hayward's Heath.

Below a shot of the living room area of the new house. Not, perhaps, the most memorable testament to an important day.




Monday, November 24, 2014

The weight of the real

Final Monday in Haywards Heath. Money successfully wired through to solicitors, discussions with Rentokil about woodworm treatment scheduled for next week with a man called Sunny. Hoovering in preparation for the Estate agent photographer, who when he arrived forced Brian's removal from the scene on more than one occasion. Then into Haywards Heath to buy light-bulbs, interdental sticks, Brussels sprouts and so on. Brought to mind my old friend MSR, shaking his head and sighing about 'the weight of the real'. The glamour quotient presently very low.

Fiddling about with the look and feel of Peter Kenny The Writer Ltd. which will be launched on an unsuspecting world at some point after the move. Also swapping emails with Robin about Telltale and we are going to meet up next week once the move is done, and some of the dust has settled. Poking the weird lump between my ribs, which the quack was unconcerned about. It seems larger and more sore when I poke it.  Lorraine advised me not to poke it. My wife is the tops.

Below from the perfectly pleasant back door I can see this tree that birds sit in. Sometimes when there is only one perched on a twisty branch it looks quite Japanese. I'm not getting out much.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

A final Sunday

Little today to trouble the legions of my future biographers. Rain falling steadily in Haywards Heath, as the grey Sunday hastened towards nightfall, which was Lorraine's cue to work on her dreary reports. A short trip to a garage to blow air into tyres, and to Sainsbury's local offered vivid interludes of excitement, having spent the day tidying the house, partly in preparation for arrival of a photographer tomorrow who will snap the house so Jo can rent it.

I feel a bit graceless wanting to be back in Brighton so fervently. We had great good fortune in Jo offering us this comfortable house to rent. But as I cannot quell the yippees that leak out of me when I think that our last weekend in Haywards Heath is done.

In the evening I cooked, after talking to Mum and Mas. Mum had been off to hear a concert, which was recorded for Radio 3, of music by young composers this afternoon.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pop

Woke up early today, and got up to do a spot of writing for an hour or so before simply going back to bed. Eventually Lorraine and I got up again and attempted to be relentlessly organised and prepared. Not helped by BT Internet, whose widespread malfunction activated unasked for parental controls randomly barring access to sites like the wine society and even a florist - a bizarre problem which apparently affected lots of their customers.

To Brighton this evening, we were going to go by train but Lorraine decided to drive. First to Hove to pay, with some difficulty the money that Lorraine owed Sainsbury's petrol station having filled up her tank last week only to discover that her purse was at home. Took them ages to work out how to take the money -- a process which involved phoning people and looking at stuff in blue clip folders.

Then a minor accident. Parking in Brighton, close to where we used to live, the tyre caught the unusually high kerb and burst. Alarmed people came out of their house to check we'd not totalled their car. A stroke of IT related luck, however, in that Lorraine had downloaded the AA app earlier in the day. She was able to report the problem, and get an estimated time for the repair very quickly on her phone without having to speak to anyone -- till an AA man called her to say he'd arrived a little time later.

Celebration number two for Beth's birthday in the increasingly trendy, with its own DJ, Hare and Hounds on Preston Circus. Beth, John and Anton were already there, a sparkly Betty having booked a booth and John sensibly at the bar getting beers in when we arrived. Sadly a couple of Beth's pals had to pull out at the last moment but we had a good time anyway, strapping on the nosebag and eating some rather nice Mexican street food made with pulled pork. Beth's pals Ainsley and Milly arrived later too. Chatting with Anton too, telling him he had to read the Knausgaard books as he seems to be almost exactly the same age as the autobiographical hero.

Drove home (the AA man phoning Lorraine who slipped out as he fixed on the spare tyre) happy in the knowledge that we won't have to drive home from Brighton from next week. All's well.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The virtues of white goods

Woke up feeling quite lively. Finally finished the epic bank form, signed last year's tax things from Andrew, then ambled into Hayward's Heath to post them. Then treating myself to a celebratory cup of Americano in a Caffè Nero as the rain fell outside. Enjoyed a free-ranging think as the Cloud Of Things That Must Be Done momentarily lifted about originality, and jotting a few notes down in my notebook as the cafe filled with pensioners enjoying coffee and snacks.

Now we are leaving Hateful Heath I find I'm no longer loathing it. It is perfectly pleasant, as I have said. It's just that it is not home, and it can't be blamed for this. It's just a town without imagination, but I suppose I am spoiled in Brighton. Home again, and working with both cats bookending my keyboard.  Lorraine working from home this afternoon. A quiet night, thinking and discussing the virtues of white goods, as we will need a new fridge freezer, washing machine and dish washer, with Lorraine consulting Which about best buys.  

Below the dead centre of Haywards Heath.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Betty's birthday

All action today. Getting broadband and the Royal Mail forwarding organised for our new house. The Royal Mail at least decided to charge me nothing for this as a gesture of goodwill -- having made a hash of the forwarding so far.  Also zoomed off to the bank to schedule the chaps payment to solicitor. I quite liked having hundreds of thousands in my account for a while. Also signing and returning accounts stuff to Andrew. In short, taking care of business.

All this done, off to Brighton late this afternoon. I had arranged to meet Beth there for her birthday, from the train. Instead Lorraine drove us there, and came as a surprise. John with Betty too, and we all repaired to a French cafe to drink coffees and have cake (or in Lorraine and my case fig and chocolate bread and butter pudding which was fab). Betty happy to receive an iPad, which for all kinds of complex reasons we had stealthily collected from Pat and Maureen's place last weekend.

Then the four of us to The Basketmakers for a quick drink and a bite to eat. Met Irish Tom there, who was pleased to see us, and I texted Matt who came to join us too to strap on the nosebag and have a couple of pints. Ages since we've all had a drink there, and I felt very happy to be back in Brighton albeit for a few hours.

Lorraine and I home at eightish, and then I was facetimed by Toby from a hotel room, and I got to speak to the Romster too which good. She is doing all kinds of high powered meetings at the moment, and will be in Japan at Christmastime to attend to family business there. Sad to think of us all with Hiroko last year, but I am so pleased we saw her then, on what was an idyllic holiday. Really looking forward this year, however, to having Christmas in our new home, and seeing Toby who will be over in the UK. I love Christmas.

Lorraine, after sneaking off in the afternoon, compensating by working in the evening. A couple of
Frasiers, and to bed.

Below a few snaps in the Basketmakers. Lorraine and Beth; Beth; John and Lorraine; and me and John. I am trying to pull a 'selfie' face; and Irish Tom. Matt, strangely, not pictured.







Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Counting the days

Counting down the days now till I return to Brighton. As Lorraine says, one thing about this little sojourn in Hayward's Heath is to remind us of how much we like living in Brighton. I will miss one of our Haywards Heath neighbours, Gary, who has Down's Syndrome. Most days he straps on his headphones, sparks up his Karaoke machine to sing with unrestrained gusto and volume in the room next to the one I've been working in. I find this immensely cheering, and makes me feel that all's right with the world. It's hard to work out most of the tunes, but his version of Kylie's Can't get you out of my head will live with me for some time. We also hear him at the weekend when we are lazing in bed. When we met him the other week, at the drinks after Jo's wedding, he absolutely loved Jo and followed her around hugging her.

Finally got some post today. The new owners of The Old Church Hall sent through an enormous envelope full of stuff, bless 'em. And at last the mail forwarding has kicked in. A haul of important stuff, including two credit cards. Now I have to re-redirect the mail, God only knows what new havoc that will wreak.

Otherwise little or no overlap in the Venn diagram where Stuff to do circle barely touches The enthusiasm to do stuff circle. A random walk this afternoon to a nearby housing estate Southdowns Park converted from a former mental hospital. A strange, unwelcoming place, with all the roads marked as private, and I felt like someone might ask me what I was doing there. I guessed it had been a mental hospital before Lorraine told me it had been. Something about the layout or the atmosphere.

Lorraine late teaching Governors, read more of the Knausgaard book, which I am still enjoying, and then cooked and administered wine when she eventually returned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

God speed the day

Feeling a huge relief and delight that we are moving. One day soon my morning list will not require me to do things like filling in a business bank form 30 pages long, nor chase the pathetic Royal Mail about their failure to forward mail. God speed the day.

Early this morning, I spent a couple of hours working on another older poem Siamese Fighting Fish that had never worked, and found that it suddenly snapped into shape. I seem to be on a bit of a roll.

Strolled into the main bit of Haywards Heath to buy bread with nice bits of fruit and nut in it from a continental baker, and wrapping paper for Beth's presents in Smiths. This morning ordered a birthday present for Beth for Thursday, paying for express delivery, only to discover this evening that someone else has already bought it for her. D'oh.

Lorraine home late, having had a long day, not helped by filling her tank full of petrol and discovering she had forgotten her purse. Luckily it was with Sainsburys and they were very good about it. She arrived late, and went onto her Which site, and discussed important matters such as who will be our power suppliers in the new house. Counting the days.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Exchange at last

Yippee! Exchanged at last and we take possession of New Kenny Towers on 27th of November. Waves of relief as the legal stars finally align. The soul-shriveling years of dealing with solicitors and estate agents and property managers that began with me moving out of the Twitten, renting my house in the Twitten, selling my house in the Twitten, moving into the Old Church Hall, trying and failing to sell the Old Church Hall last year, selling the Old Church Hall this year, moving to Haywards Heath temporarily... the end of all that is arriving in a week and half. Lorraine and I and Betty are moving into the home in Brighton that Lorraine and I have chosen together and have no intentions of leaving.

The full joy of this is yet to sink in. There is naturally lots to be done -- and another move to be rapidly arranged, luckily only cats and skeletons from Haywards Heath, then the other stuff stored in Maureen and Pat's garage, and all the stuff we have in storage in Brighton. But all these tasks can be done with a song on our lips.

In the evening off to Brighton to the poetry meeting, which despite leaving in loads of time I managed to be late for. A good session, with some excellent work. I took along a poem called The Air War which seemed to go down well. It was actually a poem from perhaps twenty years ago that I could never get right, and quite suddenly it all fell into place a couple of weeks ago. Funny how it works like that.

Nice chats on the way to the station with Andie, Antony and Robin. Home fairly quickly and had a late glass of wine with Lorraine to celebrate. Almost free at last.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

To Ashford

Off with Betty and Lorraine to Ashford today to see Maureen and Pat, as we have things there we needed to collect, but once we were there I decided that one of the items, a fridge, shouldn't be transported on its side in the back of the car.

Maureen cooked a particularly nice Sunday lunch which we ate with much enjoyment, despite Lorraine being told off for not putting the vegetables on the plates with enough neatness.

Pete was also there, popping in and out and playing tank warfare games upstairs. Luckily he has agreed to drive the stuff we have stored in their garage to our new home, when we get there. Lorraine also advanced the theory that having a footlong beard, Pete's pride and joy, didn't show off his handsome face enough and rolled it up to demonstrate as only an aunt can.

After lunch Beth read out the long list of Christmas treats and foods that we had constructed last night to last us over the Christmas period, which we had done last night instead of brooding on the bad stuff.

Pat said they have a Guernsey Lily in their front garden, and went out to look at some of the freesias they'd bought in Guernsey, which were still flowering.

We had to leave early to return to Hatewards Heath, as Lorraine had about five hours work this evening, Betty sat on the gold sofa watching Big Bang Theory on Lorraine's iPad and I read Karl Ove Knausgaard's A death in the family, being the first volume in his work called Min Kamp, or My Struggle that Toby ordered me to read. Knausgaard namechecks Proust in it and I can see why as it is slow and thoughtful, but really interesting.

Below Betty giving Maureen an iPad refresher course. Maureen surprised to find pictures of herself and Pat on this blog, and descriptions of her doings.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Interbrighton

A mercifully slow start this morning, and Lorraine caught up on some good sleep and I brought us quorn sausage sandwiches and cups of tea in bed with the cats happily lying about with us.

Off this afternoon to Brighton. Yay! To return digital TV aerial and see Interstellar, a baggy science fiction romp at the Kommedia. Sure the plot has more holes than a crochet blanket, but it was an exciting spectacle and the emotional bits had Lorraine weeping satisfactorily next to me. I enjoyed it a great deal - a bleakish escapism -- with some incredible visual sequences. The infinite library scene in the end (somebody has read their Jorge Luis Borges) rather splendid.

By the time I left the cinema, the headache that I had been nursing this morning had transformed into a full on thumper, and I wanted to get home rather than to The Basketmakers to meet Matt. Lorraine went off to get the car, and I popped into Sainsbury's where Beth caught up with me and we jumped into Lorraine's getaway car and returned to Haywards Heath with various provisions. I had a sleep which seemed to help the pain lift, before coming down to eat tuna steaks. Lots of pain this week. Then play a few rounds of three handed Euchre with Lorraine and Betty, which was fun.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Inbetweenness

Day spent waiting for the exchange to happen, phoning solicitors and estate agents and so on.  We're all ready to go, and this afternoon the estate agent told us the vendor is also ready to go. The last lines of Waiting for Godot are apposite. Vladimir: Well? Shall we go? Estragon: Yes, let's go. They do not move. I made my final futile call at 5:30 to the solicitor. No exchange made. They do not move. 

When I wasn't wandering in this hall of mirrors, I searched for pieces of paper that have the information Andrew needed for my tax return. When I wasn't doing this I was failing to write. All this inbetweenness is rubbish for writing in. So I finished The Fall by Camus which I enjoyed a good deal, in an existentialist kind of way: a bloke in a dark cafe harping on about how terrible life is and what a terrible man he is. In the end it turns out his endless but fascinating monologue has all been addressed to himself, or at least to his double.

When Lorraine returned home, we drove off to nearby Cuckfield, which has a centre and a cheery pub and a few restaurants and cafes. One quick drink followed by a nice curry in the place we went to last time. Jess and Andrew on good form, and in love with their new little dog. I like Andrew and feel very happy that he is my accountant. Lorraine and I yawning our heads off however by around ten, and so made our excuses, and sped home.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Waiting to exchange

Phoned by the solicitor this morning to say there was a last-minute hold up with exchanging contracts. Eventually no exchange was made. Lorraine and I taking this fairly philosophically. Maybe tomorrow.

Told I had to get house insurance for the new place sorted, so spent some time doing this. Feeling a certain amount healthier and so had more energy simply to get on with work, although I can't write anything creative. A nice chat with Mum on FaceTime, which is proving a boon.

Took delivery of a new printer, with spiffy wireless connectivity, that Lorraine can print from and so can my laptop. Lorraine discovered that despite us paying for mail forwarding the majority of our mail is being posted to the old church hall. Ended another day in limbo watching Frasier.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Brighton interlude

Hobbled off to Brighton to visit the Japanese shop to buy authentic miso soup. Then visited the doctor to bleat about my health (the lump between my ribs nothing to worry about apparently). Then popped into The Real Patisserie to buy some savoury bits and some chewy brown bread. Took the eatables up to Janet and Ken to scoff them with a nice bowl of mulligatawny soup that Janet had made. A pleasant interlude. Ken rather tired, but much conversation with Janet on a wide range of subjects. She is sensibly opting to take a break from her Diva show next year.

Home to Haywards Heath (impossible to get used to saying that) and cabbed yawning back from the station. Then apart from a few urgent emails about Telltale Press and I was bone idle and slept.

Then watched World at War documentaries about the Final Solution and Japan. War really is Hell. Was struck by the everyday context for so much of the madness. The Kamikaze pilots for example knocking back a spot of sake before heading off to a glorious death. The warming sake remains, but luckily the other stuff has abated.

Lorraine came home and we drove out to buy fish and chips, which were rather excellent and we scoffed these at home watching Frasier. Early to bed, feeling guiltily lifeless with Lorraine is working so hard.

Note from the Tobster advising me in the strongest terms to read Karl Ove Knausgaard. I will, after I've finished The Fall by Albert Camus.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Unbelievable luck

Foot still somewhat painful, but Lorraine took some emergency time off work to drive us to big box storage. Opened the door and the storage place was crammed brimful with belongings and boxes. A heart-sinking moment contemplating finding a passport in this haystack. But with unbelievable luck, however, we spotted an open box near the door which had my passport in it. It had been mistakenly taken by one of the movers as it was never intended for storage. So we were in and out within two minutes instead of the hours we had imagined.

Lorraine and I off to the bank in Hatewards Heath and was helped by an exceptionally pleasant man to transfer the house deposit to the solicitors. This done, feeling extremely relieved. Lorraine and I home and then after a pause for a pain au raisin and a refreshing cup of tea both of us began work. I caught up with some of the stuff I should have been doing over the last couple of days.

Long conversation with Bob in this afternoon. Another couple of World at War documentaries late in the afternoon. A much improved day. Frasier in the evening too. All well.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Stress afoot

Appalling night due to sudden onset of the worst gout I have ever had. Quack said new meds might spark an attack at some point and sure enough I was assailed by whimper-inducing pain. Superstrength painkillers helped a little and I had some sleep after about 5am. My lovely wife brought me porridge and a flask of tea in bed and she left for work with strict instructions for me to stay there. Finished the Hangover Hotel novel in a blurry haze, a fantastic book in many ways.

Soon summoned however by the No Rest for the Wicked Dept. and after a call from an estate agent was forced to drag myself out of bed to chase solicitors. House move appears to be going at full steam -- and the prospect of moving into our new house before the end of the month. This means I had to make a payment of the house deposit I hobbled painfully around the house getting dressed and organised. I needed my passport to make the payment at the local branch, but after searching every inch of the place I could not find it. The only conclusion is that it is in storage, in one of 100 boxes.

Pretty stressed by now, decided to gather up all the other ID I had and try anyway. As I couldn't walk much, I had to take a taxi. No taxis to be had, as all of them on the school run in this Godforsaken town. The school run? I thought in my best Victor Meldrew mode. Managed to get a cab eventually, and painfully went to the bank, who naturally found themselves unable to help and seemed alarmed at my request. Managed with difficulty to get a cab home, with the same rather cheerful driver.

My lovely wife returned, and we decided to go to the big box place tomorrow morning first thing. Settled down to watch the World at War again, grateful for the fact that I wasn't living as a subject of the fashionable madmen of the 1940s. Lorraine cooked me pasta, the PK comfort food, and we watched a few Frasiers before bed. Absolutely shattered and still with an ouchy foot.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Autumnal garden and Hangover Square

Stressful morning, with Beth's phone not working and Lorraine trying to download software to fix it and running out of time, the shower running out of hot water leaving Beth half washed and frozen, then rushing Beth off to the station to meet John's train, but being caught in a remembrance Sunday traffic jam to make it just in the nick of time, only for John and Beth to miss each other at the station, John getting off the train while Beth got on it.

Attempting to introduce some peace into our lives,  Lorraine and I went for a walk in Sheffield Park around the gorgeous gardens in their autumnal glory, and tried to talk about nice things such as what we will do with our little garden once we move in, and the kinds of flowers we will have and so on as the water flamed with the trees' reflections.

In the afternoon and evening, poor Lorraine had loads of work to do.  I read most of Hangover Square, subtitled A Story of Darkest Earl's Court, by Patrick Hamilton. Published in 1941 it is set in 1939 and its characters inhabit seedy boozers in Earls Court, visit the West End and Brighton. Fascinating book, and evocative of a Lost Lost London and a lost Brighton too for that matter.

Below some glimpses of the gorgeous Sheffield Park.






Saturday, November 08, 2014

A spot of Euchre

To Brighton this morning to meet Beth during her lunchtime break, and I quickly went to the bank, and bought a couple of books. Felt great to be in our home town, even if it is just for a flying visit.

Off this afternoon off to Staplefield, a village with a pub in it called The Victory. Jo, whose house we are currently renting and a work pal of Lorraine's, got married to her husband David quietly on Friday and gathered a few friends this afternoon. Our new next door neighbours were there too, and were very pleasant. Chatting with people working in education (several knew Lorraine) fell in with one of the locals too. Pleasant afternoon, and I enjoyed a few pints of Harveys.

Then to to collect Beth from the station. Plan A was go to a nearby firework display -- a controlled display as Lorraine can't abide the uncontrolled ones. It was however hosing down with rain, so instead the three of us ended up playing Euchre till late. I taught them the three handed game and it brought back all kinds of memories playing it. Kept thinking of my grandparents Gwen and Dave and playing endless games of euchre with them and Toby, and all Dave's in-game banter with hands like feet, and calling queens 'whistlers'  and so on. Lorraine, being a gamer, and Beth (being the daughter of a gamer) took to it like ducks to water and did suspiciously well.

The first time I have played euchre since playing in Deviation Road in August 2009.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Mysterious magnetism

From various communications from solicitors and estate agents it now looks possible we can move in a matter of weeks. This is cheering news.

Finished The Outsider, then attended to various bits of admin in a detached Gauloises smoking manner. Walked into the throbbing hub of  Haywards Heath but find I have set my face against Haywards Heath.

Friday evening, once my lovely freed herself at last from an arduous week of work, off to a Nepalese restaurant in Hayward's Heath called Everest Spice. Rather good it was too, in fact the jewel of Haywards Heath. We lapped up a couple of bottles each of Nepalese beer and some rather fine Gurkha grub while Lorraine exercised her magnetism and the waiters began fawning on her within minutes.

Home and a much-needed early night.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Banks and existentialists

Progress still hard won. Can't seem to write anything either. Phoned the bank with the freakish request that I want to meet someone in a Brighton Branch to discuss starting a new business account, and reviewing my existing accounts. Six separate phone conversations with NatWest over many hours before I could get any sense out of them at all, and was instead sent a form to fill in for the new account, and told another team would contact me to discuss existing accounts. They never did.

During one conversation a Sainsbury's delivery arrived, which I took with phone to ear dancing about in the front door trying to prevent Brian from escape. When he escaped the Sainsbury's man and myself surged about in the front garden before we managed to recapture him. However the cats have been scratching so piteously at the catflap, that I relented this evening and they joyfully surged out to menace the local wildlife.

Walked to the throbbing heart of the perfectly pleasant Haywards Heath, where I bought The Outsider by Camus, a book I always thought I had read, but actually hadn't. I was reminded of it listening to BBC R4's A Good Read. More of a long short story really at 100 pages and I read a quarter of it over a cup of coffee in a cafe. All I want to do at the moment is crawl into a shell and read books. Kindle is great for travelling light on holidays - but to really engage with a book, rereading, taking time over difficult passages, dwelling on thoughtful ones, an old fashioned book wins over an Audiobook or Kindle every time.

The Outsider a fascinating read and the fiction of the French existentialists created some memorable characters. The central character of this book is living a life of what Sartre would call bad faith, unable to make any decisions about his life and as a consequence exists in a limbo state, being unable to connect emotionally to anything around him so that he can shoot someone dead without understanding why. The readers on A Good Read were somewhat dismissive of the book, but I think it is far more subtle than they gave it credit for.

Able to FaceTime again, so spoke to mum for a while. Cooked and waited for Lorraine to come home after another long day at work, and ended the day with Frasier.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Out of sorts

Out of sorts and finding it hard to achieve anything. Predictably this malaise is manifesting itself in a semi-permanent sore throat, periodic snuffles, exhaustion to which I can now add hypochondriac brooding about a weird lump between my ribs that is sensitive to the touch. The earliest appointment I can get for my doctor is the middle of next week, so luckily there is plenty of time to think about it. Miserably declined an invitation to go to Lewes tonight to see fireworks with Mark, reasoning that standing about in the cold for four or five hours would not help.

Worked at a poem and made it worse, wrote a blog post for my site, which took forever before I decided it was too lame to post. There are a wealth of more important things to be done, but they are all seem too complicated and difficult. And even setting up an appointment to see my bank has proved impossible.

In other news a pleasant man came to connect the broadband, which will definitely help. Another man came to assess the boiler for gas safety. One of my clients paid me too, which was very welcome. Cooked a bangers and mash style repast for Mrs Kenny, for nothing comforts my wife more than mashed potatoes. Lorraine working very hard this week, which makes my inability to do anything seem even lamer.

Below this is the perfectly pleasant view from my study, one morning when it wasn't raining. Small houses and nice trees as far as the eye can see.  


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Chairman Kenny

Chatting with Betty, who on leaving left Lorraine and I a lovely anniversary card, off and on before she set off for Brighton late this afternoon. Betty is rather beset at the moment, with her phone inexplicably being cut off this afternoon.

Meanwhile I became Chairman Kenny, as Peter Kenny The Writer Ltd. is now an actual thing, and its documentation arrived in the post today, along with solicitor blah blahs about the house. Lorraine is my Company secretary so is now able to be ordered about, imperiously asked for teas and subject to unwantedly depraved attentions. It's company number rocks (9279272) too.

Bob called me this afternoon, walking the dog off to pick up Millie somewhere in Salisbury.

Lorraine home after ten, having been training governors. I watched several episodes of The World at War. Such an excellent series, although somewhat depressing obviously. Made toast and tea for my baby when she got home. And so to bed.

Finished the Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of pilgrimage. Really enjoyed it. It is a lesson how things written so coolly can be such page turners.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Window on the edge of town

Normal hours today. Lorraine up early and me working at my desk first thing on poetry in a room with a view, well with the novelty of a window at least and a perfectly pleasant outlook on the edge of nowhere estate we live in. It rained for most of the day. I walked half an hour to the supermarket and got drenched on the way home. A hot shower on returning. Strangely lonely abandoned feeling in this estate, and find I am missing Brighton, and even the dubious delights of London road.


Draining sore-throat and am finding it hard to prioritise. Instead, and guiltily knowing how hard Lorraine was working, read Murakami's new novel like a mad thing. Almost done. Spoke to Mark too this evening.

Betty arrived early this evening, driven here by a surly taxi driver. Gallingly the job she had lined up as a Christmas elf has now gone, as the company doing it has changed all their plans. Bastards. Beth though galled has taken it like a trouper. She also had her painful heel treated with ultrasound today. We hung out chatting as we prepared roast veggies which we ate with salmon and couscous when Lorraine got home late from more hideous Ofstead-inspired lateness.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

A day of rest

A much needed day of rest. I got up early and worked on an old poem I have suddenly found a new way into, and is working really well. Then back to bed with cups of tea. Reading the new Murakami, catchily entitled, Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of pilgrimage which Lorraine brought me. Enjoying Murakami as usual.

Messages from Toby, he is off to California to see Alex this week, and Romy and Tobs will be moving to Ottowa next year. Excellently, my bro will be over, arriving in the UK on Christmas Day.

A brief excursion to do some shopping in the afternoon and I cooked what turned out to be a strangely triumphant casserole, with chorizo and chicken, beans and various veggies and herbs, which Lorraine and I polished off this evening.

Anton stopped by this afternoon with Klaudia and Oskar having been to his Mum's in London, bearing belated birthday gifts, including a copy of The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engles, which I have not read since I was twenty, and a DVD collection of the classic World at War documentaries, its gift tag saying 'Are you in this?' As usual, excellent to see my Godbairns, which Lorraine fed and gave them the left over trick or treat sweets. Klaudia is in a growing spurt and is taller, and sporting an interesting fringe. Oskar confided that he liked Rock and Roll, before his stomach started hurting and he needed to be taken home.

Both of us slumping with tiredness at night, my energy levels unhelped by a persistent throat infection. Normally at such times we would simply watch TV. But we are unable to get TV nor do we have broadband. Lorraine bought a booster aerial, but then we noticed that because we are in a valley other people’s aerials are all on long stalky poles so we had no joy with something hanging out of the back of the TV set. Thank goodness for DVDs. We watched a couple of Frasiers, an episode of The Wire and an original Star Trek before bed before ten.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Hopping in Hove

Another walk into the throbbing hub of Haywards Heath, where Lorraine and I bumped into Sue again in Smiths. We did some light shopping, and shared American pancakes in a cafe. Unnaturally hot day, and felt the sun warm on my back. Haywards Heath busy being pleasant again.

In the evening off to Hove for Rosie's party. Met Anton beforehand in The Hampton pub. Lorraine wore her wedding shoes and a black dress. I looked quite smart till I dropped a morsel of patatas bravas, covered in a rich staining sauce, down my shirt. The party good fun, and Rosie full of beans, and lots of her friends and Tim's friends there. Dawn came too, and I enjoyed meeting Rosie's pal Alice again and discussing art, life and other subjects. I indulged in a spot of cavorting on the dancefloor too. Driven home straight home by Lorraine, and not via the kebab shop as Anton urged, for which I was later profoundly grateful.

Discovered I can weasel a bit of internet here too, before the wifi is turned on on Wednesday.