Saturday, February 28, 2015

A night out with Sophie, Andros and Electra

A day of doing bits and bobs. Lorraine not feeling too well this morning with a stomach upset. I pottered about doing a few bits of house stuff, and feeding Lorraine tomato soup. She rallied later, luckily.

In the evening Lorraine, Beth and I hopped aboard the bus and collected Sophie, Andros and Electra from a hotel near the station. We found a place to have a cocktail and a chat, then into a little tapas place in Sidney Street which was crammed when we first got in there. Rather good food and Spanish wine to be had there too, as well as lessons on how to pronounce Pedro Ximénez the sweet sherry, (aka PX that Lorraine and I sometimes nip as a Crane Brothers treat)  a reduction of which was drizzled onto some ice cream at the end of my meal. Yum.

 I'd not seen Electra for a couple of years, and she's just had her 17th birthday and has changed from an a intelligent, funny girl into an intelligent, funny young woman. She is toying with studying anthropology, or perhaps philosophy at university. She and Betty got on well too, and Beth enjoyed meeting Sophie and Andros properly. Sophie recovering from having broken an ankle at the end of last year but otherwise in excellent spirits and it did my heart good to see her as ever.

Fascinating as ever to chat with Andros who has met so many amazing people over the years, having worked as Stanley Kubrick's personal assistant. He is absolutely not a name dropper, but interesting to ask him about The Shining, both book and film for example. He also knew Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr well too. Sophie, working as she does in PR for TV knows people too. Why don't I know famous people?

Fond farewells and Beth, Lorraine and I caught the bus back home, although were magentised briefly by The Basketmakers as we happened to be passing it. I blame Beth for this. Anyway, a cheery night out all round.

Below Sophie and I, Electra and Sophie, Beth, Andros and Lorraine.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Lurking and changing

Up early and working through a list of stuff. Returned to the criminals at HSBC with some identification, which was graciously accepted.

My list also included me getting in touch with my old friend Mario Petrucci, with whom I had a conversation. I happened to be in the gym changing room at the time, the only place I could get any reception. Stood about for some half an hour there discussing the virtues of modernism, and other poetry, while being eyed uncertainly by the blokes in the changing room.  I also wrote to Pascale Petite, of whom I am a fanboy.

Good to be back in the gym, not that I'm doing too much other than a bit of trundling on the cross trainer. I need it, as I am on the fat end of my usual fat spectrum. Enjoying the longer walk to and from the gym across Preston Park.

Sonia here today, assuring me that I won't have to live in this house forever because it has too many stairs, and that I could have got a nice place if we hadn't insisted on Brighton. Sonia frowns on the stairs in our house.

Lorraine and Beth home together. Beth talking in a Yorkshire accent having been speaking to her pal Olivia. Lorraine in need of wine, then later feeling a bit unwell. Ate couscous and roasted vegetables and small bits of chicken. I had two cans of beer and watched the guilty pleasure TV of Gogglebox.

Leonard Nimoy died today. I like his last tweet, which read: "Life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP" LLAP meaning Live Long and Prosper, one of his Vulcan catchphrases.

Below A beautiful day today. Here is a view of Blaker's Park, a couple of hundred yards away from us. The view is downhill, and the bright bit in the middle is actually the sea with the sun on it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Out of the fog

Foggy morning in Brighton. Lorraine and I looking out only able to see the next row of rooftops below us, and the gulls perched on the roofs standing against a pearly grey background. Rained lots today too.

Lorraine home this morning, and returned early after a meeting. Beth with a sore throat. I happily ensconced in my office, and had a very much better day than yesterday. Topped off by an out-of-the-blue offer of freelance work, plus I got lots of my own work done today too. Much better all round. This evening, munching on a Quorn stir fry having returned from Sainsbury's, Lorraine and I watched the final episode of Wolf Hall. What a fantastic television that was.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Log jam

Despite going to the gym, I had a very poor day and was unable to focus on anything. A gridlock of obscure anxieties and negative feelings about everything I was working on. Lorraine home and we went for a walk around the park, and after I had talked at her for twenty minutes I felt much better. A passing logjam, and by the time we had cooked together I felt much better.

Call from Anton in a many-houred traffic jam, driving up to his mum's house. Also spoke to Matty today, and will pop into see him at Chiswick next week for a coffee after I see my dentist.

A nice evening in with Lorraine and Betty. We ended up watching the money-tamed spectacle of pop drivel that is the Brit Awards. I never expected to go to bed, however, finding that I felt sorry for Madonna. First she had to endure ageist and sexist remarks, then she fell painfully during her live performance yanked offstage by her cape.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bits and pieces

A day of bits and pieces. Lorraine spoiling me with porridge and tea in bed. An early start this morning writing a new list. Later I went to see those running dogs of capitalism HSBC bank to provide some ID for an account with Robin, as filling an online form didn't work because I have moved address. The ID I took, a passport and a bank statement for Peter Kenny at Peter Kenny The Writer Ltd wasn't enough to convince them I was a criminal mastermind posing as Peter Kenny. Had to quell the urge to point out that only criminals in the room were the HSBC.

Then off across the park in the sunshine to meet Janet, with whom I popped into the breast care clinic to be an extra pair of ears. This done, and a good prognosis for Janet obtained, we jumped into a cab for a cup of coffee back home at Janet and Ken's place.

Returning home I popped into the friendly ONCA gallery to see an exhibition called The Cancer Landscape to get material for another blog post. Finished We are all completely beside ourselves this evening. A book I thought I was going to hate shortly after starting it, but ended up rather enjoying.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Back to the gym

Lorraine up early, and brought me porridge and tea in bed. She is a most excellent wife. After getting up early I went to the gym again for the first time in months. So long in fact that the gym has been refurbished since I was last there. Only trundled for half an hour on the cross trainer, but felt good to be ignoring my unsmiling narcissistic compadres again. Listening today to my audiobook called We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Fowler. A good read.

Otherwise little to report. Finding focusing hard, and gripped by a sense of urgency, but not sure what to do first. I need a fresh list. A nice evening chatting with Betty and Lorraine.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A slow Sunday lunch in Leeds

Up, fairly slowly, Lorraine and I able to sleep reasonably well despite the Dionysian throbbing coming from the nearby nightclub. This probably due to a bit of proper air obtained on the moors yesterday. After checking out of the Cosmopolitan, we mooched about in town for a while, pausing for a cup of coffee and to buy Sam some beard clippers, for his beard is on the wild and woolly side.

Then to the station, where we met First Matie, her brother Andy and Sam and Jade. From there we went to a pub called The Town Hall Tavern, where we had a good Sunday lunch washed down with pints of refreshing Timothy Taylor Yorkshire beer, one of which was the champion beer Boltmaker. Nice to meet Andy, who lives in Leeds having stayed there after studying history at the university some time ago. A relaxed and happy afternoon. A cheery roast lunch, which I followed with a nice apple crumble.

Then we all surged out into the rain. I nipped back and collected the case from the hotel, and returned to bid everyone fond farewells at the station. Kate off back to Hull, where excitingly she has just moved in with Nick. Sam, Jade and Andy back out into Leeds, and Lorraine and I aboard the train to Kings Cross.

I'd really enjoyed our trip up to Leeds.

A fast and unremarkable journey home, I was listening to my new audiobook called We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Fowler. Teeming with rain in Brighton when we arrived, and we waited in the long taxi queue before getting home. Betty staying at John's tonight. The cats pleased to see us, though Calliope did bite me for being away.

A spot of TV as we ate some cheese on toast, then couple more chapters of Kokoro before sleep and the joy of a good bed to sleep in.

Below me and Sam; Andy and Katie, Lorraine and Jade.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A spot of Wuthering

Lorraine and I began the day with a cooked breakfast in the hotel. We'd not slept well due to the throbbing of a nearby nightclub till 4am, but were much revived by many cups of tea and a big breakfast.

Then off to meet Sam and Jade at the bus station, where we caught a bus which passed through satisfyingly northern places like Shipley and Bingley until we eventually arrived at Keighley. A really good way to see something of Yorkshire in the unexpected sunshine. Past towns with old mill chimneys, and houses made out of honey-coloured stone. Here we changed and caught another bus to Haworth, getting off near a little railway station where there was evidence of steamtrains, much to Lorraine's excitement. Up through a pretty little park called Central Park to Haworth and then, still going uphill, past lots of antique shops, souvenir shops, and cafes.  One was called Yorkshire Relics, which made me think of Matt. We stopped in one place for a coffee and piece of apple sponge cake, then we visited the Brontë Parsonage Museum, which I found fascinating. Lovely picturesque area, with an intriguing graveyard. Felt suddenly as if I 'got' the Brontë sisters better than before. More about all that here.

After this, and despite it feeling nippy, we went for a stroll onto the edge of the moors, which were just behind where the Brontës had lived. A beautiful place, with all the wild openness you'd imagine from Wuthering Heights.

Then to the Black Bull where we had a cheeky pint of beer and I snapped Branwell Brontë's pub chair (for the unfortunate Brontë brother drank heavily in that pub). Then back home, the way we'd come.

Arriving at Leeds, Sam and Jade led us to Akbar's. This had excellent food, and was extremely efficiently run and pretty friendly too. The food really was nice, and there was that northern thing of serving a large naan on a naan stand, a bit like a simplified metal Christmas tree on which our family sized naan arrived. The tables look like they have sails on them, and waiters walking with a couple of these look like they are bearing a pair of elephant ears.

Then Lorraine and I went back to the hotel, supped a cup of tea and watched part of Match of the Day on the TV. Strangely my foot and ankle much improved since being subjected to walks and beer.

Below a spot of wuthering about. Jade, Sam with wind-tufted hair, Lorraine; Lorraine behind the parsonage; a few other snaps.

Friday, February 20, 2015

To Leeds to see Sam and Jade

Up and off to Leeds, by train. Somewhat fraught journey trying to get to the train on time at Kings Cross. However we made it up to Leeds in one piece, and trundled the case off to a hotel five minutes away from the station called the Cosmopolitan, which appeared to be surrounded by nightclubs.

The room fine, however. We had a micro snooze then out to meet Sam and Jade near the station.  Sam reliably easy to spot.  They took us to a nice pub whose name escapes me, where we had a drink, and finding a table and having so much to say, we ordered food there too. Reminded as I bought a round of beers and happily examining my change, of the more civilised pricing for beer in the North. Both Sam and Jade seem to be flourishing as a couple, and in their work. And interesting for me to hear what they are bending their intellects to philosophically as far as I can understand it that is.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Luscious lime

Up and finishing the addition of luscious lime to our kitchen walls. Then a frenzy of moving things about in my study, and decisively hanging lots of pictures up in the house. All this seemed to take up a good deal of the day, and broken by popping out for some pies at lunchtime.

I spent the afternoon and evening working in my office. Lorraine had Jan, Helen and Dawn round for dinner, and I left the ladies to it after squeezing them all hello. It was the first of their regular get togethers since Helen's son died, and I think the evening did them all good, and there was lots of laughter too.

Dawn popped up to talk about the day with gifted and talented kids we are doing next month, which will be fun, and will necessitate going down into the air raid shelters in the school. I also sorted out my Golden Weasel birthday present night with Klaudia in April.

When the ladies left I watched this week's episode of Wolf Hall, which has been done really well.  Lorraine sniffing a bit this evening. Off to Leeds tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blueberry smiles

Up and writing this morning. Breaking off for a pancake breakfast cooked by Beth. She made some with slightly crazed blueberry smiles. Lorraine, John and I scarfing them, and plain ones with bacon and maple syrup, which was all rather delicious. After breakfast noticed a large fox, possibly a pregnant female relaxing in our garden. It seemed to appreciate the newly dug earth, and employed it as a lavatory.

Managed also to work on a poem, which if I say so myself, is one of the best I have written. So quite chuffed with that.

Also spoke to Mum. Lorraine and Beth off shopping, but I met up with them and John, his mum Krys and sister Jo who were down in Brighton today in Côte for a lunchtime bite, which was cheery.

I went back home, and Beth and Lorraine arrived later, armed with a new coat for Beth. From Côte to coat.

Below a Blueberry smile, the fox in question, and light through the side gate of the Pavilion Gardens.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How long is the present?

At Brighton station this morning, popped out while buying a ticket and peered in a nearby cafe where Beth and John were being filmed for an online advert for Barclays. I peered in, and then snapped the scene without seeing them. On the train to London, however, I noticed their profiles in the background.

In London, I met Bob at Nelson's Column Trafalgar Square was bright and sunny and full of people, lounging on the Landseer lions, and sitting around the column itself. Bob and I found each other, and made off to the National Gallery where Bob had read about an exhibition by Peder Balker. More about the exhibition here - I just love going to art exhibitions.

Then Bob and I sloped off to the lovely gin palace of The Salisbury for some food, served very, very slowly. I drank soda and lime, and Bob had cokes. Lots of chatting to be done, and various aspects of the world to be put right. Then to Two Temple Place, where we had intended to see an exhibition called Cotton into Gold. Unfortunately the exhibition was closed on Tuesdays. Bob was all for surging in and remonstrating with them for this unreasonableness.

Instead we walked down Fleet Street and popped into Ye Old Cheshire Cheese, and I had gin and tonics and Bob had beer. Love being in this pub, specifically in the brown bar just on the left as you enter. It is a place that does not seem to change, and I love it increasingly for this fact. There was a flat capped curmudgeon who came and sat next to us, and fed the fire with coal. Bob, was Bobish. Two pints in he asked penetratingly, how long is the present? When I was unable to answer he reproached me and said I should think about it. Then he informed me that the present was three seconds long.

A ridiculously early time we left for home, but it was excellent to have seen Bob.

A slightly draggy journey home, due to train delays. But was home by nine, with a cheery post shoot Betty and John at home, and Lorraine giving me a warm plate of food. All well.

Toby called however, having had a horrendous day with a rich variety of car and work computer, lost keys etc. hell, much of it conducted in achingly cold Ottowan temperatures.

Beth and John in profile against the far window. A few snaps from London; in Trafalgar Square; in The Salisbury; a dangling dog in Temple Place, The Royal Courts of Justice, Bob sitting next to a curmudgeon in the Cheese, snaps of the dark interior.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lorraine starts her week's holiday

Lorraine at home, so no six-something start. I got up and worked on various bits and pieces in my office after bringing my lovely wife some breakfast in bed.

In the afternoon Lorraine and I drove off in the icy rain to buy some paint for the kitchen, some compost, a bag of stones, pansies and so on. In the evening Lorraine and I did some painting in the kitchen, adding some zingy bright green colour, Lorraine also fiddling about happily with the pansies.

In the evening, I hobbled off to the poetry workshop session. Left my pesky wallet at home, too which meant I had to borrow some cash to catch the bus home. Some excellent work by some of the attendees today. Sadly mine (an old one) not quite up to scratch.

Home and Beth, back from London and having her bad heel treated, bemoaning the fact that the amount of stitches she's knitting started off at 40, but is now 46.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Off to see Pat and Maureen

A piece of toast, then Lorraine, Beth and I drove off to Kent to see Pat and Maureen. A surprisingly swift journey, listening to Kermode and Mayo reviewing 50 Shades of Grey movie among other things.

Nice to have an excuse to relax, and scarf down some roast lamb, apple strudel and custard plus fresh strawberries. I enjoyed wandering about in the garden with Pat, looking at his newly planted onions and shallots, overlooking the fresh poo Basil had done there, and discussing the virtues of black and red grasses.

After eating, Beth, Lorraine and Maureen sitting on the sofa doing various types of online shopping. Maureen also gave Beth a starter kit for knitting, and they continued as a comedy duo for some time afterwards.

I settled down happily to watch some Rugby, Scotland against Wales, and remembering all those schoolboy Saturdays, in the scrum, and having my hand stamped on by studded feet and so on. A happier business watching other people do it, that's for sure.

Eventually it was time to go home, my favourite mother in law giving me a can of ginger beer for the journey home, which we did listening to Classic FM. A really relaxing day.

Nice that Lorraine has no work tomorrow. The usual Sunday night glooms simply not there.

Below Mum's painting of Cobo, which we went to we were all in Guernsey, and Fat Basil, desporting herself attractively.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Gardening and beers with Matt

Valentine's day today, and Lorraine with a day off too. As well as a card to my lovely wife I also bought on impulse some Krispy Kreme heart shaped donuts. Krispy Kremes sound like something out of the Simpsons to me. We consumed these in bed, and welcomed diabetes type 2 into our lives with every bite. Unbelievably sweet things.

As for Valentines day, it does feel a little irrelevant when you have married someone and dedicated the rest of your life to be with them. A card doesn't really sum all that up, however nice.

A day of action in the garden. With Lorraine and I digging up a section of the lawn, and piling up the scrappy turf. The soil looks pretty good, although is chalky in places (unsurprisingly). Both felt very pleased with ourselves for this, and we were only at it for a couple of hours. The cats delightedly springing about the place as we worked.

In the late afternoon Lorraine and I went into town for an overdue beer with Matt in The Brighton Tavern. Really good to catch up with him, and have a drink in the cheery Tavern. We were joined after a while by Yasin and Beth.  Fond farewells after a couple of hours and Lorraine, Beth and I went down to the Basketmakers, and had a really excellent meal in there. Beth and I had really huge chicken burger things. Being in the Basketmakers felt like coming home.

Beth and Lorraine in the Basketmakers.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Spangles and melodies

Dreaming this morning that I had a migraine, when I woke up my vision was full of the familiar spangles and flashing lights of a migraine attack. This has never happened before. Luckily, as Lorraine was on holiday, and I had nothing too pressing I could simply go back to sleep again until the worst of it had passed off.

I managed a good day nevertheless, and in the afternoon I caught the bus to Hove to Helen Russell's place. Helen had been working in a frenzy on the piece, inspired by the section of libretto I had sent her. There were sheets of manuscript with rapidly pencilled sections. She also played me, using the music program Sibelius, some of her Requiem, which had minimalist elements as well as modern romantic. Helen's music is full of melody.

Then home, which took a long time, and required me to take a detour to by a Valentine's card and, impulsively, Valentine's donuts. Slept when I got home, still feeling the after effects of the morning, then feeling steadily better spoke to Mum, whose cat flap trials are over now and had a pleasant night in with Lorraine and Betty.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ascent from Beaky Bottom

After spending the first part of the week, thinking everything I've written was rubbish, I was gripped today by an idea that came to me in the morning and spent several hours working on it. An unusually long piece for me it was too, in several parts. As ever with these things only time will tell if it is any good.

Off into town today, to obtain a much needed hair cut. I have also shaved my beard off, so I look exceedingly clean cut at the moment. After this, I slunk into a cafe for a hour to worked on the new edit of Skelton Yawngrave. It changes the bias of the story, in a way that is I hope fixing many of the problems.  

Felt rather pleased by all this. Lorraine also in a highly good mood due to now being on holiday for a week, and having finished the almighty backlog of reports she had to write after her school visits. We grabbed Beth and made off to The Shahi, by way of celebration. Beth cheery too, with auditions that have gone well, and the shoot of an advert happening next week, for which she has managed to get John in as an extra.

We all walked home from the restaurant, climbing up from Beaky Bottom (aka the bottom of Beaconsfield Villas). A bit of a hike compared to our former visits when we would simply cross the road and be almost home. The climb made speedier, however, by Beth and Lorraine's elaborate mime of hauling themselves up the hill with a rope. And so to bed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

On foot

Undeterred by the back, which felt better when I walked, I made tracks to Lewes where I met Robin for another chat about Telltale Press. After a session discussing business at her kitchen table, and looking at her new painting which I thought was shirts on a washing line, but was actually the cliffs based on a shot from a helicopter which Robin and her husband took.

I sauntered down the hill to Lewes Station back to London Road where I walked into town, pausing for a cup of tea then to the Chiropractors who tutted about my back problem and generally clicked and sorted me, before she announced she was moving to Australia with her boyfriend.

From Kemptown I walked up to the Blue Man cafe where I sat doing some work with another cup of tea. Then to see Janet and Ken. Hus was also there, just returned from work, and nice to chat to all of them, and eat a delicious bowl of tiramisu Hus had made.

Then I walked home through the park, and found I had walked about 15,000 paces for the day, a healthy total, and the best of the year so far.

A glimpse of the sea and the seafront in Kemptown in February.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Providing evidence

Leaning down to open something in the kitchen this morning and my lower back seized up painfully, in a completely different place to where I have had a trapped nerve. This small thing led to a day of gloom despite the fact I was in my office and thinking about skeletons, as well as writing a blog post about ghosts having been set thinking about them by Reuben's text yesterday.

Lorraine returned home and I cooked a slimming meal featuring large prawns which I had to de-vein, a job I have never done before, and the pulling the poo threads out of crustaceans seems a bizarre activity.

An interesting interlude tonight, when Reuben introduced us again to his son Jem, now ten. Good to see Reuben who was looking extremely dapper, and talk to Jem who is a charming and intelligent boy. Jem is conducting his own open-minded investigations into cryptids such as yetis and big foot, and other aspects of the supernatural. He had asked his dad if he knew anyone who had seen a ghost, and he thought of me to provide an eyewitness account, as he sifts through his evidence. We had an interesting discussion.

Monday, February 09, 2015

A Monday in winter

My office vandalised by cats this morning. The kangaroo plant on the top of a bookcase had been pulled down and emptied on the floor. Getting on with stuff including turning again to Skelton Yawngrave. For this is the year of completion. Not cutting through with as much clarity as I'd like, however. Lorraine working from home this afternoon.

I spoke to Janet today, and heard from Reuben too. I may be meeting up with one of his sons Jem to discuss ghosts. Ghosts are not discussed enough. The night I saw what was to my mind unambiguously a ghost I was at university studying philosophy. It has always interested me in how nobody in the philosophy common room wanted to discuss the matter at all.

I went out for a much needed walk for an hour or so. Got some keys cut in the afternoon by which time the skies had cleared and sunlight poured down from a blue sky. Lovely to be walking through the park. The sun also gleaming on the half a dozen white caravans and vans of the Travellers who stay there intermittently. One woman spoke to me politely as I passed, the other was beating a rug. Not a lifestyle I envy.

Otherwise little to report. Felt a bit Mondayish, but also a bit limboish. Beth returned from London, with Laura in tow. The two girls a comedy double act when they are together and Beth is in good spirits, with exciting auditions and prospects of work. After Laura went, John arrived later too fresh from band practice. After watching Spiral, Lorraine and I took to bed, and read more of the Japanese novel Kokoro.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

An afternoon with Oskar

Appropriately enough off to see Boyhood this morning. A gorgeous day, with sunlight that you could actually feel heat from. We walked down to the Duke of York, and met Rosie. The cinema in a state of confusion with a lamentable failure of a new computer system. Lorraine had booked for us online, but the tickets were paid for and not confirmed. At the cinema we were allocated new tickets and there were people with legitimate tickets in the seats we were sold. Eventually we were shown to the upper circle, so all was well.  We pitied the people having to work there when the systems are failing.

Anyway it turned out that Boyhood, which I missed last year, was one of the best films I have ever seen. We all loved it. It is about the boyhood of an American boy, but the filming process took 12 years so all the characters age in real life, and the boy grows up to be 18. I can't quite pin down why the film is so fantastic. It just is.

Emerged blinking into the strong sunlight, and stood about discussing it outside. Bumped into Leslie, and her pal Collette outside too. After fond farewells with Rosie, Lorraine and I then sauntered home through the park.

Not long after we got home Anton arrived with Oskar and Klaudia.  Oskar had come to hang out for a couple of hours, and we did many and various things together. I let him use Bianca, and plugged it into the amp so he could hear what an electric guitar sounded like. Then he introduced me to the world of characters he has invented, such as tabletman, jellyman, green germs, and Carrotman, a large-eyed but mouthless being who wages a stealthy war against rabbits. The computer on, Oskar showed me a variety of sites, some with pastoral scenes interrupted by screaming faces that make you jump. Others were more beautiful such as this this one, and I enjoyed this one of a man having his face slapped by an eel. After refuelling with some beans on toast, we went on to play some chess. Oskar actually pretty good at this, although competitive Godfather that I am, I taught the whippersnapper a chess lesson, although afterwards Oskar's official line was that honours were even.

Before long Anton arrived with Klaudia, they having been clothes shopping, something the young Oskar was I expect pleased to pass on. After Klaudia and Oskar had briefly locked me in the dungeon, they made off leaving Lorraine and I had a quiet Sunday night. Toby phoned, however, showing us the impressive view from outside his window in the new apartment in Ottowa, with Bruegel-like figures skating along the canals outside. Toby and Romy arrived safely, both started new jobs this last week too. And Meaty the cat, born under a wandering star, visibly adjusting to its new environs.

Below Oksar, and the rear of Birdman snapped through a window at the Duke of York's.

Saturday, February 07, 2015


Awoke with Brian treading on my head, and discovered I had what I suspect was a hangover after last night's liveliness in London. Nevertheless I roused myself to get up and off to buy some bread for an unashamed bacon and egg sandwich. In the afternoon Lorraine and I drove off to Shoreham for we had M&S vultures from Mum and others and they were beaking through our pockets. We came home with the booty of a nice quality duvet cover and pillow cases, and a table lamp from Next.

Home, and Jess and Andrew came around for meal and have a look at the house. Lorraine cooked her acclaimed chicken, tarragon and leek pie, and I gave the ladies gin and tonic in teacups. We all sat about chatting and drinking wine.I like Jess and Andrew a lot, and find them sensitive and easygoing company.

Went to bed, discussing diets again. Lorraine had first thing this morning watched a programme on BBC one about dieting and answered complex questionnaires about why you eat and so on and came up with the astonishing diagnosis that we were fatties who liked feasting. Anyway, Lorraine and I have resolved to get back into healthy ways next week for I seem to have put a lot of weight on since new year, this in part due to the ghastly back preventing much in the way of my usual balletic cavorting. I also blame Lorraine who makes the kind of food you don't want to stop eating.

And so, rather gratefully, to bed.

Friday, February 06, 2015

A new start in an old haunt

A bit of a social media focus this morning, wrote a piece about a lovely poem I'd heard Sue Rose read a couple of weeks ago. Lorraine working at home today, and her  pal Tracey came around to do some work with her, bearing chocolate eclairs. Chocolate eclairs are a fine thing, and along with whisky, the occasional cheese sandwich were a basis of my Grandmother's diet in her last years.

Matty boy launched his brand new agency today, 11 London, and I find that I am an associate, so hopefully will be working with Matt and other chums like First Matie off and on this year.  The agency is based in Chiswick, and I got off at Turnham Green station, so it felt odd to be back somewhere so familiar. The meeting was above a bar restaurant on Chiswick High Road. Some familiar faces, including, naturally enough, Matty, First Matie, Stephen Buckley, and Freddy and April who I'd worked with at Tavistock Square, and some people new to me. A jolly kick off, and nice to meet some interesting new people including Yas, who amazingly enough set up a school in Sri Lanka with her husband. Also saw Isy, wee Elsa, Craig and Mel. Here is 11 London's website I find my name is on it too, which is nice as freelancing can feel a bit floaty at times.

Home slowly. Felt rather nostalgic catching a train home from Turnham Green. Much as I don't want to live in London again, you forget just how deeply the place ingrains itself in you. Just missed a train at Victoria and a lengthy schlepp home, being woken up when the train arrived at Brighton station by some kindly soul. Not done that for a while.  Into bed at around 2am after an undignified frenzy of toast and honey, but feeling distinctly cheery.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Unacceptable cats

Jostling the larks to get up this morning. Worked at the bowel business, and sent it off before 8:30. Then a bit of my stuff before getting feedback, and reworked the stuff till just before the deadline of 1.00pm, and made a schoolboy error. I had been working on the file attached to the email and not saved it. Lost all my work, missed the deadline (something I never do) and had to redo it. A good deal of highly reprehensible swearing followed as I frantically and unsuccessfully tried to reclaim the file just as Beth and John were leaving, Beth off to London for auditions, having nicely made me a sausage sandwich before they did so.

Lorraine noticed a weird smell this morning in the living room, but searching around for prawny cat sick revealed nothing. It was only during the course of the day that my nose led me to the big houseplant pots to discover the cats had decided overnight to employ them as litter trays. This leading to grappling with cat poos, and hefting stinky plant pots into the garden, and washing an odoriferous floor. Calliope and Brian firmly in the bad books & Lorraine said their behaviour was unacceptable.

Janet visiting the hospital today, and relieved and reassured by what they told her about her recent operation. I was very pleased for her. I had meant to pop around, but the work debacle prevented this. Facetimed with Mum today too. Cats there the source of problems. The cat flap has broken which means letting the cats in and out, and guarding against the evil intruder cat. 

L and I watched Wolf Hall again tonight, the feline reek having abated. I'm really enjoying it. 

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Of bowels and boozers

Up early, sending a few more words to Helen for the music piece. She is happy with what I've sent her so far.

Found out the freelance booking for next week seems to be cancelled, which somewhat galling. Today, however I delved into the mysteries of irritable bowels and wrote about them, while Beth practiced singing her tunes for the audition in her bedroom, and Lorraine drove about the county and then taught governors in the evening.

Caught up with Sophie briefly, who had broken an ankle at the end of last year but otherwise seemed okay, despite having gone with Electra to the funeral of a friend earlier in the day.

I sloped off to meet Anton in the Shaky Head, but as it was busy with pup quizzers, one of whom was rather elbowy at the bar we sat at, and had to be reminded of his manners. We repaired to the Good Companions where the pub grub we ordered was dropped en route to our table, and we were given the price of one meal back, which we shrewdly reinvested in beer. Nice to hang out with Anton as ever, and to hear how he is looking forward to March. And good to meet up in a pub, as I have done precious little drinking in pubs in recent months.

After fond farewells, I grabbed a lazy taxi at Seven Dials. Everyone abed when I got home, Lorraine shattered after marathon drives.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Open door

An day when things came to me, though I was simply sitting in my office with the cats barging in and out of the room. An offer of some freelance work with my pals in Tavistock Square, which I happily agreed to for the next couple of weeks, what with the Kenny coffers being in a state of déshabillé.

Heard from Bob, walking his dog in snowy Salisbury. His dog doesn't understand about vehicles and wants to run under them all the time. I've never felt like that on a walk with Bob.

Sent some first words off to Helen for our Centaur project. Excellent to work with someone with infectious enthusiasm. Was also contacted by Sue Rose a poet I saw reading with Tammy and Rhona, and we swapped a poem. She sent me her poem A Guided Tour, which reminded me of one of mine, An Adumbration of the Light Age. A Guided Tour is gorgeous, very different to mine, but shares that looking back on a past time from the future conceit. Having slipped away from the reading feeling rather trapped nervy in the back, it was good to make contact. Also contacted by Amanda over there in sunny NZ, who is dreaming up another board game, based on Guernsey.

Meanwhile Beth suddenly got lots of auditions coming through today, and is excitedly choosing songs and wardrobes. One for an advert requires her to be a modern day Mary Poppins. In the late afternoon we drove her off getting glimpses of the sunset sea off to Hove Lagoon, where she was doing some teaching, and Lorraine and I went to a hardware store to look at things to do with radiators.

Returned where I cooked, but had some kind of brain thing where I simply doubled the amount of rice we needed. Lorraine and I then continued our Spiral obsession. Luckily we are up to date now, and so have to wait for it to be broadcast. I wonder if you watched enough of them if it might help you speak French fluently.

Monday, February 02, 2015

The mysterious B

Unable to sleep last night. Eventually got up, and drank some chamomile tea, put an icepack on my back, and started reading In Praise of Folly by Erasmus. Even this didn't do the trick. Consequently a little bleary and unfocused. Working on some first words for Helen's Centaur music, which was quite challenging. I also wrote myself a new list, but it seems more nebulous than last week's one.

Bloody cold again, though as yet no snow in Brighton. Went for a walk through the park into town to try to pick up some a packaged from the clowns at Royal Mail. It had already been sent back, thanks to it having been wrongly delivered. Then to the doctor to discuss the constant hobbling. Felt a fraud because I haven't been hobbling at all for a couple of weeks, since I made the appointment. There was a student present in our consultation, which makes me feel like I am playing the Woody Allenish part of a neurotic patient, rather than actually being one.

Walked home, cold despite my several layers. This round trip ticks off my 10k steps for the day, which was good. If this is a mere zero degrees, what will it be like for Romy and the Tobster in Ottowa?

Beth back home and hobbling too, having had her heel scraped to fix her policeman's heel. The ladies much given to watching The Undateables on TV tonight, which I find a bit toe curling. Lorraine off into the kitchen at one point to make some hot chocolate, muttering to Beth en route do you want B in it.

Turns out this B is Baileys which Lorraine has been adding to hot chocolate. But not wanting to put temptation in my way, as I am mostly off boozes at present, simply hadn't mentioned it. My wife, however not much good at the cloak and dagger stuff and the truth was out.

Sunday, February 01, 2015


Lorraine awake at seven this morning, and woke me up. Rooftops sprinkled with frosty snow that was quickly gone. A cold day, still Lorraine and I stood outside in our back garden measuring things, and then creating a plan and discussing of how to shape and plant it.

Then off to Woods Mill to look at a few brave snowdrops, tits, robins and so on. It was pretty cold though so we went off to a garden centre to look at things to do with gardens.  The rest of the day quiet, and focused on eating a large roast dinner, and watching Spiral and Last Tango in Halifax.

Below snowdrops, and the miniature sleeping knight I always snap in the woods.