Sunday, November 29, 2015

Keep off the groynes

A slow start to the day sitting in bed with Lorraine, she wrote someone's job reference, and I wrote some stuff on my other blog about Tammy and Clare, which combined with an explosion of views in Greece for my bit on Glen and Eleni, meant I had my best ever day for hits on that site.

Got up late, and sat around in the kitchen with Lorraine and Beth plotting Christmas menus and writing shopping lists. They love doing this, and I chipped in with helpful suggestions like rum.

Lorraine and I drove down to the seafront and went for walk to blow away the cobwebs. It was extremely windy, hard to walk at times and the sea was white in the storm. The wildness very beautiful. Lurched about in this for the best part of an hour, suddenly having our feet soaked by a wave that sneaked over the side at us.  The water felt comparatively warm.  Home with wet socks to hot cups of tea, and Lorraine had some work to do, and so did I.

Reconvened for a roast supper, which was excellent, and an quiet evening in. I must have been homeless in a former life, because I am always grateful to have a home to go to and be out of the weather.

Below Lorraine by the seaside, third one down featuring the pole built for the i360 or, to use its local name, the iSore.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ken's 85th birthday

A grim hosing it down sort of day, with lots of wind. I heard the door click at stupid o'clock and Giannis was gone. Lorraine and I luxuriating in a slow start, even having some breakfast in bed before forging out into the world. Went to a speciality cheese shop in Hove to buy some for Ken's birthday, and I made the mistake of asking if they had any French cheese. Pretty much nothing but and the man showed Lorraine and I about fifty types.

To Ken and Janet's place in the pouring rain from Hove. A nice party, with Ken who'd not been feeling too well earlier, rallying marvellously and coming downstairs and having a bit of wine and chatting to everyone. Janet having a bit of a fraught time organising things, but the afternoon was a great success. He sat regally in his dressing gown receiving gifts and greetings, and even burst into song on occasion.

A lovely spread of food and nice wine, and I saw lots of people I'd not seen in some time, such as Hus, Cesare, Ros and an old friend of Janet's called Anne and Ken's sons Rod and Nick, and Remo who'd done some work on my house in the Twitten after I was burgled. Remo told me how he got a nasty scar on his face which just missed his mouth last year, when a spray can he was using at work under some stairs exploded and the metal lacerated him. An inch or two different and it would have cut his throat. He needed 200 stitches in his face. Remo's daughters are studying Ninja skills, which was quite surprising. He has a lovely family.

A jolly afternoon in which I drank a decent amount of wine, and Lorraine and I left after fond farewells with Janet and Ken and their guests, stepping out into a wild night and spending the rest of the evening quietly on the sofa, watching a children 's movie called Inside Out with Beth. This reasonably enjoyable, and was first mentioned to me by Glenice. Then I watched Match of the Day and kept half an eye on Lorraine for whom football is a natural sedative, before bedtime.

A few snaps taken at Ken's party. Ken and his son Rod; Cesare, Ken and Hus; Ken's son Nick giving Ken his cake, Bryn, Ken and myself as Ken has a crafty cigarette, a blurry Ken in his living room.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Taking a bow

Lorraine up early and made porridge and tea for us, which I ate in bed. Then I found Giannis in the kitchen, and made toast and scrambled eggs, taking the opportunity to have a Hobbit's second breakfast with him.

I made myself a tea and after the water had quickly reboiled I found that I was pouring a dilute instant coffee over my teabag, which was a bit of a surprise, but we laughed about it. Glen came around again, and another quick chat with him before he and Giannis set off into Brighton. Glen incredibly busy trying to get a whole slew of stuff sorted over here.

To work, and after a few hours, I decided I needed to stop going around in circles and cut myself a bit of slack.

At lunchtime I broke off to see Eleni and Glen perform a lunchtime concert in the Unitarian Church. Said hello to Giannis again and Sakis and Rita, Eleni's mum and dad. Glen and Eleni did a lovely job,  Eleni truly is a fantastic singer. I wrote about their performance here.

Home again to round off the week of work, and blurt out the above review before Lorraine returned home.  Sonia here telling me she has joined a Bulgarian dancing group in Brighton. Some English women doing it too, who are apparently pretty good, and she invited us to see them perform in March.

Then off to The Great Eastern where we had arranged to meet Anton and Mari. Lorraine and I both finding ourselves in need of booze. But when we arrived Anton was nursing a half, which was a bad sign, and it turns out he is recovering from a food poisoning or a bug. Mari's flight was delayed on the way over, and then her luggage didn't arrive for a few days. But despite these setbacks it sounds like she had a really good visit. Touched that she gave me a copy of a book of contemporary American poetry.  We went on to The Chilli Pickle, which seems a to have edged itself a wee bit downmarket, but the food was still excellent. Sadly Anton unable to eat his food, although the rest of us strapped on the nosebag with some gusto. Cabbed home, with Anton looking a bit greenish about the gills.

Fond farewells tonight too with Giannis who will be setting off for the airport at a ridiculously early time. A lovely man.

Below Glen and Eleni about to take a bow.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The woods/trees conundrum

Lorraine brought up tea and porridge for us first thing this morning. Then having got up I made Giannis more eggs and B. Not sure if he wanted them, but I forced them on him anyway.

Much of the day devoted to driving myself quietly mad and going around in circles in the work I am doing. Went for a bit of a walk at lunchtime, which I thought might help. Returned to go around in circles in the afternoon to the point where I felt like pulling my hair out. Decided at the end of the day I was going to take a break from it, as the woods/trees conundrum was proving far too difficult.

Walked down to the Red Roaster in the evening and watched some poets reading. Clare Best launching a small 'almost' pamphlet with a few illustrations by Michaela Ridgeway was the highlight for me. Still, nice to see some of the Lewes poetic posse of Robin, Charlotte, Clare, Stephen Bone and Catherine Smith and other poetic folks in attendance, and I had a nice chat with Marion Tracy, who I'd not properly spoken to before.

Then managed to grab a bus home, feeling a tad less twitchy than I had all day, thanks to a couple of nicely targeted bottles of Budvar Budweiser at the Redroaster. Kissed my lovely wife then watched an episode of the irreverent Family Guy before bed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Lorraine up early and away. I cooked Giannis and myself a plate of eggs and b. all slightly awkward due to not being able to speak to one another but an amiable silence. Quick chat with Glen who came around to pick him up. Then a teleconference with Matt and Jo at the agency, and spent the rest of the day working at my desk on some slightly gruelling work. Beth called having been an extra with the Absolutely Fabulous people, rubbing shoulders with Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders. Nice chat with Mum later in the day, and Giannis came home after Lorraine and I had gone to bed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Working and a late guest

A day manacled to my desk. Lots to do, and not much of it putting a song on my lips. In London however Isy has been having contractions and Matt on the cusp of fatherhood for the second time. Beth has a job being an extra on an Absolutely Fabulous film tomorrow, so she is well pleased about this. Spent some time talking about the show today while we were preparing supper. Lorraine back lateish after pilates.

Then at around nine Glen stopped by briefly and dropped off Giannis, who we'd met in Kavala and who is coming to crash at our place. He's a lovely man, but it is all a tad awkward as he has very little English and my Greek is risible. Still I managed to show him my photos from Chad as he asked after my African experience, and we shared a nice drop of wine and all shuffled off to bed early as everyone was tired.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Writing and reading

Up early and getting on with stuff. These include getting a brief for a new video, and working on this and writing other freelance stuff before zooming off to London to attend a Stanza Bonanza this evening. This is when two groups of poets from different areas read with each other at the Poetry Cafe. Tonight it was bards from Brighton versus poets from Kent and Sussex. I read lots of new stuff and generally felt carefree and Robin said it was the best she'd seen me read. All the Brighton folks did well, Robin was top, Susan Evans who is becoming a slick performer, Tony Gill who is innovative and funny, Andie Davidson whose poem about not being invited to her daughter's wedding was heartbreaking, and Marek Urbanowicz who is just a fine poet. Some excellent readers on the Kent side too, and I particularly enjoyed Jess Mookherjee's reading.

A quick zoom to the pub afterwards with Robin, Tony and Robin Taylor who now organises the Brighton group. Trained home with a brace of Robins, till Robin H got off to catch a train to Eastbourne and Robin T and I stayed on to Brighton discussing religions. He is a prominent pagan, which I found interesting, and he has migrated from Christianity, via Buddhism to Paganism.

I clambered into a cab and was home late, crawling into bed beside my lovely wife. I read a couple of miserablist (but hopefully quite amusing) relationship poems, but explained that I was very happy now. When Susan read she referred to this, saying I wasn't loved up like Peter Kenny, but that's because she was choosy. This clearly came out wrong but made everyone laugh.

Photos were taken of the night, but haven't surfaced yet.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Open house

Quietly philosophical this morning (a.k.a hungover) but Lorraine and I were up early and off to Sainsburys to buy some baguettes and make a large breakfast for Beth, John, Eliza and Emily, who were still recovering from a late night of partying and sitting about on the gold sofa blearily watching Friends and other comfort viewing for most of the day.

Lorraine and I went for a walk this afternoon, happily mooching about in some of the open houses near us, and bought a few bits and pieces. One house particularly good, and featured the embroidery of Agnes Chavalier. I'm not usually big on this kind of thing but her work looked like paintings, but because the threads were going here and there it reflected the light in an interesting way and I began to see the possibilities of using embroidery that I had not before. I particularly liked this picture and bought a card of it.

Back home and the girls gradually rousing themselves to travel home, and Beth went to stay with John. Lorraine drove everyone to the station, and returned and she and I enjoying a tranquil night on the gold sofa watching the new David Attenborough nature series The Hunt, today's episode set at sea and featuring shots of a blue whale, and then Match of the Day, rendered watchable for Chelsea managed to scrape a one nil win at home to lowly opposition Norwich.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Betty's birthday day 2

Lorraine and I had another restful start to the day. I lay in bed and wrote another post about Chad and read the paper, and my lovely wife brought up some breakfast. Eventually I got up in stages, ironing my shirts while Lorraine who had been momentarily gung-ho about getting up lay in bed playing computer games. Once up we conducted a major tidying up session.

Later, Beth's pals from uni Eliza and Emily arrived, to the accompaniment of much excited squeaking from Beth. Then we all got ready and John, Lorraine and I walked down to the Hare and Hounds, and the immaculate girls cabbed it. A nice night with lots of Beth's besties there such as Laura and Sarah and Matt and Amy and many more. Mexican food there, including burritos with rice inside, which I found a bit odd but everyone else said was normal. At one point all John's housemates arrived en masse, and I had a brief vision of him as the leader of a cult. Interesting chat with Matt who grew up in a haunted house, and his coping technique was to befriend them. His story of music playing in a room that stopped when you opened the door was deliciously creepy.

As the night wore on the young 'uns were heading off to the Funky Fish for a dance, Lorraine and I however made off to the Evening Star. We just missed seeing Glen and Eleni, and her parents and Giannis who is coming to stay with us for a few nights. However Richard and Maria Grazia were just leaving, and Steve Cartwright stopped and had a final beer and a good chat with us.

Home to sleep like babies.

Below Betty with few of her many pals, and Lorraine looking at her phone.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Betty's Birthday

Betty's birthday so first thing we had the 24 year old Betty perched on the end of the bed excitedly opening birthday presents, like someone far younger, before having to zoom off to Eastbourne. I had early chats with Matt about the editing of the DRTV stuff, then the meeting I was due to have this afternoon was cancelled, thankfully freeing up time. Chatted to Sonia a bit who told me about seeing her dream house in Bulgaria when she went back to the old country last.

Lorraine having a horrid morning at work, but things gradually improved once she was home in the afternoon.

I popped over to see Janet and Ken. Said hello to Ken who was feeling a bit rough and exhausted in the last few days which is making Janet anxious. He went to bed as I arrived, and Janet and I chatted for an hour or so, and she gave me a pokey compost aerator.

I hurried home, the temperature dropping noticeably, pausing only to buy some emergency eating chocolate for Lorraine in addition to another bar of dark chocolate for the chocolate cupcakes she was baking, then drove off to collect Beth and John and some rather good pizzas from Pizza 500 which we ate with some of their excellent gelato with a cupcake afterwards.

The rest of the evening given over to playing a game of Euchre, which was fun and always makes me think of Dave my grandfather, which is nice.

Below Beth blowing out relighting candles on some cupcakes.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Editing in Canterbury

Up at six which was unsavoury. Off to Brighton station where I caught a train to Canterbury via Ashford. The Brighton to Ashford train full of school children. At one point I was surrounded by girls of what I guessed was about 15 making themselves up elaborately with powder brushes, lip gloss and so on looking at little compact mirrors and once done checking themselves in their phones. Made me laugh as these girls reminded me so much of the shattered looking commuters you see on the trains in the morning blearily applying their slap. Something to aspire to it seems.

Was collected by Brad at Canterbury West and driven to his home on Magnolia Drive. I'd never been to Canterbury before and we passed a bit of castle that Brad said looked as if it had been photoshopped in. Good to see Brad who I feel I have a bond with having survived the great Chad adventure with him. We sat in his study, while builders hammered, drilled and tore at things downstairs. Spent a fairly cheery day tweaking the script, recording a new guide voiceover and watching Brad expertly clip and tweak on the editing suite. Anna offered good advice.

Brad then drove me to the station and I had a fairly easy journey home, dozing tiredly on the train while listening to podcasts. Lorraine home a bit before me had baked potatoes, which was comforting. A baked potato is a pleasing thing.  Beth back tonight too from having stayed with Mum and Mas and being an extra on Holby City. Beth as usual very excitable about her birthday, which is tomorrow.

Below Brad  at the controls.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bob and Goya's portraits

Early business calls and general work and business this morning. In the afternoon off to see Bob in London. We'd arranged to meet outside the Swiss Centre, which is long-closed and replaced with the mindless M&M World. I arrived early and watched the greeters singing along to the old pop music blaring out of their speakers with a ghastly compulsory corporate cheer. What a vile way to earn a living.

Bob loomed of the flat grey day at me and it was jolly good to see him. We found a strange little pub and had a couple of sharpening beers and a packet of peanuts and pork scratchings before surging off to see the Goya The Portraits exhibition at the National Gallery. I wasn't incredibly excited by this prospect, but it was fascinating. The amazing depth and differences of character he was able to bring out was astonishing. Everything from pompous punchable windbags, fiery independent noblewomen and thuggish royalty. Interestingly his best friends and his much loved son were painted with the most unflattering eye. Well worth seeing.

Bob and I left, and Trafalgar square had become greasy with rain and it was quite a sight to see the newish moon over the square. Very London. We sauntered about through Covent Garden for a while before settling on the idea of another pint. We went to The Lyceum pub at the end of the Strand and ended up having a pretty decent plate of pub grub upstairs, and some nice Samuel Smith lager at a very reasonable price. Lots of catching up with Bob to be done of course. As ever it was top to see him, looking well and smart in a sharp suit and fresh from the barbers.

We left pretty early though, as I was yawing my head off and hearing the call of the seagull. Fond farewells at Embankment station, and made it home by 10:30 which was good as I had to be up before the crows next day.

Below a trailer for the Goya show; Trafalgar Square; and Bob.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Scheming with a Brighton blonde

Chatting to Matty about our charity clients this morning. Then the rest of the time totting up travel tickets and so on to send my income and outgoings so Andrew can do my accounts. Another deluge most of the day. Having finished my unaccountable labours, Beth and I sat together scheming about Brighton Blonde Productions staging of A Glass of Nothing for next year.

Beth off to stay with Mum and Mas tonight as she is being an extra on Holby City for the following two days and they shoot it up near Borehamwood. Lorraine and I watched Holby City for two minutes tonight. It was plenty till it turns into a game of Betty spotting.

Loving listening to music at the moment with our new Mu-so system, using Spotify to discover gems from artist's back catalogues. Delving into John Martyn's early work over the last few days. Some gorgeous stuff such as the sweet-as-honey song Head and Heart below.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Accounting for the day

Monday. Emailed Val in Paris to send my best wishes. Nobody at their office hurt, thankfully, although their office is close to where the trouble was.

Started by working on my poems. Then quickly morphing into doing accounts, after seeing Andrew on Friday. Rain and ghastliness outside for most of the day and night. Anton drove around to collect my waterproof over trousers to wear while on a walking break next week.  He zoomed in and looked at our new music player, and liked it. Not too surprising as he was the one who recommended it. Then outside to go for a quick spin in his new BMW which has a retractable roof and heated seats with little hot blowy things that puff on the back of your neck. Drove around in the cool day, with electronically warmed buns.

Back for a teleconference, and to arrange to see Brad later in the week to work with him on the DRTV edit in Canterbury. Rest of the day spent untidying my office, doing accounts and so on.

In the evening, after Beth had cooked Lorraine and I roast vegetables, couscous and salmon I made off into town for a poetry workshop at the Three Jolly Butchers. Arrived there and Matt happened to be there, a fast chat with the maestro before joining my poetry confreres. An interesting night, although I felt a bit tetchy and not in the mood. Tess Jolly's poem fantastic as usual. Lurked behind talking to Robin Taylor and Marek Urbanowicz, and Susan Evans. Before making it home in the pouring rain. Lorraine and Betty watching the detectives.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Back at the Blacksmiths

Lorraine, Beth and I piled into the car and drove off to Ashford to see Pat and Maureen. A nice enough drive till Lorraine mentioned casually a few miles out of Ashford on the motorway that we might not have enough fuel to make it. We got petrol and made it.

Collected Pat and Maureen and then off to The Blacksmiths Arms for a Sunday lunch and a few pints of Otter beer. I like this pub, which has a traditional feel to it, and being Kent has dried hops here and there. Had a nice time chatting with Pat and Maureen. This is Pat's pub and he goes there every Friday to play darts with a crew of blokes of all ages, which is a nice thing.

Back home for fruitcake and cups of tea, and looking at a dozen or so photos of Maureen's family. I always like looking at family photos, and interesting to see one of Pat and Maureen in their younger days.

Home then and dropped Beth off to Hove and we had a quiet evening. The news from Paris ghastly and brutal. Found myself feeling a bit nauseated by Facebook and the way people appropriate misery to get attention. Discussed this with Lorraine, who looks on this in a far less curmudgeonly way of course.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Lorraine and I having an incredibly lazy start to the day. Sat in bed writing poetry, and we read the Paper on our screens. But I did drag myself off to buy some bread for our breakfast. After breakfast, though, Lorraine and I simply went back to bed again and fell asleep till it was afternoon like the worst sort of teenagers.

In the afternoon Lorraine and I mooched about doing a spot of shopping for me.  I bought myself a dark blue shirt, and looked at trousers and shoes but nothing inspired me. I had a coffee with Lorraine, who then waited for Beth to finish work in town, and they did some extra shopping. I simply came home and listened to some music, and played my guitar for the first time in ages and felt rather mellow.

In the evening off to see Matt in the new flat he has with Reuben. Nice to see them in a pleasant flat with a garden near the groovily named Vogue Gyratory. A few drinks and a spot of beef curry with the boys, and listening to music and chatting. I like Reuben. A taxi home.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Quietly elated

Up early and free to work on my own stuff. Had the best morning's work I can remember. I got to grips with a poem I've been working on for ages currently called The door in the wall, based on the H.G. Wells story, and it really came together. After a while of this, I worked on on the opening to A Glass of Nothing. Feeling quietly elated by this progress.

Physical energy however not so easy to come by, and by late afternoon after taking a stroll in the suddenly much colder weather, I needed a doze. The evening however fun. Met Jess and Andrew in the Shahi who are cheery company and easy going, chatting and forking down my traditional chicken tikka bhuna jaal with good cheer.

Lorraine and I didn't have to cope with forgetting our keys this week, which was a great boon.  However once we got home, we heard about dreadful attacks in Paris, and watched the rolling news coverage on BBC news. Having popped over to Paris this year, and being pretty close to where the attacks happened, it made it seem all the more real. Eventually we tore ourselves away and went to bed feeling pretty sobered by it all.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Working at home on various bits of my own this morning, including poetry, which is feels like a wonderful luxury. Still having the odd wussy day which I can't attribute to much other than overarching hypochondria.

Off this afternoon up to Goldmiths College in New Cross. Train fairly direct to New Cross, and I was early so I took refuge in a nice boozer Called The New Cross House and nursed a pint of IPA till Robin came and we went into the University where we found a room with Sarah in it getting ready for her reading. We hastily assembled our books, and banner and so on. Robin did an introduction to Sarah's reading, and I did the thank you and round up. Sarah did really well I think.

Sold a good few pamphlets, and then afterwards hung about chatting to people and so on. Afterwards Robin and I went back to the pub I was in earlier. Had a quick drink in there and talked lots of Telltale business and other poetry gossip on a table next to a perky little dog, and a pleasant owner. Then we surged off to get the train, and another at East Croydon which turned out to be the same one that split at Haywards Heath. Home reasonably early and found Lorraine on the gold sofa. An interesting evening, but happy to be at home with my lovely.

Below Sarah reading at Goldsmiths.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On screen

Working at home on finishing two more scripts for videos to do with the Chad business. Feeling sluggish and happy to be lurking indoors. Saw the first cut of the TV ad, with some emergency amends I'd done earlier in the week and it was looking pretty good I thought. Showed Beth and Lorraine when they got home.

We are pleased for Beth who is much boosted by a couple of days next week working as an extra on the hospital drama TV show Holby City, which is shot in Elstree. Beth will stay with Mum and Mas, and we had a chat with Mum on FaceTime about it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

An evening with the Shakies

Tetchily working on various bits of freelance today. Felt like eating bread. Ate bread. Did lots of stuff about Chad. Lorraine home late due to pilates, so I sauntered down to The World's End to watch The Shakespeare Heptet. Sat with Steve Cartwright and Maria Grazia and enjoyed seeing the Shakies do their normal pearls before swine business in the pub. Lots of lovely new music. I had a vision of Richard's material being used as a musical stage play woven around some of the threads that go through the Sonnets. Talked to him about this a bit. Had a nice time catching up with them, chatting to Dipak too.

Steve told me how he was responsible for the death of legendary singer songwriter Nick Drake. Apparently Steve was watching him play in Leicester, Drake was the support act and there were few people to see him. Drake mumbled something about one more song and then he's going, and Steve who loved Nick Drake applauded enthusiastically. This was misinterpreted by the fragile Drake as ironic applause. The great singer songwriter was dead within two weeks. A heavy burden for Steve.

Home to my sleeping wifey, and crept catlike into bed.

Below Dipak, Richard and the band, and a red lit wall under the viaduct I snapped on the way home.

Monday, November 09, 2015


Monday. Funny how even when you are working at home, Monday can have a heavy edge to it. Working on stuff to do with the Charity today. Broken with a walk to the gym at lunchtime.

My gym has new owners called PureGym and my membership was transferred, and the price dropped. This is good news, but as I trundled I renamed it PureGrym. Previously the gym was unfriendly and soulless, now it is unfriendly grim and soulless. Still I found myself having had quite enough after a short while on the cross trainer. I need to build myself back up slowly, having had all kinds of stuffing knocked out of me lately. But it felt good to be doing it, and paying less for the privilege. All the equipment was new too, which was a distinct improvement.

A quiet night in, eating a veggie curry of Lorraine's devising.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

A Papal Summons

Slow to crawl out of bed this morning. A small breakfast for Lorraine and I who answered a Papal Summons to be at The Bath Arms with Catherine (Pope) and Tanya for Catherine's birthday.

Catherine and Tanya both looking slim and well. Catherine inspiring everyone as she talked about going to the gym for two hours a day, which she is doing with characteristic devotion and wholeheartedness. Tanya just finishing a course on book indexing, to move from working at the University to become a professional book indexer. This too seems to have made her slim.

Guy and Tim where also invited, and Lorraine and I had not seen them for ages.  Guy talking about being chased into Boots by a homeless man randomly shouting Stop Thief!  at him, after seeing Guy at a traffic lights transferring some rubbish from his pockets into his bag. This causing scenes with Boots security, but Guy eventually apologised to.

Just a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, eating roast Sunday lunch, and sipping a few quality ales. with friends. Thanks to the Great Chad Adventure, I can see even more clearly what an utter luxury and luck it is to be able to enjoy such a thing.

Home by bus late in the afternoon, and settled lovingly into the gold sofa.  Beth sipping honey and lemon today as a primitive strike against an oncoming cold. FaceTimed with Toby this evening, and it was good to catch up with him.

And on a football note: Chelsea keep losing. Having been champions last season, so far this season they are playing like rabble and losing consistently. I've been so used to enjoying Match of the Day where Chelsea usually winning every week, this new reality is warping my weekends.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Old school

Badly hungover this morning, but despite this a happy day. Lorraine and I up early and off into the deluge dropping a cheery Beth off to teach and then Lorraine drove us across country looking windswept, wet and autumnally beautiful, to Horsham and a branch of John Lewis. Here we looked at a great variety of interior things, and bought a lampshade and some towels and so on. Had a much needed cup of tea there too, and some kind of restoring pastry.

On the way home we drove into Bolney village where Lorraine will be headteacher from January. The school is gorgeous little old building with, Lorraine says, a ghost on the top floor, which will be company when she is working late. It is opposite a cricket pitch and next to the old village church, and is all archetypically English.
In need of personal sleep and repair this afternoon, and revelled in having time with Lorraine pottering about. We were supposed to be seeing Matt and Reuben this evening, but Matt was ill. I was happy just being at home though listening to music and relaxing.

Went for a walk with Lorraine to glimpse more fireworks, and hung out of our balcony as after a while we realised that although we could hear fireworks exploding we couldn't see any. Watching one going on to the west and seeing massive explosions and hearing them four or five seconds later.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Key moments

A few more freelance bits, and I worked on poems in hot knife through butter mode. Feeling better 'in myself' as they say than I have for some time. Vile rain this morning, which made me feel even happier as I was working from home.  Eventually into the windy wetness to saunter over to Janet and Ken, and to drop off a document and pause for some Janet's pistachio balls and a cup of tea. Learned that part of Ken's fitness regime is being made to walk to the shop if he wants fags, which I found rather funny. Otherwise both in pretty good spirits.

From there to The Good Companions where I met Anton for a swift drink, and to use his magic card that he was given there once which entitles him to cheaper drinks. Amazing. Hearing about his plans for when Mari comes over, which he is clearly looking forward to lots.

Then I walked down to The Shahi to meet Lorraine, and Malcolm and Lynn for a curry. Enjoyed the evening, and they were asking about the great Chad adventure in an interested way too, and we were celebrating Lorraine's imminent headship.

Fond farewells and we set off for home. As we started up the hill I casually mentioned to Lorraine that I did not have my door key, and she mentioned that she had forgotten hers too. Things seeming a bit bleak for a while. Eventually after examining our options, we called Beth who was babysitting in Eastbourne, who managed to taxi home by midnight. Waiting for Beth, Lorraine and I went to the Preston Park Tavern, where I had an absolutely final drink, after a fairly enthusiastic night of drinking. We left at chuck out time and only waited a minute before we saw the welcome sight of Betty in a taxi, armed with a key.

Bed hurried into.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Working on the hoof

Rain. Off to Strand on the Green early this morning to see Lucinda my dentist. The transport system apparently taken aback by the wholly unexpected event of Autumn and I missed my appointment. Sat working in the waiting room for an hour or so till they could squeeze me in. Naturally this morning, the pea-like lymph node and the throbbing in my gums had both vanished. They took the precaution of an x-ray, and Lucinda my dentist showed me the wide grin of my entire set of gnashers. No problems, luckily. She asked me if I had sinus infection, which I have had, so this might explain it. The head is a strange old lump. Slunk away lighter of wallet and slightly sheepishly. Lucinda has been doing the Kenny Hampsteads for decades and is a far cry from the butchers of my teens. I haven't needed a new filling for thirty years.

Dreary rain. Train cancelled at Kew Bridge and a lengthy journey home. Worked on the train and made off to Starbucks to finish it and send the thing off. As soon as I did this Matt called with more work. Determined to catch up with Rosie, however, who is taking a few weeks off. Went to another cafe in Hove to work till she came. Nice to hang out with Rosie for an hour, and discuss the meaning of life and the attractions of wild swimming. Rosie showed me a picture of a man in a stream with snow all around. Madness.

Bussed it home, and finished my bits of work and suggested to my lovely wife that we go out to the Preston Park Tavern for a bite to eat and a pint of ale. This we accomplished easily, and were home again by half eight. We went up to the top of the house and opened up the doors to the Juliette balcony in the fine rain, and leant out looking at the fireworks exploding blurrily in the murk of rain and low cloud.

Watched a thriller on TV, and then listened to music on our smart new sound system, which sounds fab and you just beam your laptop or phone at it to play tunes. Couple it with Spotify and you have all the records in the world. Rather amazing.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Strangely productive

A pea-like gland in my jaw and dodgy tooth business mean I have set up a dental appointment tomorrow morning. It is in London though, and early. I'm almost hoping some sort of infection may explain my sluggishness over the last couple of days.

Once I got going,  however, I had rather a productive day of invoicing, admin and other bits. I also invested in a Dropbox pro account, to store everything on, this a precaution as my old desktop is increasingly prone to mood swings, and bouts of indifference. Uploaded a bazillion photos. Some freelance work too, looking at photos Pete took in Chad to choose some for our forthcoming campaign.

A chat with Anton earmarking time to see Mari when she's next over. Looking forward to seeing her again, and enjoying a few cheeky beers.

After this was done, Beth and I sat down late in the afternoon to begin planning for A Glass of Nothing.  Applied for an award for young folks, and structured the scenes, and also started our application for the venue we want. So all good.

Wrote a blog post about Sarah Barnsley and then when Lorraine came home slugged about with her on the gold sofa, eating chicken stew.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


Off to Chiswick this morning for a most of the day workshop discussing all the work we are going to do over the next several months based on the Chad trip with a dozen clients. Seems I am going to have a lot on. Matty presenting most of it, in a marathon, and me chipping in where I could, although I was feeling a bit peaky and lethargic, with a slightly sluggish brain but I enjoyed talking to our clients. Brad was there, last seen at Heathrow airport, Anna, Yas and Dave the art director.

Home without incident at tea time, glad to get back to the restful haven of the gold sofa. I cooked myself spaghetti, a PK comfort food as Lorraine was out and Beth was on a diet day, and consuming broccoli and aloe vera and other delights, and talked to mum about Christmas, which is beginning to lurk on the horizon.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Working from home

Foggy morning, and in the morning I looked out of the bedroom window and there was a tide of fog further down the hill, like a dark cloud blotting the rest of Brighton out.

Feeling lethargic but as there was work to be done for my chums in Chiswick, and mes amis in Paris a cocktail of charity work and flea treatments.

At lunchtime I walked down to the costume shop to take back my Frankenstein humps, and Lorraine's black necklace. A gorgeous day and I stopped to admire the secret garden and the fallen leaves. Spoke to Anton this morning. Otherwise little of consequence to report.

An evening spent listening to music with Lorraine, and Beth when she finally got back from work. Loving our new sound system.

Below looking down on the fog, which obscured the rest of town, and later in the walled garden.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Green about the gills

A very warm day for November, and a day of gentle recovery, feeling slightly fragile and green about the gills, mostly due to green makeup. A large breakfast, which Betty cooked and we all ate enthusiastically.  This followed by a certain amount of lying about recovering, listening to the new sound system. Having a sound system that runs from computers and iPads and iPhone is strange, and necessitated the clearing up of CDs, the clearing up of our front room and our dungeon.

Beth and John left, and Lorraine and I watched a perfect Sunday afternoon movie, called The Core with people drilling their way to the centre of the earth to set nukes off, because a titanic explosions generally solve things.

Spoke to Mum and Bob, who I'd not spoken to for a while. Now walking reasonably efficiently after an ankle break, which is good to hear. Plotting a drink in London at some point.

A peaceful evening and an early night.