Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Shots of nothing

So a migraine in the night, and spent today recovering from it. A quick teleconference this morning at nine, before I devoted myself to slumping about. I chatted with Mum on Facetime, as the woman next door to her danced out invitingly in her nightie as is her wont. Looking forward to being with Mum in Guernsey in a few weeks. This is a carrot of niceness on the horizon. I was sufficiently recovered late this afternoon to get to the doctor for results of bloods. Bumped into Adrian en route and I blurted about Chad, and showed him my new camera which I bought as a reward to myself. It is rather spiffy. I took some shots of nothing in particular just to try it.

At the doctor my bloods were okay. Not diabetic and cholesterol not too bad. I took the opportunity to score some tranquilisers for the four flights. I really like my doctor. We had a good laugh about stuff, and I offered to show him my jackal bites when I got home.

Walked home too, through the park as the sun set. I love this time of year. All the trees I can see from my office are just beginning to turn. I love this time of year, and somehow I always seem to be hectic when it is happening. Lorraine having a tough week. We find much comfort in simply being together, and I'm really going to miss her over the next couple of weeks. It'll be the longest time we've spent apart since we met.

Shot of the blue glass heart hanging in our downstairs window. There are in camera treatments which alter your snap before you even download it, and this is one of them. It looks like a stock shot to be used in an advert. The other is the tennis courts by the park, with the last light of the sun behind.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Worst case scenarios

A lousy night's sleep and up at sixish, and off to Teddington. Here I met Matt and Brad, the Canadian filmmaker for a day of security training: effectively what do to in every conceivable worst case scenario you can imagine, delivered by a man who has spent much of his life working in hostile environments, bless his white rimmed eyes. He likes it, and what almost killed him was working as a civil servant for five years before he turned into an adventurer. Lots of common sense stuff such as if you are being robbed simply give them what they want, right up to the best position to take on the floor if someone throws a live grenade into a room. We had to fling ourselves down a couple of times. It was all a bit over the top, but I guess good to know.

Sandwiched in with this, I had to break away at lunchtime with Matt, where I gave a creative presentation. Then back for more mayhem in the afternoon before I could train home. Lorraine picked me up from the station as she was returning from Pilates. The nagging headache that started on the train, developed into a whopper by bedtime but very happy to be home with my lovely wife.

Discovered that Jane had sent me a link to The Guernsey Zombie Run, which is happening on 11 October. A splendid idea I think. She also sent me this stunning photo of the blood moon.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A cooler kind of Zombie

Lorraine and I up in the middle of the night to crane our necks out of the velux window in our bathroom. The moon being eclipsed, a thin sliver of moon, then a baleful rest of it. Annoyingly it was just about the least convenient place for the blood super moon to be viewed from our house, but still something of a magical sight.

All day working from home, apart from sauntering off down the road to get my Yellow Fever jab, which I was able to receive this time thankfully, and a couple of packets of malaria pills. The same nurse as a few days ago. We got talking about why we are going, and she told me she was an Evangelistic Christian, and that she thought we were living in the End Times. We discussed her faith for a while, and why she had become a Christian.  Back home and back to work, before a relaxed evening in with Lorraine, and Betty and John watching another re-run of Les Revenants. We all like these cool French Zombies and a new series is coming up soon.

Meanwhile NASA have announced they are sure there is running water on Mars, for at least part of the year. All quite fascinating stuff.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

ruddy darter

Woke up late, and then simply had breakfast with Lorraine, had a walk about the place, and sat in the walled garden near the pond where a ruddy darter kept sitting on my trousers. Feeling a little better today, physically and the temperature gone.

Then Lorraine and I worked through the afternoon on various bits of work. I also counted up the loot retrieved from the Poetry Book Fair and emailed Robin with the tally. Otherwise a bit all work and no playish in Osborne Road today.

In the evening ate roast pork with Lorraine and Betty, and watched The Returned again, as Beth has not seen it. Loved the shot of a dead butterfly pinned to a board coming back to life again. The image I was going for in one of my poems called The Moth Display, before I saw it done but much better in film here.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Poetry Book Fair

Off then at the crack of dawn, feeling sweaty and wretched up to Red Lion Square where the annual poetry book fair was being held. I stupidly left my phone in my study so missed calls and so on.

Wheeling a case heavy with cards and stuff to give away on the Telltale stand. Not feeling well, but I  managed to enjoy the day. Said hello to a few people I know, and have nice chats with Sarah Barnsley and Siegfried Baber and Robin -- made it so much better being in a gang. Said hello to some old acquaintances such as Tamar Yoseloff, and Nancy Mattson, even Dinah Livingstone, who did not remember me but (naturally) remembered  my old palTim Gallagher, and lots of people I vaguely recognised.

Also chats with people on their stands, one told me I looked like a radio personality. Later he came up to Siegfried and I grabbing a sandwich in the park, and told us he had a head injury. Nice friendly guy. But the world of English poetry in London is a strange aquarium. It made me think of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. People there in search of books full of magic, and most of them making away with books describing what magic might be like if it existed. I did my best to mask these thought crimes and bought some books, including one from a translator of Victor Hugo who had just been at the Guernsey Lit Fest.

Home on the bus with the case to Victoria. Three ladies in their seventies sitting in front of me. One describing taking her mother in law to DH Evans said, 'I couldn't find much in there for her, not at 95 with a dowager's hump'. Pure Alan Bennett.

Home on the train, a nice evening in with Lorraine and Betty home for the first time in a while.  Caught a taxi in a fractious queue at Brighton station. The taxi driver said the homeless folks who sit on Queens Road have all been moved on as the Labour Party conference has started.

Tired and very happy to be home.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Working from home

So still with a temperature and the sore throat from hell. Luckily I have lots of work on. That is the boon of working from home: you don't have to exhaust yourself when you're ill, dragging you butt to another city before you start.

A day of Balkan Dogs and work for a bit presentation on Tuesday to the charity. Lorraine working from home. Sonia here today saying, how can you write about my country (Bulgaria) without ever going there? And making Lorraine remove a pot she had brought in from outside.

Beth popped in for ten minutes and was gone again. I was pleased to be finished for the day to flake out on the sofa. Someone sent Lorraine a noxious work email at the passive aggressive time of ten to six on the Friday afternoon, which upset her for the rest of the evening.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Nurse botherer

Up and off to having my fasting bloods done at 8:30. Lovely nurse at the surgery, and we shared stories of hypochondria and our deep love of flying, she's only got as far as Malta, which made me feel like a hairy chested adventurer. Then home to work on Balkan Dogs then I sauntered off to another medical centre to get my yellow fever jab. She asked me if I was well, and I confessed that I thought I had a temperature. She stuck a thermometer in my ear, and found I had a high one. You can't have a fever jab if you have a fever it seems so I slunk away unpricked, hoping the fever is over before Monday when I have another appointment.

Feeling rather tired tonight, water, paracetamol and an early bed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Spent the day slogging in a stressed way, and fairly unprofitably with a sore throat and feeling hot by the end of the day. An early night after paracetamols and The Great British Bake Off. Up to bed and Lorraine read us a bit of Dracula before we slept.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A walk to the cinema

Beth creeping out of the house at a time starting with four this morning. Rain torrential. Luckily I was working from home, and uncharacteristically struggling with a brief. Partially this is because some of the information is not there yet. All difficult and making me twitchy. Not a particularly good day. The evening, however, a different matter.

At a little before six, Lorraine and I sauntered off to the Duke of York's where we met Dawn and saw the movie A Walk in the Woods, based on a book by Bill Bryson I once read on a plane, In fact one of the few books I have ever read on a plane. Perfectly watchable, although liberties were taken as it starred Robert Redford and so had Bryson hiking as an older man, which he wasn't at the time. A perfectly pleasant watch, with a few chuckles. Emma Thompson fantastic as usual in her small role.

Then home to hang out with Dawn who was going to have a sleepover. Lovely evening, eating a chicken stew and chatting. Beth and John arrived later too and we arranging to all go out on Halloween, as a late celebration of Dawn's birthday. I want to wear a Frankenstein's monster head. I've had this ambition for a while now.

Below a complete rainbow arch this morning as photographed from our bedroom.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Plenty to do

Off to London this morning early, sporting my new jacket under fine skies. Arrived in plenty of time at the station, but because the ticket seller's machine suddenly went slow, I only just caught my train.

Into the passport office, where a passport lady told me that I'd not changed in ten years. If only, but I did look dour in my last photo though.

Then to Chiswick for discussions with Stephen on work matters. It started raining again there, then back to Victoria to collect my shiny new passport and leap on a train. Once at Preston Park I walked home in torrential rain in my brand new jacket, which was a galling. Betty and Lorraine both at home, Beth rightly feeling horrible by having to get up for 4:20 the next morning.

Had a long chat with Helen, who is recovering from surgery and about to undergo radiotherapy. Good to talk to her about everything. We agreed to meet up after I return from Chad.

Pleased to be working from home for the rest of the week on my freelance projects, however. Under the cosh this week with plenty to do, and low energy.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Shopping spree

Lorraine and up and at 'em unusually early for a Saturday morning. We drove Betty to the Goldmans stage school where she teaches on Saturday. Lorraine and I off to buy things for me. These included lightweight mosquito and UV resistant shirts and trousers for The Great Chad Adventure. Fairly useless in store help, but Lorraine had researched it on the internet the day before thankfully. I also bought myself a rather lovely and expensive grey jacket, that fits beautifully after Lorraine led me to a shop. A fashion classic. Sober on the outside, and thanks to floral purple lining, jazzular on the inside. Just like moi. Had to steel myself to spend the money, but my wardrobe is beginning to look a tad shabby. Bumped into Claire Turner and her sister who lives in New York and had a chat with them in the street too. Claire is such a lovely person.

Brighton gorgeous and sunny today. South African rugby fans here and there. I learned later they were playing Japan at the Amex Stadium (home of Brighton's football team) and Japan, in the most astonishing result, beat the Springboks, in a result that is reverberating round the rugby world. Seems like the SA supporters were very sporting about it too, which was nice to hear.

Home, via Sainsbury's. Carolyn came to visit this afternoon, and we sat outside drinking tea and eating scones in the garden. She was Lorraine's boss for a while and is a very interesting woman, who paints and does embroidery. She is off to Costa Rica, and other central american countries and wanted to set up a blog, which I showed her the basics of. Lorraine cooked a Japanese chicken and prawn dish, warming seaweed and making dashi stock with bonito flakes as I did so. Carolyn very well travelled and has been to Japan too. Betty back to have some of this, before zooming off with Laura.

After Carolyn left, Lorraine and I watched another Swedish cop show called Beck, which we quite like. Also watched in the week the final episode of French scandi-style cop show called Witnesses, which was nicely noirish with corpses being dug up and so on, and a bit more shrugging. Lorraine loves all this stuff, but doesn't like horror movies at all.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Return of the Balkan dogs

Although I had plenty of time this morning, I ended leaving just in the nick of time to leave to emergency renew my passport. Jumped on a bus, only for it to grind to a halt in a traffic jam. Made it to Brighton station in enough time. To the ticket office, where I found I simply had left my wallet at home. Gah! he second aborted London trip of the week.

Had to rearrange the appointment for Monday then walk home feeling something of a chump. But cheered up by Lorraine, who was working at home, and lots of cups of tea. Much work to get on with at home, after talking to Matt and Steve, and was also given a lovely little job by my French pals, writing and storyboarding a wee comic about the plight of Balkan dogs. I have much to thank Balkan dogs for, bless their rabid little faces.

Sonia back today from her holiday back home in Bulgaria, where she inevitably must have glimpsed some of my waggy tailed patrons.

A nice evening with Lorraine, when  our work was done. A long week. We sent in for a delivery curry and had a nice evening together on the gold sofa. All well.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Spent the day writing TV scripts for trip to Chad, based around the hunger gap. I'd heard this phrase a lot without really understanding what it meant. It means that the amount of food people can harvest is not enough to see them through to the next harvest. Therefore there is a gap. In practice people eke out what they have, which amounts to a slow starvation. An odd business sitting in my office in Brighton trying to figure out ways of dramatizing this for a TV audience, and thinking about the shots that might be had out there. Apparently we are taking a drone, which is making me think about some amazing aerial shots.

Reading St Matthew's gospel, putting myself into the headspace of our clients. And I started doing the duolingo French thing recently, as Toby and mum had both been doing it. Like how owls get disappointed with you if you don't do your daily lesson. I am quite enjoying it. I am a good deal worse at French than I had imagined. But it's good to start learning it again in daily, ten-minute bursts.

Meanwhile in Guernsey Edward Chaney's book Genius Friend, that Jane has been a researcher on, is being launched. Richard and Jane went there, to see Edward, interviewed by JKT as part of the Literary Festival. I wish I'd been there.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chiswick again

To London spending the day in the Chiswick office with Matty and Stephen. Lunch with them in Andy's Kebabs, purveyors of fine kebabs I have visited with Anton among others. This time sat down and had some sort of chicken wrap with fries, salad, and a glass of wine. Lots of laughing as well as discussions about work. Matt off to Uganda, for discussions, on Saturday for a few days with the charity. Also talking about Chad. I suggested I might be able to get a girdle on expenses, as the current Kenny ventripotence must surely be in bad taste at the very least.

Found out that I have to renew my passport as it expires in five months. Made an appointment for Friday to get urgent new one. Bucketloads of rain by home time. Decided to hop on a bus  to Chiswick station, and got stuck in traffic with a torrent falling from the sky, and remembering when Septembers where quite summery. Made it home and Beth and Lorraine both out. Had fish and chips from Jenny's round the corner. Not up to Whitby standards, sadly, but the portions are very generous. Slumped on the gold sofa feeling a tad zombified and watched a fascinating documentary called Saints and Sinners about early Monasteries, including sections filmed in Whitby. Presented by Dr Janina Ramirez whose facial expressions were almost as interesting.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Unseen Spitfires

Torrential rain this morning, Lorraine drove me down to Preston Park station, I bought a ticket for the week. My phone told me I was already late for a meeting in Teddington, which I'd completely forgotten about. I called Matty to apologise and tell him I would be late, and found that wires had been crossed and I wasn't actually required. Luckily I hadn't boarded a train yet, so walked back up the hill, drinking the large cup of tea I had bought at the station. A bit of diary haywire stuff going on.

Matt who had reassuring news about the security that will be in place for the Chad trip. We will be based is a lowest risk area in the country. Surprised to learn that mobile phone coverage there is good too -- Chad having moved straight to mobile -- and we will be given local sim cards so I will be able to phone home.

The day not a write off financially as my French amis piped up with a bit of work on cows with sore udders, so I was gainfully employed for the day. And quite enjoyed it. Lorraine also in a cheery mood not having to do any form stuff for the first time in ages.

Spitfires and Hurricanes flying about today, when the rain abated in the afternoon. And their flight route passed nearby but I saw nothing. I did convince myself every now and then that I heard the growl of Merlin engines in the sky and sprang upstairs to crane my neck from our Juliette balcony but to no avail.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Greetings from the Dalai Lama

Doing some more work for my French clients this morning, radio adverts about the plight of Balkan dogs. Then off for a walk up to the top of the nearby hill, looking down on Brighton and the big pointless pole of the i360. Everything has to be an iSomething these days.

Then more of Lorraine's ghastly form, before taking myself off for jabs. Had a typhoid, a diphtheria polio and tetanus, and an MMR. Three jabs. I'm okay with jabs but the typhoid quite ouchy. The nurse very good, and sprang at me with a surprising wild speed and I was done in no time. Still a bit of discussion to be had about Chad, and assurances to be sought. However if it is green-lighted, I will have to have a yellow fever jab privately as well as malaria pills before we set off.

Home to sit with Lorraine a bit more for the dreaded form, then scarfed down some food and made off for the poetry meeting. Arrived late, bought a pint and headed into the room only to realise that the meeting was in fact next Monday. Sat with my pint and glanced at my iPhone. A message from Richard entitled Karma and the matter of Snails "Word has reached the all seeing ear of the Great Man that a ghastly crime has been committed and he sends you this message. (See attached photograph)."

Walked home in the windy night pondering this missive, and as I passed under the viaduct it looked momentarily wonderful with the clouds racing ominously across the sky.

Home to Lorraine and Betty. Lorraine cheery having at last finished the draft of the hideous form, and I drank a glass of wine in celebration before retiring.

Under the viaduct, the big pointless pole of the i360, just visible in the murk.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Nice as pie

Up to buy breakfast, was asked what I thought about Jeremy Corbyn by the man in the corner shop, looking up from the Daily Mail.  The owner clearly thought Corbyn was a lunatic. Then a morning of sorting stuff out with Lorraine and Betty and going to Sainsburys and so on. We borrowed Jenny next door's lawn mower, and I cut our patch of grass which was thick and luxuriant.

In the afternoon Anton and Anne came round, Anton armed with an apple and blackberry pie, made from the blackberries we'd found yesterday. It was delicious, as was the roast pork Lorraine made. All of us rather gorged on things, including cheeses afterwards. Anton very animated about politics this afternoon. Anne is a royalist, right winger which Anton finds difficult to accommodate with amusing results.

Evening spent digesting foods, and getting ready for the week ahead. Watched a traumatising Scandinavian noir series called Beck, featuring people being buried alive in coffins by a psycho. Lorraine and I leaping in the gold sofa. Had a chat with Toby last thing, now safely home in Toronto with Romy and Meatball the cat, back home after all her travels.

Below: Anton's exemplary and first-ever apple and blackberry pie.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Melting into the woods

So up bright and early this morning, and down to Preston Circus to meet Anton, dapper in his grey and black walking gear. Onto a bus and into the country. Anton had selected a PK pleasing route of mild mannered woodland walks to break me back into it gently. Lovely to be back in the beautiful English countryside near Lower Beeding and hear the wind blowing through the trees. I love that sound, and it always makes me think of walking to Icart Point.

Naturally the second we set off on the path it began to spit with rain, but this cleared instantly and it was a perfect walking morning. We stopped in a pub after an hour or so, had a bottle of sparkling water, and shared an exemplary sausage baguette Anton had made. Then more walking, Anton who has been weirdly running most days lately, springing up hills like Tumnus the Faun as I laboured after him.

At one point we passed some shifty looking men and a little boy crouching by a pond with a rife and silencer, illegally after ducks. Eventually we came to a PK nadir which was a large wide open newly-harvested wheat field. My dislike of wide open spaces made me force Anton to walk around the wooded edge rather than across the middle. He moaned a bit but is all too familiar with my neuroses.

Then we walked into a heavily-wooded valley, which cupped and amplified the excited baying of a pack of dogs. At one point we saw a deer (initially mistaken for a dog) melt into the woods. Anton became rather quiet at this point, pushed me in front as a dog decoy and grimly clutched his walking pole. When we emerged from the woods all became clear. There was a kennels business nearby.

We found ourselves by bushes groaning with ripe blackberries, some of which we plundered and put in Anton's sausage sandwich box, others I simply ate. Gorgeous.

Then a bus back to Preston Circus in Brighton, where we popped into The Joker for some hot chilli wings. I contented myself with a bowl of Woof Woof wings, while Anton had a bowl of Vincent wings, which tasted initially of mango, then progressed to a hint of magma forcing Anton to swig lager in a watery eyed kind of way. Soon joined by Betty and Lorraine, my wife fresh from the hairdressers with glamorous hair, to eat wings too.

After our wings cravings were sated, Anton left and we returned home. Lorraine working on the enormous application form, and later Betty and I sneaked off to The Preston Park Tavern and discussed collaborating on a project for next year, which will be fun. Lorraine arrived a later, and I found myself enjoying Doombar beer quite a bit.

A cheery day all round.

Below Anton strides out. A joint selfie, except Anton started grimacing when I said Selfie, and a glimpse out from the woods.

Friday, September 11, 2015


A bit of a meh day, feeling unsettled. But I enjoyed reconnecting with Reuben. Lovely to chat with him as a trusted touchstone to talk about charity accounts and foreign travel. He'd been to Ethiopia and I was asking him for his opinion on The Great Chad Adventure. We'll have a couple of beers soon.

Also cheerily, I booked up La Barbarie, and Lorraine, Mum and hopefully Mas will be able to stay there in October. I'm looking forward to it already.

Lorraine and I spent this evening working on the hideous application form. It really is horrid. But we did enough to feel progress had been made before joyfully swarming down to the gold sofa.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Faffing about this morning. Not being very productive this week. Off to see Janet and Ken this afternoon. They are Corbynistas, having both voted for Jeremy Corbyn in the election for Labour leadership, good to see how radical they still are. Before I left, Janet asked me to pick some of her abundant bean crop from a little elongated cone frame of beans in her little garden. Her beans were excellent and vibrant with beany goodness. Walked back home and through the park. A gorgeous day, though I am still underpowered after the virus I had last weekend.

Lorraine and I on the verge of booking a trip to Guernsey in October after I return from the Great Chad Adventure. In the evening, I helped my lovely wife with hideous application form for some time, and received a chastening note from Jane in Guernsey about snails. And spoke to Mum about she and Mas coming over to Guernsey with us.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Gastropod guilt

Lorraine working from home. I had time to work on some poetry, struggling with a poem I've never quite got right for part of a Telltale sampler, but sent it to Robin who saw the flaw right away, and the poem is now greatly improved. Lorraine and I had lunch in the sun in our back garden, thankfully no longer haunted by the smells of rotting snail flesh.

A couple of weeks ago, momentarily infuriated by the snails and slugs eating all our beans, plums and so on I prepared a deadly bucket of salty water, which I used to murder gastropods using my superior speed and intellect. When I went out into the garden yesterday I was struck by an unusually penetrating smell, which I traced to the ghastly bucket. I poured the stinking water down the drain, which I had to fill with bleach afterwards to make it slightly more acceptable, and then what to do with the corpses?

I tipped them, in a rattle of shells, over the low wall at the back of the wildly overgrown and unused garden of the unseen neighbour. A deep pungent smell arose from them, and I slunk away. Luckily the smell had abated by this lunchtime, but I am never killing snails again and I feel like my karma has taken a pounding because of it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Sadness and gratitude

Heard from Lorraine that Jo had died this morning. I only met her three or four times, including on her low-key wedding reception last November, but she was generous, friendly and without a shred of self-pity. Lorraine naturally upset by the death of her friend.

Otherwise another low key day. Still in recovery mode, and I did not need extra sleep today, which is a distinct improvement. French clients have decided not to give me feedback till next week, and beyond a few bits about The Great Chad Adventure not too much that was urgent. Enjoyed cooking a noodly miso soup for Betty and I for lunch (who has come round to the dark side and correctly appreciates fish fingers as an appropriate side dish).

In the evening going out for a stroll in the park with Lorraine around sunset to talk. I felt very lucky to be able to take a walk in the park with my wife and enjoy the bats flitting about over our heads as the clear sky darkened, and to return home to sip sparkling water on the gold sofa.

Monday, September 07, 2015

A slow start

Back to my desk today, still recovering from the weekend's wussiness. Bits and pieces of a day, no feedback from my French amis but some emails about The Great Chad Adventure. And a spot of niceness from Robin on her site here.

A chat with Anton, then Spoke to Mum who had concerning news about her oldest friend Diane, who is very ill in hospital. Mum had gone out with her for a meal only a couple of weeks ago, so this is all rather upsetting. Meanwhile Lorraine's pal Jo, whose house we stayed in at Hayward's Heath before we moved to our current place is also very ill and now taking family visits only.

Otherwise a quiet day, with Lorraine home late and Beth recovering from the weekend's work then out with her pals. When Lorraine came home, we watched Rick Stein eating his way through Greece in a way that made Lorraine and I long to be there again. An amazing-looking moussaka, cooked by Patrick Leigh Fermor's former housekeeper, had us both slavering. But we had to content ourselves with me reading aloud a spot of  Dracula before bedtime, which happened to be where the three vampire ladies feasted on a small child. And thence to sleep.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Lunch in Ashford

Much improved this morning, so much so that I went with Lorraine to visit Pat and Maureen in Ashford. A quick trip to The Blacksmiths Arms where we had a nice Sunday Roast. A nice old fashioned feel in there with the dried hops (for this is Kent) hanging from the walls, and bunches of burly balding  blokes drinking a Sunday lunchtime pint, and lots of tables with folks forking down their lunches. They know Pat and Maureen there, and were pleasant and speedy in their service.

Talking to Pat about The Great Chad Adventure, and he said he had spent three months in Libya, the country to the north, which puts a mere ten days in perspective.

Then back to sit in the garden for it was a sunny day, where there was a certain amount of hat play. before sitting on the sofa where Lorraine showed them some photos from Greece and Whitby. Maureen has just started thinking about Christmas shopping, and asked me what I wanted. I said a willie warmer, and a certain amount of ribaldry ensued, till Maureen told me to stop tiddling about, which had Lorraine laughing lots. Brief chats with a shirtless, highly-tattooed, Pete too.

Home exceptionally quickly. I felt pretty tired by the time we got home, but found the strength to watch Iron Man 2 on TV which wasn't quite a bad as I'd thought it would be. An interlude where Lorraine and I went out to collect Betty who was walking through the dark park having worked at a two day music festival.

 Below Maureen, Lorraine and Pat on the sofa.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Duvet day

Hot and tired as anything today. Lorraine and I got out of bed by noon, but then I simply went to bed again a few hours later and slept for another three hours. Luckily, in the evening my temperature seemed to normalise and I began to feel a tad better as I sat on the gold sofa preparing to go to bed again.

Friday, September 04, 2015

A sudden wussiness

Up to London this afternoon, after working for my French amis, up to Chiswick to meet with the cheery Stephen and Matty boy to discuss the Christian charity and The Great Chad Adventure. Good to have some firmer details about this trip and very happy to learn that Matty is coming too, and I'll have a good friend with me. Also the trip will now last ten days not two weeks, we will be staying in hotels and there is a timetable of events, and a built-in recovery and acclimatisation day after we arrive. Curiosity and excitement over this trip are beginning to win out now that I know more. Then down to Strand on the Green for a cheery gathering of folks attached to the new agency in the City Barge. Some nice people and it was good to see First Matie again, who was looking very well, and see the little firecracker Yas and her excellent husband Tim.

By now, however, I was feeling weirdly hot and decidedly wussy. I heard the call of the seagull, and left. By the time I reached Clapham Junction I managed to make everything worse by running up some stairs. Sitting on a bench, sweating, feeling shaky with a racing pulse and to cap it all having been to the gym twice in the previous days, my left pectoral muscle chose that moment to start cramping. Phoned Lorraine who calmed me down and despite my twitching made worse by an abominable busker playing right next to me on the train for what seemed an eternity, but in reality was only 15 minutes, I made it back to Brighton safely.

Lorraine collected me from the station and once home I felt much perkier after a large glass of water and the soothing company of my wife, and John and Betty. To bed.

Thursday, September 03, 2015


Inexplicably bad hangover this morning. Felt wan and sallow. Wrote radio advert about the plight of Balkan dogs then went into town for a papal audience with Catherine (Pope) in the Bath Arms. I sipped rueful sodas and coffees and ate comforting sausage and mash, and was cheered and inspired as usual by Catherine's conversation.

Pleased to get a text from Helen, saying she had the all clear after her recent op.

Developed a headache by the late afternoon and laid low, watched a fascinating Horizon documentary about Mesolithic man in Britain, also covering events such flooding of Doggerland in the North Sea. Apparently these people were far more sophisticated than simply being mere hunter gatherers. Read all about it here.

It was the flooding of doggerland that made us an island, and created the Channel Islands too. The flooding was triggered it is thought by a tsunami, coming from a vast collapse of material in Norway into the north sea.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Anton's birthday

Getting back into a work routine. I fiddled about with my websites this morning, and did more work for my lovely French clients. When I told Val in Paris about the Great Chad Adventure she was laughing uproariously, saying things like 'but where will you find a restaurant?'

Into town to purchase a pressie for Anton whose birthday it was today, and pop back into the gym. I also left a message for Bob as it is his birthday too.

Dawn came around this evening to drop off a table, then she drove us off to the Temple Bar pub where we chatted waiting for the others. Soon Anton, Anne, then Lorraine and Rosie arrived, and we worshiped at the temple of Indian street food and drank beers. A cheery night. I chatted with Ann a good deal, who told me about times she'd spent in Africa with Keith. Fond farewells, then home fairly early and I slumped fairly rapidly into bed.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Back to work

Up somewhat blearily. Lorraine up early and bringing tea and porridge back to the bedroom. A day of doing bits and pieces for me, including a spot of cow work for my French clients, and quoting on another job to do with the Plight of Balkan Dogs.

To the gym too, to do half an hour on the cross trainer, a.k.a. the hulk legs machine, as I have noticed what with me tearing my thigh muscle and other afflictions my legs seem far more sparrowy than normal.

Then Sainsburys to buy vegetables to complement the excellent tomato harvest from our back garden, plus a decent portion of green beans I wrested from the craven gastropods outside. Their name gives it away. They are walking stomachs and I bite my thumb at them. I cooked a rather nice vegetable and fish and rice meal tonight. Healthy stuff after the beery chip-based excesses of the weekend.

Calliope punishing my absence by pointlessly hiding in the dungeon when I was doing laundry down there, plaguing me at my desk and finding things to moan about.

Lorraine at pilates this evening. She says that getting off the gold sofa is easier now thanks to increased core strength. When she returned we watched a bit of Bram Stoker's Dracula, made by Francis Ford Coppola, which happened to be on TV and coincides with Lorraine and I reading it at night and the Whitby trip, but gave up after a while due to its silliness and our tiredness.