Saturday, October 31, 2015

A monster night out

Halloween. Lorraine and I off to town to buy a few bits and pieces, such as a frying pan, and music centre as we'd not had anything decent to play music on for ages. My French clients had paid me, so I was rather cheery.

This done, the rest of the afternoon given to preparations for our night out to celebrate Halloween and  Dawn's birthday, which happened when we were in Guernsey. Beth putting lots of effort into making us all up. She did me first, so I was able to spend a while pulling depraved faces (see below) as Beth and Lorraine, plus John and Rosie got ready. Beth was a zombie pirate wench, John a zombie hillbilly, Lorraine a sort of bride of Frankenstein and Rosie a kind of sexy demon with several cuts.

Lorraine, John and I off in a cab to the Brunswick where we were the first monsters to arrive. Luckily we were soon joined by various zombies, vampires, ghouls, devils, evil clowns, people with scars and stitched faces and so on. And friends, Dawn and Ellie were zombie cheerleaders, Dawn brought a couple of her pals, Elaine and Carole, and Mark and Jane arrived later.

The band were were hugely enjoyable, The South Coast Soul Review who we'd seen before. The crowd was at least half composed of monsters of various sorts, and the band with skeleton clothes, one with an axe in his head, another with a knife through his, and and so on. A great night where everyone was dancing and having fun.

Afterwards, Beth, John Lorraine and I lurched out of the Brunswick, and found ourselves buying burgers at midnight. Home in a cab and munching them late at night.

Below me and Lorraine; me pulling monster faces, Lorraine adjusting Rosie's horns, John being made up, John and Beth.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Meetings and muses

Up with the keener avian fraternity this morning, and off after Lorraine had very kindly ironed a shirt for me at six nasty in the morning. Working in the train and to Chiswick where I met Matty and had a most of the day meeting with two of our nice clients about the work we'll do based on the Chad trip. Nice to be working in Chiswick, I can see where I used to live in my less than happy year before moving down to Brighton. But coming back again regularly is beginning to make me feel nice about the place again. I spent many years living in Chiswick.

After the meetings a quick beer in the Tabard with Matt discussing various subjects before leaving for  Brighton. Home briefly before going out with Lorraine to the Red Roaster Cafe to see Sarah Barnsley read. We were very early so found a little pub that served cocktails at your table, called the Plotting Parlour, which we liked a lot. It was like a mini-date.

A reasonable Pighog night. I read in an open slot. I did Someone-else's Patch again from memory, simply because it was easier, and it is set around this time of year.  Incredibly nervous doing it for some reason, but it went well. The first of the two main poets, a former ad man not my cup of bisto but Sarah read very well. And it was nice to see Stephen Bone, John McCullough, Sarah's wife Louise and meet some people our table who knew Sarah and Louise,  Liz and Keith who weren't together.

Home after waiting at a bus stop, when the 'due' bus disappears, so we were forced to get a taxi. A long day.

Below me havin' it, the lovely Stephen Bone, Sarah Barnsley and Louise Tondeur.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Leaving Guernsey

As usual, sad to go from Guernsey. We self catered a large breakfast of eggs and fried tomatoes and toast, and packed up our stuff and left it at reception.

A walk next. A grey, cloudy day, with a little drizzle from time to time, but nothing much. To Icart Point again. I was feeling weirdly vertiginous today, which wasn't good. But I still loved to lurk around looking out to sea, which was banded with dark blue and watching a kestrel quartering the clifftop for prey.

Walked back along the road, then onto the cliff path opposite the Saints Bay Hotel, and then down the path to Saints Harbour. Here it started raining with a bit more enthusiasm and we were running out of time so we returned to La Barbarie for soup and I had a pint of bitter, and the ladies had cider. It is only a couple of days from the end of their season, and the staff were clearly done with the year. Still we were made to feel as welcome as usual.

Then off by taxi, the same driver that picked us up at the airport. A long wait at the airport as he had arrived on time and we got there in minutes. Good to see one of Richard's poems for all to see.  Walking out to the plane on the runway in greyness, good in a way as it made us just want to scuttle into the plane rather than looking longingly at the island. A short slightly bumpy flight home. Then farewell to Mum at the station. Felt sorry for her having to travel through London while we had a short trip to Preston Park and were able simply to roll our case up the hill home.

Felt flat and tired this evening, but certainly perked up when we had a delivery from The Shahi after Lorraine had returned from pilates. Good to be back home with cats on the gold sofa. Our own bed awaiting, and we were in it early tonight.

A grey day. On the Icart Road, Lorraine at Icart; a kestrel; low tide at Icart; the Martello above Saints Bay; Mum above Saint's Harbour; a bit of stonework revealed by the low tide near Saints Bay in the sea which makes me wonder where that came from, Richard's poem in the airport; flying home between layers of cloud.

Monday, October 26, 2015

An anniversary and old friends

Two years ago today, Lorraine and I got married. Clearly the best life decision I've ever taken. I never thought that being married would be so fantastic. Nor did I expect that being married would improve our relationship still further.

Up early and off for La Barbarie's breakfast. A full Guernsey Breakfast for me, despite confirmation in the news that red meat, and processed meat such as sausages and bacon are bad for you.  I almost never eat red meat, and very little processed meat, so I took my life in my own hands. Very tasty as usual.

Another unexpectedly beautiful day. We took ourselves off to town on the bus. I went to the joke shop, stuffed full of witches costumes, rubber spiders and ghost masks and asked if they had a Frankenstein's head. 'No, we don't have anything like that here,' said the woman behind the counter unhelpfully, with no attempt to cross sell me on, say, a zombie head.

A spot of shopping here and there, some wine for tonight and so on. We decided to go to Hojo's for a bite to eat. Previously I'd had very nice times there but we had a bit of a  disaster. It was busy and our order was forgotten, something announced to us unapologetically after half an hour. Instead of our order then being made a priority, other people came and went being served until after an hour feeling enraged we simply left, without paying for the drink we'd had. Absolutely atrocious. It made me feel very angry and stressed, which of course I understand was just triggered by the dismal service, not caused by it.

Felt much better just walking out, and buying a few snacks from M&S. We were soon back in the tranquility of La Barbarie, and Mum and I then went out for another walk, while Lorraine read and relaxed. Headed off to the top of Petit Bôt, then doubled back and went home by different lanes. Mum a bit like the Duracell bunny when it comes to walking.

A bit of a doze, then we freshened ourselves up, and were collected by Richard. Fond hellos, and he drove us up to the top of the island complaining enjoyably about the service in Hojos and so on. Then bursting in on Jane, cooking up delicious things.

A lovely night with plenty to discuss over some lovely food. There was Richard's astonishing three placings in the International Guernsey poetry competition and his recent trip to Belfast. Jane's enormous contribution to the recently published Genius Friend by Edward Chaney. Also her discovery of records of her father's amazing wartime exploits as a navigator aboard a special ops RAF squadron. She has recently been in touch with the son of the Squadron Leader who was also the pilot her father flew with. Better still she will soon have access to a This is your life style Danish program, which featured her father as a guest. Naturally there was a certain amount of heroic Chad talk and discussions about Lorraine becoming a headteacher amid general gossip.

We'd cleverly prearranged a taxi so we arrived home in good time too. It does my heart good to see old friends. Richard gave me a poem to read later. A gorgeous poem in four parts about hares.

Below St Peter Port, a snap down towards Castle Cornet, me and Lorraine on our anniversary,  we took lots with Mum too. I took one of Lorraine and Mum, but Lorraine unexpectedly looked exactly like Frankie Howerd in it, while I look bestial and depraved in the three I have of Mum and me, a couple of snaps by the top of Petit Bôt  Jane and Lorraine, Mum and Richard, Richard and me (although I have the effrontery to be wearing a Richard Fleming trademark white shirt in the master's very presence).

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Moulin Huet and the moon

A breakfast in our self-catered room of Guernsey tomatoes fried in butter on toast. An unhurried and excellent way to start the day.  Eventually we organised ourselves, and Mum went off to see Ken a brother of my Granddad, while Lorraine and I popped into The Captain's to book a table and then sauntered down to Moulin Huet.

It was a gorgeously sunny day with the tide having turned recently and starting to come in. We lurked about, Lorraine finding rocks to sit in the sun on till the sun started lapping at her feet, reading and absorbing the Moulin Huet loveliness. I lurked about with my camera snapping at everything with complete abandon eventually as the sun went behind some clouds and things got cooler we made our way up the hill again. And met Mum coming the other way. She went down to the bay to take some snaps.

Lorraine and I made our way to The Captains where Mum met us a little later. A good Sunday lunch to be had there, and couple of refreshing pints of beer as I mentioned to Lorraine and Mum on more than one occasion, I am still sluicing the desert dust from my pipes.

Back to the Barbarie. Because Mum still had her walking legs on she and I went for a walk down towards Saints then took the cliff path towards Moulin Huet. Big moon hanging low over the cliffs as we walked eastwards towards it. A magical sky sight, we got talking to a woman called Cornelia walking her dogs, who it turns out works in the Guille-Allès library in town, specialising in children's books.

It getting dark and a bit ankle twisty, we took the cut up past the Bon Port Hotel, which seemed to be shut down, and through some half remembered back lanes till we emerged opposite Les Douvres and were almost home again.

After a large late lunch at The Captains we ate little tonight, sharing a tasty cheese platter in the Barbarie's bar and having a couple more drinks and playing euchre with mum, who could not remember how to play it, but still managed to win several hands.

Below Lorraine and Moulin Huet, me at Moulin Huet, various bits of the bay, a house near La Barbarie, Mum on a bench dedicated to Dolly, who was her aunt, and one of my grandfather's sisters, various glimpses over the cliffs westwards to the setting sun, and east towards the moonrise.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

To Guernsey

Up early and packing for Guernsey. Hadn't had much time to think about it till yesterday. Lorraine starting a cold, and I find myself somewhat sniffly too. Quick chat with the neighbours as we left who said that Guernsey was posh. An easy train ride to Gatwick where we met Mum. A shopping spree in Gatwick. Lorraine buying face creams that literally cost thousands of pounds, and also some his and her headphones. A fairly incident free flight, though a bit bumpy for my taste. The journey is so short you never get up very high before you start descending again.

A wait at Guernsey airport for half an hour for a cab, which had me grinding my teeth a bit. Big queue of people, but this being a Saturday lunchtime, the local cabbies are at home eating their lunch. Finally made it to La Barbarie where we had a quick sandwich and a pint of beer.

Then off to Icart Point. Sat on the famous engagement bench, and wandered about in the soft light of a cloudy day. Beautiful as ever, with patches of light falling gorgeously on the grey sea.

Wandered back to La Barbarie, and Lorraine needed a lie down so mum and I wandered up to the co-op to get some breakfast for tomorrow, and chatted and walking down the little lanes, including the famous (in our family at any rate) Screaming Lane. Back to La Barbarie for an early supper of pork belly and then, back to the room, where both I and Lorraine were feeling quite flaked out. A much needed early night.

Below Lorraine and me with my eyes closed in the magical arch on Icart Road, Mum, Lorraine, a few other snaps, and a collapsing glasshouse.