Saturday, April 30, 2016

Out of the frying pan

Lorraine and I up late, after I'd brought us breakfast in bed.  I like to spoil her at the weekend, partly because she brings me a cup of tea without fail every weekday. A treasure for which I count my lucky stars each morning. Duck eggs on toast for my lovely wife, who bought them from someone at school. After a time I noticed a sort of whiteness in the air of our room at the top of the house, and once I'd convinced myself that this wasn't cataracts, I simply went downstairs to see that I'd left the cooker on and had melted the spatula onto our prize frying pan. All okay in the end though, although it did make me wonder about my own sanity.

When we eventually got up, we sauntered into town through the park and through the backstreets into the North Laine with Lorraine for a spot of shopping. The Laine full of people and Brighton's doing that thing of having music everywhere. Passed a pavement choir at one point,  and we had a sausage roll from the sausage shop by way of lunch. Then I sloped off to attend the afternoon's rehearsals.

We're running through the whole play now. There is still lots to be done, and the weeks are speeding by.  Staying quite calm now. But those parts where it is beginning to flow make me think that we have something to be proud of here. But we'll have to let the audience be the judge of that.

The four of us had a cheeky drink after in The Windmill. I am really liking Dylan and Kitty the more I get to know them.  Kitty came with us this time and I leaned that she studied psychology and sociology at university. She said people think it means she can read minds. Dylan is such a nice lad. He's only 18, which amazed Kitty, as she thought he was well into his twenties. He can appear very self assured and together.

Then bussed home with Beth and spent the evening in the relaxed company of my wife. Called Janet to see how they were getting on now Ken was at home. I spoke to him briefly too. He is clearly pleased to be back.

There are two tribes in Brighton: people and seagulls.

Here is a photo of seagulls that made Lorraine and I smile walking down behind London Road.

Friday, April 29, 2016

A right royal time

End of a curiously unproductive week. More work this morning on the Centaur project. I sent Helen the next tranche of words, which she liked. Between ironing and other such glamorous activities, listening to my audiobook Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I love it. It's a case, as I was saying to Anton, of the right book at the right moment. I really liked Jane Eyre, but I think I prefer this.

In the evening, Lorraine late back from work and frazzled after Friday IT problems. We wandered off to Preston Park Tavern which was so busy we opted instead for The Cleveland, which although near we'd never been into. It was a bit like stepping back into the 1980s, except the man sitting alone in the busy pub, staring at a little tablet, his face grimacing with all kinds of emotions. Football I think.

Then down the hill to the Shahi. Chatting lots to Sabir, who was saying he wanted to come to the play. We enjoyed being in familiar surroundings and tucking into a curry.

Meanwhile more interesting events in Guernsey, with a royal convention at Richard and Jane. I like this photo Richard sent me of him dripping with Royal companions at Guernsey Airport.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Some good news

Walking quite a bit feeling antsy and stale and tired at home. Blood test results back today, and nothing to worry about. Poo test results next week. Finding it hard to concentrate on work much though. Listening to Villette by Charlotte Bronte, which is excellent on my strolls.

Spoke to Janet. Very pleased to hear that Ken had been released back into the wild today, but only after Janet had to have a large tantrum. He wasn't enjoying being in hospital, and it was very tiring for her. So good news all round.

Popped out this evening to have a cheeky beer with Anton at the Joker, as Lorraine was out. Anton eating a plate of woof woofs and curly fries, and we had a general catch up and gossip, not being tempted by the sub-Smiths dirges seeping from upstairs.

A snap on one of my saunters. Sunlight amid the cloudy stuff.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pinged by graupel

Weird weather today, I went for a couple of walks and was briefly pinged by graupel, a new word on me for soft hail. Interesting skies at the moment.

I edited the play this morning, cutting a bit of Beth's speech at the beginning which, when we rehearsed it this evening, seemed to make everything flow a bit better. There is  a joy to editing, when you can cut away dead wood, and lose nothing of importance.  Focus is hard to come by.

A nice evening, we had Kitty and Dylan round for a bite to eat before running through the script. Lorraine joined us, having come back from pilates. I was a bit worried about Lorraine as she seemed a bit sicky first thing, but said she was okay for the rest of the day.

Long chat with Janet after rehearsal, Ken had not such a good day today, so wasn't released home. It is hard for her, but she is showing admirable strength and managed to pop into her embroidery group for a while, which was a good diversion.

Ended up nursing a glass of wine and watching Family Guy this evening after Lorraine went to bed. Sometimes a laugh is what's needed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dark and mysterious rehearsals

Off for blood tests this morning, and the nurse thanking me nicely for my poo sample. The nurse thanking me for this gift. Then to Starbucks where I tried to do some work for a while. Brain not functioning with any alacrity and generally feeling unproductively antsy, even when I came back home.

Spoke to Mum today, who had read last week's short story and found it disturbing. Naturally I was pleased with this.

Noticed that The Warren, where we will have our show, is now being constructed. In the evening off to The Black Dove in Kemptown, which managed in an instant, to become my new favourite pub. A strange little space downstairs, dark and mysterious, with a tiny stage.

We ran through the whole play, and actually having a stage was good as it focused everyone's minds. It also made me realise I had to cut a few lines from the opening section. Good to do it now.

Had a swift drink upstairs afterwards with Dylan and Beth, before we all went our separate ways, Beth off to see John, and me back to lovely Lorraine, taking chocolate with me. A message from Janet when I got back. Ken in much better health today. An early night.

Below a homeless man, one of many on London Road, from the bus, The Warren also from the bus, and Dylan sits downstairs at The Black Dove.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Essentially Monday

Funny how Monday retains an essence of Monday about it even if you are not having to commute off to an office. Found myself with a list of things where everything seemed to block everything else. If in doubt, tidy up. So I tidied up. Amazing how sorting your desk and office out can really help the brain. Made myself a trusty mind map and pinpointed the areas of being blocked and started to address them. Also wrote to Helen to clarify stuff in the Centaur Project as I found I needed help. Messages with Toby too who is over in the summer.

Off in the afternoon to accompany Janet on her visit to Ken. Caught out by the bus again, which at the stop said two minutes but actually turned out to be a fourteen minute wait. Gah. Got to Janet's then straight off to Hateful Heath. He'd had a lung drain today (which had been scheduled for some time) and an x-ray so was pooped. He is on oxygen at the moment to boost his breathing after the procedure. Janet brought him nice food to supplement the grey looking fodder he was given, replacing the hospital's sugary yoghurt with natural yoghurt and fruits. This Ken tucked into this hungrily. As hospitals go, this one is fairly pleasant I think.

Janet drove us back through across the downs, and the sky was brightening and the wet roads shining and it was possible to feel a bit of optimism about it all. We are hoping Ken will be released back into the wild hopefully this week. He needs to gather his strength a bit, and Janet can get support taking care of him at home. It is the junior doctor's strike tomorrow, having been backed into a corner for purely ideological reasons by noxious heath secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Home, and Lorraine got back shortly after me.  Beth at home learning her more lines this afternoon. The ladies watching programmes about baking and cooking. An early night for everyone.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Travesty and beauty

A last minute decision to travel up to the smoke this morning to arrive at ten. Dawn, who had stayed overnight, gave Lorraine and I a lift to the station and we travelled up to the Victoria & Albert museum, where there was a reading of Shakespeare's sonnets, and 154 responses to them by modern (i.e. alive) poets. Mine was sonnet 19. Lorraine and I were there from the start. They were performing the sonnets in numerical order and reading the responses to each one. To my surprise the poems were read badly, with regular stumbling and in a way that suggested the reader had no idea what they were about.

Worse was to come for me, as my poem Locked in the Lines, was designed to be read by two voices, but although there were eight available actors this was missed. The same actor read the whole thing so as to render the poem incomprehensible. You would have thought an acting company devoted to reading poems might have seized the opportunity to do something in two voices, but obviously not. Very poor.

Lorraine and I went having heard the first twenty-one sonnets and their responses. The notice outside the door said it was a 'poetry marathon'. Can there be any two more dispiriting words when placed together? The idea of poetry as an endurance test is all wrong.

Still the V&A is lovely, and we had a good time. Lorraine and I looked at lots of stuff, including the gorgeous Japanese things, and silverware over the centuries, and so on so we were happy to have a morning out. I am beginning to increasingly think that beauty is food for the soul. Ate a snack in the cafe too, which was good food and a lovely environment.

Then back to Brighton, where Lorraine returned home to prepare for tomorrow, and I went to the Duke of Wellington to meet Beth, Dylan and Kitty to rehearse. The owner of the pub talking to me as I went in began to insist I drink a Jaegerbomb, which I cleverly declined and telling me that I seemed shy and other drunken speculations about me. What is it about these people?

Home with Beth after three hours of a good rehearsal. I had a nice chat with Mum, and then caught up with Janet, Ken still in hospital but may be released back into the wild.

A supper of roast lamb. I generally avoid red meat, and haven't had roast lamb in at least a decade if not far longer.  Watched The Durrells on TV, a series based loosely on the lives of the Durrells in Corfu, based on the Gerald Durrell stories but also drawing in other biographical material. Quite entertaining.

Below... A gorgeous setting for a slaughter. The V&A cafe, and a piece of glass that really caught my eye. Based on some moralising biblical story to do with adultery, but it was the picture I loved.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A spot of adult company

Lorraine and I had a tomatoes on toast kind of breakfast and then once we had roused ourselves from Saturday morning sloth went off shopping, and returning a gigantic tablecloth we'd bought by mistake at Holmbush, then buying lots of food for tonight. Feeling happy today, spending time with Lorraine mooching about. Weekends are becoming increasingly special. Meanwhile the gastroenteritis that has been making life miserable for me in the last two weeks seems to have abated.

In the evening we had Dawn and Anton around and Lorraine cooked some splendid curry and we hung about in the kitchen and then over the table chatting and drinking all evening. Dawn on excellent form, and Anton fresh from an afternoon with Oskar and five of his closest mates, celebrating Oskar's birthday, and needing a spot of adult company. Nice to drink a few drinks, eat Lorraine's freshly made curries and listen to a few tunes while shooting the breeze.

Friday, April 22, 2016


A day of celebrations today. Up early to make my lovely wife breakfast in bed as it was her birthday and give her a crowd pleasing jewellery-based present.  After Lorraine left I put the finishing touches to a whimsical short story I have written this week called A man walks into the bar which I think I am quite pleased with.

Then I got myself ready to attend Catherine and Tanya's wedding this morning. They were calling it an upgrade, as they were already civil partners. I decided to leave early to ensure I would get there, but foolishly believed the times shown at the bus stop and made it into town by the skin of my teeth. I was lucky enough to be among a select group of their pals in the Regency room, including old friends Tim, Guy, and Wayne. The weather was a little overcast and dull, but it was an extremely cheery occasion, and my face ached from smiling afterwards. Of course when it is two women getting married, only possible since March 2014 in the UK. That my friends, obviously devoted to one another, had been unable to marry before that time seems shameful.

Then off to Cote for a quick glass of bubbly. I put my glass down having sipped a single sip, and Wayne who had been outside when the toast was made, rushed in seized the apparently untouched drink and made off with it. I was too Pooterishly awkward to say anything about it, but made life difficult in subsequent toasts. Then to The Chilli Pickle for lunch. A cheery and chatty affair, T & C's pals were all good fun. Then back to their house, to stroke their cats and eat cake and drink a little more bubbly.

I then zoomed home to collect Lorraine, just back from work, and we went to The Basketmakers where we met Beth, stopping for a quick chat with Irish Tom and Dominic. Lorraine given a birthday drink by Joe. All this only momentarily marred by a woman knocking my drink over me. We walked around the corner to the pop-up restaurant called Isaac's.

Here there was an extremely high quality tasting menu of locally sourced delights. Everything from cuttlefish to nettles to braised cucumber hearts and a sorbet of cucumber and blackberry, delicious stuff from start to finish and a journey for the tastebuds, making L and I think about repasts we'd enjoyed in Japan.

We taxied home, as it was surprisingly nippy. A very happy day.

Below Catherine and Tanya. I particularly like the one of the newly weds swanking through the Lanes in their shiny DMs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Calliope auditions

Seagulls stamping and scuffing on our bedroom roof this morning. Off to see the doc this morning, who has set up blood and poo tests, and perhaps another colonoscopy if things don't improve. I'm keen on regular colonoscopies given that bowels, um, run in our family. I also handed him a leaflet for A Glass of Nothing. You never know.

As I was just around from the barbers I had a quick cut in there from Stacy, who cut my hair before my wedding. He is a perfectionist, and it pleases me how he frowningly scissors individual hairs from the Kenny Barnet. Thence to Starbucks where I wrote a few bits and pieces, including on the new story.

Bought a card for young Oskar whose birthday it is tomorrow, and got home to fashion a golden ticket for him. Sat with Beth this afternoon doing some play admin before our evening rehearsal, this time at home, with Dylan and Kitty. For reasons best known to herself Calliope very keen to join in. Lying on the carpet on the middle of the stage and climbing on the chairs to get caught up in the action. I think she wants in.

Below Kitty, Calliope and Dylan.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fun deficit

Working for a few hours on the strange new story today again, I am not sure if is inspired or drivel. Or maybe it's something in-between.

Tiresomely, I made an appointment to see the doctor. After two weeks my guts are still in a Chadian state of flux, which is leaving me feeling weak. I am restless and want the energy to be wheeling and dealing again.

Cant listen to the news at the moment, I find the madness of those wanting us to leave the EU is very depressing. I find Gove utterly loathsome. I don't like his views but there is something about him which affects me on a visceral level, which is completely irrational of course, but none the less powerful for it.

My thoughts with Janet and Ken today. Ken had his operation and I got a message from Janet, who didn't visit today that he was back in the ward this evening.

Spoke to Mum who is hoping to catch Romy in London this week, as she is over for intense business meetings. Trouble with business trips is that there is little time for fun.

Unlike Jane  who appears to be having great fun in her latest lookalike adventure here in an advert for the Toby Carvery.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Visiting Ken

Guts poor still, and feeling drained. I blame myself for drinking wine yesterday. Up early, nevertheless, working on the strange story I started, and also trying to piece together fragments of the opera from Helen's notes, which isn't proving easy.

Then off at lunchtime to Janet's place, where I met her pal Madeleine again. Janet and I then into a rather boneshaking jalopy of a taxi up to Haywards Heath. Here we went to the Princess Royal hospital, where Ken is. A nice ward, the Ansty (which I obviously made Antsy in my head) with a beautiful views across green lands to the Downs. Ken in reasonably good spirits, although not sure where he was, but was able to sit up and eat. His knee problem is somewhat better, but after being there for a few hours we were told before leaving that he would have to have an exploratory bladder op tomorrow.  Staff pleasant enough, but it seems the two teams that have been treating him don't communicate very well.

Good to see Ken though. I am very fond of Ken indeed. It was good to support Janet for the day too. It has to be said, however, that hospitals remain my least favourite places.

Pleased to be home, and sharply reminded of not taking simple pleasures like an evening chatting with Lorraine for granted.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday crumble

Lorraine waking up with a strangely painful hip. She spent the day resting it when not doing some school work or going out to tea with a couple of chums. I weeded the garden, a bit of hoe work and a fair amount of ankle-level wrenching. A pleasant day for it though, and Clem next door passed over a bit of stumpish material to add to our stumpery. Weeds are robust sods.

Otherwise, I took the opportunity to  quite a bit of Jazz, daddyo, and to read stuff. I also started a short story, which suddenly took off and started writing itself.

John around this afternoon, and Beth cooked us all Sunday lunch, including an exemplary crumble of rhubarb and apple. All rather tasty.

Janet very worried about Ken today, who may have to have possibly two operations. I said I would go to the hospital with her to visit him tomorrow.  Poor Janet has had a wretched and stressful week.

And so to bed.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cafe transgression

Up fairly early, feeling a bit rough again. The girl next door having a teenage party into the small hours. Then went off into town, being delayed by a demonstration for homeless people who have died in the city carrying mock coffins in the rain. Two people boarded, a father and son, talking about ways to disrupt society, such as spreading the road with tacks.

In the cafe I wrote a transgressive poem about scrotums in the spirit of Chuck Palahniuk in a cafe (it may not be my finest hour) while waiting for Lorraine to come out of the hairdressers, which she did looking sleek.

Popped in at Wayne's shop and had a long chat with him. He is working in kitchen design. Lorraine noticed a beautiful painting on the wall set off the kitchens perfectly. Turned out it was the board he had rested his paint tins on when he was redoing the shop.

Then there were rehearsals. A good session. I am reassured that the piece is beginning to work as drama too. I like it when the play makes sense and is absorbing. Still feeling optimistic, the session went well with Kitty making me laugh with her character's bitchiness. Dylan has a loveable stage presence I think. As we were leaving, Kitty said she had been a 'bed burrito' all morning, which was a new phrase on me. Beth steadily assembling her part.  Beth and I straight into a bus, and rapidly home. Beth also survived her burlesque performance last night unscathed.

Then Lorraine and I  drove off to see her pal Penny and her husband Steve. A nice evening. Penny is a headteacher, and Steve works in the jewellery trade as a valuer I think.  About my age, they met at university and have been together ever since. They both came from religious backgrounds. Steve's parents had been missionaries in Brazil, and Penny's dad was a clergyman. I liked them both, and repaid their hospitality by rather disgraced myself eating lots of cheese.

Snap from the front of the bus of the rain. The blurry bright things on the right are a demonstration group.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Making a clean breast of it

Posters delivered and flyers delivered for the play. They look rather good. Gastroenteritis still unpleasant and leaving me drained. I don't think my guts have been quite right since The Great Chad Adventure. I hate this draggy under the weather stuff.

Meanwhile Beth doing a performance with her burlesque class this evening. Nervously preparing, and pondering Lorraine's mysterious advice to ensure her boobies were clean. This is her last burlesque experience before the play, where she will be adding a flavour of burlesque for comedic effect to one part of the show.

Sonia showing me pictures of Bulgaria today, forested lakes and so on. It does look extremely beautiful. She is going back there soon. I think she and her Barry will move there soon, which will be a shame for us. I enjoy my Friday chats with Sonia.

Lorraine meeting head teachers today, and was home comparatively early and in cheerful Friday mood. Chatting to Janet every night at the moment, getting updates on Ken.  Otherwise Lorraine and I had a restorative quite night in, despite a party starting next door.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Slightly more bounce

Far from tiggerish, but a noticeable improvement. I was able to get back to work in the afternoon, and enjoyed sorting out a printer of materials for the play -- as I realised with horror that they have to be delivered to the fringe office tomorrow. Fortunately Gemini digital printers in Shoreham were surprisingly efficiently and sorted it all out for me.

Spoke to Janet. The hospital had decided to operate on Ken's knee without telling her. She turned up to visit him, and not long later he was suddenly being taken into theatre. Eventually someone explained what was going on to Janet.  Ken okay after his op. But a very stressful day. Luckily Ken's son was there too to drive her back home.

More Twin Peaks tonight.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sick day

Woke this morning feeling positively ill: shakily exhausted, weak limbs and liquidly explosive guts. I spent the day on the gold sofa, sleeping through a series of podcasts. Only Calliope delighted, as she sat on me most of the day.

Particularly galling was that I was unable to co-host the telltale poetry night in Lewes which was an opportunity to see my poetry pals, meet new ones as well as craftily promote my play. The day a complete write off from any kind of working perspective. Chats with Mum on FaceTime and later Janet, back from the hospital. By coincidence Bryn is in the next bed to Ken, which made things a bit easier. Also Ken actually slept the night before and was a lot brighter.

At tea time I watched an excellent documentary made by Bob Geldof about W.B. Yeats on BBC iPlayer. Lorraine having a positive week. Beth rehearsed with Kitty tonight, which went well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

School of Mirabilis

Lacking va-va-voom, and needing a long sleep in the afternoon. However spent the morning  puzzling over Helen's notes. They put me in mind, which I said to Helen, of Georgie Yeats's automatic writing and I found myself having to ponder the works of Roger Bacon, also known as Doctor Mirabilis, for example. Sent off some poems to a magazine too, and later designed all the iterations of the publicity material for the play. I am learning pages, on the iMac and once you get to grips with it it is good enough to design a poster on.

Warm and sunny. I went for a stroll in the park, and sat in the walled garden and walked through the church yard. Then worked in the back garden for the first time this year much to the delight of the cats who sprawled about my chair. That corner is a real sun trap, and I was almost too hot at one point.

Chatting to Janet tonight. Ken still in hospital and has more tests later this week. Be good to have him home as soon as possible.

Lorraine home late and I cooked a surprisingly nice salmon dish for us. Beth up in London. Lorraine insisting on an episode of Twin Peaks which is a joy to watch.

Below a spot of black and white of the churchyard, and one of the gates into the walled garden. I sat for a while meditating with my face in the sun, near the fishpond, where the fish were lively and breaking the water lots.

Monday, April 11, 2016


A long list of things to do this morning, including the creation of a wee poster for the play (see below), and a smattering of Telltale correspondence.

In the afternoon off to see Helen in Hove to work on the Centaur project. Helen has been having a bit of a purple patch and was full of enthusiasm and ideas.  A very good session and we listened to the opening half an hour of the opera which has now an excitingly organically connected feel.

Sitting at her table, able to glimpse a fishpond out in the garden. Helen has had an idea which draws on some of the philosophy that is woven into this from Parmenides to Heidegger and Sartre. Having to reach back a lot to remember my philosophical reading. A feeling familiar to me from talking to Sam and Jade last week. As a by product of this, she came to a point that will provide great drama in the piece. It also incidentally managed to pin down why I have enjoyed writing about Minotaurs, doubles and so on, and was for me a bit of a eureka moment. So a brain stretching afternoon, but highly productive. Good go see Helen on such fine mental form. And she was playing new themes on the piano. Music is pouring out of her.

On a slightly less happy note, someone was murdered on the street round the corner from her the night before, a young man in a fight pushed under a Tescos lorry. She heard it, a different order of shouting than the usual shenanigans, which was a bit horrific.

Home and as I was preparing supper, Bob called and we had a long conversation about Christianity, and Bob talking about his relationship with it over the years. He's a gnostic gospels fan. Great to speak to him too.

Lorraine home from work eating the strangely excellent chicken noodle concoction I'd fashioned, telling me about the day she'd spent examining the identity and values of the school. They are almost conducting what in marketing terms is a branding exercise.

Then another chat with Janet, as Ken is still up in Haywards Heath, but apparently a bit more comfortable now.

Lorraine now addicted to Twin Peaks, which is great news. Another Twin Peaks episode today before a very early night.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ferns and rehearsals

An industrious day, with Lorraine doing lots of prep for going back to school tomorrow. I started to write lists of all the things I needed to do, a surprisingly daunting list. Then I coaxed Lorraine into the outside world to look at our stumpery and decided where our extra stumps and ferns should go. One is pleasingly hollow, and allows for a fern to be placed inside it. I then did a bit of digging and planting for a bit. Very satisfying.

Off then for the afternoon to rehearsals. Met Betty at The Duke of Wellington. Focusing mainly on the second act with Dylan today, as Kitty was going to be late down from London. A really good session and I keep glimpsing what should be a play I'm proud of. Once they start bringing the play to life, I keep spotting connections that were completely subconscious, but indubitably there.

Home to a lovely Sunday supper with Lorraine.

Then I called Janet, as Ken is in hospital in Haywards Heath having had a bladder problem. We had a good chat.

Lorraine and I watched another episode of Twin Peaks, afore sliding off to bed.

Below Kitty and Dylan in frozen Noooo! faces.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Wrapped in plastic

A quiet morning, enlivened only by a walk with Lorraine to the local shops. Feeling a bit peaky and hot again today, but perked up enough to heft the stumps from the car boot to the back garden.

I enjoyed hanging about with Pat and Maureen, listening to Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Nat King Cole, before Lorraine drove them off to the station. Also had a chat with Mum on FaceTime who was able to say howdy to them.

In the evening I broke out my Twin Peaks DVDs and Lorraine to enjoy the Pilot and first episode. Not watched them in ages (and Lorraine not since they came out) and really loved it. Just the shots are so memorably Lynchian, the traffic light against a black background changing colours seems to stand for all kinds of things in his loaded world. Seeing it afresh, you realise just how influential it has been on dark thrillers and cop shows since, but for my money nothing comes close.

Below: Laura Palmer.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Small food, big plans

Nice to be at home, and to wake up with Lorraine in our own bed. Pleased too that the plumbers had been while we were away, and our shower now works again. One gets so accustomed to one's en suite.

A day of small food. Small porridge for breakfast. I put on an astonishing amount in Guernsey, eating and drinking far too much. I am really fat at the moment, and I don't like it. No booze today either, which comes as a blessed relief. I love a beer when you've not had one for a while. If you've had some every day for half a week, you lose the joy of it.

Got the proof through of my response to Willie the Sheik's Sonnet 19, called Locked in the lines, which luckily gave me the opportunity to fix the misspelling in the draft I sent them, and will stop me looking too much of a chump.

In the afternoon back to Bolney to buy some more stumps to expand our stumpery, and some more ferns. Lorraine also showed Pat and Maureen around the school, which they liked a lot, and enjoyed seeing her name on the school board outside.

In the evening I went off to The Duke of Wellington to rehearse A Glass of Nothing. Had another wave of feeling cheery about it, and being quietly chuffed with the play as a piece. Dylan very professional today. The lad's only 18 but is very grown up, and I like him very much. Kitty too is splendid. I am very pleased with the choices Beth and I made. Beth's really taking flight with the part now.

Hopped into a taxi with Beth afterwards and zoomed home to be back with Lorraine and Maureen and Pat. Lorraine cooked a slimming but delicious turkey and tomato curry, which I ate hungrily. Delicious.

The time away in Guernsey has made me feel somewhat refreshed and more ready to face what life throws at me. Looking forward to getting back to work.

Below Pat and Maureen in a mirror shop. I went with them to look at mirrors. Maureen liked several, including one she said was dragony. This one pictured below took her fancy for a while, but she settled on a rather nice decorative one, after I ran back to the car to collect Lorraine for help in decision making.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Last day in Guernsey

Last day in Guernsey. Met up for an early breakfast. Lorraine and I both had strange stomachs after last night, but found ourselves able to fork down yet another breakfast with the others. We all split up to pack. Lorraine and I walked up near the Captains to photograph where Wendy had lived, and then back to walk to Icart to drink in the beauty one last time. The morning was beautiful and rainwashed.

Then back to the Barbarie where we had an early lunch meeting Jade's mother Sian, and then Jade's Aunt Lynne. To Sian I gave a copy of A Guernsey Double, as it came out in our conversation. Fond farewells with Sam and Jade, and Sian -- then Lynne was kind enough to give us a lift back to the airport. She lives on the island and Sam and Jade and Sian were going to stay with her.  John had been on a walk on his own this morning, looking to find the water lanes again, which he fell in love with and cramming quite a few adventures in back from St Martin's village.

A fairly unremarkable flight back, but I got a good snap out of the window of Guernsey falling away behind us. Felt sad as always to be leaving, and I felt I didn't have long enough there, but then I always feel that.

Back to Gatwick, and collected the car and Lorraine drove us home. Pat and Maureen all well and cheery. It was Maureen's birthday today, and she had bits of Swiss roll which we put candles into. We'd forgotten they were candles that sprang back into life when you blew them out, and Maureen was puffing at these for some time.

Then John left us, Lorraine, Beth and I took Pat and Maureen off to the Preston Park Tavern for another bite to eat and more drinks. Quite tired at the end of the evening and convinced that I needed no more food for about two weeks. Home again, and Lorraine and I watched Stewart Lee's comedy vehicle, which I greatly admired again. And it made me laugh too of course.

Below the Profond Camps house where my cousin Wendy lived for a year back in 71, and my Grandfather's family had lived before. The collapsed greenhouse is near where we used to live. There is now planning permission to build on the field these glasshouses have rotted on for the last 25 years at least. The road to Icart. The road back from Icart, and a view over Rocquaine Bay.


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Supper at Cobo

Up for the full Guernsey Breakfast this morning. Nice to be less delicate this morning. I popped out quickly to visit Gwen and Dave's grave, and say hello to the half a dozen people I remember in there.

Then all off into Town. Went up to mooch about in The Guernsey Museum and briefly in Candie Gardens. Liked this pictures in the museum, including the octopus below from an exhibit about The Toilers on the Sea by Victor Hugo. An interesting collection there, including some by an artist called Brenda Munson who mum used to like. There was also a lego exhibition of a big things such as ships made with bits of lego. Why this was in the Guernsey museum I have no idea, and a waste of space as far as I was concerned. Noted that A Guernsey Double was still on sale in the shop there however, which pleased me.

And on this note, down into town where Lorraine and I met up with the very chic  and Italianate Jane and Richard, for an all too brief coffee and gossip in Le Petit Bistro, before being joined by the others who had been wandering about in town. Jane recovering from an evil trapped nerve. Felt sad to be saying goodbye so soon, but luckily I shall return to Guernsey before long I hope and will see them then. 

From there all on the bus to Cobo on the bus. A bus which featured a poem by Richard called Sailing By - a fact I texted the bard himself about. Where it was windy and the sun was out, the sea green and flecked and the sky scudding with clouds, some with rain in. The tide was high and soon the sea was splashing the sea wall. We repaired to an pub restaurant, which had been recommended by Richard and Jane and had been newly refurbished, called Rock Mount. Here we drank beers (I drank Randalls Patios) played cards and then decided to have supper, all  while looking out of the big window at the sunset. Although we were cheated by some low clouds that snuck in shortly before sundown. Lovely though. Food rather good too. Jade particularly full of compliments for their vegetarian dishes. Sam finishing three people's puddings. 

Feeling really pleased that Beth and John and Sam are loving Guernsey. Jade already a convert having visited her aunt here.

We all got into a taxi, me cramping into the back seat, reminding me of the great Chad adventure for a moment. To bed, Lorraine feeling queasy and during the night, my stomach v. poor too. 

An octopus, the graveyard, the party on Cobo beach, and various views from the west coast, including a windswept wifey.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Capering at Moulin Huet

Gathered for our Full Guernsey Breakfasts this morning. Some of us, feeling wan and hungover, but a huge breakfast did a lot to help his. Then all off down to Moulin Huet, where the beach was empty and beautiful. The sea must have been rough lately as there was little sand, and rock structures under the sand were revealed. To Lorraine and my satisfaction, the others falling under its spell right away.  Beth and John scrambling up rocks and into caves, and Sam and Jade leaping towards the sea in a way that made me think of E.H. Shepard drawings for Winnie the Pooh. Jade re-emerging later with bright pink feet having zoomed into the water. Beth proud to have scaled some big rocks with John. I kept an eye on the turning tide having visions of them stranded there. I must be getting old.

After some time here, we walked back into St Martins to La Gran'mère du Chimquière. However there were two vans parked by it, and states workmen there packing up. Luckily the much missed Croix Guerin has closed, but been replaced by The Furze Oven, where we had a bite to eat (including of Beth her first piece of gâche and teas. Photos back with La Gran'mère later. The ladies wanted to return at this point. Jade to finish marking some papers, and Beth and Lorraine to hang out and for Beth to practice the script.

I took the boys on a supplementary walk, towards Jerbourg, but cutting back to the wishing pool where I made a wish, and John and Sam did too. Smiling inwardly that I had snuck a piece of magic into their day, we walked down the Water Lane which John fell in love with right away. Then we walked from Moulin Huet to Saints along the cliff path. Stopping at the bench above Saints Bay, which is dedicated to my great aunt Dolly where we basked in the afternoon sun and chatted. It was great fun. We found Beth and Lorraine basking in the garden and nursing a slow cold drink.

The Captains uncharacteristically unpleasant tonight. A man at the bar giving me a hostile look as I led the way in, and the service level poor. The manager spilled a beer over John as he was taking our plates away, and replaced it with a half for example and barely an apology. We left soon after and returned to the Barbarie, where we played cards in the bar. A new french woman at the bar who is warm friendly and welcoming and helping us put our tables together. A new receptionist too from Scotland, also warm and friendly.

Fairly early to bed, and a much needed snooze.

Below: Jade and Sam off to the sea, Beth and John mountaineering, folks with La Gran'mère, some of us on the beach, and Lorraine with her babies.