Sunday, July 31, 2016

Scrabble and boggling

A garden day today. Lorraine and I eventually getting out of bed and working in the garden for a bit. This soon gave way to sitting in the garden, which then led to a game of scrabble in the sun, then this evolved into a game of scrabble and a jug of Pimms, which complicated the scrabble somewhat. Mystifyingly Lorraine beat me by two games to one. But then she is a gamer.

Betty back from various travels up north and then to an engagement party in Essex. Very tired she was.

I managed to send off some poems this evening.

Introduced to boggling today by cousin Wendy in Canada. Wendy keeps rats and apparently when rats are really happy they boggle their eyes. She showed me a video of it, and told me about bruxing which is a happy noise they make prior to boggling.

Later I found this video of rats boggling. Little weirdos.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

The backs of seagulls

Breakfast in bed again this morning, and a few last bits tied up with paying bills and so on. Taking opportunities to sleep as I am still feeling a tired and wan. Sauntered off on a short walk to the shops with Lorraine, chatted with mum and arranged to see her on Wednesday. All good.

Saturday evening turned into an impromptu dinner party with Rosie and Innis. Sat in the back garden eating Bombay mix for a while, and serving the ladies gin and tonics before pushing indoors for a rather excellent curry that Lorraine had cooked. She does a splendid curry. I took Innis up to our bedroom and showed him the view at sunset, looking down on the backs of flying seagulls. He really liked the view.

Innis is a photographer and a creative spirit, and we have a lot in common. Enjoyed spotifying music in the evening while drinking and listening to music and getting suggestions of people. A good laugh was had by all.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday shopping

The happy weirdness of not having to get up on a Friday. After I had assuaged the carping of Calliope and Brian, I took my lovely wife up some breakfast and tea in bed.

Then a lengthy sorting of clothes that might be wearable on holiday till Sonia came, Lorraine and I went into town for various bits of shopping chiefly for some species of sandals for both of us.

I found I'd left my wallet at home, so naturally went on a shopping spree, buying two shirts, two polo shirts and a pair of sandals. Lorraine bought sandals too.

After this we popped up to see Janet and Ken, for a cup of tea and a chat. Ken looking pretty healthy, and Janet telling us how there was interest in her embroidery after a recent exhibition, and she was thinking of doing some more forest-themed work.

Lorrine and I bussed back home, and then doubled back to sip  couple of Friday beers and hamburgers in the Preston Park Tavern. Busy in there and the staff slow, but still nice to chill out with Lorraine all day.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pitching into a holiday

Up at six this morning, and off to the station to catch the 7:01 train to Blackfriars, which weirdly enough wasn't delayed, cancelled or anything. Preparing the pitch on the train, then met with Matty, Mark, Helen and Dave in the Starbucks. Then off to the charity to do our pitch. Went fairly well I think, Matty and Mark a very good double act, and I did my presentation well. Helen is nice, and has worked with Paula and Marcella in the past and said some good stuff. Dave who is out of his comfort zone pitching did well too. The client wasn't giving much away and we were the first agency they saw.

All done by 11 o'clock and then a saunter along the street to Blackfriars where I eventually caught the train back to Brighton. Again playing patience on my computer, and listening to the audiobook The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I really like his writing.

Home at 1:30 and after chatting to Lorraine, simply slept as I am still feeling a bit under the weather. Lorraine out for acupuncture and then seeing Dawn. I slugged in doors, very happily, watching TV and listening to music and drinking tea and sparkling water. All well.

The idea that I am now on holiday (as much as I ever am) is seeping in on me. Happy days.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Buried giants, and pokemon

Feeling decidedly ropey this morning, but schlepped off to London nevertheless. Found myself in possession of a Kath Kidston keyring, as I had taken Betty's keys this morning. Feeling a bit feverish, and had a day of paracetamol-bolstered pitch preparations in Chiswick. Rather hoping I find energy for the pitch itself tomorrow.

Mercifully released back into the wild at 5pm . Started Listening to The Buried Giant on the train this morning. I really like it. At its heart is the love an older couple have for one another. But mainly it is about memory, and fable and so is fascinating to me.

Just as the train pulled into Preston Park and I had my hand on my phone about to call Lorraine, she called me and was parked around the corner. Definitely have lots of moments like that with her. Walking out of the station I had that contrast again of everything smelling fresh compared to London. Into the car and very happy to see Lorraine, who had just come back from her pilates.

Home and was rather tired and sore throaty. Beth suddenly gripped by the Pokemon Go craze, and had to go outside for a walk and track down Pokemon creatures that appeared on her phone screen as she went.  Lorraine cooked a delicious supper for me, and made sure I shuffled off to bed as there is an early start tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Not my finest hour

Tired and listless and unable to focus this morning, so decided to go to the gym. After about twenty minutes on the cross trainer I suddenly felt very weary. Transferred to the rowing machine for five minutes and felt half dead. Spent the afternoon being a hypochondriac and in need of sleep. Not my finest hour.

Lorraine in contrast feeling more relaxed and cheery which makes me very happy.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Owl dodging

So nice to start the week without Lorraine having to get up with the sparrows. Lorraine already measurably more relaxed.

I was up at a civilised 7:30 took Lorraine a nice cup of tea, and then got on with some agency work about drought in Africa first thing. Then worked on my Chad poem, but mainly was wishing I was on holiday. Managed to work outside for a bit too, although Brian and Cactus from next door scrapping suddenly in the bushes about two foot away from me gave me a nasty start.

At home waiting for agency feedback for much of the day which put me in a bit of a limbo state, feeling like I was wasting time. Lorraine arrived home early, followed shortly by my feedback. We both worked in my study for a bit.

Supper outside in the garden, and Lorraine reading descriptions of where we are going in France in a week and a half. Haven't got my head around this at all yet. Later we came inside and did our duolingo courses on the sofa together, pleasing the passive aggressive texting and emailing owl who encourages you to crack on with your course. Spoke to Dave the art director, who never seems to sleep and was working on the concepts.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

On or off

A slightly more purposeful day today. Found myself having chats about the pitch on this morning. Went out in the car with John and Beth to Martlett's charity warehouse, which turns out to be a good place. John got a desk and an office chair there for £20, something of a bargain. Having loaded up the car, Lorraine left them to bus home. We went to Homebase bought some bits for the afternoon's DIY. Drove everything home. Discovered that we had the wrong bits, so drove back to Homebase. Then fixed the dungeon door, replaced the light in the dungeon too, so now we can see how much it needs tidying up.

Then a two hour business with ladders, replacing the light fittings and light in the hallway, a process that dragged in Beth and John too. Lorraine phoning Pat to make sure we were doing it correctly from time to time. However. After an appallingly long time hand screwing the rose to the ceiling the light was in place. We flipped the switch and it was on. Stood back to admire our handiwork. Flipped the switch off, but the light was still on. For some reason the light will now not turn off. Everyone a bit sick of that light.

Spoke to Mum, Mason has been told there might be months to wait before his operation, which is galling.

In the evening off to collect Dawn from a wedding. Dawn fell over on the last day of her term as she was skipping off to her car to drive free for the summer. She broke her wrist in three places. Being Dawn, she is trying to see the bright side of it. We drove her back to Steyning and had a chat and cups of tea and stole some of her chocolates.

Driving around gave Lorraine and I an opportunity to listen to the Shakespeare Heptet CD, which is rather good.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A relaxed Saturday

Saturday and a leisurely start, but I made off around lunchtime to the gym, and generally felt rather worn out by the time I'd pushed myself on the treadmill of half an hour. Then straight to Sainsbury's where my lovely wife and I did some shopping, encouragingly buying things like Pimms.

Home and Beth was back from Portugal looking sunny and cheery, and with a short horizontal line of mozzie bites on her back. John with us too before they melted away to the Preston Park Tavern. An afternoon snooze with my lady wife, followed by getting things sorted ready for Penny and Steve to visit. Lorraine cooking her trademarked chicken stew with lettuce and grapes, I tried to tidy the garden for a bit.  A pleasant evening with them. Penny a headteacher too, so both Lorraine and Penny in an end of term  cheer. A long lingering supper with wine and pleasant company.

Most Saturday are lived in the realisation that Lorraine has to work on Sundays. So this was much easier.

Friday, July 22, 2016

That end of term feeling

Up early, and another nice day. Carrying bottles of wine in a box for Lorraine to give to her teachers and staff at school. For today was her last day, an occasion for much cheeriness. Later she returned with a balloon, an planted orchid, little presents and cards and so on from parents. We had some bubbly in the back garden, then ate the delivery curry we'd ordered early. Lorraine then fell fast asleep from 8:30 on the sofa hit by a wave of relief. Only waking when I shepherded her upstairs hours later.

I meanwhile had spent the morning sitting in the garden again, working a bit on my Chad poems, then talking on the phone. An elf like John crept in and dropped some stuff off while I was blah-blahing. Most of the day working on the pitch. Till a little after four. Chatting to Sonia for a while, about the unluckiness of her husband.

Lorraine snoozing next to me I decided to watch a firefly and found with dismay that I have now watched all 14 episodes. Bah. Delayed rage that the show was dropped.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The gym and Firefly

A bit of an interlude today. Went to the gym, and did something slightly nasty to my back on the rowing machine but apart from that enjoyed the physical release of it all. More than that I seem to getting increasingly paunchy. Lorraine and I are going to get a grip properly next week.  

John came around today, and dropped some stuff off. He's going to be staying here for a few days off and on, before his new flat is sorted. Otherwise I faffed about during the day not achieving much. But it was a much needed day of faffing I think. Feeling slightly decadent, I watched several episodes of Firefly on Youtube. It is excellent, great dialogue really strong characterisation, and a weird mix of a future that is cowboyish and also Chinese. Really fresh and interesting. The series got pulled apparently because it was broadcast out of sequence, the ratings were low and it was dreadfully marketed. It is really good though. 

Because Thursday is the new Friday and the last Thursday of school term is like a super Thursday, Lorraine and I went to the PPT and had a meal and a beer there. Lorraine starting to unwind a bit, which is a very good thing. 

Then home to water the garden, and Lorraine and I watched Love Actually for about the third time together. I really like this film, manipulative and a crochet blanket of plot holes and "that wouldn't happens" as it it. Emma Thompson in it is fab.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A cornucopia of copywriters

A sweltering night, sleeping with the big doors open in our bedroom. Cats locked out in case Brian had another roof climbing adventure. Calliope scratching at the door like a demon intermittently.

Up to London slightly after rush hour. A train delay (obviously) but I met Matty boy at Blackfriars, we went for a coffee then in for a meeting with the client the agency will pitch to next week. Nice people. Then after a debrief in an Eat cafe, we went back to Chiswick, carefully choosing one of the new air conditioned District line trains.

After work, back into London where I went to the Marquis of Granby where I met Robbie, Pat, Barney, Mark and Clare, all former colleagues. En route I bumped into another old friend, and copywriter Debs, who if her son hadn't been going to Zanzibar would have joined us. Fun to be catching up with old friends. The call of the seagull suddenly heard, and I legged off first, grabbed a cab and just missed my train from Blackfriars. Ate a thoughtful sandwich, looking at the Thames and across at Doggets where Bob and I have had many a drink over the years.

Home again on the train. Had finished A Far Cry From Kensington today. Really quite enjoyed it, very well written. Home very late, and watched TV for a bit, after creeping upstairs and finding Lorraine in bed with the sheets off and the doors open again.

Below a cornucopia of copywriters, myself, Pat, Barney and Mark. Robbie was there, but I didn't catch him in the snap. Clare Kentish came later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ditto day

Another scorcher.  A bit of a ditto day. Working at 7:30 to do the work I was too grumpy to do last thing yesterday. Then pretty much a full day's work on a complex grid of stuff for the charity I went to Chad with, which wasn't too horrid. A few short walks listening to A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Spark, which I am enjoying lots.  Lorraine, late having watched her school do its  play which went well. Another performance tomorrow night.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Work toads, garden frogs

Working at home all day in hottest day of the year. Lorraine up incredibly early to take Betty off to Gatwick for her holiday in Portugal with Sam and Jade and her Dad's family. It meant I was up very early too.

More work on the Chad poems which are coming on very well. Still surprised at how they are suddenly coming in a rush. The vacuous hashtag #sorrynotsorry came to mind this morning, as I sat in my little back garden drinking tea and working under the lilac tree in the corner, and thanking my lucky stars that I didn't have to train it to London. People were describing it as carnage at Brighton station a word that always makes me picture pieces of meat and dismembered limbs. But apparently the station was so full and badly served by trains (and of course sweltering hot) that they had to distribute free water, and quell fights breaking out, and close the station to people streaming back from the beaches onto an inadequate service.

Then the toad work for the rest of the hot humid day, feeling increasingly tetchy. A large teleconference at lunchtime didn't help. The work I had done on Friday was mulled over and much appreciated apart from the junior art director I am supposed to be working with this week, who plainly didn't understand what an acdcept is, dissing it in front of everyone. As an example of how to win friends and influence people something of an #epicfail. Not such a bright day's work this afternoon, so left off and went back to the garden. Spoke to mum from the bottom of the garden, having poured a very cold can of beer down my throat, then I made a decent salad for the arrival of my loving wife, who is happily starting her last week of term.

Later, I noticed cactus, the next door cat fishing about in the ferns of our wee stumpery, and eventually flushing out a large frog. Our two cats which had been sitting about like chess pieces in the garden, suddenly interested. This led to a protracted cat herding session, as each of the cats wanted to get involved and I was trying to shepherd the amphibian back to the ferny watery microclimate, where if it only kept still it would be safe. Luckily Lorraine arrived and helped as the stupid thing kept trying to make for the middle of the garden, where it would be most exposed to danger. After making lots of alarmed squeaks (it not me) I managed to shuffle it into a flowerpot and then back to safety.

Below, an interlude of peace working from home this morning.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A fern between gravestones

Up fairly early this morning and Lorraine and I drove off to Bolney's St. Mary Magdalene church where they had their saints day service. Nice folks there and a pleasant enough service. I find I am not at ease these days in church, and being told stuff like St Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of hairdressers, perfumer makers and reformed prostitutes. Why reformed? Are unreformed prostitutes then outside the ambit of God's love? Now they've made me think about God, I want silence not to be forced to imagine the theological conversations that went on somewhere about what she'd be patron of.  I want silence not to be forced to mumble through Anglican hymns. Though I do not doubt for one moment the sincerity and faith of the people who go there. Some middle eastern food afterwards in the Church (a definition which included at least two  kinds of quiches).  I like the church and enjoyed looking at its windows and talking to members of the congregation and Father Martin.

Then to Andrew and Jess, we went down to the Talbot Inn, with their lovely little dog, where we had a couple of pints and a Sunday lunch.  Regrettably finished it off with a sticky toffee pudding too, which gave me instant Type 2 diabetes. The waitress, probably about 20, kept calling us 'lovelies'.

After this went back and signed my accountancy stuff. I like having Andrew as my accountant. Then a last sit in their nice garden. Feeling unaccountably tired this afternoon, and zombie like so I was probably not the best company. A hot airless sort of day too.

An early night tonight, as Lorraine is driving Beth off to Gatwick at incredibly early o'clock, then going straight into work.

Below a modern window I liked in the Church, and Lorraine pointed out this fern growing in between two gravestones.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Looking from a Surreal Corner

Sunny and warm today, Lorraine, Beth and I caught a bus into town. I went off on my own, and walking along New Road and standing in the Pavilion Gardens after a haircut,  suddenly felt more cheery than I can remember feeling in some time. Popped into the Marwood Cafe and read some poetry there while sipping black coffee. John McCullough's new book, in which there is lots to admire. Then The Interpreter's House, which I have just subscribed to and has a positive review of The Nightwork in it plus poems by Robin, Sarah and Siegfried and a nice review of Robin's pamphlet too.

Beth and Lorraine joined me in there as they had been shopping, mainly for Beth's upcoming holiday in Portugal with her dad's family. Then, as summer seems to have started, we bought some delicious ice creams from Boho Gelato and sat briefly in the Pavilion Gardens to eat them before bussing home.

Home, later and everyone fell asleep due to various sore throats, colds and so on. Lorraine and I had a happy night in watching the second Hobbit film and drinking a couple of restorative gin and tonics. Seeing these Hobbit films the second time around is much more enjoyable for some reason.

A glance at the Pavilion Gardens, and the interior of the Marwood Cafe. I was told that the corner I sat in was called The Surreal Corner, the slightly surreal paintings in the corner not pictured as I was facing out from it (for once).

Friday, July 15, 2016

Firefly Friday

Friday up early and tweaked the poem about Chad I've been working on and then spent the working day doing creative concepts for a charity pitch. This necessitated a call or two with Matty. Work went well however.

Beth at home ill with a bad cold. My sore throat persists, but otherwise all well. Popped out to buy chicken flavoured noodles for Beth, and throat pastilles for me. Didn't speak much to Sonia as I was busy.

Once work finished I had the idea of popping out to a pub and reading some poems, but I went to the Park View which was strangely rowdy, Lorraine called and said she was coming home before going out again with her work people for an end of year party. I bought fish and chips and pie and chips for Beth and spent a happy quiet evening in, for my energy is low, watching three or four episodes of Firefly, the TV cult SF series on YouTube. Quite like it, and perfect for a post fish and chips washed down with a can or two of lager. Lorraine home having had a cheery evening but no booze having driven.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A red intruder

Working on my Chad poem this morning again. For the first time I feel able to write about what I saw there with sufficient distance. There is something Wordsworth said about writing about emotion recollected in tranquility.

Interrupted at one point by yowling from the back garden, thought it was Brian and Cactus having one of their regular scraps. Turned out that it was a large fox, sitting in the middle of our grassy bit, and Cactus yowling at it from the safety of a bush.

Spoke to Mum today, and then went over to see Janet and Ken in the afternoon. Ken with a much better colour these days and, prompted by Janet, sang bits of arias in Italian and in tune.

Walking home listening as I have been all week to an audiobook by Muriel Spark called A Far Cry From Kensington. One of the best things in it is I have learned an insulting new phrase for terrible writer: pisseur de copie. To my shame I have never read Spark before, but her novel is very good.

News coming through this evening of an appalling terror attack in Nice, some maniac driving a truck into crowds of people celebrating Bastille day. The news is so unremittingly bad at the moment.

Below a red intruder.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

To Chiswick

Up to London this afternoon unburdened by my computer for once, having worked on my own stuff this morning. After the business was done, with Matty boy and others in Turnham Green, Matt and I went across the road for a drink at the George, then down at the City Barge. A leisurely few drinks, and good to chat not least because Matt was on the other side of the Brexit business. Now that it is inevitable I am really keen to hear balancing views on this, because I seem to be in a bubble, fostered by Facebook and so on, of only hearing views that correspond with my own.

Ultimately friendship is more important than politics. He is planning to get married next year too up in Cheshire, not far from Alderley Edge which I've often thought about visiting having read Alan Garner books set there when I was a kid. Stayed in the Barge for food and they are very attentive to Matt and so we got great service. Home late, and everyone in bed. I stayed up to watch an episode of Family Guy.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Into the fields

Up early and off to Brighton station in a cab with Beth. I went there to meet Anton and go for a walk, Betty off to London to celebrate John's mum's birthday. We got there early, but Anton was earlier of course. Got the train up to Balcome, bemoaning Brexit and so on.

You'd think a July walk would be sunlit and warm, but a low drizzling cloudy rain accompanied us for our walk of about three hours. A nice walk it was too, and only one incident when one our various phobias were triggered. This time it was Anton avoiding a field packed with fairly solid looking cows. We walked along the field next to it, but eventually had to return to the cow field. I simply walked through the gate and had to coax Anton through it who was already getting entangled in  barbed wire having sought an implausible route through a hedge.

Rained finely but steadily durning the walk, which ended up around the Ardingly Reservoir, which was full. The last time we'd passed there I think was just at the end of a long drought, and the difference was really noticeable.

We walked back to Balcome and caught the (luckily for us) delayed one an hour train back to Brighton. Although I am still feeling a bit tired and lacking in energy, I really enjoyed the walk and getting out with Anton into the fields.

To the Joker for some beer and Woof-woofs. The Joker strangely dead. Lorraine joined us there for some wings, before eventually she drove me home to carry on her Sunday work. Fresh air, beers and woof-woofs led to a protracted doze on the sofa. Came around enough to watch Portugal and France in the European final. A dreadful bore until the second half of extra time when a moment of quality from Portugal clinched it. Lots of moths on the pitch, including one settling on Ronaldo's crying face when he went down injured.

Saw an incredibly unflattering piece of film of me in the last day or so taken at the Telltale reading. I am so bloated and fat. Tomorrow a spartan unsmiling diet starts.

Below a by now traditional view of Anton striding through a field. A glimpse across the field, the Ardingly Viaduct from afar, and the Ardingly Reservoir.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

In pursuit of a pouffe

A very happy day today. Lorraine and I zoomed off after breakfast to Trading Boundries, as I was in the market for a pouffe. No optimal pouffes but we came away with a jug, a door handle and a coat rack. All good stuff. We like it there, and a look at Roger Dean prints, which are beautiful (if pricey). The colours on the authorised limited edition prints are gorgeous.

Then to Lewes where we spent a happy couple of hours looking through the numerous antique and bric a brac shops of Lewes, pausing for coffee somewhere and a bit later to eat some vegetable Bhajis from a little stand. The batter was gorgeous and slightly gingery.  Eventually we found a pouffe. Took to the cash desk, Ah, a pouffe, said the woman, and I said, I'll have you know I'm a married man, pointing at Lorraine. Carried the pouffe back to the car, then had a look in the Needlemakers section where we saw some brand new pouffes, and browsed in a little shop where I was struck by the Observer Book of Pond Life in several editions. I've always liked pond life.

Home, and Lorraine and I both conceived a craving for a pint of beer, so we popped down to The Park View to simply have one and have a bite to eat, with Betty who met us there after work, before she went on to babysit for the evening.

This consumed, then Lorraine and I went home and watched the first of the hobbit films, which was more fun than I remembered.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Looking at the flowers

Awake at 5:30 so got up with Lorraine and made us a healthy porridge breakfast. Got to work doing lots of things I didn't want to do. One of these was a big clear up and filing of stuff that had built up over the last month or so. Steeling myself to look at my tax and business folders in an attempt to get a grip on things. Also doing a bit with my lovely French clients. Reached a point of feeling a bit more in control by mid afternoon.

Started reading Spacecraft by John McCullough today. Lovely stuff. One poem I happened upon, Glitter, has a final stanza set in what must be the walled garden I go to.

Sonia came today, and we had a long chat. Brexit is making her wonder about life in Britain, and her and her English husband may go to Bulgaria where she's from in a while. She said she had lived through an enormous upheaval in Bulgaria, when communism crumbled, and according to Sonia everything got worse for the ordinary people. She said she doesn't want to experience another upheaval.

By late afternoon I was getting too tired to think. A strange hazy cloud hung over Brighton all day but according to Lorraine it was sunny just over the downs. She'd left her iPhone in the front seat of the car and it stopped working because it got too hot. Lorraine back early and we went for a stroll across the park to her doctor's for a quick appointment, then sat in the meadow section for a while before strolling over to get some ice creams. Lovely just to be out and about chatting with Lorraine, thanks to her doctor's appointment. We arrived and Lorraine had only sat down for five seconds before being called. 

Later we got fish and chips, and after watching an episode of Twin Peaks went to bed early. Betty returned home and went to bed early too. All very well behaved for a Friday.

Gorgeous meadow flowers in Preston Park. People were taking photos of it and just staring. A lovely area.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Visits and readings

Up early and faffing about before setting off for Mill Hill to see Mum and Mas. Naturally there was some train nonsense. Cancellations at St Pancras. Mum picked me up at the station however, and we went back home. Mas up and about, with a big bandage on his neck. We however regained the car and went to the local Harvester for a bite to eat. I seized the opportunity to drink two pints of beer. Mas certainly looking a better colour and more lively than when I last saw him. He was rightly bemoaning his hospital experience though where nobody seems able to communicate what is happening, or why and you speak to different people everyday with no overview.

After chats and tea with Mum she gave me a lift to Stanmore, and I headed to Covent Garden. Only there was a security scare at Baker Street and the station was suddenly closed. The paranoia perhaps increased by it being 7th July when the attacks on London occurred eleven years ago. I am reminded of these attacks every time I go to Tavistock Square where the bus was blown up and there were 13 deaths. Anyway I cleverly got a train to Farringdon instead at West Hampstead, and walked to the Poetry Cafe from there.

Was rather dreading the reading tonight. Just not in an extroverted mood, and feeling out of sorts and negative about my own work and having had little time to prepare. However my reading turned out to be not too bad, and I read some different work this time. Actually a good night, Sarah Barnsley read some cracking new poems, and I got to meet John McCullough again whose new book is Spacecraft is really good. Jess Mookherjee reading too, and she brought along lots of pals. She is a real talent.

Sean who I had met at Catherine and Tanya's wedding turned up too with some of his actor pals, and it turns out he had ordered my pamphlet too.

Above all good to see Robin, who has recovered from her recent operation and introduced the first half.  Worried about train chaos, Robin, John, Sarah and I hopped into a cab without pausing for the customary drink afterwards and were soon on a train to Brighton.  Arrived in Brighton fairly early, and Robin having half an hour to wait for her train to Eastbourne, we had a quick drink in the station pub.

Home to find Lorraine in bed already. After I had kissed wife and had a chat, I made myself a late snack, watched half of an amusingly puerile Family Guy episode and crept into bed as silent as an enormous mouse, feeling weirdly cheerful.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Out of sorts

Generally irritable and out of sorts. Thinking too much about Brexit. Industry leaders have already warned of sharp cutbacks in advertising and marketing budgets – i.e. where I make most of my money.  The news full today of Tony Blair and the Chilcot report. I do feel a tiny bit sorry for Blair, having eagerly become the US’s best pal after 9/11, he got stuck on the rollercoster unable to get off.  But I did march against the war along with millions of others and this made not a jot of difference.

Preparing at short notice to give a poetry reading tomorrow, as Siegfried had to pull out due to illness. Looking at all my poems and disliking them heartily, which happens from time to time. It’s preferable that this doesn’t hit you the day before a reading in the poetry cafĂ© however. At least I can more easily spot the faults in my more recent work, which is constructive.  One of my new poems, called A Man From Atlantis however is something I will stand by.

Some work from my French friends today, and a conversation or two with Val about fleas.  Spoke to Matty too and there is some pitch work in the pipeline.  There is more work form various sources next week I think, so I am taking what I can. Need money for the holdiays, but our money won’t go far with the weak pound.  

I went to the cobbler with my favourite shoes but he said they were irreparable, walked there in my new boots however, which were comfortable, am breaking them or my feet in.  Very warm day. Anton and I are plotting a walk this Sunday.

Beth back after days of chaperoning a child on a superhero blockbuster shoot, looking tired. Lorraine off to pilates and Beth surprised her as she was a day early. We watched Wales get beaten by Portugal. Or rather I did, as Lorraine fell asleep and Beth went to bed very early. Wales have done brilliantly though. I sipped a meditative glass of PX sherry, Frasier style, and sent Lorraine to bed and followed her up there.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Various occupations

Up early again, and decided to write a piece for my other blog about the Marketing involved in the referendum. Then read some of Marilyn's romantic fiction book Occupying Love and enjoying its Guernsey descriptions. It is a pacy love story set in Guernsey during the occupation.

In the afternoon off shopping picking up some bits for Janet and Ken, then calling round on them for tea and biscuits. Janet has been really badly knocked back by a virus she picked up a while ago. I hadn't realised she was in such bad shape. Ken looked better than I've seen him look in quite a while though, although Janet says he has had a dementia diagnosis. Sad to see my old friends going through hard times.

Home at tea time and I sat outside again, reading Occupying Love and drinking a can of cold lager.  Whoever tells you that drink is not the answer sometimes is a fool. I suggested to Lorraine that we go to the Preston Park Tavern for supper, and when she came back, and I'd FaceTimed Mum and Mas and she'd done a smidgeon of work we went there and enjoyed a good beef burger and their standard measly portion of fries, and a couple more drinks.

Home and early to bed.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Tiredness and lovely sounds

Up early with Lorraine and happy to be working from home, although I didn't sleep well. Still feeling a bit tired and a touch end of tetherish for some reason. Ate some porridge sitting in the back garden, which peaceful. Some Telltale correspondence, then I worked for the morning on a new concept for my French clients, then off in the afternoon on the bus to Hove.

There I worked with Helen, listening to the lovely music she has composed, and getting to grips with the most thorny section of the opera, which involves protracted discussions about philosophy, and chocolate biscuits.

Mas back from hospital again today, with a big bandage on his neck. Spoke to Mum a couple of times, and briefly to Mas too. Also spoke to Janet and will pop over to see her tomorrow.

A bit early for my meeting with Helen, so I took the opportunity to go down by the sea, and snapped this inside the bandstand. Rather nice place to be for a few moments.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Gardening leave

Lorraine working all day today. I spent much of the day in the back garden after we zoomed out quickly and bought an old fashioned mechanical lawn mower. It was only £20 because we had to wait so long for it to be delivered to the collection point. It cut the lawn admirably, apart from extremely long pieces of grass which I had to cut with shears. Also did weeding and became quite expert at wrist flicking snails into the unused garden behind me, then planting out some new snail food plants that Lorraine had bought recently.

Nice to be doing this than working, and when not working thinking about the bloody Brexit business.

I cooked jerk chicken, i.e. chicken that had been marinaded in a rather good jerk seasoning bought from a Jamaican woman on a stall recently, and watched the Icelanders being put to the sword by a suddenly fluent French football team. Trying not to cavort with glee too much as I do not have to travel into work tomorrow morning.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Green boots

Slow start this morning, thank goodness. Still feeling very tired. Up and about and I bought some green walking boots, and Lorraine and I went to the Book Nook where we had some book business to attend to.  Boots bought immediately as they were so comfortable when I tried them on. They were more expensive than most, but when I took them to the till they had £60 knocked off them and so came in very reasonably too.

Then off to Bolney for the Village Day, where there were lots of stalls and various events. The School ukulele band being just one of the attractions. We wandered about the stands, played splat a rat, ate WI flapjacks, met a woman from Haiti who is over to raise money for her school. Lorraine talking to loads of people. Impressed how many children ran up to her to say hello, and how Lorraine knew all their names. Spent some time there, watched as an unfortunate young teacher from the school got pelted with wet sponges (Lorraine had declined to follow the tradition set up by the John the former head of allowing people to pelt him with wet sponges) and a tug of war before we left having spent some time there.

Home and I slept on the sofa, then was woken by Lorraine and we mooched down (me half asleep) to the PPT where we met Rosie and her new pal Innis, who I liked. He is a photographer. Had a few drinks and various chats, before we repaired to bed to sleep like exhausted things.

Below some goings on in the village.

Friday, July 01, 2016

End of the grind

A sigh of relief again this morning. Lorraine and I driving to the station. Kissed Lorraine goodbye in the car, a cup of tea from The Daily Grind and onto the train. This morning there was no need to work, instead I played Patience on my laptop, and listened to Villette, which I finally finished on the way home in the evening.  The final chapters were extraordinarily good, however, and it is a fine book well deserving of its reputation. But I had to be in certain moods to read it, and not a book you can just dip into very easily. In fact it took me longer to complete than any book I can think of. Pleased I stuck to my guns though.

A strange day of work. Still very tired, but worked hard for the first few hours, then the afternoon there was nothing much to be done. Went to a pub called The Boot briefly with a few folks, including Sarah who is just about to go on maternity leave. Chatted to Karam too. The boot empty and like going back in time to an old fashioned London Boozer. Karam at the bar at 2:10pm asking for a plate of scampi and chips, and the barman shaking his head saying, I can't ask 'im to make scampi and chips now, not after two, in a slightly aghast tone.

Fond farewells with Fernanda, Slug and others as I was released back into the wild. I like working in Tavistock Square but having worked through the previous weekend, and during the nights it had been a tiring week.

Got off the train at Brighton and walked down to The Shahi for eight, where Lorraine was waiting for me. A pint of Cobra not he table for when I arrived.  Betty joined us after a bit, having gone out for a drink with some work folks, which she enjoyed lots. Immense feeling of relief and tiredness. A happy meal with Lorraine and Betty, and great to be at home.

Below, a new building by the west side of St Pancras where I squeak in for the Brighton train. Rather like it. Not sure what it's for yet, as it hasn't opened.