Monday, October 31, 2016

Zooming about

Up at six with Lorraine and up to the smoke, while Lorraine off to school. Foggy south of London. I worked on a poem, called Cholesterol Focus Group that I was working up to send into the National Poetry Competition, which is no better than a lottery but you gotta be in it to win it, eh? I worked it up from notes I had made on a focus group many years ago in the midlands, watching people behind mirrored glass.

Early in Chiswick, settled down in a cafe to drink coffee, and tinker with the poem for ten minutes before arriving. Good to see everyone, and meet a recent graduate called Lucy who is a poet. The briefing took some time to arrive, and Dave only had a couple of hours, and we had to work in a cafe. There was lots to do and my French amis had got in touch too with more work to do this week, so instead of going to stay with Mum and Mas I returned home and worked late.

Bought some long sought after yellow note pads at Victoria as I had a bit of time before the train came. Yellow is the colour of optimism and good ideas.

Lorraine cooked us spaghetti with quorn mince, and we scarfed it with Betty all watching the first episode of the new series of Humans.

Janet called in good spirits saying she had a buyer for her house. She was very pleased, her first break in ages. Otherwise all work and little play. Managed to enter my poem a couple of hours before the midnight deadline.

To bed feeling tired, but somewhat better than the last few days. Not a very spooky halloween this year.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hard knock life

In bed, working on Lorraine's school prospectus this morning. Before getting up for breakfast.

To Eastbourne this afternoon to see Annie, with Beth in it. Everyone did very well, and Beth was excellent in two roles. But there wasn't enough of Beth in it for my tastes. And the story itself (not the performances) was tripe of the first order. Two decent songs though. But then unless it is Cabaret or something kitch like Return to the Forbidden Planet, Avenue Q or The Rocky Horror Picture Show (that I was lucky enough to see the first run of) then I generally dislike  a musical per se. There is an manic energy about musicals, where everyone is beaming wildly or transfixed by whoever is singing that I quite like because it is so unnatural, almost insane. I'd like to do something with that.

John came with Lorraine and I in the car, and we bumped into James there, and Sarah who'd directed it (very well). Back to Brighton and a late bite in the Preston Park Tavern. Home and rapidly to bed.

We popped into the nearby pub afterwards to wait for Betty. Here is Lorraine and a friend.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Transported by Tolkien

An ill day. A bad man cold, achey and snuffling which sparked off a bit of gout, aka (by me at least) orc foot, for the first time since I've been on my new meds. Nowhere near as bad as before, but enough to make me pull out of going out to see the South Coast Soul review and dancing in a zombie outfit to celebrate Dawn's birthday. It was a missed opportunity to bring a bit of authentic zombie hobbling to the affair.

Rather cheesed off at this. However spent much of the day on the sofa with Lorraine being very kind and rereading The Lord of the Rings from the deluxe all in one book Anton got me for Christmas. Really enjoying reading it again, and finding myself transported by simple descriptions of things like a fire in the hearth or sunlight on the walls of Frodo's house that I wouldn't normally have noticed.

Friday, October 28, 2016


Writing, sleeping and reading today. No bounce. Sonia, in contrast, full of bounce and very chatty and full of opinions. I finished reading an improving book by Jean Baudrillard called Passwords, which although containing a certain amount of nonsense and unfounded assertion, was nevertheless very thought provoking.

Lorraine in school sorting things out this morning, but home this morning. I fancied a hot curry and intertia tonight, so we had one delivered. Little else to report.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Snuffling but happy

A snuffling cold, but after paracetamols and a cup of tea I felt ready to face the world. A good breakfast, and I hung about with the family bantering with Pat and Maureen, before Lorraine, drove them and Beth off to Eastbourne to see Beth in Annie.

I shall be seeing the show on Sunday afternoon. It gave me a quiet afternoon in, which I appreciated, having developed a lethargic cold, and although I keep thinking about all the work I could be doing, I am simply not in the mood. Instead I read improving books, and made a chicken soup and sipped it.

Pat and Maureen went home to Ashford from Eastbourne, Lorraine dropped Beth off at John's and came home. The show had been fun. Not used to having to make supper, we simply went to the Preston Park Tavern for a bite and a beer, which was nice on my sore throat and felt a bit like we were still on holiday. Feeling distinctly uxorious towards Lorraine.

Also bumped into Reuben, who was meeting a pal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Leaving home, coming home

Our third wedding anniversary today. Up at seven and after a cup of tea, we made off for a last mooch to Icart, with the rising sun sliding redly up into the low clouds. In this morning light the rust colour of the bracken zinged. Reluctantly back to the hotel to strap on the nosebag for a hurried Guernsey breakfast where there was an Anniversary card on our table, before clambering into a taxi and off to the airport. Nice woman driver, who I was able to talk nostalgically to.

The flight smooth and I was calm. The usual sadness at seeing the island slip away underwing. Bright and cheery at Gatwick, and the drive home pleasant enough. Luckily being in Brighton, I feel okay about coming home again. I just feel lucky I can zoom back to Guernsey a couple of times a year, because the place has a hold on me that I can't undo, even if I wanted it to.

Pat and Maureen at home, having taken care of the cats. Beth's first show this afternoon for Annie at Eastbourne. Calliope biting me then sitting on me whenever she could.

Caught up with Mum on FaceTime, for a while. Went shopping for vegetables on foot, dropping Pat and Maureen at Blakers Park, and later we all got peeling and had a roast chicken and loads of veggies for supper. Beth returned from her first show, cheerful and in need of a can of lager.

I'd been feeling a bit tired today,  and a sudden streaming cold in the evening explained it. The final dose of  The Great British Bake Off, and later to bed accompanied by wife and two paracetamols.

Last glimpses.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Last day in heaven

An absolutely beautiful day in Guernsey, in our personal heaven. Up to eat a kipper breakfast, then down towards Saints and along the cliff path then down to Moulin Huet bay.

Spent several hours sitting getting quite hot in the sun, listening to the sea and the birds, and watching a woman and her dog go for a swim together, a bit of scrambling over rocks and reading books too, (I was reading about Aimé Césaire). Then as the tide drew in we sat above the bay on the bench, and I sat there doing one of those listening meditation things, listing to the sounds of the seabirds, and the other birds in the cliffside bushes and woodland behind me, and the sound of waves breaking on the rocks all around, moving to further and further away sounds with the warmth on my face.

After a while the weather changed, and it grew a little misty. We walked home and after a rest, and packed our case, met Jane and Richard for a quick drink before our supper. They have been pet sitting in a big house near Fermain. Good to see them again. There never seems enough time.

A slightly disappointing meal tonight, however. We sent back our puddings as they were served cold. However we soon turned our backs on these first world problems, and as it was our last night mooched off to Les Douvres, which seems to be doing really well as well as claiming to serve the best pizzas on the island (probably not a particularly hotly disputed title) but it was buzzy and fun. The lanes were misty and dark, although if you looked straight up you could see the stars. Managed to take an atmospheric iPhone snap on La Motte.

Then to The Captains, where it was curiously dead, but we had a drink for old time's sake there before walking home. I had my drinking boots on, and we had a last drink in La Barbarie, got talking to Ravis, about Latvia, before heading off to bed.

Below Jane took a snap of Richard and I in the bar at the Barbarie. Other shots during the walk to Moulin Huet and on the beach. A spooky night shot.

Monday, October 24, 2016

A day in town

Rainy first thing, and we decided to head into town. An enjoyable bout of shopping, looking in jewellery shops, and clothes shops, and she brought some balconette bras, while I repaired to Costa coffee feeling very happy just to be hanging out in St Peter Port.

At Lunch we met Jane and Richard in Christies for a good lunch and a general catch up. Both looking smart and well, with an Italianate air about them. An exceedingly attentive waiter, but the best little table in the house with the sun streaming in on us. A long lunch chatting and hearing their news of travel to southern Italy and its joys and dire trains, and Jane's work with Alison Jackson and a bit more about the warm reception to Richard's Gran'mere poem. A happy few hours with our old friends. Till Lorraine and I returned to shopping, and we bought a ring and some vittles for the evening. Then we walked to  the Lighthouse and watched people fishing. A three decent fish being landed while we were there, and we chatted with a mother fishing with her little lad. It was a lovely evening, and the sky above the east-facing St Peter Port was Turneresque and gorgeous as we walked back.

The sunlight falling catching Herm beatufully as we waited for our bus. We decided to get off a bit earlier and walk past my old school and past La Bella Luce and the Captains home. Once in our room, I discovered that I had had a poem taken by the E·ratio poetry journal, which 'publishes poetry in the postmodern idioms with an emphasis on the intransitive'. Quite chuffed with this, having had a quite a few rejections lately. Lorraine and I slunk to the bar later and played Scrabble. Curiously, as a post-modernist poet with an emphasis on the intransitive, Lorraine beat me. This did not prevent me from sharing my postmodern opinions and drinking beer however.

Below, a walk to the lighthouse and back.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A perfect walk

A full Guernsey breakfast at nine o'clock, and then out into the gorgeous parish. Down to Saints and then up onto the cliff path. Paused at the bench dedicated to my Grandfather’s sister Dolly, where we fell into a conversation with a Portuguese lady, who lives in England who asked me if I was a Christian when I started talking about the cliffs. She said she had been born again.

We walked on in a beautiful Sunday morning, perfect for walking in being not to cold nor hot. We walked to  Jerbourg, and doubled back and dipped down to the wishing pool, where we both made wishes. The trough of the abreuveur was full of leaves, and leading down was a stream of golden leaves under which water trickled. Then we walked down the waterlane to the top of Moulin Huet and back home to the Barbarie. The weather changed a bit, but we made it back to the hotel for a rest before it rained. 

A bottle of Prosecco, a gift from Beth and John, had been left in our room. And after hot showers and a bit of a snooze, we happily glugged this. As we had not eaten lunch it went straight to our heads. A meal in the restaurant. I had a steak, which I’d not had for a long time. Back to our room to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel, in bed. This is the fourth time I'd attempted to watch this film, but had always had to stop watching it before the end, twice on planes, and once by falling asleep at home.  I finally was able to watch it through. News too that Manchester United had been spanked roundly by Chelsea 4-0, always satisfying.

Walking towards Jerbourg and a wish in the wishing pool.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

To Guernsey

Lorraine and I up and rapidly packing. I thought I was for me fairly organised, although I discovered later that I had still managed to forget to pack comedy basics such as my toothbrush and shampoo. 

Lorraine drove us to Gatwick. Thick ground fog on the other side of the downs, which was momentarily alarming, as there were blue skies in Brighton. But Gatwick was fine, and I'm sure modern tricknology wouldn't be phased by a bit of fog, surely.  

The flight a bit delayed, but despite the odd moment of existential horror I managed to keep the aircraft in the air entirely unsupported by cocktail of alcohol and drugs. Flying through cloud castles.

Straight from the airport into a taxi and to the Barbarie in no time. A warm welcome from Evo, Ravis and Andy and the team. A lovely room. We’re always treated well there. A card from Maureen and Pat in our room, and a bag of delicious fudge. A quick unpack, and then back to the bar to eat sandwiches, and a lunchtime pint.

It is impossible to put into words the feelings I get walking to Icart and then round the cliffs for the first time. It’s almost as if I feel a weird energy coming up from the path into my feet, suddenly grounded and more Peter Kennyish. Even more interestingly, this seems to works equally well for Lorraine now too. I am so lucky that she loves it here too.

Beautiful light, and everything looking autumnal and lovely. I left Lorraine at La Barbarie, and scooted off to St Martin's village to buy some shampoo, and walk home in the evening light past greenhouses collapsing under the weight of neglect.

A little bit of a bit of a rest, followed by a few drinks and an evening meal. I had sea bass, which was particularly tasty.  To bed, happy and cheerful at returning to what I always think of as home.

A Guernsey Lily caught in a beam of light in the bar. Some of the usual views from Icart and towards Moulin Huet. The Dog and Lion rocks and Moulin Huet bay.  Lorraine on a cliff path, and collapsing glasshouses.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Getting organised

Feeling much better as the day wore on. An epic clearing of the decks today. After getting up and staring work at 7:30-ish I was finished writing poems at around 11.00 (I am working on a long poem, which in November I am going to send, with relentless logic) to the Long Poem Magazine.

Then, what to do? Brian Eno came to my rescue, if in doubt tidy up. My office was pristine by the end of the day. Not only everything filed in the office and in my computer, but loads of admin brought up to date, things thrown away every envelope open. Laundry done too, and my desk is a thing of beauty. Sonia was amazed. Plus I have freelance lined up for the week after I return from Guernsey.

The new Peter Kenny is fiercely organised, and loves tidiness.

Sonia she showed me a photograph of an elaborate loaf, decorated with flowers made from salt (if I understood her correctly). She told me that in Bulgaria there is a saying that 'Nobody is Bigger than Bread', which I really liked. She had baked the loaf to be used in a Bulgarian dance, where the loaf is passed between dancing ladies.

Thank goodness, it was the last day of Lorraine's half term today. She was home but happy. We snuck out, on my persuasion, to buy fish and chips, and Beth some fish and mushy peas.

In the evening, off to meet Steve Cartwright and Richard Gibson in the Evening Star, and quaff some good Dark Star beers. Great characters and lovely blokes both. Good to hear about Steve's life in Berlin in the seventies, and hear Richard's theories, and hear how the Sumerian Kyngs, and the Shakespeare Heptet are doing.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Narrowly avoiding a rapid death

Up and a good morning's writing, then off into town to go to the gym. By the time I had walked down into town to the gym, I was already feeling tired. A bit of cross training and a bit of time on the rowing machine and I felt done in, and not sure why, although I could come up with plenty of catastrophising reasons.

Gingerly to the politically incorrect Starbucks for a cup of tea, and I did some bits of work, before going to the doctor's surgery to take up their offer of a free flu jab. Despite being given the ridiculously precise time of 3:06 for the jab, I had to wait half an hour anyway. The nurse asked me how I was feeling, fine I said. It was only on the bus going home that I realised I actually had a sore throat and was feeling not too good, hence the poor gym performance. Cue hypochondriac musings about having a mystery disease plus a flu jab, which as any fool knows can lead to rapid death.

Saw Beth at a bus stop and she got on to sit with me at the front on the top and took my mind off my imminent demise.

The rest of the day feeling sluggish, and stayed in tonight, with the others out, and passed on seeing Anton, and actually had a recuperative night in. Lorraine and Beth out at a Bolney Ladies night, Beth, Lorraine's wing woman, asking me what she should wear. Lorraine back home later with mushroom coloured nails.  I was able to unashamedly watch a terrible, gory and derivative SF movie called Event Horizon, which I enjoyed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Poets Assemble

Another day of bits and pieces. Up early and working. Then at lunchtime off to meet Simon at the PPT to find out what he's been doing since we worked together some years ago with the Cat With The Hat. One of the things he is doing is making really interesting designs from recycled wood and other materials, and old prints. Nice to catch up with him. Then home to sprawl on the sofa for a fast doze before heading off to Lewes.

Beth and the others kicking off on rehearsing We Three Kings tonight too, which was good to know.

Luckily an easy journey to the Lewes Arms, given it was a strike day on Southern Fail again. I arrived early and had a drink with Siegfried and his dad Adrian, who were already there. Jess and Robin turned up soon after, and then the place filled up nicely. Most importantly for me was that Lorraine came too, and having her there was top. A really excellent night. I did some of the introductions, shared with Sarah Barnsley, and I made people laugh introducing myself as Sarah Barnsley and other tomfoolery as I introduced the first guest. This seemed to set a cheery note for the evening, and the whole night went very well indeed. Some really good readings from Michaela Ridgway, Siegfried (whose new poems are excellent) Judy Brown, whose work I like lots, and Jess who read well too. The audience was crammed with poets too, such as Jeremy Page, Clare Best, Charlotte Gann, Stephen Bone to name but a few.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Launching the day from bed

Started working at 7 in bed, sipping tea that Lorraine had brought me before going off to work. But soon I was sprinting out for another productive and varied day for. Playing Creative Director briefly to feed back on ideas for my Chiswick pals, sending ideas to Paul the guy I met last week, working on poems and sending some to magazines, a spell in the gym and so on. A few calls and chats with folks too.

Also I finished listening to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I loved it this time. When Beth came home and we cooked together for Lorraine, and chatted about the play and so on. An amazing red sky at sundown. Lorraine fine, but nearing the end of her half term tether. Almost there, and then we zoom off to Guernsey at the weekend.

Below, the colour of the sky.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Weirdly Mondayish.

A very poor night's sleep. But I sent out poetry manuscripts today, worked on poems, had a quick teleconference and did some work with my chums in Chiswick, which seemed to use up the entire day. Felt weirdly Mondayish.

Beth out all afternoon and evening rehearsing for the production of Annie she is in.  Spoke to Mum, who had a stress test on her heart and so on today, and was fortunately found to be in very good shape. She didn't mention that she'd already walked three miles before she'd arrived at the hospital.

Went for a few short walks today, listening to the audiobook of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which although I have read it already and it is very short, is a treat.

Quietly stayed in tonight, instead of going off to a poetry workshop, which I couldn't face at the last moment. Cooked for Lorraine who is reaching the end of her half term. Lately children have been worrying about clowns, with the scary clown craze coming over from the US.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The moon is a pizza

A sober day of working. I had bits of freelance to do this afternoon, and various other things to do with the upcoming Telltale reading.

In the evening Lorraine and I drove off to see Anton, where he had one of his spectacular pizza nights. I ate enormous amounts of pizza, and suffered through the night for it. But if it is a thing, death by Anton pizza isn't the worst way to go. After eating enormous amounts of pizza, Anton produced a delicious Dorset apple cake, and I had to eat two slices of this too, and then take a couple of slices home. I'm unbelievable. Enjoyable hanging out and listening to tunes too. Under Anton's tutelage I am trying to like Being Boiled by the Human League.

Met Beth at the car, as she had been rehearsing all night in Beastbourne. Home under a full moon, like a big pizza pie in the sky.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Masks and baskets

Saturday. I got up early, and bumped into Dawn outside after a futile attempt to buy bread at 8.00pm. Got up and worked, then cooked bacon and egg sarnies and took up to Lorraine, and went back to bed to eat them with her.

Later we went off to look at front doors. We went off to R & G Goatley a firm of door purveyors who have a commercial whose tune is aired on local radio and Lorraine sings when she drives past it. We looked at doors. Bloody expensive things front doors. Chastened we went home via some other shops and simply relaxed in the afternoon. Innis sent me a link to all the photos he'd taken of me, and there were lots of really good photos of me in glorious black and white. I was well pleased, and told him he'd managed to turn a pig's ear into a silk purse.

This evening we went off to The Fountain Head where we met Innis, Rosie, and Beth, and were later joined by John and Emily's Rosie's lovely sister. We were all off to see Nina Conti's In your face tour.  Lorraine and Betty absolutely love her, and I think she is really funny too, really quick thinking and most of the show is improvised. It was a good show.

After we all went to The Basketmakers for some beers and a chat. A good fun evening, and always good to be there.

Below Lorraine, me, Betty and John in the theatre sporting the cardboard representations of the masks that Nina Conti makes her victims wear. And Emily, Innis and Rosie in the Basketmakers. Innis trying to appear gangster-like.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Assorted birds, lovely books

Got up with Lorraine and after working for a couple of hours went to the gym, for the second day in a row. Only trundling on the cross trainer on a low gear, but it feels good to be back in the groove. Then to Starbucks to do a bit more work, and join a teleconference with my pals in Chiswick about a work thing.

The cafe was too noisy, so I had to conduct most of the hour long conversation walking about in Pavilion Gardens, with squawking seagulls and cheering Italian students, and a man smoking a large skunk spliff adding to the local colour.

Then I walked to Hove where, feeling hungry after the gym, I bought myself a small pastie in the co-op. Sat in Norfolk Square and started it, benignly throwing a crumb to a pigeon nearby. Soon I was surrounded by several dozen pigeons and half a dozen gulls. To my amazement a pigeon few onto my hand and started eating my pastie, while another climbed onto my arm. The most Hitchcockian pigeons I have ever encountered. I managed to dispel them, but ended up throwing my pecked at pastie away.

Then to see Helen, and a couple of hours with her working on the Centaur Project. Good to see her, and hear the latest part, which is a Fugue, where lots of folks all sing together in different parts.

This done, home on a 5b. A quick shower, an email to mes amis in Paris and then the day was done. I luxuriated in a quick snooze on the sofa before Lorraine came home.

Lorraine started preparing two delicious curries, and Anton and Dawn came around for a supper and a few drinks. Then we went to the Preston Park Tavern for a very late drink, before Anton went home. Anton gave me a deluxe copy of Lord of the Rings, printed on Indian paper, so that the whole thing is in one lovely book. Very happy. And Dawn brought me a book about favourite pieces of classical music, which is excellent as I enjoy making new discoveries.

Below, Helen and a big A in the sky I snapped early this morning.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A little quiet time

Still feeling particularly cheery, in the aftermath of my birthday. Decided to return to the gym, really pleased I did so, even though I approached it gingerly. From there, I popped into see Janet and Ken in the afternoon for a good chat and a cup of tea.

Otherwise lots of bits and pieces to get done to do with the play, and business stuff such as sending non-disclosure agreements. Also texted Sam to congratulate him on getting a distinction. Cooked for Lorraine tonight, and was happy to have a quiet night in watching The Great British Bakeoff.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

In which I have a very happy birthday

An unusually happy birthday. Lorraine brought me tea, and banana porridge in bed, as I got happy birthday texts from my godbairns and Anton. Lorraine bought me an art piece by Nikki Ward I'd admired earlier, a box containing a matchbox, exploding with paper butterflies. A very poetical thing, as well as cards from Mum and Mas, and Pat and Maureen.

Off up to the smoke, to a cafe called Bad Bean (a silent place where three or four people drank coffee and stared at their macs. One went off in a huff when Paul and I started an exploratory chat about his business. It's a potentially very interesting and different project.  I liked Paul too.

I got an unexpectedly large stream of well wishers contacting me all day via facebook, which was unexpected, as well as calls with Mum, Janet and the more unusually, the French Bloke too.

Back to Clapham, and after they had ineptly tested their emergency procedures, and people left the platform I was on, back easily to Brighton.  Arrived home at two after walking back, and Beth cooked us a late birthday lunch, and gave me a present of a lovely blue shirt, that fit me well.

When Lorraine got home we repaired to the Preston Park Tavern for a cheeky beer, before walking down to a restaurant called Semolina, where I was taken for my birthday feed. We had spoken to its owners when they worked in the Shakey Head bringing style to sausages and mash.  I had cider, mussel and clam chowder with crispy shallot rings. This was a triumph in a bowl. Then I had roasted pheasant, salsify, kale and bacon, very nice indeed (I added a side of cauliflower cheese and chips, both immaculate) and managed to find room for and a plum and porter cake, with quince sorbet. Just a top notch meal and a very reasonable price.

Taxied home. Full of a rare contentment and happiness. A very happy day.

Below, the piece by Nikki Ward Lorraine brought me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A hand of kings

Working hard early this morning to complete the first draft of We Three Kings. Felt good to have got there. I'm pleased with it, and I think I have left lots of room in it for the actors to expand and add their own flavours. We Three Kings the carol was written in 1857 by the Rev. John Henry Hopkins. Here's the verse about Frankincense:

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume 
Breaths a life of gathering gloom; 
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying, 
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.

Cheery eh? Also a smidge of French work, with Val phoning my from Bamako in Senegal, for reasons unknown.

In the afternoon Innis called round, and took lots of photographs of me. I have been to a fair few shoots in my time, but being the thing being shot is different. In the rare times I'm called on to supply a photo of myself, I always look a bit of a chump in them, so I thought it would be good to have Innis do me a proper shot.

Luckily, Innis, who I'm liking more and more as I get to know him, was really patient and really puts people at their ease. I think he took some excellent photos, but he'll send them to me soon.

Beth came home, and started readying things for the arrival of the company. James came early, as arranged, and we had a good chat. I looked at his illustration portfolio, and he is doing some interesting work with ink and vinegar, mixing very precise drawing and allowing more abstract accidental swirls to occur. He finds himself at artistic and personal crossroads at the moment, and I know what that feels like.

Then a cheery meal with the company, and we read through the full play. Dylan delighted I'd written a rap for him, and the others enjoying what I'd written for them too. Beth will be playing the pivotal role again, as Marybeth. Dylan, an urban King Melchior bringing gold. Kitty will be King Caspar, a cross dressing king and bringer of Frankincense, while James is Balthazara, an Eyoreish king in drag.

Lorraine arrived home late, and after chatting we sloped off to bed tired but happy.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Writing and walking

Working on the play this morning, then doing some work for my French pals in the afternoon. Taking myself for three walks during the day, trying to step up the amount of exercise I am getting and refresh myself from being manacled onto my desk. In one I bumped into Simon Bottrell, and arranged to meet up next week. In others I walked through woods. In a good frame of mind at the moment.

Below a glimpse of sea beyond Blaker's Park.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Assembling an Antonn

Today Lorraine and I assembled our Antonn, which is a big bookcase type unit. It came in three boxes and we were able to put it together simply and easily, without raging. It took us a couple of hours, but we felt pretty pleased with ourselves afterwards.  Lorraine working in the afternoon, and I was supposed to be working on the play, but the force was not with me.

Saturday, October 08, 2016


Into town with Lorraine, who went off to get her hair cut. I did the same, with Stacy the perfectionist cutting my hair again. He does a really good job. Expertly flashing past the spreading continent of the area of concern when he shows me the back of my head with the mirror.  Sitting next to me was a young lad whose dad had brought him in, after he'd attacked his hair with beard trimming shears.  The lad, weirdly, started talking about The Beatles (his dad clearly a vinyl nut). Strange how if you've just read a book about something (The Beatles) how Beatles stuff comes at you from strange angles.

Then into Starbucks to do some work, then off to meet Innis and Beth. Innis is going to take some photos of Beth for her portfolio, and I fancied a decent pic taken so I could use it as an author pic when necessary. Nice chat with Innis.  Beth very clear about what she needed, like a proper actress should be. I'm hoping for a miracle.

After, I popped into M&S to buy some underpants, and saw a really nice three-quarter length coat, rather a good length for me, and simply bought it there and then. My last similar coat had been sprayed on by Brian, and despite being dry-cleaned three times still smelled intolerable. I'm hoping this one won't meet the same fate.

Lorraine found me, sporting slinky hair. And then we did some shopping together before walking to Fatto a Mano where we had a pizza, and watched a sudden downpour heated by the warmth of their wood burning pizza oven. Nice pizza too. Home, and a happy and relaxed evening in.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Blasting through

No more needed from my French pals, so was able to dedicate the day to working on the play, the necessity to get it ready is now pressing. Spoke to Mum, and chatted with Sonia. Otherwise blasting through, and We Three Kings now falling into place. Bought some fish and chips and ate them watched by Lorraine, who was going out for a meal with two of her pals. Read some poetry magazines, including The Long Poem magazine, to whom I am going to send A Long Poem. Also listened to John Lennon's first solo album, Plastic Ono Band, which I'd never heard before. It is rather amazing, a couple of tracks featuring full on screaming as he had been doing primal scream therapy.

Feeling a bit tired and ratty by the end of the day, however. But this fixed by going out for a few cheeky beers with Anton tonight, meeting up with him in the Good Companions, near where he lives. Cheap beer there thanks to a loyalty card. Anton had got me one too, which is smart. However we needed a change of scene and drifted down to the Shakey Head for an absolute bloody final or two. Nice to hang out and chat about the matters the needed chatting about, such as bizarre new bands Anton had seen, the history of the Beatles, and so on. Nice to simply have a booze.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Voices from Guernsey

Up early and galloping through my French stuff, and sent it off to Paris and had a quick chat with mes amis there and did some more. I like working this way, and my colleagues always seem so pleased with things I send them. A quick walk into town at lunchtime and then back to work. Happy just to be spending the evening in Lorraine and Beth watched watched The Great British Bake Off.

Listened to the JKT show on Radio Guernsey just before bedtime, and heard Richard reading a poem about La Gran'mère  for national poetry day. It was a fine poem. With my poems on the same subject, she is fast becoming the most written about menhir I know. Good to hear JKT, Richard and Jane again on the airwaves.

Calliope in a moment of protest today, as I worked.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

I found myself in a strange town

Up early and working on stuff to do with animal antibiotics for my French clients today. A short walk during the day, and slogging till I had to zoom off to Tunbridge Wells in the evening. Journey there wouldn't have been bad, other than the fact that I stupidly got off at Tonbridge which is two stops before Tunbridge Wells. Wandering about Tonbridge raging at Google Maps for not working properly, when in fact I was in the wrong town. Till I asked a man to put me straight.

Arrived, breathlessly just in time to introduce the pamphlet launch for Jess's The Swell Telltale pamphlet, and take money from punters for a while. Jess is a bit of a force of nature and assembled a large audience, and got Robin and Sarah Abegail Morley and Mara Bergman to read with her. A pleasant enough evening, good to see Robin looking well. Hared off with Sarah at nine. A tiresome God-awful journey home via St Leonard's Warrior Square, but had a good long chat with Sarah. I taxied home well past eleven, Lorraine fast asleep.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Biffing through a Glass of Nothing

A cup of tea from my lovely Lorraine, and once up I was hard at work today on sorting out a few play bits first thing, then working on the French brief all day which was quite interesting and enjoyable. Bit of honest concept work guv'nor. Butterflies an' that.

After this malarkey, slouched down the hill with Betty to The Duke of Wellington where we met up with Dylan, Kitty and James, and slunk up into the room upstairs. Read through the start of We Three Kings. Felt a bit exposed as I like to have things complete before I show people usually. But it was a useful exercise in pinning down what's working and what's not. Then they biffed through A Glass of Nothing, and they surprised themselves at how well they had remembered it. All quite buzzy afterwards which was good to see.

A cheeky beer outside in the beer garden afterwards with James, Dylan and Betty. It was Kitty's boyf's birthday, so she had to go. I enjoyed talking to James lots. An interesting man. Home just in time to catch Lorraine and slope off to bed.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Hard at work

No longer streaming with cold this morning, rather miraculously. Hard at work on the We Three Kings play and took a brief at lunch time from my french friends on a pitch. Even managed to go for a walk this afternoon in the sun, listening to my Beatles audiobook. John Lennon not in a good way when the book was being written, interested to hear him quoted on how all the people that read things into his work are all conning themselves, which is quite an egocentric way of looking at art. His self-loathing shines through from time to time. This was shortly before he met Yoko I think, who pepped him up one way or another.

Cooked for Lorraine, who had set off for school early. We settled down to watch the traumatic last couple of episodes of Orange is the New Black. We have now watched all of them till they make a new series.  Lorraine and I shifting the furniture about this evening as we are about to take delivery of an Antonn, which is both a shelving unit and a source of quips for years to come.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Roaming up the Roman road

Up to Edgware today. Fairly untroubled drive, and arrived early. A quick conference about where to eat with Mum and Mas, and we decided on The Waggon and Horses, which is almost due North of Mum's house, on Watling Street as the Roman marches. A decent Sunday roast there and a couple of pints. Mum and Mas paid for me as an early birthday present, and got me a pudding of apple pie (one of the allowable puddings, a pudding that is not a bourgeois frippery of a dessert, but a decent upstanding thing).

An enjoyable meal Mum saying that she doesn't like it when Felix one of the cats sleeps on her face because she doesn't like to share her air with a cat. It had been a week of medical tests for Mum, and Mas still awaiting a date for his consolation and by-pass. Mason up and making friends with the new owners.

Lorraine and I left at teatime, after Lorraine had helped join up the video player with the new TV so that both videotape and DVDs would play. We arrived home in time to beat the worst of the traffic back to Brighton, and we listened to the Kermode and Mayo podcast. Both of us began  sniffling on the return journey, and had streaming noses by the time we got home.  Hope that I didn't inflict a cold on Mum and Mas. Lorraine did some school work on the sofa, and before bed we watched a traumatising and horrid episode of Orange is the New Black.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

A walk in the rain

Up fairly early and brought Lorraine breakfast in bed, before getting into my walking gear and being collected by Anton. As we drove to West Hoathly down wooded roads, Anton's sat nav went into night mode a few times as it was so dark under downpour of dark clouds. We walk into the lovely wooded landscapes around West Hoathly. Now transformed into a relive the Somme experience.

Beautiful country, however, and we were soon lost. Finding ourselves in a forest at a time when the deluge was at its strongest. Still we had a really nice walk and a good chat. Something wild and lovely about walking in bad weather, and there is no better way of letting conversation fall out slowly.

After a couple of hours, having accidentally found West Hoathly again, we neared Anton's lovely BMW convertible for the return drive home. As we did so, the clouds absconded.  A dreamlike return journey sitting in heated seats, with the roof down narrow rainwashed lanes, everything gleaming with sunshine including the still-dripping trees, a few drips pinging off my head. The sky almost completely blue.

A hot shower once home and a cup of tea. Drifted to sleep for an hour on the sofa, then Lorraine and I had a very nice evening with Beth and John round, playing Euchre and drinking wine and listening to music. John and Lorraine beat Beth and me at Euchre for almost the first time, which John seemed rather pleased about.

Below an E.H. Shepard Anton, a path, a ghostly plume of steam Anton spotted drifting out of the tunnel at West Hoathly from the Bluebell line, with no sign of the train that had left it.