Wednesday, November 30, 2016

In want of sharpness

Up early, and my brain not at its sharpest, and feeling generally tired. Bits of writing, and did a smidge for my French clients. The work I was expecting from my pals in Chiswick did not materialise, but I am happy with that.  Spoke to Mum before she went off to see Mason.

Worked doing lists and stuff with Beth and the Tech script for We Three Kings. in the afternoon.  James collected us in his car and we spent the evening rehearsing with James and Dylan their scenes in W3K in the room upstairs of The Duke of Welly. Dylan making big strides today. James's comic timing very good I think. Maybe because he's a musician too.

Very cold tonight for Brighton. Luckily James gave us a lift home too.

Home to Lorraine at 9:30, chatted with my lovely wife before we shuffled off to bed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wards and theatre

Up for toast and lots of coffee, and hung about with Mum, who was taking calls and did a couple of emails. I did a spot of hoovering before we went off again to the hospital. Somewhat to my surprise we found Mason much more alert today, his voice stronger and able to speak in sentences. He's far from out of the woods yet, but it was good to see him a lot brighter. The sister talked to us before we went into the ward, saying he'd been saying strange things about California, and the pacific ocean and so on, and they wondered if this was normal. We assured them it was.

I left Mum and Mas in the ward, and went to meet Betty on the platform at Farringdon Station. She'd been up to Mill Hill to have photos taken at an extras agency. Slow train to Brighton, then once in the home of the seagulls, we bought some Japanese style takeaway, then rehearsed A Glass of Nothing with Dylan and Kitty till 9:30pm in the Duke of Welly. Everyone a bit low energy, and it was hard work. Managed to grab a cab just outside the pub, and Beth and I were soon home to Lorraine.  Very tired, and it was good to be home.

Below a section of one of Mum's paintings (not the whole thing), which is the view from upstairs in my Grandparent's house on La Rue des Grons, done as if taken by a fish eye lens on a rare day of snow. This is now my desktop picture on my mac.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Back to Bart's

New kitchen stools delivered this morning, and I did a few scraps of work. Up to London today, and I met Mum at Bart's hospital where we spent the day with Mason in intensive care ward. He is not making much progress, and not in a particularly good way. He is, however, receiving absolutely outstanding care. I am really impressed with the staff. They are friendly and professional and communicative. A long afternoon, watching Mason's screen full of various traces, and numbers which you find yourself looking at all the time. He has a lot of swelling of his limbs. He is not able to talk much, and is in and out of an uncomfortable looking sleep. He is hooked up to an external pacemaker which is steadying his heart rhythm, which they are gradually turning down to see if his heart will pick up the slack.

We went off for cups of tea in a little cafe, and had a piece of chocolate and honeycomb diabetes on a plate. The square outside has a few autumnal trees, and twice we saw people feeding the nearly tame squirrels, which mum liked.

Eventually we left, and caught the train back to Stanmore, where we wandered down to Pizza Express and had some food and a drink. Toby messaging while we were there. Despite everything Mum and I had a good time, and talked lots. Then home to the pampered cats, and we sat by the fire, watched some TV and had another glass of wine before bed.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Rehearsal day

Mas has been back in intensive care and Mum found him still rather out of it and not comfortable. This is concerning and I am going to hospital tomorrow with Mum.

Otherwise it was a day of major rehearsals, from midday till gone six at the ever-hospitable Duke of Wellington. A good day's work on We Three Kings with a few moments of hilarity. Beth very good at driving the day. Made a couple of cuts to the text, both of which helped.

A fast drink at the pub after, and the round was bought us by the owner, which was surprisingly kind of him. Then Beth and I caught a cab home. Lorraine had cooked us a roast chicken and lots of nice veggies, and Beth's pal Laura came around for a sleepover, and we had a cheery supper. Lorraine drank some wine, and I had a brace of beers and sank happily into the sofa watching some SF series on Netflix.

Below, James's silver shoes for the part of Balthazara.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


A day of doing things. I got up to buy some bread and then took breakfast up to Lorraine in bed, and we lurked there for some time before daring to face the day.  I spoke to Mum before she went to hospital to see Mas.

Then a burst of practical activity. A bit of leaf sweeping in our front garden, driving into town to look at costume bits for the play that Beth had, and buying things like lightbulbs, and gas canisters for the soda stream, and did a shop in Sainsbury's, and went to the Japanese store.

In the evening, Lorraine and I went off to see the movie Arrival down at the Marina, we really enjoyed it. An intelligent piece of SF that showed communication winning over a military response, with the linguist as the protagonist. But it nicely balanced a human story with a momentous historical moment for humanity with its first contact with an alien species. It also played with time too. Lovely stuff. And the central performance by Amy Adams was particularly good I thought.

Friday, November 25, 2016


In a strange state of mind, very tired and I look haggard, but poems are pouring out of me at the moment. Only time will tell if they are any good. Just had my head down all day. 

Preoccupied with Mason at the moment too. Spoke to Mum in the morning and later. Was phoned by the hospital to say Mas was being moved from intensive care.

In the evening, a delight, seeing The Shakespeare Heptet playing to a good sized audience, listening in rapt attention at St Mary's Church in Kemptown. Lots of chums in the audience, including Glenn over from Greece, we chatted to him and Steve Cartwright, and Maria-Grazia Richard's wife and Claudius. Lorraine also spreading out on the tables flyers for the Christmas play.  It was very atmospheric, and the band though a bit nervous at first played beautifully. They've also taken to projecting the sonnets onto the wall so you get to really dwell on the poems as you listen to the music. 

Then Lorraine and I walked with Steve and Maria off to the Evening Star, where we met  Glenn, Richard and Dipak. A really convivial atmosphere, and lovely people. Lorraine and I cabbed it home and straight off to bed.

Below the Shakespeare Heptet, currently a four piece, playing in a lovely atmosphere.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Seeing Mas in hospital

Off to London to see Mason in hospital. Met mum at St Bartholomew's in the lobby of the hospital, and we went for a quick cup of tea before visiting hours started.

It is a very modern building, and when we got to the intensive care unit, it seemed really well run, clean and the staff and equipment were all excellent. Mas himself was groggy and uncomfortable, but this only to be expected after such a big operation.

He was very tired and sleepy, so after a while, we left him to rest and repair.

Mum and I went to a posh ale and pie pub near Smithfield for a chat, and a quick drink.

Then I trained home in fairly good time, early enough to cook for Lorraine. Both of us very shattered today, and we repaired to bed at a very early 9:30.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bypass day

Mas had his triple-bypass today. The hospital called mum and then me, to say he was back in the ward, at around eight in the evening. I'd been speaking to  Mum a few times during the day, who was naturally relieved to hear he was back in the recovery ward.

Otherwise, I did bits of writing, but not in a very focused way. Also we had a rehearsal this evening at The Duke of Wellington. After this, at eight, I spoke to Mum and the hospital, then met Anton for a cheeky few beers in the Shakey Head. Good to catch up and discuss many and various subjects, including his recent trip to the US.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

An uncooperative crow

Attempting lots of work, but my brain not quite clicking, and everything taking a long time.

Mason admitted at Bart's hospital this afternoon. Mum went with him and there was a good deal of tiresome waiting in waiting rooms and so on. Took a walk down to the sea, good to stand there in the wind, with the sea quite rough and looking at a crow hopping about using a stick and possibly a stone. I wanted to take a photograph of it against the white sea, but it moved in mysterious ways.

I then popped in to see Janet and Ken, armed with some chocolate cookies. Janet looking forward to moving house, down to Hove, close to the sea at a very swanky address. She's been sorting through in preparation to move, and has uncovered a stash of fabric which she is going to give to Lorraine for the school. Walked home from there, and then got ready to go to Lewes. Was late due to rubbish strike-bound trains.

A Frogmore press reading  with Clare Best, Jeremy Page and Catherine Smith. Robin and Charlotte there, and Stephen Bone.  Missed most of Clare's, but caught Catherine and Jeremy. Had a quick beer after with Robin, Steven, Jeremy his wife and pals.

Had clocked up 16000 paces by the end of the day, which was good.

Below a few blurry snaps of the sea, the wind was blowing the phone in my hand. And the iSore.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Slow Monday

A sadder and wiser man this morning. Up early after gratefully draining the cup of tea Lorraine brought me, and proceeded in a state of some fragility. Quietly and ineffectually did stuff at my desk. Received a poetry rejection. Chiefly grateful that, unlike John, I didn't have to immediately get up and head off to a studio to play drums. Beth thin on the ground most of the day till she went out for food with Laura this evening.

Flyers for the play arrived, looking good.

I went for one judicious walk creeping about the neighbourhood. Luckily I had no freelance work today. I cooked a chicken stew, which was my chief accomplishment of the day, along with speaking to Toby, experiencing the first snow of the year. Romy's eye improving thankfully. Spoke to  Mum and Mas. Mas is off to hospital tomorrow, and all being well will have his op on Wednesday. Him and mum just wanting to get it over with.

Lorraine home and tired. I fed her chicken stew and we chatted on the sofa all evening. Wind and rain beating down outside, a glass of water in hand.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Betty's birthday

Beth's 25th birthday today. It started in traditional (for Beth) style with Beth, and John, sitting on the end of our bed to open her presents. And as usual Betty very excited. At lunchtime we all got a cab with a very friendly driver to take us to The Eagle, where we had the room upstairs which was soon full of Beth's pals, including Dylan, James and Kitty and Sarah and Matt and their bairns -- and some folks who were in Annie that Beth has known for years.

We had a good Sunday roast in there and a few beers during the afternoon. I was particularly pleased to see  Matt and Reuben who are all chuffed at their engagement. Lorraine, sensibly went home at tea time, but I stayed out with Beth and John, John's pal Matt and James. We went up the road to the Brighton Tavern, where Matt and Reuben had gone a bit earlier, for another drink with them. Then off to The Mash Tun, which was noisy and full of idiots. Then we went to another pub where there was an open night for musicians, and Matt played a few songs, and James sang an a cappella song.

At the end of the evening, Beth, John and I taxied home, and ate the chips we'd bought. Rather a lively day and evening, and my top hat was definitely askew. Felt like I was letting off steam, however, after feeling grotty for a few weeks, and that was great.

Below, Betty waiting for presents. Betty opening presents.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fantastic beasts and lots of rain

Stormy weather today, with loads of rain. After a morning enjoyably pottering about in the dungeon, and ordering things on the internet, then Lorraine did her work and I worked on a poem I'm writing about the Nomura Samurai House in Japan.

Lorraine and I walked into town to meet Beth and John in the teeming rain. As we did so, I realised that I was feeling better than I'd been feeling for weeks.

This being the day before Beth's birthday we went for a nice and attractively priced pizza at Franco Manca then after a swift pint, into the Kommedia to see the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them -- as Beth is a big fan of all things Potterish. This is the new film from J.K.Rowling, and I thought benefited from being written for cinema, rather than being a translation of a book. Charming, escapist entertainment in the Rowling world, but without Harry Potter and his mates.

A deluge as we left. Eventually we found a cab, and came home.

Below, the a street in North Laine when it wasn't raining for a moment.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Precious Friday

Pleased to get to the end of the week. Luckily the last couple of nights I have been able to sleep without waking up coughing. This is making me feel less shattered in the day, which is handy.

Working on homelessness stuff this afternoon. Amusing chat with Sonia as usual, talking about Greeks about whom she has some colourful opinions, as she'd left a card on my desk about Greek dancing last week.

When Lorraine was home, having been a bit delayed, we made off to the Preston Park Tavern for a bite to eat and let Lorraine decompress from her week.  She has been fighting a cold off all week, and this on top of her job makes these short Friday nights out really precious.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cuts and conspiracy

Got up and wrote a blog about Trump this morning for my other site. I am beginning to feel that this is no time for fence sitting. Signed off the flyer for the show,  and went into town to get a haircut, as the hair was all wrong.

Sat there feeling a bit wan and tired, and told the barber I'd had a chest infection, and he asked me did I get it shortly after a flu jab, which I had. He said he'd spoken to other people who'd had evil chests after their jabs. It's probably coincidence, but I enjoy a good conspiracy theory as much as anyone.

Did some Beth based birthday shopping too, then bussed home feeling tired. Very windy today. Cooked for Lorraine, and we had a nice quiet night in together as the weather got worse.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hilarious energy

Coughing through the night, chest infection still annoying, though I felt a bit perkier today. I love this time of year, and lots of interesting stuff is happening. To have the wind taken out of my sails by a stupid chest infection is a bore. Beth hacking too. And worse, Lorraine starting to cough too.

The day interspersed with bits of freelance to do with homelessness. Wrote a bit about Gilgamesh on my other blog, and tidied up something for Lorraine for the parish magazine. My great get the bloody poems out initiative, is still going well. I got my second response from my salvo, from Jeremy at Frogmore. It helped sitting next to him at the Poetry Book Fair, and him telling me he liked shorter poems. I sent him some short ones, joking about my cunning, and I'm pleased to say he took Touchstone, a poem about Moulin Huet for his spring issue. Two from two so far. Better not start crowing yet though.

At half four, I walked down to The Duke of Wellington for rehearsals of A Glass of Nothing. A really good session today. The Beth, Kitty and Dylan now familiar enough with this play to push its boundaries even more. A kind of hilarious energy at times tonight. Being party to the unfolding of the work is really useful experience for me.  Beth and Dylan talking about us doing a sketch show in the Spring, to keep everything going before we go to Edinburgh. This could be great fun too.

Home to Lorraine, who'd had another long day.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A first look

Happy news from Sam and Jade this morning, but this news embargoed for a few days.

Otherwise, our morning spent continuing to sort out the books and move things around the house in a happy and companionable way.  I love doing stuff like this with Lorraine, I don't know why. It makes me feel secure and cheery.

Lorraine had to spend the afternoon working on school stuff. My Sunday afternoon was spent with Betty and the others rehearsing We three Kings in the Duke of Wellington. Sucking throat pastilles throughout to stop hacking, we ran through We Three Kings for the first time. Definitely a few laughs in it, but a fair amount to work out too. Had a speedy drink afterwards with James and Betty, before James gave us a lift home. Everyone fairly cheery and feeling in a good place about it.

Home feeling rather tired, and Lorraine had cooked a roast chicken, we had a glass of wine and we started to watch an episode of Black Mirror. But soon we had to stop as Lorraine found it too scary. Instead I persuaded her to watch Guardians of the Galaxy, which was fun even the second time, and we went to bed and slept sans nightmares.

Calliope, my personal alarm clock and no respecter of Sundays.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Turning pages

A happy day, moving books around, and putting some books onto our new Antonn shelving in downstairs, and rearranging the spare room. I also had a bit of a book cull, which is something I almost never do. But there are certain things, such as copies of old poetry magazines with none of my poems in that can happily go to the dustbin of history. This means that Lorraine and I have been able to organise the books better through the house. I am beginning to know where my stuff is now, and it is a good feeling.

Feeling very happy to be doing this with Lorraine. Simple things are great fun.

Off this evening to see Lorraine's pal Penny and her husband Steve just outside Horsham. A pleasant evening, though I felt self-conscious beginning to snuffle and cough again, and hoping I wasn't infecting them. They showed us photos of Victoria Falls, and wildlife in Botswana having been there a few weeks ago. It looked an amazing trip. Home under a getting quite full moon, which is apparently going to be a super moon when it fully waxes.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A relaxed Friday

A pleasant day, not having to write about homelessness nor anything else. Mainly allowed me to sit about and  cough and snuffle to my heart's content. Bussed to the Bath Arms have a bite to eat with Catherine, and we had a good chat on a wide variety of things, everything from The Epic of Gilgamesh to Donald Trump, and a bit of gossip thrown in. Catherine mentioned as an aside that her PhD thesis on Florence Marryat, that she has restructured as a book is now going to be published at the end of next year.

I came home and flaked out a bit, and then when Lorraine was done with work and Beth was back from Eastbourne we went off to the Preston Park Tavern, which felt like a celebration of Lorraine being on the weekend. I wasn't drinking much, however.  Beth and Lorraine menacing each other's bottoms in the dark on the way home, despite it being no later than eight. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A view of sunset

Went for a couple of walks, and worked quietly on freelance stuff about homelessness for much of the day. Still coughing and snuffling as I have been the whole week.

Greatly oppressed by the Trump victory. Conversations with cousin Wendy via Facebook, she is worried about her friends of colour in the US. The world is on a knife edge.

But hey ho. Life goes on for the time being. Lorraine out this evening, Beth back home tonight, and volunteered to cook us a risotto. I'm reading Postmoderism, A very short introduction, by Christopher Butler, whose evident skepticism about the whole movement is quite refreshing.

A view at sunset down towards the sea from the north of Brighton from the top of Surrenden Road on my walk this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Wrong universe

Just before I woke up this morning, I had a very clear and detailed dream about how Hillary Clinton had won the US Presidential election by 26 points. Sadly this good news was in a parallel universe. In this reality,  there was the grim reality of a Trump victory.

It wasn't a surprise to me, as I had a gut feeling he would win. Not least because like the Brexit campaign, it he had a much better slogan. I can't remember a year when I have felt so personally dismayed by politics, and the world's wilful blunder into danger.

Otherwise a day of working on homelessness, from the safety of my office. Still feeling ragged and underpowered with this chest infection. Decided to let my pals in Chiswick know that I would not be coming to their Christmas party tomorrow. A four hour return journey, only to hack on friends and colleagues didn't appeal.

Beth, also snuffling and coughing, off to a meeting this lunchtime where she has secured some new part time work. Pulled my horns in and stayed in my shell. A quick walk, but mainly very static. I just want to feel well enough to get back into the gym. Very frustrating.

Messaged Toby to pass on my love to Romy, apparently and thank goodness, her eye is improving.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


I definitely have a chest infection.  Beth sick, so we biffed our rehearsal.

I went for a longer walk this morning, hacking as I went, while waiting for briefs to come in. Returned wan and wussy and fancying a lie down. Read more of Gilgamesh. Work came through at lunchtime though, and naturally it was all urgent. Worked till six.

Spoke to Mum twice today. Romy it seems tore a retina last week, and has had laser treatment. Hope she's okay. Toby was with her. Strange how Helen had this last week too. Yikes. Then Mum phoned later to say that Mason has a date for his triple bypass now which is now scheduled for the 22nd of November. They went out to the Chinese restaurant to celebrate.

Cooked tonight for Lorraine and Beth, and then spent the evening hacking on the sofa. We did watch an episode of Humans though, which is quite good.

Voting in the US elections today. My gut tells me it's Trump, but I'm hoping this is just pessimism. Early to bed.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Guardians of the galaxy

Monday and up early with Lorraine. Sent some work off to Paris, and then waited for a briefing that never arrived from Chiswick. However began work on a poem about Japan, and I started reading Andrew George translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh from Penguin Classics.

I had read the earlier Penguin at university, but this is much livelier translation and generally better, able to rely on more finds in broken clay sherds of the Epic poem, in its various versions over time.  Fascinated by the lacunae, of parts of the clay tablets that are still missing.

Beth home and ill with a bad cough and cold. Not feeling much better myself. A productive cough, to use that unpleasant word, and feeling underpowered. Just a short walk around the block today to get Beth some cough sweets.

A note from Helen replying to some work I'd sent her on the Opera, saying she had a torn retina, but had it treated right away. Alarming stuff.

Lorraine out tonight, so I read most of the evening, but watched Guardians of the Galaxy on Netflix while eating spaghetti, which was surprisingly good and I would recommend it. It is a sort of parody of Superhero movies, except it is far better than the things it is parodying.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

A spicy birthday beano

Tired this Sunday morning, Lorraine up early and working on school stuff. I was up and working on bits too. Off for lunch, we walked down to the Chilli Pickle where we met Catherine,Tanya, Guy and Tim to celebrate Catherine's birthday on Friday. A tasty and light Indian meal followed by some icecream in the street and gin and tonic in The Office. Really nice to see everyone, and it was all very cheery and friendly.

After Lorraine and I had walked home, I spent the rest of the time reading. I finished Howard's End is on the Landing which Catherine had said she'd read, and didn't particularly enjoy. The second half of the book was dull. Susan Hill seemed to forget the idea of the book, which was to spend a year reading the books she had left unread in her house, and instead it became a list of 40 books she liked best.

I sat on the sofa reading this while Lorraine worked, an early night with a toast-based snack before bed.

Below Catherine and Lorraine, and Tanya, Guy and Tim.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Family matters

Lorraine off having flu jabs, and nails done and shopping and Beth teaching. I enjoyed a quiet interlude reading books and thinking about poems, having got home late last night. Reading a book called  Howards End is on the landing by Susan Hill, which is a book about books. I seem to want to read at the moment, and do little more.

Then later we drove off to Kent to Pat and Maureen's house where Ken, Lorraine's youngest brother, was with his partner Clare, and Lorraine's nieces Louise and Sarah and nephew Peter were too, with their respective boy and girlfriends. For Ken was having an early fiftieth birthday supper at The Old Mill which is a good pub restaurant. A nice evening, with meaty portions. I was at the end of the table sitting next to Pat and opposite Lorraine and Maureen. Pat on receiving his sorbet said they could least have warmed it up before they brought it.  A cheery waiter made Maureen finish off a piece of mint from her dessert, and Maureen told him with impeccable comic timing that his mint was a bit tough.

It was only the third time I'd met Ken, and I found him a friendly likeable man. He and Clare breed dogs in Ireland in their spare time. They live right in the middle of the country, apparently there are lots of old broken down castles and abandoned stately houses about there.

Ken's daughters Louise and Sarah are respectively a philosopher at university, while Sarah likes acting, which is all a bit Sam and Beth-ish. Must be genetic.

Back to Pat and Maureen's place for a bit for some more chats, before Lorraine drove us home in time to watch Chelsea win 5-0 against Everton and suddenly look like an accomplished team again.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Art, curries and awards

Sneezing and coughing this morning, but this abated once I got going. A smidge of work and a general faff before heading off to Olympia to meet Mum and her pal Pat. Journey fine and I was able to work on the train, cunningly avoiding the worst of the train strike and getting to Olympia early.

Met Mum on the platform, then Pat, who I'd not seen for many a year. Off then into the winter antiques and arts fair, bags checked on entrance and leaving. Interesting stuff there. And several scruffy scraps of drawings from well known artists at exorbitant prices, including, hilariously, a doodle by Lowry which must have taken him a ten seconds to draw with a five figure price tag. Buying this would not be about art, but about art as money. This curmudgeonly thought apart, it was fun. Mum and Pat trying and failing to be methodical about going up the aisles. After a while they grew keen for the next phase of proceedings.

I followed Mum and Pat to their normal routine, of buying a bottle of wine then popping into the curry restaurant. I scored a couple of cans of lager, and we partook of their all you can eat buffet. Mum said she only wanted to eat fish these days.  She also seemed to do a deal with the restaurant about replacing their rubbish art with Margaret Hamlin pieces, but details remained sketchy. After the food was seen off, a skip next door to the pub,  and we chatted there till I had to make off. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into Mum and Pat's regular liaisons.

I tubed down to the Grand at Northumberland Avenue, where there was the YMCA Youth Matters awards. Met Mark and Jo from 11 London outside and went in for the four hour bash, being offered soft drinks and a good meal. Lots of inspirational stories, and a lively awards ceremony, hosted by June Sarpong. A young guy on our table was one of the finalists for the young achiever awards, Dan had turned his life around after suffering from anxiety, being homeless and using cannabis. He volunteered to work in a YMCA scheme in Romania, then has become a youth ambassador. A really nice lad, full of positivity and still only 19. An example of how the YMCA are a really positive influence on some people.

Home very slowly on the train from Blackfriars. Lorraine just about awake still on the sofa. Beth it seems may have another job in the offing, so much happier too. Very happy to be home at around half ten.

Below Mum and Pat in the restaurant. Plus a haunted-looking guy photobombing in the middle.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Out into the Noir

Colder today, and my cold back with renewed vigour, a hacking cough and streaming. However things improved as the day wore on.  Again the Kenny brain veering off in many directions, except, of course, the one I wanted it to. However I sent off the long (95) lines poem I've been working on for ages to Long Poem Magazine. I've been flip flopping between titles for it, but finally settled on The Slow Tsunami. This is all part of my policy of getting everything out there.

Beth got let go from her telemarketing job, as the part of the biz she was working on was no longer profitable. Apparently they did it nicely. Luckily Beth doesn't have all her eggs in one basket, and I was positive with her about getting something new. It was dead convenient though, just being on the other side of the park, part time and flexible so she was a bit down.

I had a cheery evening however. Went to Charlotte's book launch at a room in the John Harvey Tavern, just across the river from the Harvey's brewery. It would have been rude not to have tried the Harvey's in there. A lovely 3% mild too, which I enjoyed, and reminded me of Ansell's Mild that I used to drink as a callow student at Warwick, and living in Leamington.

Usual Lewes crowd, and I no longer feel like an interloper among them. Nice to see Robin, Sarah Barnsley, Stephen Bone, Clare Best, Marion Tracey, Jeremy Page (who'd just returned from a week working in Japan) among others.  Clare 'introduced' Charlotte, but it was very much a home crowd, and everyone feeling happy for her. Her book Noir really is excellent. She's uneasy about reading, but in fact read really well and confidently.

Charlotte's microbiologist brother, whose name was Alex I think, and was over from Long Island, and Sarah, Charlotte the brother and I were bitter enders for a last drink, before home.

Walking to London Road station, then back home from it I saw three or four different foxes.  Home to slip into bed next to a sleeping Lorraine.

Below Charlotte reading.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Snatches of Autumn

Working on French stuff today. My brain sluggish and coldy still. Keep feeling enticed by books, anything in fact other than what I am working on. I wanting only to read books and think about books and poems.

Went for a few walks today, to oxygenate my brain. Particularly nice walking along through a thin strip of woods with the golden crisp leaves underfoot. A feeling of intense happiness pervading me, that only such an Autumnal walk can provide. When I was in my teens and very early twenties I wrote poems about the autumn. But now I mainly think of lovely Autumn poems, such as Keats' Ode To Autumn, and A Leaf Treader by Robert Frost. I have been treading on leaves all day until I am Autumn-tired.

I'm finding such interludes very precious. Working from home means I have the news for company when I am snacking at lunch. And the news is uniformly nauseating, and now Trump suddenly looks like he might be elected. Two political catastrophes in one year.  All the vileness that has been hiding under stones is having its season in the sun, and I find it sickening.

Eventually managed to complete my work, and send it off to France and settled down to do some reading in the late afternoon. Beth came home on a mission to cook today, and fashioned a culinary triumph out of stuffed chicken breast, chard roast veggies and so on, with me peeling, and kitchen portering for her. A lovely meal which Lorraine particularly enjoyed, home from pilates. A cheery happy evening with Lorraine and Betty.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Up and at it

Lorraine up at six and I made up to have breakfast with her downstairs before she went. Quite handy as I had to send some stuff off on the job I was doing for my Chiswick pals just after seven. Lots of work first thing, and then a steady stream till mid-afternoon. Finding the prospect of everything else in the world frequently more enticing than sitting at my desk.

Walked down to the Duke of Wellington town this evening, to rehearse We Three Kings this evening, met Claudius who happened to be downstairs in the pub, and has returned from the US looking fit and well.

The rehearsal focused on the last section of when everyone's on stage, and Beth and the others sorting it all out and beginning to get it blocked. Though a bit tired this evening, it was energising to be with the gang again. Saw a bit of James being Balthazara the cross dressing King, and this will work nicely I think. The next few weeks look dense with rehearsals.

After a quick wetting of the whistle, James drove Beth and I home. Lorraine had a more challenging day unfortunately, and chats with her before bed.

Below the three Kings menacing Beth.