Sunday, January 31, 2016

Misty Morning

A misty morning so I played Misty Morning by Bob Marley on my phone as Lorraine and I were getting up. Lyrics seemed very apposite. A healthy porridge breakfast and then off to a garden centre to buy a large pot to plant the magnolia tree Anton bought for us.

We mixed bought compost with that from our very own composter. Good to have created chocolatey coloured compost from all those peelings and clippings. Oddly good to get my hands muddy. The ground despite us being chalky here and on the side of a hill quite waterlogged. The plants confused due to El Niño and global warming. A large fox poo outside the house, caused by wanton vulpine carelessness.

A quiet afternoon. Lorraine cooked the most amazing chicken pie tonight. Pie perfection. My wife has many talents. Pies are just one.

Speaking to Janet, Mum and Toby this afternoon. Toby in Ottowa airport.

Felling well rid of January. Looking to get a grip, starting tomorrow.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Burny mouth time

A happy day. Re-hanging pictures in the main room. L & I using calculations and precise measurements. Time to take in the carpet, which we are both well pleased with in terms of colour. It also makes the room noticeably warmer and larger seeming. A few other bits and pieces done, a much needed low-key day.

In the evening Dawn came around and we sauntered down to the Joker to meet Anton. Feeling suddenly stressed and horrid when I got there, but a chat with Anton and a glass of beer soon rectified all this. Great to see Anton and Dawn although the Joker a bit elbowy and busy it being January payday Friday. Although Dawn assertively got a free round of drinks while we were waiting and also got the DJ to turn down the music. Takes some skill to be able to select only mediocre soul music from the 70s.

After we had sufficiently burny mouths (Anton and I had Woof Woof Wings), back to the Preston Park Tavern for an final drink before going home.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Living for the weekend

Work less intense, and I found myself with enough time to go for a stroll around the park and into the walled garden, trying to get my head together. Draining week, and I'm just living for the weekends at the moment.  Beth and I also secured the booking for the Box theatre in the Warren.

Celebrated with a twenty minute doze on the sofa went out with Lorraine, back from a two day conference for headteachers (talking heads apparently). I had missed her. Pushed off to the Preston Park Tavern and sat looking at the map of Belgium and talking to Lorraine and drinking a couple of pints of Doom Bar beer and then feeling the assorted unpleasantnesses of the week abating. I am warming to my local. Lorraine talking about the conference. Apparently the heads had a boogie on Thursday night, which sounds fun.  Beth joined us and we all had a bite to eat. A beef burger for me, and the second one in a about four or five years. It was delicious.

Home feeling decompressed and cheerful.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pressing on

Pressing on, rewriting brochures, tweaking a script, talking to Dave about scamps etc. Marginally more optimistic, with no crisis and able to glimpse the end of the week. As Lorraine was at a headteacher's conference & Beth was out I scored myself some fish and chips, then went for a walk down to the sea and along the seafront under the iSore and along a bit. Good to breath some air after having been manacled to my desk for the last few days. Dark and blowy, but not very cold. Listening to the mildly-diverting debaucheries of Keith Richards as I walked.

Will go with Mum to Diane's funeral in a fortnight, I'd like to pay my respects and good to be with Mum there too.

Facebooked by Nicki Rose, or Ricki Nose as Reuben, First Matie and I called her quite often, who'd found a farewell poem I'd written her a frightening 21 years ago. It was based on Lake Isle of Innisfree by Yeats for some reason. Nicki was leaving IBM to work for Walt Disney: "You will arise and go now, and go to Walt Disney/And a small empire build there, of duck and rodent made:/Pocohontas will you have there, a Pooh for the honey tree/And steamy Donal' Ducks in the bee-loud glade. // So farewell then Nicki, we're sad you're set on going/But with your cartoon face, and animated features/With your tranquil temperament and aspect glowing/You're a natural among the cartoon creatures." Quite sweet, although the steamy duck business a bit ribald. I was sitting opposite Nicki when I was briefly into Reiki. One day she passed out at her desk, and in the first aid room I gave her a spot of Reiki, much to the outrage of the first aider who suspected I was some kind of pervert.

In other news Betty and I sorting out some photos for A Glass of Nothing. Here's one....

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A sad day

Lorraine up at six as usual. I blearily looked at my phone after a bit and saw a message from Toby saying that Diane had died. She had been ill for a long time. Got up and did some work to send off early, then called Mum. She is naturally sad, but pleased that her suffering is over. Mum saying how cancer had got her three oldest friends, Maureen, Betty Tostevin and now Diane.

I've known Diane all my life, and as Mum's and Di had known each other since they were 15, always seems to have been one of the characters in my life. She was a spirited woman and funny to the point of trying her hand at stand up. She once invited me (something of a privilege) to a gig called Pear Shaped in Fitzrovia - she was pretty good, and her writing was strong.

Six or seven years ago she had a study which overlooked the South Thames construction site in London. Having just attended a course by the poet John Hegley, Diane told me that one day she decided to pen a poem about the driver of the crane she found herself watching every day. Most people would have left it at that. But Diane, having written her poem, approached the company, BAM, to ask them if she could read her poem to the crane’s driver on Red Nose Day. They readily agreed, and after she done a reading of her poem, she was then hoist into the sky where the photo below was taken.

The rest of the day I spent under the Nazgûl's wing feeling by turns sad, extremely stressed and overworked. This interspersed with a few chats with Beth about admin for the play.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


A stress festival. Up early with Lorraine having to drag the six foot square bookcase outside, so the carpet could be laid. Then to work, as there is loads of screamingly urgent work to be done.

The carpet people came around, both very pleasant, but lots of noise inevitably, and questions asked and so on. Any progress on my own work was hard-won. The carpet looks great once down, however. Just as they were leaving, a passing neighbour asked if they could have the bookcase, which we have been trying to get rid of. Brilliant. Half killed myself getting it up the road with neighbours and Betty but a result.

Beth and I then stepped back into the house to admire the carpet, when Beth noticed a sound like a shower. Actually it was a flood and water was streaming down from Lorraine and my top floor bedroom and dripping off the live lightbulbs. Action stations, and thank goodness Beth was there, who called the emergency plumber while I turned the electricity off and having called Lorraine located the water main out in the street and turned off the water main. The dripping into buckets continued for some time. Lorraine came back from school for a bit, as the plumber arrived. An efficient, friendly man. The problem was the shower had come apart in the wall, having been a botch job by the previous owner. Luckily having been in the house there was little damage done. If had happened yesterday, when everybody was out all day it would have been an utter disaster. Luckily we have two showers in the house, as this one is capped off now. En-suite bathroom needs fixing.

Meanwhile urgent work getting even more urgent. Conversation with Matt about the overarching relationship with client. Lorraine, having been told what to do by plumber, able to restore power to my study so I could work. Half the house still off though. Worked hard from mid-afternoon to get some of it done, feeling very stressed indeed.

Then more humping and carrying with Beth, and putting curtains up in the main room. All looking good. Lorraine arrived and Beth cooked PK comfort food of pasta, gratefully scarfed. Then I spent an hour looking for the house insurance. All the documents were pdf and online, but this year's renewal was found eventually by Lorraine as it had been posted to me instead, with zero email trail.

At ten o'clock I drank a single can of beer, then went to bed with Lorraine who was shattered after another day's headteachering -- with an interlude of flood management. We've had better days. A poor week so far. I hate Januaries.

Monday, January 25, 2016


Up in the dark under the light of a full moon. Lorraine up early, and off. Me up early and off to London. Not before having an explosively upset stomach, so bad I wondered if I should stay at home. But I went anyway, nervous that I was going to soil myself on the crowded train. Especially when it was being delayed for an extra half an hour crawling towards Clapham. Arrived at the agency where I was greeted very warmly, with Suzie, Jo and Yas all leaping up to kiss me, and Matt and Steve giving me a friendly shakes of the hand.

Working with Dave briefly trying to salvage something from the time we had. Then to the Charity to receive ten pages of feedback on a clutch of material I'd written for them. Feedback included the fact they don't like the world 'For', and my word choice in one case was a bit wussy, in another place it was patronising, there it was old-fashioned and in two places cheesy. The cheesy phrase was particularly singled out for praise by another part of the same charity, but hey-ho. Manged to keep smiling. But a nice chat with Jo on the train back to London, she's about the same age as Beth and loves acting.

At 'Clappers' (as a woman walking past me was calling it) I risked eating: a small chicken and leek pastry which when I bit into it on the train was empty inside. Walking home from Preston Park glancing up the hill looking at the just-past-full moon. The carpet being laid tomorrow, so moving furniture about the house from the downstairs in a lumbering and heavy version of Tetris. Cats nervous and excitable. Lorraine had a hard day at work, after a poor night's sleep the previous night. We need to organise a poster for A Glass of Nothing, apparently. I need to finish writing the bloody thing, when I get a break.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Moving everything about

A day of dragging things about the house, down to the dungeon or up to the spare room in preparation for carpet laying next week. And lots of discussion about furniture too. Lorraine working, and me attempting to catch up with some of the backlog of my own work. Feeling a bit frustrated that everything is on hold at the moment. But managed to at least enter a poetry competition.

Waiting for the pair of numpties who contacted us about collecting the shelves to collect them. They didn't, and accused us of being shitty when we asked them why they hadn't turned up.

Nice chats with Mum, and with Toby too who was at Deviation Road. Managed to say hi and have brief chats with Joan and Dick and Romy too, and glimpse out of the windows at a snowy Deviation Road. They need to get Star Trek beaming sorted. Would have been fabulous to beam over for a chat.

Listening in snatches to the audiobook of A Life by Keith Richards (and ghostwritten by James Fox) which is interesting. And what a life it is.

The view from our bedroom this morning.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Date night

Saturday and a good deal more cheery. Lovely day spent with Lorraine, even though it was spent doing things like taking stuff to the tip, and beginning to sort out the front room in readiness for the carpet people now coming on Tuesday.

In the afternoon walked across to Anton's house to give Klaudia her birthday present, which was a golden ticket. With Beth's help I hunted down a street dancing show at The Dome, which will be fun for both of us. Klaudia 12 today, which is a shaker. She had also been on the ghastly and terrifying ride at the end of the pier today, three times, with her pal Mia. Anna came round while we were there too, I'd not seen her for a while. She, Anton, Anne and the bairns off for a birthday feed.

Lorraine and I went to the Shakespeare's Head for a quick glass or two of beer, before going to the Shahi. Really enjoyed sitting in there chatting. Felt like a bit of a date night, and I felt the Nazgûl wing lifting. We were all done and on our way home by a very sensible eight o'clock however. I watched a SF film with Tom Cruise called Oblivion which was a bit poor and derivative, but ticked the escapism box.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Under the Nazgûl's wing

Working very early to finish another bit of Chad work off. Still in all work and no play mode. Luckily managed to get done by noon.

Was able to zoom into town to The Bath Arms to have a papal audience with Catherine Pope. A welcome cheery interlude and good to see her, in her Hogarthian Dr Martens. Had a restrained couple of drinks and some food and generally put the world to rights for a while. She is always full of things that make me laugh. Apparently Tanya calls her Spider Pope when she is in her gym going lycra, and she was dressed in this when her stalker (for she has an over-intense Student admirer) sprang out at her from behind some large bins as she was returning home from the gym. Apparently she screamed, not something one expects from a Spider Pope.

Heard from Richard that Holly his little border terrier had died. I know he and Jane will be sad about that. I really enjoyed going for walks with Richard in the morning when I stayed with them with Rufus and Holly surging about near the sea, and walking about in the lounge skilfully avoiding walking on the rug for reasons of their own.

Home with mysteriously exploding guts, thought I had food poisoning from the fish I ate at lunch, but  I rallied magnificently to eat a bit of pizza later. Last thing on Friday received 10 pages of carping from the client about the latest piece of work I have done with them. There is a meeting on Monday to discuss this with them. Feeling under the Nazgûl's wing about all this and it put me in a poor mood to the weekend.

A snap I took of Rufus and Holly six years ago.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A glimpse of sea

Another day of copyslogging. I've never had the experience of writing so much based on a short lived experience (going to Chad) before. Every day I am in one way or another having to relive the the things I learned there. Making me think how ghastly post-traumatic stress disorder must be. For me Chad was benign, but I learned the other day that the area we visited will, this spring, be classified as subject to extreme hunger trending towards starvation. Having met some who this will fate will fall on, it is a very hard thing to think about.

A much needed jolt of positive feedback on a couple of things I'd written today from the client via Matty. In a short lull between jobs I had another walk. It being such a bright and clear day that it seemed mad not to. Walked up my road to the top of the hill, then took a long circular route home again. It's good for mental clarity to be able to glimpse the downs and the distant sea reflecting the low sun.

Beth at home today, recording some stuff for an audition and kindly cooking supper with squeaky haloumi cheese. Spoke to Mum on facetime, and also have, thanks to Anton, found a new app called Skygamblers where I can pretend for ten minutes every now and then to shoot down WW2 airplanes from my own virtual WW2 airplane, which is obviously tremendously satisfying.

In the evening, waiting for Lorraine to return home, taking a leaf out of Lucy WithaY's JFDI book, I sent off a complicated invoice and some poems to an online magazine called Zoomorphic.  Lorraine home and needing to be fed and watch the detectives after pilates. Once Lorraine had fallen asleep (having got up very early and worked hard) I finished reading Citizen by Claudia Rankine. An improving book about subtle and not so subtle racism against black people, mainly in America. Can't say I loved it though.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Lost and found

Another slogging-all-day day. Managed to slope out for a 45 mins walk early afternoon, after a pleasant and efficient electrician called Kenny had come and brought dazzling light to one of our lightless bathrooms. Being manacled to the desk all day is far from good for you. As I was almost home again, Beth called me having returned to a Mary Celeste home.

More work then I had a Facebook messenger chat with cousin Wendy in Denman Island in British Columbia, Canada. It feels really nice to be connected again after such a long time. Her facebook reveals her surrounded by beautiful nature and various animals from pet rats to ponies. We spent a summer together when Toby and I were kids in Guernsey. I was 11 and Wendy was 13 and we got on really well. I've never seen her since then, although we have been in touch once or twice. I have a golden eagle feather on my desk that Wendy once sent me.

Lorraine home and after we'd eaten a pasta chicken bake, Lorraine and I went out for another walk to discuss the day. Although it was -2 outside, appropriate weather for this time of year at least, and made coming home into the warmth very nice. Read more of Citizen by Claudia Rankine. Interesting book.

Slogging on Sunday

A dusting of snow this morning. The ranks of white roofs, and the glimpses of the distant downs looking pretty from our bedroom.

Beth had arranged for people to buy at a nominal price our 6ft by 6ft book case (as we are having shelves put in, instead). Two numpties turned up with a roofrack on a car and no money, and left with a promise to return. Not something I am looking foward to particularly.

Sadly L and I both working Sunday. Lorraine going through piles of files downstairs. Me in my study writing various Chad related charity stuff, then managing to send out an actual poetry manuscript to a competition. A nice roast supper, and then a walk around the dark streets. Lorraine watched one of her favourite programmes Call the Midwife, a bit of footy then bed with the sense that the weekend had been all too brief.

A glimpse out of the window, and some quickly departing snow dust.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Citizen Tetch

Thank God for Saturday. Up eventually after putting the world to rights talking with Lorraine in bed over the breakfast I brought up. Eventually Lorraine off to get her hair cut (and as traditional returning with it looking longer). I had a precious hour in which to read. Some of which I gave to Claudia Rankine's Citizen. Interesting book which has won lots of awards for poetry, but -- whisper it -- the bulk of it is prose.

Into town, where I met the sleek-haired Lorraine, we did a spot of shopping before drifting into a restaurant called The Sahara, where we joined Hus, Janet and Ken, Ray and Sonia and several of Hus's friends including Cesare, whom I sat opposite, to celebrate Hus's fiftieth birthday. Food nice, and interesting and pleasant people, mostly academics. One of them, Ben, was talking about the influence of Heidegger on architecture, which I found interesting having studied Heidegger in the past, and having briefly worked at the Architects' Journal.

Then home for a bit of a sprawl, then I was off out again to meet Anton. Lorraine deciding the sofa was too attractive and so stayed home with Beth. Met Anton in the Paris House and went to a couple more pubs afterwards to change scenes. A cheery evening, as usual and much to discuss.

The taxi driver taking a deliberately long route home afterwards. Going round Sark to get to Herm. I am aware that I am a bit tetchy at the moment, but accepting my Buddhist knowledge of projecting onto other people and so on, I find some folks setting out to work my nerve at the moment.

Below: man of the hour Hus sporting the restaurant's traditional birthday sombrero.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Poet's AGM

Working by 7:30 and a quick five hours work on freelance stuff, before I hared around cleaning the house and buying a few snacks. The AGM of Telltale poets was held today at Kenny Towers with Sarah Barnsley, Siegfried Baber, Catherine Smith, Robin and myself. The house not at its best with no carpet and so on, but never mind. Sonia zooming about and laughing conspiratorially with me before they came.

AGM went on for several hours, with a full agenda and some highly-talkative people present. Catherine left, taking my specs with her, which we only found out later. Sieg had to zoom back to Bath, and Robin, Sarah and I went to the Preston Park Tavern for a cheeky drink. Just after Robin left Lorraine and Beth arrived, and we had supper when Sarah got the bus home.

Very nice to be with Lorraine and Betty at the end of the week.  And relax.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Two days of all work and no play making Peter an exceedingly dull boy and feeling a bit Jack-Nicholson-in-the-Shining-ish.

However I did get a message from my cousin Wendy on Denman Island, who I'd found on Facebook on Wednesday, which was cool.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Station to Station

A tap on the door at eight and I had forgotten that Cass had come around again to build a few wee shelves in my office, so had to work downstairs. Cass whistling Life on Mars by David Bowie. However off to Chiswick a bit later, quite enjoying a bit of a commute. Managed to pop into Waterstones and using the present of a Waterstones card I'd been given, I bought poetry books by Claudia Rankine, Sarah Howe and Don Patterson.

Then into a room to work with Dave the art director on a welcome pack.

On the train home I read Don Paterson's 40 Sonnets. Not much time to do anything other than work, or exist under the shadow of work. Interesting things like poems and books and all the other stuff I want to think about seem incredibly vivid and out of reach edge.

Beth had cooked a healthy supper as I was late and Lorraine was doing her Pilates.  My new shelves are great. Enjoyed rearranging my study before bed, listening to Station to Station, one of the Bowie albums I liked most as a teenager. Not listened to it properly in decades. Although recorded in LA, I had thought it was all coke-fueled middle European angst and rootlessnes, but I read on the internet that it may have been something to do with stations of the cross too. Word on a Wing is effectively a prayer.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A hero ascends

Lorraine still enjoying work, though the six o'clock starts aren't so clever. Woke up twice, once when my phone peeped with news of David Bowie's death, and a second time blearily to find Lorraine had left me a cup of tea, like a tea fairy this morning before heading off to school. Still warm too. 

I'm not one for mourning people who I never met too much, but I did feel sad at Bowie's passing or, to put it another way, grateful for his having been here in the first place. There are different Bowies, and while I quite liked his early incarnations I found it all a bit too pantomime to be truly taken to heart, unlike the frowny prog I liked at the time. However there were several of his albums I absolutely loved. Young Americans, Station to Station and most of all, Heroes. In later years I've come to like most of the earlier stuff too. And I had just started enjoying his Blackstar album too. 

Otherwise I woke early and tried to write some poems or bits of anything before the work came in. One of those days when the work arrived in unsatisfactory dribs and drabs. Had a soupy noodle lunch with Beth in the kitchen. She was recording an audition video to send off to some people doing an independent film in Portsmouth. She has got her go-faster stripes on.

Quietly tending to a shattered Lorraine when she got home (after we'd carried a few things about the place). 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cream of the crop

Up late, after sitting in bed with Lorraine and working on a letter she needs to send out to parents. Then up and my lovely wife cooked a sunday roast chicken for lunch.

Then I was collected by Robin and we drove up to the South Bank this afternoon to attend the TS Eliot awards shortlist reading at the South Bank - which is the biggest poetry reading on the year's calendar and features readings from the cream of the crop of last year's poetry publications. Robin's car on its last legs, and about to be replaced by one big enough to take Nick's keyboard, a heavy organ. The motorway blocked by an accident so it took us quite a while to get there. But we'd set out early, so there was plenty of time.

A brilliant way to get a snapshot of what's happening in poetry. Most interesting of the eight finalists to me were Claudia Rankine and Sarah Howe. Claudia read a long poem about identity, saying something like we should consider ourselves architects of the personal pronoun, enjoyable if mystifying and repetitious. I needed to read that on the page. And Sarah Howe, who read a long poem extremely well from memory. I also liked Don Paterson's reading from his book 40 sonnets. All the other poets work was excellent too.

In other business, Robin and I sloping about like teenagers in a disco trying to find people to chat up. However as soon as we stopped trying we started bumping into a few people, including at the end of the event, Nancy Mattson and her husband Mike. Nancy I was introduced to by Rhona decades ago, but have never known well. But she is always extremely friendly. Robin and I then navigating back through south London to Brighton.

Below the very interesting Claudia Rankine. Robin and I were in the second row, so had fantastic seats.

Saturday, January 09, 2016


A relaxed, slow start to the day. Lots of talking that we hadn't had energy to do over the week.  Then an organisational day, doing things like drilling holes above the window in the front room so we could hang the curtains again, and then hanging curtains. I like doing things like this with Lorraine, as I have little confidence as a DIY person without her. A visit to the carpet shop nearby too, to discuss carpets. The colour of a carpet is a fiendishly difficult decision sometimes. Also went to get the car washed (by dour hooded men under the viaduct) and visit Miss Mole's Flower Emporium (the owner kissing Lorraine hello) where I bought a terrarium for Lorraine to have in her new office. If Lorraine had her life again I think she might work with Miss Mole in her flower emporium. It is a fragrant place.

Then Lorraine cooked a gorgeous fish pie, and we watched a little TV before she conked out. I stayed up and watched some episodes of Nathan Barley a cult comedy of which only half a dozen episodes were made ten years ago. Full of excellent people and very interesting, but a kind of brilliant failure.

Below inside the car as it washed.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Low key

An unremarkable day doing bits of work for the agency and chatting to a few folks on the phone. Sonia arrived and shared some theories about Incas, which made me laugh. Much more cheerful as the day progressed. A short walk too. Listening to David Bowie's Backstar which is his new album. Rather good in parts. Happy to have reached the end of the week. Lorraine really happy to be home, and to have successfully negotiated her first week as a headteacher.

Below a quick walk this afternoon but soon had to return home.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Niggled by doubts

Lorraine up and off again. Me sipping the tea Lorraine brought me before springing up and working on a few agency bits this morning, and standing in the kitchen practising some poems, in a last minute attempt to get myself ready for this evening. Managed to leave home late, then the train I caught up to London was delayed, however I made it to the Poetry Cafe just in time, but feeling stressed. Siegfried Baber had come up from Bath, he's becoming a more relaxed rand confident reader. Also Kitty Coles, who I'd not met before but whose poetry I liked, dealing with mythology and quite psychological. Our main reader was Jack Underwood, who is a Faber poet, and therefore accomplished and original. I followed that, but it was a day when I was niggled by doubts about my own work and had the sense that by the time it came to me I was a bit of an unappetising pudding, and I felt I read to stony faces. Robin said I held my own.

A quick drink in the pub afterwards with Robin and another poet called Hilaire. A swifty in there, but we had to make off just as Jack arrived. Then Robin and I jumped into a cab that for £15 took us a few hundred yards in a gridlock. Scrambled out on the Strand and tubed it to Victoria. We got the dividing train together, which took Robin to Eastbourne and me to Preston Park. Lorraine in bed when I got home, and having not eaten I had a bite of bread and cheese and watched an episode of Family Guy before I went to bed at 1 o'clock.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Starting school

Lorraine springing off as today was her first day with a full school. I spent much of the day writing more Chad stuff in concentrated way while Cass downstairs cheerily painting our front room. Beth lurking in her room. My office cluttered with bits from around the house. Hosing rain for much of the day. Between rain I went to the carpet shop around the corner to pick up some samples and have a long chat with the carpet lady who was friendly and had theories about how men and women see colours differently. Also bought flowers for Lorraine, which she did not clap eyes on till almost ten o'clock.

Lorraine tarrying at school until she went to pilates. Beth and I sloped off to the Preston Park Tavern, where Lorraine joined us for supper and a good debriefing on what sounded like a successful first day. Lorraine animated and cheery - although with a sense that there is much to be done. Home and early to bed.

Monday, January 04, 2016


Lorraine springing out of bed at six in the morning, and off to work fairly pronto. This is effectively the first day of her job, but the teachers and children don't arrive till tomorrow and she spent it sorting out her office. I sprang up too, slightly more gingerly due to the back gyp, and was at my desk early too.

Chad stuff today, though needing to work on gusto levels which were lowish. Cass arrived at 8 o'clock to decorate the front room, filling the larger craters in the plaster and so on to tuneless whistling and singing to the radio, which I found oddly comforting. A really hard working, friendly guy doing honest work as I skulked in the Kenny nerve centre.

At lunch a brisk walk down to Miss Mole's Flower Emporium (Lorraine's favourite shop) to buy her a present. It doesn't open till tomorrow. Later Lorraine and I decided to go at the weekend, where I shall buy her a larger present. When she got home and we cooked a curry with chicken and cauliflower and lots of onions, but were unable to repair to the gold sofa as this is in the room being redecorated. Instead up to our bedroom, where Betty joined us when she got home later too discuss what Lorraine should be wearing tomorrow, and select a photo of her that I'd just taken to put on the school website.  We opted for this one, which is quite friendly for a headteacher. Very unlike the Molesworth headteachers I was looking at later.

Sunday, January 03, 2016


A terrible night's sleep, and Lorraine having a badly upset stomach in the night. The day spent with Lorraine, John and I getting the front room ready for Cass who is coming to paint the walls. Shudder-inducing to put things in boxes, as if we were moving house again. Managed too to tweak my back abominably too. For it is a PK tradition to have some kind of a spinal gripe in January.

Lorraine and I decided to buy some furniture today too, a table and chairs and a small sideboard. We are going to have our front room looking spiffy soon.

Quick Facetime chats with Mum and Mas, who I interrupted watching Montealbano on the iPad, and with the Tobster for he and Romy now back from Japan, and have thankfully not experienced the kind of turbulence that afflicted an Air Canada flight from China. Girding his loins for the great return to work. Can't say I am suffused with enthusiasm right now, but it will come. Lorraine, in contrast, getting stuff sorted for her first day at the new school. Her teachers and children arrive on Tuesday. Exciting.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

The last feast

Off shopping with Lorraine today, who had a long list of things to buy for her new job and returned with none of them. I, in contrast, although unable to find a pad with yellow lined paper, managed to buy a new jumper and jacket for I am toying with the idea of making this year the year of the Peacock, in which I compensate for the scorns of time by strutting about in a gaudy new plumage.

Home, and then Lorraine and I went off with Beth down to The Shahi where we met John, who we'd not seen since before Christmas and strapped on the nosebags, and were given a bottle of wine for New Year. Drawing to a close the official season of gormandising. Now for a season of self-restraint and health, if only so I can fit into my new jacket with more elan.

John got me a Cinematic Orchestra album called the Man with the movie camera, which I enjoyed a great deal when he played it me recently.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Iron resolution

Traditional start the new year, a run-over somewhat maimed feeling, having drunk a fair amount at Anton's house last night. Got up carefully, fed the cats and returned with a cup of tea for my lovely wife, who being far more sensible than me was in fine form. After weighing myself I forged an iron resolution not to overeat for, due to some species of medical anomaly, I appear to weigh more than two entire kilos more than I did this time yesterday.

The day's plan involved picking up Rosie, zooming to Dawn's house for brunch, then galloping about on the Downs. We retrieved a hungover Rosie and Lorraine drove us to Steyning, where the normally bubbly Dawn confessed had consumed two Tuacas and some Prosecco the night before, which for Dawn is a skinful, and so was a tad jaded too, so instead we sat about in Dawn's cottage talking for hours. Dawn administered Berroca, delicious quiche and salad, coffee and prune and banana muffins and delicious squares of chocolate tiffin and then I engulfed a slice of Christmas cake, the Kenny iron resolution pretty shabby by this point.

Spent the next few hours chatting with the ladies, before we were ready for a brisk walk around Steyning in a refreshing light rain. The ladies had spent the afternoon talking animatedly about education, what with Lorraine starting her new job. Dawn and I are also hatching a plan for a new course to run in schools.

Then back to Brighton, dropping Rosie home after she had called in on a colleague to collect a gift of a dead plant, and collecting Betty from the station, a touch subdued after a lively New Year's Eve with Olivia and Emily in their old stomping ground, and not getting to bed till 5 o'clock. 

I cooked a vegetarian meal.  Then after a spot of TV I spent a happy hour or so  flat on my back on the gold sofa with Spotify on my laptop blissfully playing jazz. An early night, Lorraine and I sober as a judges.

Happy new year everyone.