Thursday, June 30, 2016

A sigh of relief

Wan and baggy eyed this morning. Lorraine gave me a lift to the station again, a life saver, and then another journey (this time with a seat!) and another word with myself. Texts to Anton about a weekend walk, text to Beth telling her how good she was in this wee film about not using mirrors when you go shopping for clothes. It is a silly idea but Beth was splendid in it. (Daily Mail again. Seems we can't keep out of it in this house. And Jane in Guernsey of course). You can tell by how the director cut it that they liked her.  But before these a text to Lorraine thanking her for her kindness and organisation in the morning.

Meanwhile in scenes that would be hilarious if it weren’t making the UK a laughing stock, the idiot Boris Johnson who led the leave campaign and was teed up to replace Cameron was stabbed in the back by the odious Michael Gove, who suddenly announced himself as a candidate and said Boris wasn’t up to the job.  Et Tu Gove was one headline I saw online. The one moment in Gove’s mimsy, narrow-minded infliction on the British public of a career that I have agreed with him. For Gove I almost have a visceral loathing. The Labour party is tearing itself apart too. The MPs openly calling on Corbyn to resign, but he won’t go being backed by grassroots Labour Party membership. Stalemate while Rome burns. Useless.

So what is to be done. I repeat my mantra copped from the Mahatma, be the change you want to see. Did my best to be positive and spread cheer. However was sorely tested by being moved from desk to desk, not having a functioning computer till noon and so on. Then left in a curious limbo. There is work to be done but nobody seems to want me to do it. I’m only booked till the end of the week. Have a smidge more work teed up for next week, so all’s well.


Home and glory of glories, the train was not delayed, I got home before 8pm, I had no work to do. A sigh of relief. Lorraine already busy preparing couscous and roast veggies. I griddled some chicken and we talked. Then Betty came home and told us about her chaperoning adventures on a blockbuster superhero film, then we hit the sack early. Lorraine off to bed, but I paused briefly to watch the end of the yawn inducing Portugal against Poland game. A penalty shoot out. To bed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Controlling my own conduct

Mas had his neck operation, and is okay. I thought they were putting a stent in but Mum things they didn’t. It was successful however.

Up blearily with Lorraine, who drove me to Preston Park my train was on time. But the delayed earlier train arrived at the station a few minutes before, broke down and so when the train came it had two trainloads on it. Had to stand up as far as Farringdon, for over an hour and a half.  However I used this time, squidged half into a the luggage space to have a word with myself about everything. Decided that the only thing I can control is my own conduct, and had better look to it, and decided to preachily share this on Facebook. You can be the change you want to see.

Work fine. Still enjoying working with Fernanda. With the growing amount of people at the Tavistock Square agency, I find the whole process has become more complicated, and instead of being able to drive things along I am asked to do not too much.  Curiously this is not relaxing at all. A short stroll around the square at lunch. It is an island of loveliness.

However there were comments from my lovely French clients, which I again had to work on while home. Started supper, as my lovely was late, and then when she came in tried to finish off the amends. Tiredness and a the pages program on iMac working in weird ways meant it frustratingly took forever. Managed to finish at 10:30. The weekend is looking super appealing at the moment, having worked through last weekend, and in the mornings on the train (apart of course from this morning) and at nights since.


Rather wan and worn out by the time I slumped into bed. Trying to think about the money.

Below a broken train and people waiting for the next one at Preston Park. In Tavistock Square.  







Tuesday, June 28, 2016

All work, little or no play

Started working on the train at 7:30. A decent journey for once, and I had a seat where I could work, though had to ask the man opposite me to move his computer. I did so extremely politely, he moved it full of wordless anger. Train journey's do not bring out the best in people. Work fine, but draggy. Worked though lunch. Angelically Lorraine collected me from the station, and cooked while I went upstairs to work again. I finished a little after 10. Somewhat dull boyishly went to bed.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Working while England fails

Lorraine dropped me off at the station this morning, then up to London. Working on my French stuff in the train as it delayed its way up to London. Full day at work, working through lunch. Thank goodness I am working with Fernanda at the moment, which makes the days fairly easy. A moment of respite looking down on the trees of Tavistock Square, talking about photography with her. Mentioned Pete Caton, who was in Chad with me, and he messaged me for the first time every about five minutes after. Very strange.

Then home again, relaxing on the delayed train home. Lorraine had cooked and we had supper together. As I got home England were playing the mighty Iceland, and it was already 1-1. Soon Iceland scored another goal. I worked from there on the French stuff,  before coming downstairs to see the final whistle and England's most embarrassing ever loss. Coming after Brexit, the loss of a football came seemed small fry. But there was something in a bewildering loss, the immediate managerial resignation and so on that seemed very familiar. England must have a terrible horoscope at the moment.

The country is reeling. Racist attacks have more than doubled, Johnson, Gove and the vile Farage have disavowed their patently ludicrous pre election promises. Now there a yawning leadership vacuum. Meanwhile the Labour party are trying unsuccessfully to rid itself of the unelectable Corbyn. Meanwhile in places like the Telegraph already blaming the lack of stiff upper lip on the problems of the country. I have never known a time when my country has found itself on such unsteady ground.

Working till 11:30, Lorraine already half asleep, and watching The Great British Sewing Bee on her iPad. Sleep.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hungover and working

A very slow start to Sunday. A hungover Lorraine needing tea and breakfast in bed. When I finally got up I spoke to mum, who was also lamenting Brexit. Mas has his stent operation next week at the Royal Free, and will be in hospital for a couple of days afterwards. I am hoping to see them next week after work in London.

Working again today too. Chiz. Did some billing, and tried for several hours to work on the French stuff. Brain all over the place though, and no progress made. Strayed into the garden briefly to pick some tayberries and lament the slug infested jungle it has become.  Lorraine working today too. In between everything, obsessive reading about the Brexit disaster and its ramifications. Spoke to Janet today, she'd been ill in the week, and I hope to be able to see her next weekend.

Supper with Lorraine, full of vegetable goodness. Got a poetry rejection after several months from Rialto. Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Dancing helps

Woke up with a headache. Saturday, but work to be done. Working for mes amis in Paris during the day. Then in the afternoon, a sleep. Messages with the Tobster about Brexit, we feel the same about it. Find myself looking at the news websites, for half-hourly updates, looking at Facebook, my newsfeed full of lamentation and horror, for the majority of my friends were remainers. However hard I look at this news, I cannot find a single positive thing about it. It is the most profound political crisis of my lifetime, and entirely self-inflicted.

If in doubt, drink. So off this evening with Lorraine to The Evening Star, where we met Glen, over from Greece, Richard and Steve. Really nice to see them all, and swig some real ale and catch up on the gossip. Then after an hour and a half off to Reuben and Claire's house for a party. With dancing, Lorraine and I both dancing a good deal, with the Turners, Reuben, Claire and Japhy spinning some rather good tunes. Reuben gave Lorraine several Reubentinis, made of cassis, vodka and prosecco. We walked home with our top hats askew very late. Some anguished chat about the Brexit with folks, but mainly simply a good time. Dancing helps.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A black day in the sunshine

Woke up feeling better than I had done all week, and so was able to go to work. An unrealistically gorgeous sunny day. At this point the day turned into a paranoid Philip K Dick novel. Or that short story by Ray Bradbury A Sound of Thunder when a time traveller steps on a butterfly and on returning to the present, finds that the sinister Deutsche has won the presidential election. A day imbued with a feeling of nightmarish unreality.

Although I had gone to sleep to predictions of a narrow remain vote victory, the Brexit vote resulted in a narrow victory for the leave campaign. This is the darkest day I have ever experienced politically. As the stock markets and pound plunged, my phone peeped and the news of Cameron's resignation came through on my Guardian app. My involuntary swear, meant I told the people around me, maybe because the train was from Brighton (a bastion of remain) that everyone sighed. Amazing that a Prime Minister's resignation is just a footnote to a day of historical disaster.

The young bloke next to me said the BBC site had crashed. When I got to the agency, everyone was shellshocked.  London voted convincingly for remain too. But then the agency is full of young people who this madness will hurt more than anyone. To take one case, Fernanda (who is Brazilian) is just about to buy a house, and plunged into worry about whether this is the right thing to do now.

The working day went quite well, however, and I managed to make up lost ground from yesterday. My brain working at last having been in some kind of cold storage all day. Train home, after absorbing all the dire news and looking at the bewildered and angry Facebook stream. Brexiteer friends on my timeline remaining very quiet about from a bit some self-righteous stuff about accepting the majority decision. The motivation for the leavers seems to have been around migration, as xenophobia and racism were stirred up shamelessly by the leave campaign. Keep thinking of 1930s Germany and how joke candidates nobody would take seriously suddenly become our leaders. We are a few steps away from this. Meanwhile Labour leader Corbyn has shown himself to be spectacularly inept and weak. He must go too.

So back home to Lorraine, very pleased to be with her tonight of all nights. To the Preston Park Tavern for a bite to eat and some beer, before we sloped home to an uncertain future.

Feeling rough

Feeling really rough this morning, aching body, very tired and sore throated but dragged myself out of bed. Lorraine gave me a lift to the station, only to find the usual train chaos, now exacerbated by flooding from unusually heavy thunderstorms. My train, when it came, was standing room only. By then I had realised I was feeling too unwell to stand all the way to London. The next train was delayed by half an hour. Had a bit of a crisis of indecision on the platform. It is no good for a freelancer to be sick. But by then I was feeling so ill I simply dragged back up the hill and spent the day on the sofa feeling feverish and unwell. But doing some lines and sending them off to Fernanda, and talking to my lovely Parisienne clients who briefed me on the work I must do over the weekend.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Alienated from my mojo

I bought a tea from the mobile tea, coffee and snack stand outside Preston Park. Noticed that it is called The Daily Grind, which struck me as particularly funny today. I like the owner, who is cheery and plays Jazz on his little portable speaker.  

To work, feeling ill and tired. I have rarely felt so alienated from my mojo. The day punctuated by meeting Jess at lunchtime for a chat about Telltale in the local cheap Italian. Jess is funny, and full of personality and is very switched on. Just the opposite to how I was feeling.  

Left the office late to go to see Jess read in the Barbican. However as I was walking along the street I realised I was actually feeling really quite poor, so made for St Pancras instead. Felt faint and shaky by the time I got to the platform. The doors jammed at Farringdon resulting in delays. Eventually got to Brighton, recovering from what had been a spectacular thunderstorm. Taxied home, and as Beth was out with Dylan and Kitty talking about theatre business, and Lorraine was out with school chums I fashioned myself a supper of fish fingers and baked beans. Spoke to Mum and then after chatting briefly with Lorraine and Beth simply went to bed. 

Lorraine and I watching lightning from bed for a bit. Exhausted.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Strike day

A lift from my baby down to Preston Park. Southern Fail on strike this morning, so the rail networks troubled only by a few hardy commuters. My train to St Pancras, however, was on time, sparsely populated and a better service than usual.

Finally got our brief early this afternoon. By which time I was feeling sore throaty and ill, making dredging up enthusiasm and bright ideas less easy. I’d managed to squeeze in some work for my French client in the lunch break and on the train in the morning.

Happy to leave this evening as Fernanda was firing on all cylinders and all I wanted to do was creep home.  Fairly easy journey back. Called Mum as I walked home. Discovered that Beth was watching Spain versus Croatia, a fact she was so surprised about that she WhatsApped me a picture of the TV.
Lorraine back from pilates, a spot of chicken and salad with new potatoes, then the pair of us repaired rapidly to bed.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Teeming on a Monday

An early start in teeming rain. Lorraine drove me to Brighton station hideously early, where I bought a travel card to St Pancras, but due to various cancellations, got an early train to Victoria and caught a bus instead. Crossed Russel Squeare in the rain, and then popped into Starbucks below the office for breakfast. Left in reception for ages, watching the unfriendly receptionists service their facebook accounts. Loads of new people there since I last worked in Tavistock Square, but a few old friends. Slug who called me in to work on the pitch was on holiday. Karam is imminently about to be a father. And Fernanda who I will be working with had a gall bladder operation last week.

 No brief however, so spent the morning idling a bit. Managed to follow up on Island Review about my poem, which they accepted about a year ago. Their reply to me must have gone astray, and rather embarrassingly they had published it last week.  Nice to see The Remembering Cliffs get a breath of air again. I was trying to remember when I wrote it. My first estimates were around 1989, but I actually think it was a few years before this. I still like this poem very much.

Eventually fed some information about what I will be working on.  It will be about a form of skin cancer. Fernanda and I spent time in the afternoon thinking about patterns, and skin and so on.

Train slow and stopping, once in a tunnel for some time which began to make me think of The Railway Children and other tunnel-based misadventures.  Home eventually, rather tired, and Beth had kindly cooked for us all, a PK pleasing plate of spaghetti with quorn bolognaise.


The England game against Slovakia had already started. An eager but ultimately toothless performance from Engerland. There is an agricultural hoofiness about the team. Watching England is always stressful but rarely fun enough.

A walk through Russell Square in the rain.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Maureen's pop-ups

Spent the morning in the front garden. Mainly cutting things back, as this wet summery weather is making everything burgeon wildly. Then at noon off to see Maureen and Pat, and take Pat some celebratory cheeses from Lorraine given it was father's day.

Maureen on good form, although eyeing my beard, asked me if I’d run out of razors.  Later, over Sunday lunch, she mentioned that while she was playing solitaire on her iPad she kept getting pop up adverts asking how long was your penis. I couldn’t tell ‘em, but I know how long his is, she said nodding at Pat. Quite a few around the table glad that this line of inquiry stopped there.


Spent lots of time chatting with Pat and mooching about in his garden. He gave us a few cuttings and some tomatoes that were grown from seeds sent by Laura in Finland, and they come with a fine reputation.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mason back home

Heard from Mum today that Mason has been released back into the wild for a while, before he starts  his operations in a week or so. Must be great to be at home after being in a Kafkaesque limbo for so long.

Up fairly early this morning as Lorraine had a hair appointment. I went off to the gym (pausing at the Brighton Tavern to hand back a Stars and Stripes that Lorraine borrowed for a Beth performance) where I did manly sweaty things for some time, and had a shower there. Then to the Starbucks to work for a bit. Starbucks is reprehensible for all kinds of reasons, but it is the place I find easiest to work in. Then I met up with a sleek haired Lorraine and soon we jumped on a bus to Fiveways where Lorraine was drawn like a bee to a flower to the shop called Preloved, a posh second hand shop full of designer ladies clothes. They sat me down and Lorraine ended up buying four items. Rather good stuff there.

The rest of the afternoon rather slothful, before we roused ourselves to go out to meet Anton in the Joker for some beer and woof woof wings, Lorraine had originals.  I found my woof woofs rather intense and burny tonight. Saw photographs of his walking tour, and generally caught up. Good to lap up some beers with Anton though. Home quite early.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thwarted but cheerful

The Tobster's birthday today. Messaged him before he went off to school. Looking forward to having a meatspace beer or two with him in the Summer. Spoke to Mum, who was going to have her first day of not visiting Mason, and doing something different. She needs a break.

I spent the day being mildly thwarted, but feeling quite cheerful. Went into town to try to get my watch strap replaced. Replacing the strap involves sending it back to Skagen the manufacturers, and will take a month. I raged at this and went to another jewellers, and found it to be the same story there. I randomly spotted a beautiful leaf green pair of shoes, which looked great, were cheap, but felt abominable on. I then went into the EE shop to see if a new phone was due, but I have a month to wait on that.

I ended up in Starbucks, hoping to do some of my own work, but I was contacted about the rabid dogs several times. I had to rewrite some copy which was found to be too hard hitting, and another place where the client was unable to understand a simple English word.  I also wrote a post on Facebook about the Brexit vote, and narcissistically checked it during the day as it garnered dozens of likes.

No creative writing at all for a few weeks now, other than a scrap of dialogue I wrote on a train for the Christmas play I am writing which will go with A Glass of Nothing as a Christmas show in Brighton somewhere. Play to be written, venue to be arranged and so on.

As I decided to leave Starbucks a vigorous thunderstorm broke out. When it had settled down to strong rain, I made a scarper for it and bussed home.

Later I spent a happy couple of hours in the Preston Park Tavern with Lorraine, home fairly early from work for once, and Betty back from Beastbourne. Nice to have time to talk to Lorraine and do all the talking we missed out on during the week due to tiredness. And then joined by Betty. Home, and Beth melting away to watch Orange is the New Black. I watched some football game (Spain I think, but they are beginning to blur) and Lorraine fell  heavily asleep on the sofa before I shepherded her off to bed.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Industry and sloth

A day of two halves. The morning industrious, writing to Telltale people, going to the gym and having quite a good workout, shopping, laundry, tightening a screw on the shower and other mundanities.  Enjoyed being in the gym, and had a good sweaty session.

The second half was slothful. Home and consumed some defrosted bean jar, and then watched England v Wales with Beth who had come back from work. It was a good game, of two halves, that England luckily won.

Lorraine and Beth both out tonight, and I gave into sloth and did little, until Lorraine got home tired and we shuffled off to bed.





Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A fleeting appreciation of the niceness of things

Blearily looked at phone app and saw my train was cancelled. A wild scramble, and Lorraine giving me a lift to the station allowed me to get the early one, in time to buy a cup of tea from the jazz listening guy and his mobile tea and coffee stall outside Preston Park. A litany of cancellations, and just before the one train came a burst of recorded stuff about suspicious packages. I laughed about this and said something to the woman standing next to me, but was ignored. Commuting, eh?

To Turnham Green early. Too early, so I paused and had a cup of tea, served in a china cup and saucer and a pot, from the cafe next to the agency. Also a ham and cheese croissant. Enjoyably middle class. Spent the morning working cheerily with Bei Li and Jo and the others. Easy and pleasant working with Bei again. Then was released back into the wild. Very happy to be released in the afternoon and to return home. There was a meeting to do with Telltale at lunch, but I wasn't able to make that.

Spoke to Mum who said that the latest on Mason was he was having a stent put in his neck as the first step, and there would be a decision on Friday. There have been such announcements but they keep being put back. He will have been in hospital for a month now, and is utterly bored apart from anything else.

Home, early. Walking back through Preston Park from Brighton Station. Loving the walk between trees, and filled with a fleeting appreciation of the niceness of things.

I have many things to catch up with, and I start another job up in Tavistock Square next Monday, I simply idled when I got home. Lorraine back from pilates, and Beth with her foot strapped up by the foot specialist, to help with her plantar fasciitis. After watching some football, (the ladies in the house resigned to this and sit quietly with their faces lit up by their iPads). Spoke to a yawning Mum. Then  before bed Lorraine and I listened to My Teenage Diary podcast, where the presenter gets people to read and explain bits from their teenage diaries. This week it was Michael Rosen, and he was very funny.