Working on the play this morning. It is progressing slowly but I think surely. Also did some billing. I have some French work lined up too for Monday.
In the afternoon I sauntered down to the Plenty cafe at Preston Park, for a pot of tea and some writing. The cafe seemed to have a surfeit of older blokes with MacBook Airs like myself. I'm not sure how that made me feel. Then I dropped in on see Janet and Ken. Ken looking better than I've seen him for a while. Lots of good chats with Janet as usual, who is a beacon of clarity in a muddled world sometimes. We talk about politics a bit, she is quite keen on the idea of a progressive alliance that Caroline Lucas our admirable MP is trying to promote.
Waled home listening to my audiobook, which is The Authorised Biography of the Beatles, by Hunter Davis. Am enjoying this.
Home to another rejection, I sent out a big tranche of work in the late spring and everything from that batch has been batted back. The stars must have been in some wretched alignment. Although galling, I am not too disheartened (I have already sent lots of new stuff out) but it helps to have the play to look forward to. And I have generally the feeling of a fresh start, and am quite optimistic for no good reason at all.
When Lorraine came home we sauntered quickly down to the Shahi, where Beth was waiting for us outside and had a cheery dinner, friendly chats with Sabir as usual. Then we marched up the hill, chatting with Betty as Lorraine had a long conversation about with her cousin Kay.
To bed early for a Friday, but not before watching another episode of Orange is the New Black. Only a few more to go, and we can watch something else. That'd be weird.
Friday, September 30, 2016
Working on the play this morning. It is progressing slowly but I think surely. Also did some billing. I have some French work lined up too for Monday.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Another quiet day of working on things I wanted to work on. So a very happy day for me. Up as Lorraine was leaving. Spent to day working on various projects, including tweaking another poem as well as cutting bits out of A Glass of Nothing and looking at We Three Kings. Ate the last of my bean jar today. It really was the most successful bean jar I'd made in ages, with beef too.
Again wandered down to the Plenty cafe, for a pot of tea, and to get another perspective. Something about dislocating yourself that lets you see things afresh.
In the evening Beth and I cooked a pasta bake. Then Lorraine came home, and Kitty, James and Dylan came around to do a read through on the cuts I'd been making, plus doing some more tweaks. Nice to be with them, and I like James too.
I took this snap of them around the dinner table. Dylan, Beth, Kitty and James.
Monday, September 26, 2016
An exhilarating day. Found I was writing in a completely different style from my normal way of writing, and it felt like a bit of a breakthrough. I was writing about being in a hotel in N'Djamena, and it's a different kind of travel poem, written in a looser more discursive less serious kind of way.
Otherwise a pleasant enough day, interspersed with a few tiresome admin bits. I am determined to be utterly organised by the end of the week. Had a change of scene by going down to Plenty to think about plays. Feeling full of ideas at the moment which is good. Though not much physical energy though, but still enjoyed mooching through the park. Watched Orange is the new black with Lorraine. There is no other programme.
Brian, below on my easy chair is swept away by his enthusiasm for for my new free way of writing.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
A purposeful day. Lorraine and I tidying up the front garden, and doing several house chores. Then briefly basking in sunlight in the back garden, drinking coffee and speaking to Mum on FaceTime.
In the afternoon off to High Beeches. A really gorgeous Sussex Woodland garden. Amazing how relaxing scooting around this can be, talking to two older ladies, one of whom said "it takes you out of yourself", which was right. Lorraine in her element of course, and we did the whole experience, having a cup of tea and a scone afterwards in its little cafe, and buying the home-made jam on sale, with the money going to Hope for Heroes.
Having walked about a garden, and enjoying nothing better than having tea with Lorraine it occurred to me that I must be getting old, because the whole thing made me feel content. A bit of beauty goes a long way towards soothing the soul.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
A chilled morning. In the afternoon Lorraine and I walked down to the Kommedia to meet Rosie, and watch Bridget Jones's Baby. I put on Facebook that I was the only possessor of a penis in the cinema. It was undeniably a chick flick rom com though. I like rom coms though, especially on aircraft. It was all charmingly acted by Renee Zellweger and the rest, and the audience were loving some bits, and sniffing at others. Wish fulfilment cinema for some.
After we three walked up to Hanover, and went for a drink and some grub with Innis. A proper Brighton pub, I would swap it for the Preston Park Tavern any day. Rosie and Innis get on very well, and Rosie seems content and happy which is very nice to see.
Friday, September 23, 2016
An amazing morning's work, suddenly I could see answers to poetic problems I'd not been able to solve for ages, and was full of enthusiasm to get poems sent out. For some reason if the poetry side of things is not going well it tends to increase my dissatisfaction with the world, but after this morning I feel convinced that I am back in the game, and can suddenly see faults and fixes, that had eluded me. Quite bracing really. Not something that is easy to communicate or have obvious immediate outcomes, but generally good.
For the first time this week, the tiredness and sluggishness wasn't so present. Did other more practical stuff too, like some billing and general much needed admin, as well as hiring the Marlborough for a couple of days in December. Having the mental autumn clean. Sonia around too, and a nice chat with her.
Then in the afternoon I walked over to see Janet and Ken, back now from hospital and sleeping on the ground floor. Janet is getting good support, including someone providing night cover so she can sleep. It is a bit disorientating for Ken though, waking up downstairs and not knowing where he is quite.
Walked home and after a while of sorting some last bits out, simply went to the pub, where I availed myself of a pint of lager, while reading a book by the poet Judy Brown, who I met last weekend. A nice way to spend an hour before Lorraine and Betty arrived and we had a bite to eat, and a cheery chat about the week and so on. After this, Lorraine and I sauntered home to watch Orange is the new black before bed.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Although low on energy, I felt positive and got lots of stuff done. A lovely day, I sauntered around the park for bit, before popping in to the local Sainsburys, after a few hours of writing, and wandered into the walled garden. Noticed ruddy darters around the pond. It's good having looked things up in advance. There is a curious satisfaction to being able to think 'ruddy darter' to yourself when you see a dragonflyish thing zooming about.
Worked in the garden today, and sorting out the Telltale reading. In the process of doing so picked up another reading for me to do -- in October 2017! Forward planning. Also contacted about work and generally having the sense that there's lots going on or about to go on.
Lorraine out doing her governors meeting tonight, Beth out too. I had been due to see Anton but he was unwell, so I guilty bought myself a bag of fish and chips from Jenny's down the road, and watched the movie Watchmen, which was based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore, which I had read on holiday several years ago. Not fantastic, but some of the strength of the book came through.
In the walled garden.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
A poor night's sleep. Got up however with Lorraine and began writing poems, then after talking to Mum and Janet (Ken should be home tomorrow) I walked down to Preston Circus with Beth. She went to her gym and I walked off into town to buy a new anorak to replace the one I left on the train the other day. I got an identical one to the one I'd lost, and am pleased that I am again rainproof. Not that it was raining at all.
Then wended back to the new cafe next to Betty's gym called Plenty. Treated myself to a coffee and a pain aux raisins and started work on We Three Kings.
Home and feeling dog tired, but trying not to sleep. I read the essay Black Orpheus by Jean Paul Sartre, and then cooked, as I didn't want a replay of Lorraine returning home in a 'hangry' mood as she had done the previous day aghast that there was no food prepared.
A happy evening, but as we were both really tired. Listening to part of a Kermode and Mayo podcast, before sleeping. Hearing them bickering on the radio is curiously soothing.
Monday, September 19, 2016
Monday morning, and the feeling that I should be rushing about and feeling almost guilty as Lorraine drove off. Somewhat hungover after the previous night with young thespians. Awarded myself a much needed day off doing nothing, apart from trying to sort out some tiresome Telltale stuff.
Also heard from Jane that Richard had been chosen to represent Guernsey for National Poetry Day. An honour, and richly deserved. Trying to read books of poetry on the gold sofa (recovery position) and falling asleep. Boy am I tired.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Yay! My first day off in seven days of various kinds of slogging, and mercifully not having to travel by train anywhere.
Anton swung by in his BMW convertible with the roof down and drove Lorraine and I off to Steyning to collect Dawn. Nice to be cruising around like this, but sitting in the back on the motorway buffeted my head, and worried at 'The area of concern', aka my bald bit.
We went for a short walk in the woods at the bottom of Chanctonbury Ring, which I enjoyed, despite still feeling the after effects of the ghastly throat and cough business and laboured going uphill. I also have a slightly lurchy ear thing going on, which doesn't help. Among other bits of personal gossip, Anton and I had a long discussion about Tolkien, he's contemplating doing a degree on it. I recommended he download the The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and he had just started to listen to it. It is larded with Tolkien references, and is set in Dominica and New York.
Back to Dawn's house to sit in her lovely little garden and drink tea. Dawn's broken arm is now a good deal better, but she overdid it yesterday. I smacked my lips at her and Lorraine at one point, as they were gossiping in the kitchen and trying to connect a speaker to bluetooth while making tea. Dawn said she'd pour it over my head, and then made me sit on a chair to get a better view which promptly sank into the lawn with my weight on it.
Home and then a bit of house stuff for a while, before I simply fell asleep for a blissful hour. Then, getting up, Lorraine and I booked tickets to Guernsey, and went to the Preston Park Tavern with Betty for sunday lunch.
Then Beth and I walked down the hill to the Hare and Hounds, where we met up with Dylan, Kitty and Beth's pal James and discussed the December show which is now booked in at The Marlborough, where Beth and I have done stuff before. I really enjoyed seeing Dylan and Kitty again, having spent so much time with them in the first half of the year. Everyone is up for doing more work, and we discussed the next play, We Three Kings, which I am just about to start writing.
Below Anton and Lorraine in the front of his car. I was in the back with hair like a dandelion clock. Some trees.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Up with the sparrows again, and hauled off down to catch a train to Farringdon. Amazingly the train not delayed or cancelled. I walked then to Red Lion Square to the Poetry Book Fair where Telltale has a stand. To say I was not in the mood for this today is something of an understatement.
I did see a few folks I knew, and was pleased to snap up a copy of Noir, Charlotte's book and have a few chats with her. Was on the stand with Jess and Sarah from Telltale. Jess's pamphlet was on sale today, and sold like hotcakes. I also heard a few very good poems read during the course of the day. I'm beginning to wonder if I am wired differently to other people. The things people seem to be lapping up as being profound and moving, I'm finding banal and facile. It's making me wonder if I'm just not getting it, or am out of touch. Sat next go Jeremy from Frogmore for much of the day. I like him, and it turns out we overlapped at Warwick by a year, him being a couple of years before me.
A reading in a nearby pub afterwards, with lots of good poems and others I secretly Tyrannosaurused. Jess, Sarah and I read too. I was almost staggering with tiredness by now, but I did okay I think, but to be honest I was past caring. And made for the door as fast as possible.
Walked to Farringdon, then yet another terrible two and an half hour journey home, the worst bit was having finally got a train to Brighton, it suddenly terminated at Gatwick, we all had to get out and cross to another platform to board a Brighton train, was shouted at to hurry by a station person and I invited him to fuck himself in a Tyrannosaurus voice. The train pulled out with me on it, but leaving half the people of the train I'd been on fuming and still on the platform. To Brighton trying to calm my anger after the sweary incident, and then finally, at long, long last a cab home to Lorraine and Betty dog tired but very thankful.
Below Sarah and me, summoning enthusiasm.
Friday, September 16, 2016
Trains still hateful. More energy today, and I managed to cut through work I was doing with the loquacious Trevor like a knife through butter, rather pleased that I have still got it. Nice to have been teamed up with Keith again in this stint, usually enjoy my times at Tavistock Square, and pleased to see how well Slug is doing there.
Almost finished The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao today by Junot Díaz which I think is excellent book, and refreshingly different to my recent reading. Listened to it playing patience on my laptop, this gets you into a mind numbed state that allows you to block out the endless commute.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
So tired this afternoon I could hardly think. Suddenly given some work to do with a chatty friendly art director called Trevor. Managed to summon an idea in the afternoon, but it was like pulling hen's teeth.
Luckily my stock was high as the agency finally got news that the pitch I'd worked on with Fernanda for them had succeeded. Much cheer in the agency at this, and a glass of champers at the end of the day and a few drinks before I made my excuses. I seem to be on an impressive pitch-winning streak at the moment. Home and early to bed.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Trains hateful. But I felt reasonably okay considering the night before. Went for lunch with Keith to the Marquis of Granby where I drank a pint of soda and lime and met his pal Kin Ho from Hong Kong who is a really good photographer, and a really likeable guy.
Saw this hanging in the pub, which I thought was really fun. The green and red lights worked on the light sabres.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
A long and hot day. Into Tavistock Square for the morning where Keith and I presented our thinking so far, then made off to Charterhouse Square in the an afternoon meeting with Matty, Mark, Helen and Jo who journeyed from Chiswick. Arrived early so phoned mum as I paced about the square. Afterwards discovered it was the site of an old plague pit.
Monday, September 12, 2016
A Monday that felt like a Tuesday, given that I'd worked most of Sunday. Lorraine drove me to the station, where the train was delayed. A grim and philosophical laugh with a fellow commuter saying how he'd given up expecting the trains might work properly.
Work. Salad lunch, a few laughs with Keith slogging on the carabiner stuff, and I left in good time. Got to St Pancras and my train was cancelled and other were delayed. Long journey home. Finished Sapiens and found myself rather despising the book. Opinion stated as fact gets really tiresome after a while.
Home to my lovely Lorraine. Watched an episode of Orange is the new black. Getting to Sunday, my next day off, seems like a long haul.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Lorraine and I finding it difficult to get up this morning. The sore throat from hell seemed to be trying to stage yet another comeback. However Lorraine and I had a really nice day. A bit of gardening, mowed the lawn and Lorraine poked in a few plants. We then sprawled about doing little. I slept heavily for an hour this afternoon.
At tea time we walked down to the Joker (in the rain obviously, berghaus lost in Bedford) where we met Anton, Anne, Klaudia and Oskar as a belated celebration of Anton's birthday. Got off to a bit of a sticky start as when we arrived a party of 56 French people had turned up and so every seat was taken. They all left after about half an hour, mercifully so we were able to get seats and baskets of wings. I had the usual woof woofs.
Heard the astonishing tale of Anton's head injury while in Bulgaria with Anne and Klaudia and Oskar. He'd been going down complex slides into the various pools of the resort all day. On the last go, with Klaudia the little boat thing he was on overturned and sent him out head first into the shallow water. Klaudia bravely and cleverly had the presence of mind to pull him up out of the water as he was a bit stunned. Eight stitches and a large medical bill.
However good to see everyone. Had a good shout with Anne about wide ranging subjects (the music was loud). Oskar now mad for football, and styling himself on Ronaldo, including adopting hair products. Both of my godbairns seem to have shot up over the last few months.
Lorraine and I home at a reasonable hour. We watched a bit of football (Manchester United losing against Manchester City, which was fun) watched a bit of Orange is the new black. Yep.
Below Oskar and Klaudia momentarily absorbed in cyberspace.
Friday, September 09, 2016
Greatly uplifted this morning by an old chap from Toronto who sat next to me on the train having got on at Gatwick. He was a former Canadian infantryman, who was 91 and had just got off the plane and was making his way to Aldershot. Helped him sort out his onward journey. He was so cheerful and articulate that he turned baleful commuters into a friendly group. He was a big reader, and seemed mentally bright as a button. Obviously thought Brexit was a mistake but some bloke sitting opposite us said firmly, 'it'll be all right'. We passed a field of unicorns at that point. The Canadian, however, had to wait a year and a half after the war ended before he could be shipped home, so got to know England well. He was back to revisit memories of being 20, a taciturn nephew in tow.
This put me in something of a good mood, not even completely dispelled by leaving my Berghaus wet-top on the train, and realising about twenty seconds after the train had left the station. Gah.
The day seemed long. Working on the carabiner job with Keith. Was beginning to be a tad sick of carabiners. Hugely pleased to unclip from the carabiner and eff off home listening to Sapiens on the and playing patience on my laptop. It's okay, but not in my opinion quite as brilliant as people are saying it is.
I met Lorraine and Rosie at the Sussex Yeoman, where I drank a much needed beer, followed by another much needed beer and some food. Later we were joined by Betty, then Innis and his mate Graham who I'd not met but liked. Lots of chatting, enlivened by a puppy which Beth and Rosie drooled over, then a cab home.
A poor photo with my new phone of Rosie and Lorraine.
Thursday, September 08, 2016
Up a little later today, being in Edgware and feeling a lot better than I had been feeling at the beginning of the week. Toast and tea with mum and Mas. Mas looking out at the green of the tree in their front garden and telling me that when he had his cataracts and went almost blind, people asked him what he missed seeing most. The girls? No it was the colour green. Mason's story resonated with me as I love green too. Anyway he sits at home, and gets lots of pleasure from seeing the sunlight catching the lime tree outside.
Walked to Stanmore and tubed into town. Apparently a fight on a train further down the line baked things up a bit. I had packed a teeshirt to wear into work today, but I decided it wasn't fit for purpose, so I bought another green shirt from fatface at Euston, as if I had been doing a 'walk of shame.' I changed into it in the shop. Nice bloke there.
A lovely day, and at lunchtime went out and sat outside a pub with Keith, Karam and a few others in the sun. Hot and the first time I had a lunchtime pint for a long time. A slightly trying afternoon, which ended with me presenting the work Keith and I had been doing, which went okay.
Pleased to be home, albeit late. Lorraine even more late so I cooked. Spoke to Janet, who was concerned about Ken, still in hospital. He had phoned her saying that he wanted to come home, not really understanding why he was there or remembering why. Upsetting for her.
Some grub, and then happily watched an episode or two of Orange is the new black before bed.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Feeling a bit vile than I was on Monday morning, that's for sure. Off into work. Thames link, whose trains I ride on to get to St Pancras have got a new train for the 7:22 I catch. Rubbish new train, with not enough legroom and no little flip down tables and designed to have more room for people to stand in and sardine than actually sit. This country is going to the dogs.
Val phoned from Paris about a job which I will have to do at the weekend. Phoned up the theatre people who have been too disorganised to pay me yet. Beth had been onto them, but I called them too, just to make everyone feel hunted. My patience is beginning to ebb.
Still enjoying working with Keith. He's mercurial, passionate and funny. I've always liked him. And he's a good art director too, which helps a good deal. Got some rather good salmon sushi from a place called Itsu at lunchtime.
Off after work to Stanmore station, and enjoyed walking to Mum and Mason's house, and escape the tube, where two teenagers spent the whole journey snogging in the carriage. It seemed quite odd to see it, I'm sure there was more of that sort of thing going on when I was a lad.
Nice evening, chatting with Mum and Mas of them, marvelling at their new TV (long overdue, although Mum rather misses the stopgap one that Ben lent them that only had subtitles and no sound). Snapped back some spaghetti bolognaise and slugged some wine, and went to bed early. A nice evening.
Posted by Peter Kenny at 11:00 pm
Monday, September 05, 2016
Sunday, September 04, 2016
For Lorraine and I the last day of freedom. Chats with Mum and Janet. My voice going and feeling generally poor today and in need of sleep.
Due to the absence of Sonia who is taking another of her lengthy holidays, Lorraine and I conducted a big tidy up this morning. Then to the Garden Centre to look at plants. I found myself magnetised by the aquarium shop too, toying with the idea of keeping fish again, but if I do I want to do it excellently this time, with lush planting which necessitates CO2 being piped into the tank to promote plant growth, amongst other things. Also weirdly attracted to tradescantia houseplants.
Otherwise, news from Beth that John had shaved his bushy beard off.
Posted by Peter Kenny at 11:00 pm
Saturday, September 03, 2016
Throat still an abomination against human decency. Went into Brighton with Lorraine and upgraded my phone to an iPhone 6s. This business of getting it reasonably painless (although you always suspect you are being sold a pup) and looking at the slightly larger screen is a thing of joy.
A spot of shopping with Lorraine, and we then repaired home for an afternoon of doing mercifully little, apart from obsessively watching Orange Is The New Black. Lorraine and I clinging onto the time we have with each other before everything kicks off.
Friday, September 02, 2016
A day of birthdays. Anton, off to a wedding, and Bob, who I went up to London to meet. I met him at Trafalgar Square, and having arrived early I paced three times about Nelson's column, and I successfully summoned him. We went off to the Nell Gwynne for a cheeky beer, where a man stared me in the eyes as if I were on TV for a while. Very odd. However a good chat, then we went to the Courtauld Gallery where there was an exhibition of Georgiana Houghton's work. She lived 1814-1884) and was a spiritualist medium, and did abstract watercolours, her hand guided by various spirits. Her work reminded me of outsider artists. This and other pictures looked at, Bob interrogating A Bar at the Folies-Bergère by Manet, when I told him the reflection of the girl was in the wrong place.
From there to pubs, briefly to the Bank then to The Seven Stars, which is a splendid pub behind the royal courts of justice and legal folks go there. I sat in there alone for a bit while Bob popped into a tailors where he was having his trousers adjusted. And experienced a kind of timeless moment, in the little low ceilinged place, with hops hanging down, and its posters of old English films, and Bleak House characters lurking about. Then to have a nice indian meal near St Paul's cathedral before I hopped on a train home at Blackfriars.
Home to Lorraine. I've been fighting a nasty bug lately, and my throat felt shredded by the time I got home in fine rain. But I'd had a good day with Bob, always nice to lurk about in some of our old haunts. Bob in good spirits, and plenty to chat about as usual. His daughter Millie was having, at 12, her first date today (an afternoon cup of coffee with a boy). Nice to see Bob phoning for an update.
Below a sculpture on the plinth at Trafalgar Square (the strange ribbon, with stock market results on it in real time) two shots inside a momentarily empty Seven Stars. I did a 'joint selfie' of me and Bob, but by common consent it was too appalling to show.
Thursday, September 01, 2016
Up early and working on Centaur project writing lines for the end of our particularly thorny act. Throat still an abomination, but got some good stuff done. In the afternoon I bussed down to Helen's and had a good afternoon's work with her. She was pleased with the stuff I'd done this week, which was cool. There is lots of music now. This opera seems to be a thing. Helen pleased with some building work she has done, and her study area is now splendid, and the piano in the right place.
Heard from Janet this evening. Ken is in hospital again. He'd had a fall in the kitchen and cracked his hip bone, which has necessitated a plate and an operation. Poor thing. However Janet said he was singing in the hospital, so his spirits are pretty good despite everything.
The evening spent watching Bake off and then Orange is the New Black, which is a splendid. Netflix is the answer to dismal viewing.