Friday, May 26, 2017

Returned to the wild

Final day at last. Sat in the car at Preston Park for a moment with Lorraine. A slightly-built policeman marching through the train looking at the passengers, no gun but he had a taser. The country is on maximum alert, just as long as the terrorists aren't too burly we'll be okay. I don't think you can worry too much about this stuff on an individual level, though when things get a bit bomby I find I'm less included to hang about inside St Pancras Station.

All our colleagues today worn out with working very late, due to client induced panic. Keith and I were gathered up just as we were about to leave for lunch to present to the regular issue dull but entitled US pharma drone over then phone. Heartily glad this is not a regular feature of my life any more. I felt for the others in the room.

Then Keith and I went to the Marquis Cornwallis for a cold beer in the early afternoon, where we met some guys from the Tavistock Square agency around the corner, including Slug who it is always nice to see.

Then back to the agency. Keith leaves next week. So we had to work quite hard to finish the job we working on in the afternoon, as I didn't want to leave him with his trousers down next week. By the time it was time to leave, I was flat and tired. Slightly anticlimactic, mainly because it was hot and I was tired and I just wanted to be home. Understated farewell with Keith, with whom I have spent every working hour.

Finally in faux first class, listening to The Power and The Glory, which I have almost finished and am liking a bit better now. Then the saunter up the hill, and home where I found Lorraine, her legs scratched after going into brambles to retrieve a ball at school, and we picked our tired selves up and sauntered down to the Preston Park Tavern and after a cold beer it began to hit us that we were free, Lorraine for the following week, and I have time to regroup and get back to feeling in control of my own life again. Fantastic.

Home, and soon shuffling off to bed. Time to heal.

Below, for some reason I took a shattered selfie today on the way home. The last commute in this two and a half month spell.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Almost there

Gorgeous day, although it clearly was the wrong kind of sunlight on the tracks as the train crawled into London.

The train dragging and stopping in South London. Almost finished Why Philosophize? by Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard. A collection of lectures to freshmen, and for a French postmodernist philosopher, fairly easy to understand – and disagree with. My philosophical and ideas reading at the moment has a bit of purpose. Postmoderism contributed to the post truth world we find ourselves in, by undermining notions of truth, and by basically saying everything is relative and it depends on whose truth you are talking about. Of course there is a great deal of sense in this viewpoint, but the transition from that position to the one we are now in is interesting.

 Penultimate day shambolic. Workflow for Keith and I is either slack or maniacal. A series of websites Keith and I had put together and delivered last week, were finally reviewed mid afternoon today, and we received a world of comments to be implemented by close of play for an important client presentation, along with the other urgent work we were doing for the same presentation. However because we worked so rapidly and sorted everything without having to stay more than an hour or two late. Why it was only possible to review this hours before we had to deliver it is a mystery. Sloped out, tired but skippy and relieved. One more day of this BS.

Bought a 330cl can of IPA at St Pancras for a pricey £3.50 and found a train was only minutes away. Sat in near-empty faux first, and listened to The Power and The Glory by Graham Greene, which I’ve been listening to off and on in the last week or so. I’m not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I really rate Greene. I think his book The End of The Affair is a masterpiece. Texting Betty who had spent the day as an extra on Holby City, leaving at 5am, and most of that sitting around topping up her tan. She would have caught the same train as me, but her connecting one was delayed at Mill Hill.

A blue sky with a big dirty smear of smoke over the downs from some fire near Lewes, which drifted over Brighton. Lorraine at home, and tired having done animation workshops for kids in local schools, and then taught music in the afternoon, as well as dealing with all the usual headteachery stuff. We watered the garden at sundown together. One more day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Good news from Mum

Best news of the day was that on the way back from work, and walking up the hill I called Mum, who told me that the surgeon had called her, and they are going to do a new technique on her pancreas, rather than remove it. An oblation, which will require only a few days in hospital, and possibly see her released back into the wild the following day. This seems a really good solution, and means a lot less disruption for Mas too, when it happens, and I will be there to help.

 Work poor, and Keith and I in a low energy frame of mind. For all kinds of reasons I’ve not enjoyed this gig. It’s the people who are by and large pleasant, and I am fond of Keith, but there is something about a climate of disorganisation that pushes all my buttons. I have a deep problem with irrational authority. Scoring the days in the yellow padded cell.

 Home and very happy to be there and discover my lovely wife, who had just got back from pilates, and Betty in the kitchen. Griddled mackerel and a surprisingly delicious salad Lorraine had made using uncooked cauliflower as one of the ingredients.

This across the road from the exit I use from St Pancras station, outside the Francis Crick institute. A lovely building, but I couldn't help noticing the public art outside, what I can't help but think of as the turd in the piazza from my couple of months at the Architects' Journal,  is the exact shape of the spangles I get in my eye when I have a migraine, except the triangular panes shine different colours.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Auditioning Matt

Horrid news from Manchester this morning of a bomb attack at a pop concert, spent the day dipping into reports about it. Isis, who claimed responsibility, described the victims as crusaders.  Many of these crusaders were little girls.

Bad night sleep due to a nipped nerve transferring pain to my head. Headache all day. Couldn’t find my wallet in the morning, but thanks to Lorraine made my train. Worked on an idea in Faux First Class.

Keith in rage mode all day. We slipped out at lunch and I bought some scamping pads – usually I can liberate some from the agency I am working with, but I have been using my own as this agency doesn’t seem to have any. Keith and I paused for a pint on the way back, which briefly took the edge off everything.

Text from First Matie on the way home. One of her colleagues was found dead, which is really upsetting for everyone in her agency. Sitting next to someone obnoxious person on the way home, who literally pushed my arm off the middle arm rest as he arrived.  Was all I could do not to slam my laptop into his head.

A cloudy but warm day today, emerging from the tunnel surprised to see Brighton swathed in mysterious sea fog. I spoke to Mum briefly. She still hasn’t heard from the hospital about what they want to do with her, after promising someone would call. Frustrating for her.

Then into Brighton where I met Betty at the station and we went to The Duke of Wellington where we met Matt. He did a good audition, showing quite a bit of comedy potential, and we have offered him the part in our play. Betty and I very relieved he did well – and as Matt is one of Kitty’s friends this works out doubly good.

Taxied home with Betty. I reheated some delicious grub Lorraine had cooked (at home post Charleston) and as I was scoffing this the Tobster called. Chatted to him for a bit, and then gratefully sloped off to bed.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Buzzes of happiness

Monday, and feeling little buzzes of happiness, in the thought that this will be the last Monday for a while, when I’ll be commuting up to London, at least on a daily basis. A fine day it turned out to be, when Keith and I emerged blinking from our yellow padded cell from time to time for meetings or to sport our shades sauntering to Waitrose. A bad headache in the afternoon.

 Eager for news about Chelsea, who were crowned Premiership Champions at the weekend, and have the FA Cup final to look forward to. John Terry their long serving talisman, who seems to be roundly disliked by anyone not associated with Chelsea retired from the team too, with a ‘shoal of silverware’ one commentator said.

Home, by faux first class, although I couldn’t help noticing that it was sweltering in there compared to the rest of the train. If I were paying for it, I don’t think I’d be best pleased. Lorraine out with work pals tonight, Beth at John’s. I cooked up some chicken and noodles, and watched some episodes of Frasier, like the comfort of being with old friends, till Lorraine came home.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


A slow start. But eventually up to make breakfast. Rosie arrived as I was grilling things with a small dog called Ivor, which was Shitzu cross. I suggested it was crossed with a disappointing circus. Cats unimpressed.

Out and doing some gardening, I cut the ivy hedge, which made my nose stream, mowed our tiny lawn and Lorraine and I pulled up a few weeds and tidied up generally and discussed things we’d like to do in the garden if only we had time.

 Then off to the Duke of Welly, where we had our traditional rehearsal room where, armed with a camera and new tripod, we shot some bits for Beth’s show reel and possibly to turn into some kind of advertising for the Edinburgh show, which is all too soon. While there I got the migraine spangles, but after 20 minutes of messed up vision, felt not to much the worse for wear. So much so that after we left the pub garden, populated by a girl with blue hair and fishbelly white skin, Lorraine and I walked back, and stopped by the Shahi, and had an early dinner, with the sun falling into the restaurant, and we both felt summery and cheerful. Home to gird our loins for the final push next week.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday mooching

Thank God for the weekends. Calliope had the decency not to wake me at 5:30. A slow morning. Lorraine fed the cats and made tea, and a little later I went round the corner to buy chewy brown bread and make us bacon and egg sandwiches to be eaten in bed.

Then up and mooched into town, popping into quite an interesting Open House on London Road near the viaduct. One of those places that didn't have the 'me too' mindset of doing what everyone else is doing.

In town we bought a camera tripod, from a cheery red haired youth at Currys. Then home in a taxi, where we snoozed briefly before we got ready to visit Derek and Lesley. A cheery night, where I ate lots of lovely food, and because I was in such nice and thoughtful company found myself in a bit of a loquacious mood. I really like Derek who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of various branches of folk music.

As Lorraine and I walked through town passed some folks dancing outside the Brighton Tavern, and then discovered that The Foundry, a pub I'd wet my whistle at a good few times had closed. An amusing message pinned outside it.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Blue shoes

A bit of a sleep in this Friday, as I was staying with Mum and Mas. A quick breakfast with them, and tea before I set off with fond farewells. Tubes delayed today, so I was almost late to work. I legged it from one platform to another at Wembley Park, leapt aboard the tube, and must have looked a bit worn out. A young woman in her twenties asked me if I wanted to sit down. I thanked her, and declined, resolving there and then to shave my beard off. An appalling moment.

Friday, so Keith and I in fairly good spirits. Even had a fish finger sandwich and a pint of beer at lunch together. Keith shivering in his customary teeshirt as it was strangely cold today. Home, in the luxury of my faux first class, and up the hill. I met Lorraine outside our house and we toddled off to the Preston Park Tavern, where we met Beth. A nice bite to eat in there, all sharing what had gone on in the week, and then home. Feeling very happy that it is the weekend. One more week to go. Joy!

Below some blue shoes that are in the agency I am working at. No idea why or what they were used for.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stretchy time

Basking in my first class train wheeze still. You can tell it is a good idea, as travelling train staff use it, like the three drivers talking about a colleague who Missed Shoreham. How can you miss Shoreham? etc.

I worked on work stuff again, and finished the work I'd been doing so I could send in once I got to work. A busy morning, and a less busy afternoon. Keith and I going off to Leon to eat at lunch. I had some species of chicken and rice with bits of salad. Afternoon with one meeting. The weekend beginning to seem a logical possibility. Time stretchy, appalling work longueurs hating the time I am spending there, and then so hideously fast in other ways.

After work, sloped up to Euston Square tube. Walked through Tavistock Square and took the snap below. Plenty of rain today. Tube to Stanmore and walked to Mum and Mason's in the rain. Off in the car to Amaretto on Edgware High Road. They were friendly to Mum and Mas there. Mas and I ordered Americana pizzas and had some Peroni beer, and Mum had some wine. Home in the car, and I sat with Mum for a while, Mason popping in and out of LA CSI, some kind of cop show.

Early to bed, as I was yawning my head off. Spoke to my lovely Lorraine who had taken a course in Japanese flower arranging with Miss Mole's Flower Emporium, which Betty and Sam had bought her for her birthday.

Below Tavistock Square in the rain.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

1st class

Ah the glory of first class travel at standard prices. A brilliant thing, and able to do work on the way to work, which made the day less stressy. Arriving at St Pancras without a cricked back and bruised knees is a thing of glory. Lots of rain today again, this is good news for thirsty gardens but perhaps less wonderful when you are dancing through puddles. Work not entirely bad. Had  a few laughs with Keith.

Reading the Matthew D'Ancona Post Truth book on the way home, which is dovetailing nicely with reading I've been doing about postmodernism lately. And linked to a kind of personal ah-ha moment too regarding my writing. 

Home and Lorraine and I had a gorgeous stir fry and watched a couple of episodes of Frasier. I never tire of that series, and we saw the one where Frasier is trying to find some peace and quiet and having been driven out of work and home, says he is going to the park to read, but it is raining so ends up at Cafe Nervosa, whereupon Niles walks in on him. "What fresh hell is this?" Frasier mutters.

Googled Richard in the Guernsey Evening Press, and a nice photo of him reading at his book launch, which I've stolen below.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Advice comes overnight

An amazing thing happened on the way to work. I enquired about first class tickets, as the standard seats are cramped, literally too small for my legs to fit in. I was told that the last carriage away from the front, a first class carriage, is decommissioned, i.e. not first class. It is a well kept secret. On board I still wasn't sure, but I tweeted Thameslink and they confirmed it. So I got a first class seat for nothing, and was able to do some work of my own, and arrived at the other end not aching and stiff. An epic win, as the young un's say.

Work tiresome as usual, but had a few laughs with Keith. And at least their threat to seat us with everyone-else has fallen through. Went out at lunch to Waterstones and bought a few books, which was nice. Started reading one on the way home, called Post Truth by Matthew D'Ancona.

Home again, and found a copy of Stone Witness, Richard's book hot off the press. Looking forward to reading this in a moment of tranquility. Betty at home today, and cooked for me when I arrived, and then cooked for Lorraine who arrived even later after a governor's meeting.

Below was struck by the latin motto In Nocte Consilium on this doorway on Birkbeck College in the University of London, which I sauntered past on the way to the bookshop. The University of Google says it means 'advice comes overnight' or 'tomorrow is another day'. It was something closer to the first which caught my imagination.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A fringe evening

Really had to drag myself out of bed and off to work this morning. Thank goodness for Lorraine. Once at work, meetings, most of them unnecessary as far as I was concerned. Worst thing was that they were threatening to remove Keith and I from the yellow padded booth we've been working in. It's one of the bits that makes everything bearable. Only two weeks to go now, but it seems like a hell of a long time today.

Home and all the way to Brighton, where I met Beth down by the clock tower and we went for a bite to eat in Leon, and then made our way to see a bit of a ropey play in the Rialto Theatre. Loved the theatre itself however, and its little bar. Good to get a bit more of the fringe in, however. One of the actors in the play is someone we are thinking of assimilating into Brighton Blonde Productions, and a pal of Kitty's. Nick seems a nice chap, and we thought has potential, and we are going to do some work with him this weekend. A cheeky cold beer after the show (it was a very humid day) and Beth and I had a chat with Nick then I caught a taxi and was home in no time to Lorraine.

Below a picture of Keith with his laptop, with a decoration chosen by one of his twin girls, in our padded yellow cell.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Tea in an English garden

A more peaceful day today. Got up and attended to a few must-do admin bits. Booked tickets for the theatre visit with Klaudia.

Then walked down the road to join Lorraine, Rosie and Dawn who were lurking about in nearby Open Houses. Mooched about looking at art, though nothing calling to me this time, and really enjoyed chatting with them. A very deep conversation about life and self worth in one of the gardens while eating cake and drinking tea. I find myself with an excellent wife and excellent friends.

A bit of a Sunday night shadow descending though at the thought of going back down to the salt mines tomorrow. Not long now though. Only two more weeks of the current job.

A big kerfuffle in the back garden today while I was working in my study. Beth and I watched Brian and the next door ginger tom Cactus screaming at each other in the garden. They had got to the point where they stood frozen in front of each other. Meanwhile a large fox walked around them, sat by the pot in the garden and watched them till it got bored, and the cats pussyfooted away from one another.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sofa, so good

A slow start, but woken by Calliope at an infernal 5:30. As a consequence felt dog tired and grumpy for most of the day. Some of the day given over to going into Brighton doing some shopping, and then Lorraine and I caught a cab down to Beth's pal's Ainsley and Millie's flat where, with the help of a man with a van, who was very pleasant moved a large and heavy sofa. General grumpiness not improved by carrying the bastard thing, which got wedged several times, down six flights of stairs to the van, and then up two flights at our house to store it in Beth's room. This is one of the things that she has earmarked for her new flat with John, when she moves out this summer.

A repairing sleep on the gold sofa, and woke up feeling refreshed and altogether more cheerful.

Lorraine shattered still and so did not come with me to see the Shakespeare Heptet in Kemptown, an event I wrote about here. A good time, and very pleased to see a very healthy audience for them. Great to see Steve, now mobile after a nasty leg injury. Steve and I, then Maria Grazia went for a drink in the Black Dove afterwards. It was late when I headed for home, after midnight. Brighton still busy as an anthill.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Done at last

For the first time in what seems like a month a Friday arrived.  A text from Klaudia this morning, so I can firm up our golden ticket trip to the theatre. Otherwise working on the train as we had to present some ideas first thing. During the day it was suggested to Keith and I that we would present our ideas at regular intervals. We did so finally at five thirty, but only to brief another colleague who will present them on our behalf. Keith and I both quite worn out by the end of the week.

First non-sushi lunch of the week, by coincidence an outbreak of fish worm hysteria in the press. Went intead into Crush, where I bought a Japanese style chicken curry with undercooked wild rice.

Marie the Danish art director had her last day today, and dropped into the little booth Keith and I have adopted in the basement, to say goodbye. She showed me some of her pictures on Instagram. Earlier another colleague called Robin showed me his images on Instagram too. Seems I must have Instagram, as all the hipsters say it's the only Cyber place to be. I joined it and found lots of people I know on it, including Betty who said she had mixed feelings about me being on Instagram.

Straight to the Preston Park Tavern where Lorraine and Betty were outside in the back, under a heater having a cheeky drink. Lorraine talking about cars, and looking at cars lots on the way home. We went home, ate there and watched the final of Masterchef. So happy to be home, and another agency week is done.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A sniff of freedom

Started listening to The Power and The Glory today by Graham Greene as an audiobook. But it's not really ticking the Knausgaard box.

Into work, with actual work to do today, and briefings on other stuff for next work. Felt quite relieved as I negotiated my end date at the current agency. I've only two weeks after this one before I am released back into the wild. Sniffing the ozone of freedom today, I can't wait.

Otherwise a 'Britain's facing drought disaster' screamer on the front page of The Express this morning. As Thursday is the new Friday, we fancied going out for a bite tonight, so Lorraine and I popped over to the Preston Park Tavern, from where we could comfortably watch the heavy rain.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017


Just noticed this is the 4,444th blog post on this blog. That's a ridiculous amount, and sadly little happening today.

Lorraine and I sluggishly out of bed this morning. I listened to Knausgaard on the train. Into work, and had a busy morning which passed quickly, and a slack afternoon which dragged and left me thinking about all the bazillion other things I could be doing which would be more fun. My laptop is still alive, however, so I was able to write a post on my other blog over lunch. I left work early, and was early for my train which was then cancelled. Late home, but speaking to mum as I was walking up the hill from Preston Park station. The doctors did not phone her today, as they said they would. And Mason is having a tooth out tomorrow, but because of his blood thinners this has to be in a hospital. Their new bathroom is being installed.

Almost full moon low on the horizon as I was heading home, and talking to Mum. Lorraine had cooked when I got home, and dinner was ready, even though she had been to her Charleston lesson. Both of us resisting the urge to drink boozes. Early to bed.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Another Monday

Thank Goodness the French didn't vote for the fascist Le Pen in the presidential elections, choosing a weird wunderkind banker instead.

A poor night's sleep, and slightly wussy with an upset stomach first thing. Then going to work clinging onto the idea that (after today) I only have two more Mondays to do at this agency for the time being. Little for Keith and I to do, other than very small bits. Feeling edgy today.  I was briefed on something towards the end of the day, that was of course needed urgently.

A walk at lunchtime in Russell Square. Spoke to Mas, Mum out and then later off to The Royal Free. Meanwhile a new bathroom is being put in. When I eventually caught up with her this evening, she said it seems she will need an operation on her pancreas, as they have found pre-cancerous cells. She is philosophical about it, and I suppose it is good that they have caught this early. Still it means more hospital, which is not ideal for her or Mas. She will learn more tomorrow.

Otherwise, listening to the Knausgaard book and enjoying it on the train.

One good thing is that I am writing this blog on my MacBook Air, which after being left upside down for four days appears to have made a miraculous recovery. A Lazarus Laptop.

Happy to be home with Lorraine, watching cookery programs on TV.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Open Houses

A nice day today. Up early thanks to Calliope. After breakfast I mowed our tiny lawn. Then we walked around and about some of the local Open Houses. Chatting with Lorraine about the art on show. Lots of it quite nice, but always decorative. None of it seems really engaging with  anything other than pleasantness. One place I found someone who was different. This was in the Church of St John the Evangelist, which I walk past most days on the way back from the station. Interesting work by someone called Annelies Clarke who at least to have ideas in it. Lorraine and I sat in the Church and had some cake and a cup of tea. Really enjoyed mooching about with Lorraine and trying not to spend money.

Spent the evening working on my computer.  Then Lorraine cooked nice food, and we drank some wine and did not want to go to bed.

Below a strange piece by Annelies Clarke, I think, strange faces on sheets ascending into the space of the church.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Parade day

Early breakfast, and then out into town, to watch the children's parade. Always lots of fun, and reminds me of how great Brighton is. This year on the theme of poetry in motion, and so many parents joining in. Lots of drumming and music too of course. We saw our former  next door neighbours in the Old Church Hall on the parade with their sons, and Lorraine saying howdy to a few teacher pals.

Then off to the Marwood for a coffee, and we did shopping looked at tea plates, which Lorraine had a pressing need for but we couldn't find the perfect ones. I bought my yearly pair of shades, destined no doubt to be sat on or lost, and Lorraine went into Specsavers to sort out her specs order.

Then spontaneously off to Kommedia, had a bite to eat and a drink of lager and watched the afternoon showing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, which was great fun. I don't much like superhero films, but this is fresh, ironic, visually surprising and puts being entertaining front and centre. Lorraine really enjoyed it too.

Below some snaps from the Children's parade.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Truthfulness and old friends

Listening to Knausgaard, which certainly passes the time. Really enjoying the truthfulness in his writing. It is one of those times when you read something at the right moment for you.

I obviously couldn't do any or my work as my MacBook Air is upside down at home drying out, its fate in the balance like the hanged man in the Tarot pack. Clearly I am over-attached to that laptop, but its potential demise simply makes everything difficult.

As the fates would have it Keith had been given one at work the previous day, so he had his own and the work one which he doesn't like. I was able to use the work one. We spent the day doing uninspiring things like seeking images on Getty.

Lunchtime we went to The Marquis Cornwallis where we bumped into Slug, and Karam and a couple of others creative chums. Had a single pint with them, then back to the office to brief an illustrator this afternoon.

After work, having left Keith to brief the illustrator again, I went back to the same pub for 20 mins, where I met old chums Pat, last seen when we flew down to Cornwall for Andy's funeral, John Perkins, a former close colleague, a lovely man with Jersey connections who I last worked with in Hammersmith ten years ago, plus Slug and Karam again. Great to see all of them, albeit briefly.

Zoomed off to the station, just making my train. Dropped my stuff off at home, and walked to the Preston Park Tavern on Havelock Road, enjoying seeing the sea on the horizon and feeling distinctly cheery. Met Lorraine and Betty in there and we had a couple of beers and some grub, before sloping off home.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Tea in the air

I had downloaded Karl Ove Knausgaard's A Man in Love, being the second part of his My Struggle series, and listened to it as an audiobook with enormous enjoyment of the way to work and on the way home. I remembered what Toby had said when he told me about Knausgaard, that it was like being inside someone's head. Sometimes annoying and banal, but other times amazing how be can make the trivial transfixing. Really enjoying it.

A strange day with bits of work to do, but the main work about establishing exactly what Keith and I need to do.  In the morning we were in the office lift and were chatting to a woman who had poured a pint of water into her MacBook, and was hurrying it down to the IT department upside down.

In the afternoon, as I was handing my cup to a man who collects cups at the end of the day, a colleague called Neil arrived to talk to us. Momentarily I clipped the cup I was handing to the cup man, and a ridiculously small amount of beautifully targeted tea flew into the keys of my MacBook Air to doom it. I went to the IT department and asked advice. They said to keep it upside down and let it dry out for three days or more. But I had already done everything wrong by turning it back on after I mopped up. Cursor weirdness started and everything was going left on the screen (which was clearly sinister).  If it doesn't miraculously cure itself in drying out, I will have to pay hundreds to have it fixed.

At home, Lorraine and I booked a couple of days in Guernsey timed for when I finish this bout of  freelance. Hopefully we will be able to celebrate with Richard whose book Stone Witness should be out. He emailed me today, pacing about like an expectant father waiting for the boxes of his new book to be delivered tomorrow. Exciting stuff.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Pieces of eight

Lorraine and I creeping out of bed this morning, at least pleased that today was hump day, aka Wednesday. Email today from Sarah Barnsley, who I like very much, and Richard on tenterhooks waiting for his new book to be delivered.

I knew today would be a slog, and Keith and I sprinting toward the finish line on the pitch we were working on. A snatched sarnie for lunch and caught late train home. Schoolboy error of not having an audiobook to listen to, contented myself with podcasts. Home late, but Lorraine later still, so I griddled mackerel and made a bit of stir fry. Happy to be home. Emails to send.

The empty wooden boards at the bottom of the Kenny coffers suddenly covered with doubloons today as two invoices paid.

After chatting to Mum. I spent what remained of the evening trying to choose books on Audible to listen to. I find it so hard to find anything I want there. Blessed bed.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Sushi for lunch

Lorraine and I up with the sparrows and off to work. Yippees escaping the Kenny lips few and far between. Nice to have the opportunity not to overeat, however. Sushi for lunch. Finished The Power by Naomi Alderman, a nice novel of ideas which had some nice twists to make you re-examine the patriarchy and the nature of power. Reasonable day at work. Home at a reasonable time too. Betty had cooked Cinderella style. Lorraine and I listening to soothing classical music, then early and gratefully to bed.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Red cars and royal oaks

Extra day today. Drove off to Henfield this lunchtime, to the home of one of Dawn's sisters, who was selling a VW beetle, which we were going to look at. It was a promising red. I like cars with actual colours on them. However, it only had two doors. Lorraine toying with the idea of a new car, as her current one is getting a bit long in the tooth.

We had Betty and John in the back, and after the car business was done, and we'd spoken to Dawn and her sister, and taken advice on local pubs, we drove to one called The Wheatsheaf. However the menu seemed to annoy everyone, being fussy and nothing appealing. We then drove to The Royal Oak, where we had some nice grub in a lovely historic pub with low ceilings, and only a moderate flurry of Deliverance banjo duelling from the locals when we arrived. I had sausages and mash, which was excellent. The ladies had a variety of ploughman's lunches and John had a big ole burger. I managed to soak up a couple of beers there too, and when we got home for the afternoon, I simply slept.

Ironing in the evening. Work tomorrow. Gah.

Below The exterior of the Royal Oak, Wineham.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bluebells and enormous pizza consumption

Lorraine and I working today. Lorraine with loads of school work, and me doing various bits of admin for my business, and writing a press release for Edinburgh. Both feeling a bit grumpy about having to work at the weekend.

However Lorraine and I went off to walk in the bluebell woods we always walk in this time of year, somewhere near Burgess Hill. It has been a very dry couple of months for this time of year, but they were still out in force and the smell was lingering in a lovely way. Spots of rain while we were walking about. We heard a woodpecker knocking on a tree and then I saw it disappear into a hole in another tree. We spent some time peering at this hole to no avail, however.

Home again, and after a bit of a rest, we walked up to see Anton, and hung out with him, Klaudia and Oskar. Had a nice time, and I enjoyed seeing my godbairns as usual.  Oskar showing Lorraine how to do animations on the program he had, so she can do it at school. Nice to chat to Klaudia too, and talk about her golden ticket visit to London which we will do soon.

Anton cooked about seven or eight of his fine pizzas. I seem to lack all restraint when he does this, and Lorraine and I ate pizza till we felt like bursting. Had a few beers too. A cheery night. Klaudia and Oskar using Spotify to torment each other my interrupting each other's song choices. Technology opens up a multiplicity of new ways to get on people's nerves.

Lorraine and I waddled down to the Station and cabbed home. Full as anything.

Below, traditional May pictures of bluebells.

Saturday, April 29, 2017


Thank God for Saturday, Lorraine and I had the luxury of lying in bed, and eating bacon and egg sandwiches. Then, eventually, off into town. We spent some time in Specsavers, ordering new glasses for Lorraine. Something about the chaos of Specsavers on a Saturday makes Lorraine fighty. Spent a load of time in there.

We decided after this to repair to the Basketmakers, our favourite Brighton pub. We arranged to meet Matt who happened to be out and about. Great to be back in the Basketmakers with him, where we had two drinks. Then we bused home, and had an early dinner in the Preston Park Tavern. Quickly, home, both quite tired, to sprawl on the gold sofa.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A happy ending

Woke up at six thirty at Mum's house, and immediately started work in bed on the  stuff Keith and I were rebriefed on yesterday. A quick porridge breakfast and coffee with Mum, and said hello to a sleepy Mas before I zoomed off to work on the tube, having walked to Stanmore. Got there early. Keith and I slogging to mid-afternoon, and a couple of meetings. Then a quiet canter into the long weekend. 

I snuck out of work early, and managed to train it down to Lewes in good time. On the train I got an email saying my first invoice had been paid by the agency, so I was officially solvent again. A wave of relief. Tried to explain to the woman at the gate that I had a season ticket to Brighton and needed to pay to get to Lewes, but she cut me off and simply opened the gate without charging me.

I walked up the hill to the Lewes Arms, had a pint of Harveys and helped Robin sort out the room. A Telltale and Friends night, with Siegfried and Sarah reading, and Katrina Naomi and Marion Tracey. Although I had to drag myself there, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the fact that all these people (many of them known to me) were prepared to come out just to enjoy listening to carefully chosen words. Siegfried continuing his literary obsession with the US. Marion's work interesting and dreamlike. Sarah on particularly good form, and Katrina's work accessible and moving. The Telltale stand on its last legs, and collapsed explosively during Katrina's reading when she was talking about her dead stepfather, which was clearly poltergeist activity.

Lorraine and I left as soon as we could and zoomed back to Brighton, dumped the car and fed the cats then sauntered down the hill to The Shahi for a late, but highly enjoyable curry. Left the Shahi and jumped into the cab that Betty had got from Brighton Station, after working all week up in London. Home to hear all about her adventures as a featured extra filming for four days a wedding episode, which included her first screen kiss. She was told by several people how good she was.

Unbelievably happy to be at this point in the week, and a long weekend too!

Below Sarah reading. She was utterly excellent today.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Digging holes, filling them in again

Up on my own, as Lorraine on a course in Hove today, so no need to spring from bed. Feeling more cheerful today, and up to London, listening to The Power, and enjoying it.  Also texting Sarah Barnsley about the Telltale Stand, texting Betty who was working near Kew Bridge and had sent me a photo of herself with a Shetland Pony, and Lorraine who kindly agreed to drop off the stand to Sarah's house.

Work fine-ish for most of the day, then the creative director drifted by in the afternoon smelling of beer, and simply moved all the goalposts of the work Keith and I had been doing for much of the last week. Obviously this now has all to be done rather urgently. More digging holes and filling them in again. Absurd stuff. Working a little late as a consequence. Then tubed off to Stanmore, and walked to see Mum and Mas. Spent the evening chatting, and eating spaghetti, although I went to bed early as I was yawning my head off.  Both of them tired too. They have ordered a new bathroom.

Looking at some of Mum's paintings again. I love this one, looking down Saints Road from the Barbarie bus stop on a foggy day.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Much better

Cold this morning on the platform, and very reluctantly off to work today.

Finished listening as an audiobook to The Imaginary Girlfriend, a short memoir by John Irving today. Lots of stuff to do with wrestling in it. Then started listening to The Power, by Naomi Alderman, who is friends with Margaret Atwood and it is rather a good novel.

Went into work this morning like I was entering a ring. Unexpectedly, however, the day was fine, and the vileness of yesterday abated, and Keith and I were simply allowed to get on with our work. I walked around in Russell Square at lunch and called Mum, who could hear as I was talking to her a strange cacophony of squeakers, a vuvuzela and drums from over the hedge when I was there, and it turned out to be a security guard's protest outside the university.

Was able to leave work on time and meet Anton in the evening at The Joker for some beers and woof-woof wings and generally to put the world to rights. Great to see Anton, though much waiting to be served at the bar and a long wait for food. When it came it was splendid though. Have arranged an evening with him and the bairns over the weekend, which I'm pleased about.

Meanwhile in Guernsey Richard's new book Stone Witness is moving quickly towards being published by Blue Ormer. You can read about it here.

Walked up the hill very quickly afterwards and home to my lovely wifey, who was tired after having done pilates, and Charleston the day before. To bed, dogged by cats.

Below, a small protest.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Vile day, with imaginary birds

Into work feeling optimistic and cheerful. However the day turned vile, and extremely stressful. Keith and I found ourselves dumped on by passive aggressive idiots. We spent the afternoon at an editing suite fixing the short films which suddenly seem to have become our responsibility. After, I walked back to Blackfriars in a hateful black mood, and was very pleased to get home to Lorraine, who had gone to a Charleston lesson after work with Dawn, and was skipping about in the kitchen when I got home. Which did a great deal towards cheering me up.

Watched a wildlife programme which had a section about birds, and Calliope suddenly got very interested, and started looking behind the TV for them once they had disappeared from the screen.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Adlestrop moment

Up to London early today. Caught the seven o'clock train, and listened to the birdsong on the platform slightly enchanted by it and thinking of Edward Thomas's lines:

"And for that minute a blackbird sangClose by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire."

Enjoyed seeing a hot air balloon, decorated as a huge union flag, drifting about near the low sun.

Got off at Blackfriars and walked alongside the Thames and up through Leicester Square to a place called Jungle on Villiers Street, where I had to meet production person Nadia, and sit in on a voiceover recording this morning, and have a conversation about editing afterwards. Nadia only three years out of university, but very switched on. I was able to add a bit of nuance here and there to the voiceover. Then back in a cab to the agency, to hook up with Keith and do some work on a pitch and other headless chicken panicky stuff about the short films in the afternoon.

Managed to slip away on time, and very happy to be back home at eight. Lorraine and I to bed early, but woken by Beth who arrived home at about one, and was chuffed that she had four days shoot as a featured extra on a TV show, and was home to pack and depart at a horrid 5 o'clock in the morning.

Snaps on the walk into Soho, and inside the studio.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Happy shopper

A slowish Sunday. A bit of happy pottering about in the gardening, mowing the lawn, watering the plants and so on. We went to Sainsbury's and this felt a really happy thing to be doing with Lorraine. I miss my Brighton life at the moment, and can't wait to get back to it. Also a good deal of recovering from a full on week, and Lorraine girding her loins for going back to School.

Generally a lovely weekend.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lorraine's Birthday

Up early (thanks to the unwanted attentions of Calliope) and made tea and later brought Lorraine breakfast in bed. She opened cards and a few pressies, and once we were up (not particularly early) we caught the bus down the hill into the North Laine. Had a much needed haircut, then met Lorraine and we looked at watches, and then looked at some more, and then had coffee and had a discussion about whether you could have a group of minus four beetles for a surprisingly long time. Then more shopping, and at some point we bought some sketchers shoes. I have never tried these on before, and it is like walking on air or fleecy pillows. I also picked up a pressie for Oskar, whose birthday it was yesterday. Then we went back to the original shop where we bought a watch for Lorraine's birthday.

Home briefly (I was blinking tired) and snoozed on the sofa, as Chelsea played a cracking FA Cup semifinal with Spurs. Fortunately Spurs were Spursy about it, and happily they lost 4-2.

Lorraine and I caught the bus to Hove, where after some crossed wires and bumping into Anton on the street, we met Betty at the Urchin, which she had booked to celebrate Lorraine's birthday. We were soon joined by Rosie and Innis and then Dawn. A really cheery evening, and nice food. Most of us had peppered squid and moules and frites, which was all very tasty. These denizens of the deep safely despatched, we went off to the Exchange pub, where a spirited man was playing banjo and guitar. Had a bit of a laugh here, and John arrived clutching a bunch of flowers for Lorraine, and then Beth gave Lorraine a cuddly toy, which she claimed to be a black eyed mole, but was actually a badger. However it successfully conveyed the fact that she and Sam had paid for a session with Miss Mole, the florist who did our flowers for our wedding, and Lorraine has a crush on, on Japanese flower arranging techniques.

Discussing with Innis and John and Betty Ancients of Groove, which seems to be an idea I am having for a show.

Dawn drove Lorraine and I home, and I watched the bits of the Chelsea game I had missed, before going to bed after a cheery day.

Below rather late in the evening, Innis watches Rosie dancing, and Lorraine and Anton.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Noticing things

Still feeling cheerful. Helped by not having to work on the train first thing. End of week-ish and a bit braindead. Bought tea from man on the The Daily Grind stand, and shunned my sweetener as more news this morning that artificial sweeteners in soft drinks increase your risk of dementia and stroke. Listened to the football podcast. Brighton a.k.a. The Seagulls, are about to be promoted to the premier league, which sets up the potential for loyalty dividing Chelsea V Brighton football matches.

A gleam of various ideas of things to write, as I walked from St Pancras to the office.  Noticing things again.

Keith and I were given quite a bit to do. After takeaway sushi lunch, there was the usual agency Friday afternoon crisis, with work that needed doing urgently at 5pm. We pulled it off, and I still managed to catch the 18:08 from St Pancras. Another drunk on the way home, in a very smart suit in his early 40s, who sat down heavily on me then, having muttered in apology, lolled about asleep, and on three occasions tried to rest his head on my shoulder. My patience wearing thin, if he had done it a fourth time I was tempted to punch his head. Luckily for both of us, some spidey sense in him prevented this.

Home to Lorraine at last, thank God. And no French work to do tonight. Finally heard from my Paris pals, and they had liked the last idea I had sent to them last night.

The flowers I sent Lorraine had arrived during the day, as it is her birthday tomorrow.  She had spent the day quietly working from home, but had also cooked us stuffed peppers which were lovely, these, abetted by a cans of lager, and a glorious encounter with the gold sofa was exactly what the doctor ordered. An exhausting week, but pivotal too.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Out of the tunnel

Everyone up with the larks this morning. Lorraine up before me, and driving John and Beth off to hospital, where John was having a small op.

I felt like I had emerged from a dark tunnel today, suddenly feeling happier than I have felt in some weeks. But the work unrelenting. On the train this morning, then a full day of Keith and I digging holes, only to be told to fill them in again, and then home to see my lovely wife, eat stir fry and then start work again till gone ten.  I have heard nothing from lovely French clients, however, so that was my last piece.

Cramped on the train going home. Beth called me, bored as John slept off his anaesthetic. Sitting next to a man of the train who was furtively tucked into several cans of beer from his case. He crushed them all into the waste bin before he left, and walked down the platform swigging mouthwash. I finished the evening with a whisky with my wifey, and then bed. Tomorrow is Friday. All is well.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A gloom

French work first thing today, as I travelled into London. Then a full day up in the smoke. Had sushi and poetry rejection for lunch. Felt beset by gloom. Bob called me to say that he was feeling gloomy, but I gloomed at him before he could gloom at me. Keith confirmed I was a bit gloomy today, which makes you feel even gloomier.

Snuck out ten minutes early to get the early train just in time to pass a clot of my new colleagues. Train delayed obviously. I worked on the train a bit, and happy to get back to Brighton, and enjoying  the walk back from the station, looking over my shoulder at the colours of the low sun.

A cheery supper, with Beth and John, who is going to hospital tomorrow for a quick op. Hearing about their recent awake break in a hotel. Then upstairs to the no rest for the wicked department. Sent off another idea to Paris. Then chatting with Lorraine, and talking in bed till late, which was a bit crazy as we both had to be up with the sparrows.

A non-gloomy shot I snapped yesterday on the way to work. Newton.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A long slog

Up at six fifteen, and off into the cool but sunny morning. Into town, and sloping into work. Several talks about work we might be doing, without too much being demanded today. My lovely French clients, however, spoke to me which meant I had to work on the train and at home. All a bit of a long slog.

Lunchtime, I spoke to Mum and Mas while sauntering in Russell Square. Mum slowly getting herself organised. I put off inflicting myself on her this week, and will pop up next week. Walked to Waterstones bookshop, but delayed buying lots of books till I can actually afford them, which will be soon I hope.

Stuff from the Edinburgh people about get in times, which luckily Beth was on top of. Also emails with Sarah Barnsley, who I like a good deal, about the Telltale Anthology.

My inner Charles Pooter was appalled that the lovely vegetarian chilli Lorraine had cooked wasn't ready for me as soon as I got home. Normal roles reversed, Lorraine was aghast. Very happy to be home, on the gold sofa with my lovely wife. Then in the no rest for the wicked department, off to do more work. Toby Facetimed later but I was in zombie mode by then and migrated to bed as soon as I could.

Below Mr and Mrs Pooter.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Decline and Fall

Slept like a baby, apart from the attentions of Calliope this morning. Fed her and Brian, made tea and sat in bed with Lorraine and I caught up with my blog. Then up as Dawn came around for coffee. I left the ladies chatting and worked on my French stuff for a couple of hours, sending some ideas off to Paris.

Spoke to Mas a couple of times. Mum now back home, which is good.

Heard from Richard, and his new collection is going to be published by Blue Ormer, which is splendid.

I needed an afternoon of indolence, feeling tired and depressive. Lorraine and I went for a walk around the block, then zombied in front of TV. We watched the Anchorman The Legend of Ron Burgundy, film, having never seen it before. Mildly amusing. Then all of the recent BBC adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall which was very well done, funny and well paced. A brilliant adaptation I thought.

And so to bed, setting my alarm for 6:15 tomorrow. As Nigel Molesworth might say, Chiz.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Farewell to Sam and Scotland

A dreich day, rainy and grey. Met Sam in the Cafe 33, where we were told it was going to get colder next week. I had a full breakfast, which included black pudding, and Lorraine and I talking about a diet of lettuce when we get home. Sam caught the train with us to Stirling, and after sad farewells had left in search of an airbed.

In the cafe I was able to get through to Mum, who sounded bright and said she was on the mend, and hoping to go home in the next day or so and was now able to eat and drink and was on her third bag of water. She had had pancreatitis after the recent biopsy and had been unable to eat or drink and had been in a lot of pain. I felt happier having talked to her.

Sad to see him go, and as the train pulled off it seems that Bridge of Allan was a long way from home again. To Edinburgh, then the airport by tram. Uneventful time there, and the flight home slightly less obnoxious that the first one, but cramped and trapped doesn't help. I like the signs over the gates at the airport, saying Haste ye back! We will be returning in August, so their wish comes true.

Feeling very tired by the time we got home. Lovely to be on the gold sofa, eating a light stir fry and fruit. Mason called saying he hadn't been able to get in touch with Mum, however I gave him the ward number but she they had spoken when I called later.

An earlyish night, shunning Match of the Day as Chelsea had been beaten by Manchester United.

A last glimpse of the Wallace Memorial from the train.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A lovely day and a frayed nerve

A lovely bright day. Lorraine and I met Sam and did the Darn Walk, much of it alongside the River Allan rushing through the woods, and then skirting a golf course down to Dunblane. A beautiful walk. One favoured by Robert Louis Stevenson, and a cave by the river is said to have inspired Ben Gunn's cave in Treasure Island.

Then into Dunblane, which seemed a very pleasant quiet town. Terrible that for outsiders it still is most famous for the deadliest mass shooting in UK history where tiny children and a teacher were massacred by a crazed gunman in 1996. Seeing the little town makes you think about the trauma it endured. Everyone must have known someone who was directly affected.

We had a nice hobbits' second breakfast there (having eaten a banana first thing) and then went down to the little station to go two stops to Stirling.  Enjoyed seeing a poster for the trains with the headline, 'Your ticket to fun filled places, and excited wee faces'.

Into Stirling, also a lovely-looking place in the sun, where we went into a cafe called the Sable and Flea, for a quick coffee before venturing next door to a gentleman's tailors. Here to get the ball rolling on getting a stylish suit for Sam for his wedding. There was a room full of burly men in kilts when we arrived, and there was all the paraphernalia of traditional scottish clothing there. Kilts, and gorgeous jackets in some amazing colours, and kilt hose, and colours for the socks, and more sporrans than you could shake a stick at. Sam favouring a blue three piece suit, and having chosen the fabric, and paid a deposit, and made an appointment for Sam to be measured up, made off back to the Station (very clean and free of graffiti as all of them seem to be), to return to Bridge of Allan.

Then a bit of downtime, having done a fair amount of walking. We tried to book a nearby restaurant called the Bologna, but were unable to get a table. Lots of the food places here are run by Italians, and there seem to be a fair amount of people of Italian background here, including the owners of the cafe we eat in in the morning.

At tea time, we went to have another fish supper at the Allanwater Cafe. The haddock was perfectly cooked and delicious. Leaving the cafe en route to the magical Allanwater Brewhouse, I decided to call home to see how Mum and Mas were. I'd had a vivid dream about Mum the night before which had reminded me to call them. I said hello to Mas and asked him how he was, he said fine but said Mum had been in hospital for three days. He had been in to visit her with Robert today, and she was much better. Something had flared up after her pancreas test last week, and meant she was in lots of pain, but the was now being controlled.

Somewhat alarmed by this, let Toby know, and then went back to the hotel to use the power of Google and get the number for the ward she was in. I spoke to her nurse who said she was comfortable and okay, and was being settled in for the night. She took a message from me. Let Toby know this. Then, nerves a bit frayed, went back to the pub.

Drank deep of the 70/- beer, which was lovely, and had a good night. Musicians playing in the pub tonight, and it full and cheery. Lorraine talking to family on the same table, whose son was at Stirling doing an MA. We were there till the end, and this brilliant pub's Narnia like qualities on full force, and quite hard to drag ourselves away back into reality.

Below, shots of the river Allan, and along the Darn Walk, including the Stevenson bench and cave, part of the the sporran section in the House of Henderson tailors, inside the haven of the Allanwater Brewhouse.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Toddling around town

Breakfast in cafe 33 (which we are think of unfairly as cafe 666) again this morning, and a bit of a ditto day. Sam went off to do some work at the University, and I went back to the hotel and worked in the quiet of our room on the thorny French brief. In this tranquil atmosphere, with Lorraine playing on her iPad quietly on the bed, I soon got to grips with a couple of ideas and felt happier enough to stop working.

Lorraine and I then had another afternoon constitutional, this time at the top of the town, with rather nice views and gorgeous house-envy inspiring houses. We saw what we thought was a bullfinch attacking a parked car's wing mirrors, and then pecking at its darkened windows. Obviously spring making it feel territorial to the point of fighting itself.

It had grown quite chilly, and Lorraine looked into some charity shops, and then we had an afternoon coffee and a scone in a busy cafe restaurant called the Jam Jar. After a snooze, we met Sam and went to Bridge of Allan's one Indian restaurant, which was pokey and kitchen-smokey and quite pricey. But the food was pretty good, and we all enjoyed the food. We rolled down to the Allanwater Brewhouse again. What an amazing place. Here we played cards and supped fine beer and chatted, till it was time to go home. Sam taking some time out to read something Jade had written and comment on it, his face screen lit in the pub. Cool that they can critique each other's work.

A few not particularly well snapped photos around the town.