Monday, July 31, 2017

In which Anton is alarming

Up early and sorting last minute things out. Getting ready for the visit of the Tobster today when I found I had a missed call from Anna, and listening to it discovered that Anton had had a suspected MI, and was in hospital. Rapid calls to Anton’s mum, and replying to Anna. Texted Anton, and later Lorraine and I visited him in hospital, only to find that he looked remarkably well and was sitting up in bed reading The Lord of the Rings and suggesting novel ways to approach publishers (by getting the rejections in first). He was somewhat rattled, of course, but as the day progressed it seemed that remarkably he had got off without much physical damage. He had walked from home to the nearby doctor’s surgery, no doubt alarming everyone, and then they called an ambulance.  There was even talk of releasing him back into the wild the same day, however, but they kept him in overnight due to waiting for various results.

During this, the Tobster came down to Brighton, and after Lorraine and I had come back from the hospital, we three had a cheery evening, having a bite in the Preston Park Tavern, and a steadying drink as the late sun slanted in. Great to see Toby, although he was as alarmed as anyone by the Anton business. Good to hang out and chat. What is good about seeing my brother is that however long we’ve not seen each other for, we just pick up as if we’d seen each other last week.

We went home, and Tobs and I stayed up late watching a series on Netflix called Tokyo Diner.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


A bit achey today still, so a day of sloth. Lay in bed all morning, and Lorraine read and finished The Second Kind of Darkness. Much to my relief, she really liked it.

In the afternoon, we drove to see Janet and Ken, where we had tea and chats, and looked at Janet’s kitchen which is taking shape nicely.

 On the way home we picked up Beth and John, who were staying at John’s flat. Home, and Lorraine had cooked roast lamb, and roast potatoes and so on. The lamb was delicious and had been given to her by Peter, her chair of govenors, who is a sheep farmer among other things. Being gouty at the moment, I have to steer clear of red meat. I mumbled at a bit of chicken while they all slavered over lamb. Lamb, it transpires, is a particular Betty favourite.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The call of the Gold Sofa

Beth and Lorraine off to London early this morning, to meet Jade and have a bit of a hen do. Betty stayed till the bitter end, but Lorraine enjoyed a spa morning with the hen party. Jade had a great day apparently.

I found bits and pieces to do, including looking at the fox basking in the sun next door. I was feeling a bit wan and tired today generally, the gouty tiredness still making me feel a bit draggy. Lorraine home, and we had a lovely evening simply lurking on the gold sofa together.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Suits, and rehearsals and an evening with Dawn

Off to town, after faffing about this morning. Feeling wan and run down still. But eventually girded my loins, and met Beth in town and we went shopping for my suit. Got a smart suit, at a sale, cash price of £260 from the shop I often go to, which passed the Betty approval test. Then, pausing for a cup of coffee, Beth and I went off to The Boots and spent the afternoon rehearsing with Kitty and Matt. Somewhat challenged by the fact that the play, despite being repeatedly cut stays stubbornly at the 55 minutes. Beth and I made some last minute cuts, and the final run through, with these bits gone, snuck in just under 50. Thank goodness. A nice afternoon with everyone, Matt had been working hard  to get everything right, and I was very pleased with him.

Home again, via the optician to pick up my new reading glasses. Home to Lorraine, and shortly after Dawn came around for tea. She had some feedback from the children who she had been reading The Second Kind of Darkness to, and there were a couple of really useful points I can improve on. But apart from that the kids were lapping it up apparently, which is a big relief.  Kitty had also mentioned earlier that was pressing on and still enjoying it. Nice chat with Dawn, and with Lorraine. Tomorrow is her last day, and I will get my wifey back.

A few laughs in the rehearsal room.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A study day

Tired today, I am due to get new blood tests soon to adjust the meds for my gout, as this triggers your immune response and you feel like you are fighting something off all the time. A dreary rainy filled day as befits the first day of school holidays.

So a pleasant day in the study. I made some good progress working on my proposal, and synopsis for The Second Kind of Darkness. Dawn told Lorraine today that the kids in her class have been lapping it up. Dawn is coming around tomorrow, with comments from the eagle-eyed children.

I watched the Mark Leckey Dream English Kid 1964-1999, again online, plus Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore. Great when you discover something new and interesting. The blurred soundscapes on these films is as if a microphone was lowered into the part of a brain to do with memory.

Also made time for meditation. When I have done it in the past it has brought me so many benefits, it seems brainless not to do it, especially when it is free and only takes a bit of time out of your day.

Beth at home, due to look at two flats, but both viewings were cancelled. Lorraine working at school although the children have gone, but now there are builders and she has loads of office work to do till the end of the week.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A day with Toby and Mum

Off to London today, after a few bits of French work in the morning before zooming down to Preston Park and off to Victoria. I walked down to Tate Britain and met Mum outside. Toby had managed to get into the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum by getting there at the crack of dawn. Mum and I chatted about wide ranging subjects and observed a heroic pigeon repeatedly infiltrating the Djanogly Cafe till Toby arrived, looking on fine form. Great to see him of course, and we had another cup of tea to celebrate.

Spent time mooching about looking at paintings. I always am surprised when I go there about what a a marvellous collection it is there.  Pictures I've looked at since childhood, and some I paid special attention to when doing A level art, such as the William Roberts pictures. Liking this time the sheer unabashed gorgeousness of the colour in some of the Pre-Raphaelite work.  Lovely stuff, and lots of old favourites. Also a room full of postmodern nonsense, a piece stringing together bits of Obsession for men adverts was a particularly useless 'stealomatic' (as they call such stuff in advertising agencies).

Tried to get some photos of all of us. Toby elusive although Mum managed to capture one of us on her iPad.

As we mooched about, I was very much taken with a piece by Mark Leckey. One of those darkened rooms with a film running. However this piece Dream English Kid was a sort of biography made from a collage of material he found online. But beautiful in parts, and as the timescale covered was 1964-1999, it resonated with me. The timeline ended at the time of the solar eclipse in 1999. I was working in Havant for the day, and still at IBM.

Then Mum, Toby and I went walking along the river, passing the houses of parliament. And then to Trafalgar Square. Where we stopped off on St Martin's Lane at a Côte restaurant, for a decent feed, and then mooched briefly through Convent Garden stopping off at the Nell of old Drury, opposite The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where we climbed upstairs to a peaceful pub room and a chat.

Home then, on the tube Mum and Toby getting of at Westminster for the Jubilee, and me heading off to Victoria, where the train had been cancelled. However the later train was a fast one and son I was home in reasonable time. Lorraine and Beth had been snacking quietly in the Preston Park Tavern. 

A selfie of Mum, Toby and me; Mum in the Tate; mum's shot of Toby and I, a Harry Harryhausen skeleton and a still from Dream English Kid.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ducks and cherries

To Ashford to see Pat and Maureen, before all kinds of complex things happen, such as them coming to Brighton while we are up in Edinburgh, and us all meeting up in Leeds for Sam's wedding. John and Beth came with us, and John had not been to see Pat and Maureen before. John doing very well considering he had been doing a gig and travelling through the night.

A threatening sky on then way to Kent, but a warm welcome from Pat and Maureen, who was wearing cherries over her ears. Apparently, this is what you do with cherries, and there is nothing eccentric about this at all.

A happy day, and it was good to see Ken, Lorraine's brother, who I've only met a few times. He's quite into his photography, and he showed me his cool Canon camera. He takes photos of his exhibition dogs in Ireland and says that by studying a photo of the dog, you can tell what needs to be improved more easily than just by looking at it. A tasty duck and salad lunch. Pat pointing out that the duck had four legs, and three of them on the left. Then a good amount of hanging about chatting. Pat and Maureen have a Tens machine for their feet which Lorraine and I tried. It sends electric shocks into the soles of your feet which then forces you to clench your muscles like an electrified frog. It made Lorraine yelp, and I thought it was appalling, though Ken, Pat and Maureen all swear by it, and have it on at twice the power we have it on at. They are made of stern stuff.

Then we played cards, brag and then pontoon. Maureen broke out her big tin of buttons to use as currency. Beth didn't like brag much, but everyone got on with pontoon. I liked the buttons.

While I was there I chatted with Toby, planning a get together with Mum on Tuesday.

Then fond farewells and the long drive home, which was pretty quick. Beth and John snoozing in the back of the car, until we dropped them off in Hove. Lorraine and I home, and gradually made our way to bed after Lorraine had drunk a small but soothing gin.

Below, ominous skies as we set off. Maureen observes Beth and John, one of Maureen's prized dolls, this one is Process Diana, and buttons our currency.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Going about my thespian business

Lorraine very tired this morning, so we had breakfast in bed. Then I had to slink off to The Boots for a four and a half hour rehearsal. Beth's good pal Emily gave us some of her time. She has been training to be a voice specialist at Central, and provided us with some good notes on voice, and some other feedback too. I like her a lot. Everyone working hard.

To slim A Glass of Nothing down to fifty minutes, we've had to make a few cuts which, if anything, are improving the play. Another cut happened this afternoon, Beth and I thinking the same thing without even discussing it. Matt the intensive focus of what we are doing, and he is bearing up with great fortitude, and good humour.

I felt a slight cringe buying some drinks downstairs, asking for a diet coke, a glass of soda water, and a cup of tea, which the owner gave us for free. He lets us use the room for free, and I like to buy drinks there to payback a little.

I walked home to find Lorraine reading The Second Kind of Darkness on the sofa. She is still enjoying it. Then we cabbed off to Hove where we met up with Rosie and Innis, I wanted very for Rosie to see the manuscript too, as she is a children's literacy specialist, and passionate about children's books. I hope she likes it. We popped out for a couple of beers, then ate a take away curry. Everyone a bit tired. Enjoyed chatting with Innis as usual, about wide-ranging stuff. Rosie was house sitting for a friend, an opportunity she jumped at as her flat had been flooded by the flat upstairs, and this is taking a lot of time to sort out and repair. There is an unpleasant smell in her flat too, which is stressing her out.

A taxi home, for Lorraine and I full of curry, and straight to bed.

Below Emily making notes, as Beth, Kitty and Matt go through their paces in our traditional rehearsal room upstairs in The Boots, aka. The Duke of Wellington.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Little or nothing

A low energy day. Watched Betty do some stuff in my study this afternoon uploading videos and so on, and spoke briefly to an unusually quiet Sonia. Bought some fish and chips in the evening, as Lorraine was out on her end-of year- drinks with the school staff.  She popped home first to change into civvies before heading out for the wilds of Hateful Heath. I fancied doing little or nothing today, and frankly achieved this in impressive style, enjoying loafing a great deal. 

Spoke to Mum this morning, and the Tobster this evening, who is safely now in Edgware. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A happy day

So up with the sparrows this morning, the sky still threatening rain. I mooched off the doctors to discuss blood pressure, gout, a persistent ear infection and a weird lump in my chest. Came away reassured, and with a few routine tests lined up. I like my doctor very much, and we tend to have a bit of a laugh. I told him its not you it's me, on my white coat syndrome.

Off next to get my haircut as it was suddenly unruly and sprouting sideways like a clown. This dealt with, off to the ideologically unsound Starbucks where I celebrated with large cup of coffee, and fiddled with some poems. Then to Specsavers for an eye test. I need a slightly stronger prescription, but my eye health is good. Together we compared the red photos of inside my eyes to last time and it all looked healthy. Then the difficult business of choosing specs with a woman called Raquel, whose head I did in by rebuffing her suggestions. We had quite a laugh about it.

Then a bus home, and I sorted out the last of the Edinburgh business, organising posters. I have now done what I can, and felt a sense of relief about it. There was a wine delivery, as Lorraine is going to give wine bottles as presents to her staff, before I zoomed off to The Boots, where Beth, Kitty and Matt where rehearsing, and sat in for a couple of hours. They worked really hard, and were a bit hysterical when I arrived. To my surprise Kitty had started to read The Second Kind of Darkness, and she is really liking it. I was delighted.

After rehearsals, Beth and I went to the PPT, where we discussed the play, the future of Brighton Blondes and so on, as we scoffed some food and drank some beer.  Lorraine, home late after another school performance, joined us in the pub and had a beer and a wee plate of hummus.  I miss her lots at the moment, as she is off very early and home late. This is her last full week, thankfully.

It had been a very happy day for me, facing up to things I didn't particularly want to do and sailing through them. All good.  The one poor note is that Anton is having a wretched time with an ear infection, and costs mounting up when a leaking roof causing a flood when the storms came, and a large dead fridge, which will require the removal of window frame to get it taken away. He has had to take his house off the market temporarily.

Below a photo of the cast, when I asked them to do a selfie pout. Naturally they were all good at it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Not Hyde

Up early again. Looking blearily out of the kitchen window just after seven, saw Calliope watch a fox, only a metre away, with a complete lack of concern. Was offered work from the folks in London I worked with earlier this year for a couple of months, but the timing was all wrong. Also offered some work by Pat, but had to decline this too.

I spent the day working productively on the Edinburgh business, sending out of 26 press releases, amongst other bits. Also went for an hours' walk. Spoke to Mum too, who is looking forward, as I am, to the Tobster's visit.

In the evening cooked and served up a late supper for Lorraine, back from another performance of the school play which seems to be going down well. She is unbelievably busy at the moment, trying to get everything sorted. I am looking after her nicely when she gets home.

Beth working up near Oxford today being an extra. Luckily she was given a lift home, and near our house passed a Peter Kenny double, shambling home looking strange and slightly mad. She came up to our room to check that it wasn't a Mr Hyde like version of me.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Stars and storms

The weather muggy and turbulent, ending in an apocalyptic thunderstorm. Writing my proposal for the children's book, plus working on a few poems and doing some Edinburgh stuff.

In the evening off to The Evening Star, where I met Glen and Eleni, Steve, Richard and Maria Grazia, and Adam Bushell, who I'd not seen for about five years, then saw twice in a week. Also chatting to a Yorkshireman on his own on our table called Mike, who had invented little cards to place over his drink which said Back in a few minutes, to prevent his drink being removed. A really cheerful evening all round. Steve looking incredibly smart just having got off the train from London where he is doing a new job. It made me want to obey him.

Then walked home, managing to get home while the rain was spotting. There followed a thunderstorm the like of which I had not seen in the UK. The sky flashing wildly.

Below Mike, and his beer card, and the radiant Glen and Eleni.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A happy Monday

A Happy Monday. I hit the ground running today with a good sense of purpose. Working on getting my proposal in focus for The Second Kind of Darkness. Lorraine heard from Dawn today, that she had been reading it to her class and the children were enjoying it. Went into town for a change of scene, and went to Starbucks. I sat next to two teenagers, whose conversation amused me. As I put on Facebook: Sitting in the non-ideologically sound Starbucks. Two teenagers next to me, talking about one of their friends. "Yeah. He's always been four years older than me." Quite reassuring that nothing has rippled the space time continuum here at least.

Enjoyed walking back through the park, a lovely sunny day and although I have a lot to be getting on with, I felt a real sense of my privilege and freedom.  Lorraine, however, with one full week of slog ahead.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday rehearsals

Up this morning and Lorraine snatching an escaping Calliope out of mid air, recalling her netball days, as we abducted her back to the vets, yowling and even growling at one point. Luckily she has healed up very well, and she was soon at home again. Poor thing. Luckily there is no need to continue the syringing of stuff down into her throat, before she develops 'trust issues' as the exceptionally nice vet said.

Then Lorraine and I lurked about having some breakfast, before I went off down the hill for another afternoon's rehearsal. Had a nice chat with mum, en route.

The rehearsal demanding stuff, and everyone working hard. We are making progress. James came too, for a couple of hours at the end for a fresh pair of eyes, which was extremely useful. 

In a break I called Anton, who is still languishing with a nasty ear infection. I will go see him soon. 

Walked home, and felt quite tired this evening. Lorraine too. We went to bed very early for a Saturday night, after last night's liveliness. Lorraine had been reading The Second Kind of Darkness. She is liking it.

Below Beth, while she and Matt were rehearsing a scene.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Music, cheer and great company

Doing lots of mind-maps at the moment, trying to use this natural lull to at least be clear about my objectives. At lunchtime, I zoomed down to the Bath Arms to answer the papal summons. There are few people better to chat with over a plate of pub grub and a pint than Catherine, and we had a great chat over lunch.

Then up to St Luke's with Lorraine in a taxi, where Glen and Eleni, and Kostas on guitar were playing a concert of Greek and French music. Bumped into a few folks I'd not seen in a while, including the composer Barry Mills, and Adam Bushell, who, like Glen, played on This Concert Will Fall In Love With You and other adventures, Richard Gibson there too.

Glen and Eleni played with Kostas Kationis on guitar, who Eleni told me is extremely respected around Kavala as a choral conductor and arranger. In a selection of Greek songs from the 20th century, in the first half, then a selection of French songs, including of songs by Edith Piaf with lovely fluency too.

After we had a really fun drink with Glen and Eleni, Richard, Kostas and his wife. Lorraine and I also met an interesting woman called Alexandra who was a friend of a friend of Glen's who has been based in China for the last few decades. Much needed relaxation time for Lorraine. A good night with good friends.  A taxi home, after a walk down the long hill to London Road, and straight to bed.

Below the cheeky-looking Dr Catherine Pope, with Queen Victoria appropriately close. And Glen and Eleni both after the gig and during it.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A cheeky beer

Feeling somewhat brighter. A nice email from Mandy this morning saying that she'd really enjoyed the children's book. She's the first person on earth to have read this version other than me. Others are not far behind though. Felt chuffed though.

After doing various bits and pieces this morning, off this afternoon to do rehearsal for the play in The Boots. However this was broken midway as Beth wanted to look at a flat nearby in Vernon Terrace. We zoomed up there and having looked about it, me trying to look intelligently at things like radiators, she wanted to make an offer instantly, having missed out the previous week due to postponing the decision. So immediately we went to the Letting agent's office and Beth started signing all the forms, and calling John. Once the appalling forms had been signed, and precious rehearsal time wasted, it turned out that someone else had made an offer too while we were doing this, so they could not progress until the landlord had chosen between them.

Back to rehearsal. Beth somewhat distracted and stressed. Kitty and Matt quite understanding luckily about the hiatus. When rehearsal finished, James came by and we had a drink outside in the garden. Beth needing a glass to de-stress herself.

Below, James and Betty drinking a much needed beer.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Simply no moral backbone today. Woke up feeling a bit flare-prone and achey. Although I tried hard, I couldn't settle to anything productive today. However I spoke to Mum for a bit, she has a new date for her operation in August now. She told me she went to meditation last night, and didn't agree with the woman's talk about non-attachment. I suggested she stage a coup.

I had a brief walk outside, and sat in the garden for a while. Tried to listen to improving podcasts, but couldn't be bothered to listen to them properly. Tried to read, but couldn't focus my mind enough. Looked at my poems and hated all of them.  So, having worked on Sunday,  I eventually gave over the day to my own unruly thoughts, and picked up Bianca, my white guitar, which I have barely touched for the last year or so. I am rusty and my hand's weren't at their best. But fun.

Anton and I failed to meet tonight, as I was feeling gout-prone, and he has a bad ear infection. What a pair. Instead I stayed at home, and Beth and Lorraine had their nails done by a pal of Beth's who came around. They both have one nail on each hand done in glitter which is apparently all the rage. Lorraine staying up late, writing the headteacher's remarks on the reports in turquoise ink. 

I took a picture of the Jack o' the green face, Lorraine and I bought a while ago, which is now looking increasingly part of the garden. Its eyes seem to follow you about.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bits and pieces

Felt odd not to be working on the children's story. A day of bits and pieces. Dawn dropped by this evening to pick up the manuscript of The Second Kind of Darkness and said she was going to read it to her class. This is fantastic of course, but made me feel nervous. She invited me to come and talk to the kid. Weasel that I am, maybe I'll wait to hear if they hate it or not first.

Otherwise I wrote a long overdue blog about Richard's Stone Witness collection. Also did some admin for Edinburgh and worked to put together some video stuff for the play too.

Beth went to Lorraine's school to look at some drama work this morning. She was very disappointed that the flat she wanted was gone, despite her phoning the letting agent at 9:00am.

Apart from doing this kind of stuff, went out to buy a bag of delicious cherries. I like them, and they are good for gout apparently. I am feeling pre-gout tingles again. I'm disappointed to have flare-ups after being free for two and a half years, but I am seeing my quack soon to tweak my meds.

Decent rain at last this afternoon. Feel like a proper gardener looking happily at the rain. I cooked a chicken and spinach curry, using loads of fresh spinach. After squirting antibiotics, anti-inflammatories etc. down Calliope's throat. Not her favourite thing.

Lorraine battling on heroically through the last weeks of the school year. I read her Chapter 2 of The Second Kind of Darkness in bed tonight, the Woman from Delmonte says Yes! so far.

Monday, July 10, 2017


So working from first thing, and finally stopped working on The Second Kind of Darkness around lunchtime.  There are still a few hopefully minor typos in I imagine, but there comes a time when you have to declare that, for now, you are done.  Lorraine printed off three copies, and I am going to give them to Dawn and Rosie. Lorraine will look at it when she gets time, and Amanda had already read the first chapter down under by the time I went to bed.

Then I sent some spreadsheets off to the accountants, and then sauntered down to the gym, feeling that all in all I'd done a pretty good day's work.

Home again, and Calliope balked at the vital moment when I was administering her cat drugs and I sprayed liquid around the kitchen. Drinking a glass of fizzy water later, I felt that it tasted a bit odd.

Beth home this evening, all cheery at having found a flat with John that she likes. Lorraine home and fed quickly as she was hangry. Then the dystopian joy that is The Handmaid's Tale before bed.

Below the seagull that always sits outside No.1 just down the road. The black and white cat is usually there too. I call him Steven after Steven Seagal.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Studious Sunday

A studious Sunday in Kenny towers. After breakfast, Lorraine and I both worked all day. Lorraine on checking all the school reports and other end of year school business, me on A Second Kind of Darkness. I've still not quite finished, but I am feeling bloody minded about getting it finished, especially as there was no rehearsal for the play today.

We punctuated this with a couple of walks around local parks, and ate dinner in the back garden.  Spoke to Mum, otherwise kept a low profile.

Below Lorraine and I enjoyed the meadow planted in Preston Park.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Village life, and the perfect getaway

Infernal Calliope woke me up at 5:20 this morning by climbing on me and purring aggressively. Bah. Up early to feed them and return with teas for Lorraine and I. Eventually we got up much later, and went off to visit Bolney Village for its village day. Quite enjoy this, and know a few more of the people there. Lorraine and I went around doing things on stalls, such as trying to beat the goalie, or guess how many balloons there were in a car called Betty. We dropped by the WI stand, where I scored an ice bun, with a glace cherry on it. Nice. Also went to the welly throwing attraction, and watched a man in his forties throw a welly. Instead of it going straight ahead, it zoomed up into the air and over all our heads, narrowly missing Lorraine. A women said, Oh my god, you almost took out the head! Children zooming about all over the places, and one of the parents came to me and said his nipper had enjoyed my visit, which was nice. I paused briefly in the beer tent (twice) before Lorraine judged it was time to go. Also met John, now living in Dubai, who was the previous head there, and someone that I have drunk beers with along with Anton. Good to see him.

Home, and then a bit later we went down to The Joker, had some wings and a more cold beer, and went to see Baby Driver, which was a pretty good film about a hearing-impaired getaway driver. Not the sort of thing that normally appeals, but we both enjoyed it. Sat in the big sofa seats to watch it too. Walked (slowly) home up the hill, and went happily to bed.

Friday, July 07, 2017

A spot of happiness

Off to the gym for the first time since the Monday of the previous week. Otherwise, did work on The Second Kind of Darkness, and then sorted out some facts and figures for the accountant.

I am feeling like finishing my story is somehow like the orbit of some slow moving planet. I have learned lots through the process. The buddhist in me feels that I shouldn't be attached to outcomes, just focus on the job at hand. This is quite hard when you've been working on something off and on for so long. The story feels like the tip of the iceberg, in that I have loads of plot lines in my head for the characters in it. Anyhow, Lorraine, Rosie and Dawn, all of whom work with children of the target age and have bags of expertise in literacy and children's books, are going to read it for me next. Mandy in NZ will read it too. And anyone else who fancies it really.

A spot of anxious cat wrangling with Calliope this afternoon. I had to squirt two lots of liquid medications into her mouth, interspersed with Dreamies bribes. She's not too bad at this sort of thing, and I managed to get most of it down her gullet. The nice vet called today, and said Calliope's blood work was all good too.

In the evening Lorraine home, and we scampered off for a bite to eat at the Preston Park Tavern, and a couple of pints of cold beer. Then home, as Lorraine was flagging after a hard week. Generally feeling appreciative of my lot in life, and feeling very happy this evening.

Below: near our house, a passion flower, and a snap of a doorway on the road behind London Road, like a portal into another world.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Cat business

Slept with the Juliette windows open again last night. Cool and comfortable. Calliope to the vets today to have some teeth taken out.  Lorraine drove us to Top Cats Patcham first thing. The people there are very good.  Calliope sounding like purgatorial in the back of the car, but I think there is such a fog of pheromones there that she calmed down as soon as she got there. Lorraine drove off to drop some stuff off for our neighbour at the Old Church Hall Mark before going to school. I walked home getting in an hour's walk before it got hot.

Admiring a thank you card I got from the children of Holly class and their nice teacher Rebecca.

The furry daughter I never had, had four teeth removed in all. Far from cheap. I felt bad about leaving her there even if it was for her own good. Lorraine collected her on the way back home. She seems a bit woozy and mistimed her jumps a bit like a drunk, but was hungry and ate right away.

Spoke to Maureen today, who phoned up to find out about dates. I told her about the cat, and she said their Calliope variety pelargoniums were doing nicely. Ours are too.

Otherwise I spent five hours working on the novel. Then the afternoon sorting out my accounts stuff for a couple of hours. Beth and Matt rehearsing the second scene of the play this afternoon in The Boots. Lorraine back home (with Calliope) early, but then she worked for hours. Ate salad and pickles eventually, and went to bed early but talked for some time before sleeping. Calliope asleep under the bed.

Another bedtime shot from our Juliette windows.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The dangled fly

Working on The Second Kind of Darkness still. Sat under the tree in the corner of the garden this morning, Lorraine kindly printed me it out again yesterday, and I am doing an absolutely bloody final edit on it before I share it. This edit much lighter, but means I have to re-read the script yet again. As I set about this a large fly was gradually lowered down, half wrapped in a spider's web over the little table. I took two photos of it but both were out of focus.

Beth came back in the afternoon and she and I did some Edinburgh work together in the afternoon. Today, I realised I have do get my books shipshape to send the accountants, before the weekend too. Putting myself under pressure to get everything done. Not quite as hard as Lorraine, of course, who was running the school sports day, which was enlivened by the hedge between the school and the Church catching fire at one point. Everyone okay and the children clapped the firemen who came to sort things out.

Beth cooked this evening, with me peeling veggies. Lorraine late home. Beth and John have been looking at several flats. Afterwards I watered the garden, which was a bit baked. It is being quite a nice summer weather wise.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

A visit to Bolney

Up early and tinkered for an hour with things, before going shopping for chocolates and heading off to Hateful Heath where I got a taxi to Lorraine's school. Sat about in the staff room feeling a bit nervous before spending the afternoon with Holly class, taught by Rebecca.

The kids were 7-9 years old and I was there because they had invented recipes for chocolates which they were going to sell. Today was a branding exercise so we got them to think about the names, colour schemes and so on (the branding) for the chocolates they had created. I have to say they came up with some cracking ideas, and were an improvement on half the chimps with MacBooks I've worked with in advertising agencies. Amazing questions they asked too, and some tricky googlies bowled among them. An interesting afternoon, and came away feeling very impressed with the kids, and their teacher Rebecca.

One of Lorraine's colleagues, Sarah asked her husband Dan, a retired policeman, to give me a lift to the station which was very kind as Lorraine had to work late and prepare for sports day.

On the way home I spoke to Mum who had turned up at hospital only to find out that her appointment had been bumped, which was exasperating.

When Lorraine came home we watched the grimly fascinating The Handmaid's Tale. An early night, Lorraine very tired. I went to sleep after reading the first few pages of my new print out of The Second Kind of Darkness. I will have to stop looking at it soon as it is making my head hurt.

A snap last thing at night from our Juliette balcony, with the shreds of light still hanging over the horizon.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Up to Edgware

Up to visit Mum and Mas today, as Mum due to have an overnight stay in hospital tomorrow. Got a fairly early train and headed straight for faux first class, where I made the final changes to the draft of The Second Kind of Darkness. All I have to do now is print it out (again) and have a last sweep then pass it onto people who are prepared to read it for some final feedback before I start sending it out. Should you, as a reader of this blog, want to have a squint at it, then let me know.

Foot, which is not entirely better, held up remarkably well today, and when I got home my step counter told me I had walked roughly 6 1/2 miles.

Hung out with Mum and Mas. It was a frustrating day for them as the occupational health person had organised a firm to come around and fix a handrail up the stairs. They were supposed to be there before 3.00pm, but never showed up. Mum phoned them to discover that the company had been bought out today, so all the jobs were cancelled at the last minute. While we were waiting for the hand rail person, we ordered a delivery pizza. This too was delayed. Mum and I eventually went out for a nice walk into Edgware and walking about in the local park smelling roses and looking at squirrels with white bellies. Then into Edgware, for a spot of shopping, before we came home again and Mum drove us off to Hatch End to a Wetherspoons pub to have a cold beer and some grub. They bumped into a man that knew them from the previous Wetherspoons they had eaten and drunk at in Stanmore. There seems to be a bit of a fraternity.

Then mum drove us to Mill Hill and where I just missed a southbound train. Home a little before 10:45. Lorraine sleepy and already in bed. 

Below a mystery yellow flower that Mum knew from childhood. It had rough leaves, and was growing in the gloomy church yard on Edgware High Street. I had to stop mum uprooting one of them in an act of blatant thievery. I told her God was watching her, and she said that he'd be pretty bored by now if he was.  

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Rehearsing in The Boots

Up fairly early for a Sunday. Feeling pretty sprightly and the foot much better. Lorraine working all day. Beth and I went to The Boots for an all-afternoon rehearsal with Matt and Kitty. A good day's work. The whole thing is getting very close now, only a month to go and still quite a bit of work needed to get up to scratch. Working with lovely people helps. Kitty and Matt really good folks, and we had quite a few laughs. Beth and Kitty a dynamic duo. Matt has the biggest challenge in learning lots of lines and finding his way into the play. Work interspersed with sitting in the garden of the Boots, which was very quiet, drinking soda water. Rounded it off with a cheeky beer with Beth and Matt. Asking Matt about his faith, as he is a keen church goer. Betty off to John's tonight.

Bumped into Claudius too, who had popped in to say hello to someone there. Home and Lorraine still working on school reports and so on. Briefly spoke to Mum to organise a nip up to London tomorrow. Had a nice chicken and salad dinner outside in the sun, and Lorraine and I watered the plants and ate our own strawberries and tayberries. Went to bed fairly early after watching a soothing Frasier.

Below some snaps from rehearsal.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

The coop opens

A bit wan and washed out during the day. Did some work on the novel, but mainly wanted to do nothing and simply hang out with Lorraine. However we had a garden party to go to. Off in the afternoon to Rosie's house, where she was flat and dog sitting a dog called Ivor for the lady upstairs. Big garden outside, and they had invited Lorraine and I, and Beth and Dawn, and several nice friends of Innis. Lots of food to be gnashed, and a barbecue and a fire pit. All the food was vegetarian, and healthy, which made an interesting change. Lorraine made nice salads for us to take along.

Less healthily, I drank things, and threw caution to the wind, but after a week of being cooped up and hobbling, it was great to be outside with plenty of people to chat to.

Below a snap of one corner of the garden as evening came on containing, Rosie, Betty, a friend of Innis's whose name currently escapes me, Lorraine and Dawn. Rosie rocking the Athenian maiden look in a floaty white dress and flowers in her hair when we arrived. A close up of a burning log.