Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A spell of solitary

Lorraine gave me a lift to the station. But the trains cancelled, people held outside the platform at Victoria. But managed to get to work on time. Wandered by the canal at lunchtime, which seems to be a pattern now. It is lovely and a complete break and escape from the office. A solitary pleasure, and I always feel happy at lunchtime. Feeling a bit isolated at work but it is only for a few weeks and the money is welcome.

Today I read Wildfire by Richard Ford, finishing it just before arriving in Brighton. Really enjoyed it.

Below a view from the morning. I snapped the queue down to the platform. I didn't notice the girl looking back at me, which makes it rather a good photo I think. Something about the mood of the photo summed up the day.

Happy to be home tonight.


Monday, October 30, 2017

Canals and a cormorant

Back to work, this time with Lorraine getting up at the crack of dawn too. Clocks went back last night, so the day seemed to be lagging all day. I was given a lot of novels for my birthday. Reading print is much faster than listening to audiobooks. Today I read My name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Stroud. I really enjoyed this, an understated, rich and thoughtful novel.

Also had a pleasant stroll at lunchtime.  along the canals listening to a podcast about how dinosaurs evolved into birds. I came upon a prehistoric looking cormorant, which let me get closer to it than to any cormorant I have met before.

Pleased to be home, however. Watched Star Trek with Lorraine, which was something I'd been looking forward to as a Monday sweetener. And also spoke to Janet.

Below the prehistoric looking cormorant.



Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lamb and apple pie

A slow start to Sunday, and Lorraine grateful for the fact that the clocks went back. Roused ourselves eventually to drive off to Sainsbury's and buy some vegetables. Then Lorraine took her car to be mended. Thought I had lost my wallet for a while, but luckily I had dropped it in the car. Spoke to Mum, and later on called Janet, but I guess she was at the hospital. I also wrote a chasing email to the agent who has my children's novel. The process of trying to get people to look at your work requires a resolute spirit.

Beth and John came around this afternoon, and Lorraine cooked the massive shoulder of lamb that she had been given by the head of governors at her school. Obviously with my orc foot, which red meat sparks off, I was only able to eat a small amount of it. What I tasted was delicious. Lorraine made an apple pie afterwards, which was splendid. I like it when Lorraine gets serious in the kitchen.

The other three forking into it with great abandon, and Beth took back a large tupperware box filled with meat. Brian ate lamb too with enormous pleasure. He goes mad for roasts of all kinds, but has no interest in the meat once it is cold.

All of us rather tired after last night's liveliness. But fun nevertheless. John really liked the playing cards Anton had bought me. An early bed.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A fair amount of dancing by night

Calliope woke me up at seven, and once she and Brian were fed, I simply took cups of tea up to bed and caught up with this blog for a bit. Lorraine got up, went down the road and bought some bread and made us a bacon and egg sandwiches, and then simply came back to bed again.

Eventually we got up and went into town. I asked the lady bus driver to wait for a pensioner who was struggling to catch the bus, and found myself being told off in no uncertain terms for telling people how to do their jobs. Pensioner boarded, however.  In town I bought three belts, and Lorraine and I mooched about for a bit before heading home again. I had a judicious afternoon snooze, and then we went out again. Bus this time to Hove where we bought a few beers and went to Beth and John's flat where we had pizzas. Really nice to see Beth and John again. Beth has secured work as a Christmas Elf. Looking forward to the elfies on Facebook already. Lorraine and I met John's brother Dan for the first time. Dan lives in Acton, an area I know well. Then off to The Exchange pub, where John's bandmates Matt and Ed were going to play.

Dawn and her pal Charlotte were already there. And we bumped into Lesley Fairburn again, who had sung with Lorraine in the choir, and I got talking to her friend Dave, who was a really interesting guy who had built a charity. Talking to Ed about bass guitars, talking to Ed about songwriting afterwards too. In fact I did a fair amount of talking. And then a fair amount of dancing too. In fact we were all dancing lots.

Lorraine and I cabbed it home. My top hat slightly askew.

Below the band, Matt, John, and Ed, and John at the drums.




Friday, October 27, 2017

Indian Summer in Little Venice

Happy to reach Friday. Commute was fine there and back, and the day passed quite quickly as I was given a fair amount to do. Was moved to another seat today, and found myself opposite a planner called Severine, and we worked out that we'd once been colleagues for about two weeks ten years ago.

It was a gorgeous Indian Summer day, and spent my lunchtime walking by the canals looking at  golden leaves floating on the water, and the colourful barges. Spoke briefly to Lorraine too. Quite tired by the end of the day, and happy to be on the train to Brighton. Got off at Brighton station and walked home. Lorraine had cooked, and we were just happy to be at home together tonight.

Below, views around Little Venice, and sunrise at Preston Park Station.





Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wedding anniversary

So today was our wedding anniversary. Getting married to Lorraine clearly the best thing I've done.  I took my snoozing lovely a cup of tea and a card, and then melted away somewhat regretfully into the mizzley morning. Journey to Victoria fine, despite leaving a little later. The circle line doomed at Victoria, however, so after failing to find another way to the office I had to get a taxi. I was late, but luckily there had been a fire drill, and staff were outside on the street, so I cleverly blended in with them and nobody was any the wiser.

Work okay. I have realised that the way they want me to write for this project is in the tone of completely soulless corporate guff. Now I have understood this, the job should be fairly straightforward. The chief pain of it, will be as we get nearer the event, I will be called on at all hours to update copy and help with presentations and so on, which I think I can cope with.

Home, at last, and Lorraine had prepared us a romantic three course meal, to celebrate our anniversary. We ate by candlelight sipping a bottle of Blanquette and talked. A salmon and ryebread starter, followed by the best chicken and leek pie you can imagine, roast potatoes and veg, and then a chocolate pudding. Very romantic it was.

To bed, with one more day of this week to go.

At lunchtime I bought a wrap from a stand in the Paddington Basin, a built up area around the canals, which has little plazas and squares, then took a walk in the persistent mizzle and walked about the beautiful Autumnal canals nearby, in Little Venice. The Venice comparison a bit of a joke (see also Burton on the Water, " the Venice of the Cotswolds), but it was very pretty nevertheless. A gorgeous little escape. Below pictures of some public art, two men either end of a metal track, one walking another waiting. And then snaps of the canals.













Wednesday, October 25, 2017

World tour begins

To work again. At last some information about what they want me to be doing, and confirmation that I will have to go to Vienna at the end of November for four days. The American senior account woman, who is very chatty and bubbly, came and high-fived me at one point for writing a letter.

Briefly mooching about at lunch, as today they had given me a long list of work that needed to be done. A bit of inter agency banter on Facebook today. The French Bloke posted a picture of his office again, looking out of the window onto the River and all its intriguing fowl at Sunbury. I stood up and photographed a nasty bit of Paddington, with a jealous Bah! Robbie snuck a photo of me hunched over my laptop, with a Bah! And Matty boy posted a photo of Bei Li standing at his desk in Chiswick.

The big thing today was my poetry reading. Was fairly nervous about this all day. I felt underprepared. Also no chance to go through anything, or do any kind of rehearsal at all. Was even a bit twitchy about reaching the venue in time. However all was well, and I bumped into Sarah Barnsley at Brighton Station, where despite not eating I balked at buying a small sausage roll for £3.99.

TO the venue, and it was literally full of friends and loved ones. Bumped into Betty, John and James and Hus, downstairs. Lorraine was in the venue, having swept past the door woman with 'my husband's the poet'. Inside I found Lorraine with Dawn, Catherine and Tanya. I spotted Rosie, Innis and Finlay were there too. To my surprise Anton arrived too. Of poetical friends, I was reading with Charlotte Gann, and Brendan Cleary. Bit nervous of this as Brendan is an accomplished and famous poet and reader. Charlotte is quite simply a brilliant poet. Robin was there and Steven Bone, and Marion Tracey. In short I was more among friends than I have ever been at a reading. The Nightingale Room was full, and it was quite a bit busier than it had been last month. I'd say there were about 50 people. Michaela Ridgway organises it, and she does a great job. Was surprised too at the end of the evening, she pressed some cash into my hand for the reading too.

Charlotte read first, after lengthy introductions, from our host called Robin (not my pal Robin) who also spoke a verse from the Koran in Arabic, which rather surprised Hus, who talked to him about it afterwards. Charlotte read really well, despite a distant fire alarm going off during her reading. This unfortunate, although it did go perfectly with her subject matter. She read again in the second half, this time without fire alarm. When I went on stage the second time I urged people to buy Charlotte's book.

Then it was my turn, and although I started nervously I quickly got into feeling more relaxed. My policy now is to be as real as I can, have no airs and graces. I said words to the effect that these poems didn't come out of nowhere, they came from me and the life I lived.  I talked about struggling with anxiety in my 20s, and how this gave rise to curiously calm poems about Guernsey. I also delved unashamedly into the back catalogue. I started off with The Next Wish,  then The Boy Who Fell Upwards, then I talked about monsters and read Minotaur and Someone-else's Patch (or S-E's Wuss, as Anton calls it) then I read 1,000 Miles from Sea about Chad, and ended with Touchstone, back to a poem about Guernsey. In my second reading, I read new things: three poems from Sin Cycle, the collection of 24 short poems I've been tinkering with, plus a new poem Chrononaut (which is several years old, but I have completely rewritten it). My poems and performance went down well, and I felt the audience were completely supportive. It was the opposite to an anxiety dream, I had lines, and the audience was full of friends and attentive strangers. Just a lovely and memorable moment for me.

Brendan Cleary was fascinating. I had seen him read before, and many years ago had a one to one session with him for a few hours in Brighton. He was dealing in poetry, and in life, with the recent deaths of loved ones. He was very warm after the show, and we got to have a chat. I was amazed that he remembered our session ten years ago.

A few drinks afterwards, and lots of hugs and kisses with folks. Hus bought Lorraine and I a drink to celebrate our wedding anniversary tomorrow. Then Lorraine and I jumped into a taxi, and made off.

Climbing into bed with Lorraine, received a message from Charlotte which said: You... were magnificent. Such a star. And perhaps the most LIKED man I know! What a way to end the day.

Below photos Lorraine took of the three poets. The amazing Brendan Cleary and Charlotte Gann, and me with excellent shoes.








Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Less twitchy

Less twitchy going into work today. Little to do, other than read through things, and research the nature of the pharma company for whom I shall be writing copy. Sat through several conference speeches. It amazes me how these leaders of industry are a) so self congratulatory, and b) say so little in their speeches. It is full of business phrases but when you boil them down they say almost nothing. Fifteen minute speeches that can be boiled down to three or four sentences. It's a different world.

Mooched about in a solitary way at lunchtime again. Found an area just around the corner a bit like an amphitheatre with shops. Bought some food there. Then called Mum for a chat and started walking along a canal side, which was pretty.

Lorraine and Beth off at a spa day today being pampered together and getting some quality time together, which I was pleased about, as typically I got an in-house freelance job just as half term started.

Have been reading Autumn, by Ali Smith, which Janet had given me. Rather enjoying it. Also have been preoccupied with my reading tomorrow in Brighton. I've had no time to practice and am still unclear what to read, and there seems not much time to think about it.

Home, and happy to be there, eating stir fry with Lorraine and hearing about facial massages and healthy bobbing about in swimming pools with Betty.

Monday, October 23, 2017

New boy

So off to the new job. No travel card, so had to pay full whack, over £50. The journey to Paddington fine, although getting up in the dark all of a sudden a bit of a shock to a delicate creature such as myself. Looking forward to getting the first day over, as my last in house job during the Spring was pretty vile and so my confidence wasn't sky high. Hoping I wasn't going to get my satchel kicked around the playground. However, was sat in a corner, given a laptop, and sent loads of background material to read, and get my head around. This took all day.

One or two friendly conversations, and Robbie there too with Spore, who is someone I had once worked with slightly years ago. Went out for a walk at lunchtime around and about in Paddington, and ended up buying a disappointing sandwich. The loneliness of the new starter. Phoned Lorraine at lunchtime, and couldn't wait to be home again.

Managed to get myself a new travel id card too, had to find a photobooth in Paddington, which stank of urine, and take some passport style photos. £6, for five photos. Then I managed to get this all sorted in Brighton station in no time. Bought a monthly travel pass for £400 a no brainer against a £50 a day standard rate. Grabbed a cab home, where Lorraine had cooked a delicious curry.


A few sights at lunchtime. Where the smokers go outside Paddington Station, a view of more smoking and mobile phoning, a barge apparently which appeared to be designed by Fernand Leger, and Canada Geese swimming over a line of bubbles where the canal is being artificially aerated to reduce algae.





Sunday, October 22, 2017

A jaunt by the seaside

Sunday afternoon and a walk along the seafront with Lorraine. The sea still rough but the sun was out and everything was colourful and nice. A few good lungfuls of fresh air to be had. Then a coffee in a cafe around the corner from where Beth and John live (they were in London). A man in his nineties on the next table with two younger women, bright as a button and squeezing the lady cafe owner somewhat on the way out, before boarding his mobility scooter and zooming off.

Lorraine and I then went to Waitrose and did shopping, and we had roast chicken in the evening. Lorraine rather happy that no work to be done tomorrow.

I managed to ruin the evening in a futile search for my travel card, with which I am able to buy weekly and monthly season tickets for the train commute I will start tomorrow. Lorraine helped me search for an hour, and I searched for an hour and a half on top of that. But it is nowhere to be found.

Still we had a delicious supper, and I managed to talk to Mum and Janet this evening, while readying everything for work tomorrow.

Below: Lorraine in the sunshine, children by the sea, waves, and the pebbles strewn by the rough seas onto the walkway.






Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sea foam in the car park

Decided to do little of nothing today. A wild and blustery day. Lorraine tired and generally out of sorts today. But in the evening, wee drove us off to the Marina and we saw the Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049, which we both really liked.

There was something really interesting how all the characters in it were somehow yearning to be more human. It looked amazing too, really beautifully desolate. Out into the wild gale again afterwards, hearing the sea roaring and seeing sea foam in the car park was rather good.

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Belgian bun

Last day of freedom, trying to get various things sorted out.  This somewhat out of tune with Lorraine, whose last day of half term this was.

Spoke to Janet this morning and she told me that Ken was in hospital having broken his hip earlier this week. He is in the hospital at Haywards Heath, and so I went with her to see Ken in the afternoon. She picked me up at home, and brought me a aloe vera plant, and a birthday card. Poor Janet doing well under all the stress of it. And Ken is fairly comfortable. It is quite a nice hospital at Haywards Heath, but sad to see my old friend there, but nice to be with Janet. We had tea in the little hospital cafe, and Janet bought me a Belgian bun with a cherry on the top, and we had quite a cheery chat.

Late in the afternoon, Lorraine, now finished from school came to collect me from the hospital, and we drove off to Horsham where there was a local artists exhibition in the West Sussex council building. Lorraine's pal Carolyn was exhibiting her embroideries and flower art there. Lorraine seemed to know quite a few people in there. Met Mark Wilson, who had painted a small painting Lorraine had given me two years ago. He also writes plays. Enjoyed drifting about looking at the art for a bit, before Lorraine and I got too hungry and she drove us home.

I sprang out at Jenny's fish and chips and scored us two cod and chips. Lorraine had been developing on the way home a taste for a chip butty with a cup of tea to go with it. This the rock and roll way that headteachers reach the end of their half term.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Got the teeshirt

Properly hung over this morning. Went downstairs and discovered I was standing a few inches away from a dried up frog, brought in by one of the cats, probably Brian. Spent time clearing the scraped off wallpaper out of the big bedroom, although bending down repeatedly set my head throbbing. I don't think the dust agrees with me, making my sinuses sore straight after. 


Otherwise, a quiet day. I had send lots of information off to Paddington. Ended up having to take photographs of the documents and then turn them into PDFs, rather than simply scanning them as which took a ridiculously long time.

Today the person whose bicycle had been left on the road turned up. Lorraine's hairdresser Paul had put a message on a Brighton community page. The owner lived at number 111 on our road, and as we are 11 it was a bit strange. The thief had obviously cut through the lock, then cycled it a hundred yards or so and then got off it. Weird, and annoying. 

Lorraine home late, so we made off to the Red Chillies, and purchased a nice takeaway. She has one more day before she breaks up for half term. This, obviously, is when my work starts in Paddington, which is a shame. We crossed the road to the Park View and Lorraine had a much needed beer. I had a medicinal half a Harveys. In the evening I put an ironic post about the Peter Kenny World Poetry Tour, consisting in a reading in Brighton, followed by a reading in London. Kev, my old University friend, posted a picture of this teeshirt.






Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bacon faces

Off to London this afternoon. I'd been doing bits and pieces at home, but not very productively. I did some poetry and managed not to make things worse, which was nice.

To Victoria, and I walked down to Tate Britain, which is becoming my new favourite gallery. There was an exhibition there by Rachel Whiteread, who I have liked for years. She makes invisible spaces concrete. I didn't have enough time to go into the exhibition, but I looked at the big piece outside, which was a hundred spaces under chairs she had cast in what may have been glass or some kind of plastic. They looked like big boiled sweets. The problem I am beginning to have with Whiteread is that everything she does is an expression of the same idea.

I rashly snapped two of the Francis Bacon faces, and enjoyed it when I was looking at Jacob and the Angel by Epstien, which I absolutely love, a two women stopped and sniggered at it, and then one said, "ooh look he's got wings!"

From there I walked along the river, past the houses of parliament, along Whitehall, through Trafalgar Square and into Soho. Feeling weirdly glum but was greatly cheered by Bob calling me. By the time I reached The Nellie Dean on Dean Street, where I met Robbie, who told me that he might be working at the agency I'm starting at next week.  He has worked there before and told me it was a really nice place with good people. This is a relief. Also met Ian, who was my boss when I worked in Hammersmith and I hadn't seen him for years. Pat Norrie turned up and then Barney, and Clare, and I enjoyed chatting to them very much. I got quite drunk drinking on an empty stomach and fairly free with my opinions. Barney is now working with my old pal Reuben who is doing very well at work these days.

Grabbed a cab outside The Nellie Dean, and zoomed to Victoria then home. Cheese on toast after I'd said hello rather talkatively to Lorraine.

Below the Thames near Pimlico, the H of P, inside Tate Britain which seems a bit magical when you elude the crowds. And two Bacon faces.








Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Googlies, cards and starlings

Bowled a bit of googley this morning. Lovely French client has had to pull the job I was working on. Somewhat disconcerted by this. The job I have starting next week is all good to go, so I will just treat the rest of the week as an opportunity to get my ducks in a row. Instead, however, I found myself tidying up the house and then going for a long walk late this afternoon which made me feel far better about everything.

Anton called around this afternoon too with a birthday gift for me, two packs of amazingly beautiful playing cards, called Requiem. He had just been to his rehabilitation exercises, and is looking very healthy indeed.

Lorraine home late tonight. I cooked and we chatted. To bed reasonably early. I am reading a book about stained glass that Lorraine bought me. I am reading it out to Lorraine at night, and it sends her to sleep in about 15 seconds. Amazing.

Below starlings on a mast in Hollingbury, which were looking rather beautiful, and the gorgeous playing cards.





Monday, October 16, 2017

Life Jim, but not as we know it

Disturbed, anxious dreams. Woke up early to a rejection from The Stockholm Review. Up and onto my French work, which was pinged back and forth across the English Channel all day. I went for a couple of short walks while waiting for everything to sort itself out. Dwelling in Facebook all day, lots of women I know using the #metoo hashtag, saying they had been sexually abused.

Meanwhile, in the afternoon a weirdly orange darkness descended. Shortly before three I could not make out the numbers or letters on my keyboard, even though I was sitting by my window. Brian and I went outside to investigate, and the sky was thickly overcast, with a faint orange tinge and letting no light through. It was bizarre. The mix of Saharan sand and Portuguese wildfire smoke, and been dragged up by ex-hurricane Ophelia which was currently blowing the cobwebs off Eire. It was unnaturally warm too, for an October day.

I sent a tweet out about it. Turned out my most popular tweet to date would be about the blinking weather. After an hour or so, the sky began to brighten and it grew breezier, and the sunset was a strange purple and pink. My pal Reuben wrote on Facebook: "The women are all talking about sexual harassment and abuse. The men are all talking about the sky. A day to remember."

Spoke to Mum and Mas this evening, then prepared food for my lovely wife, who returned home from school fairly unscathed. Watched the new Star Trek, which I am enjoying. I imagine old school trekkies are going mad though. The characters said 'fuck' at one point, and there was some quite nasty violence, and two of the male characters are in a relationship. It's life Jim, but not as we know it.

Below disappointingly, the weird orangey quality of the light nor the darkness were caught on my iPhone.




Sunday, October 15, 2017

Waiting for Lady Fortune

A happily slow start to the day, reading the Guardian in bed and drinking teas. Both L and I started the day with sore throats. Strangely warm day today, and we took advantage of this by weeding and mowing the hirsute lawn.

Had coffee sitting outside, and discussed multifarious plans and schemes about what we want to do with the garden and house. The only thing preventing us is the absence of sacks of cash. Then Lorraine had to do lots of school work, and I tried to do some writing. While I do not believe in writer's blocks, the force is strangely absent.

I feel like I am waiting for a sign. But bitter experience tells me that if you are hoping for a boost from Lady Fortune, it never comes. Good fortune sneaks up on you, often under the guise of hard work. On that miserablist thought, to bed and work tomorrow.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

At The Bottom's Rest

A happy day. Lorraine up with the larks and off to her hairdresser. I did a bit of this, and then a bit of that, and then jumped on a bus and went off into town to meet my lovely and splendidly coiffured wife. Today was a day of trouser buying. I bought several pairs. I seem to buy trousers in batches, and my trousers were all coming to an undignified end. Looked somewhat paunchy in the changing room mirrors.

After an orgy of trouser buying, off to Gars, where my Lorraine bought me lunch to celebrate my birthday. Good to sit down and chopstick down some Singapore noodles. I always enjoy Gars. Home not long after this, and a quiet snooze on the gold sofa before Dawn came, and we three surged out into a taxi.

This took us to The Bottom's Rest, which is a fine pub tucked away in Hove where Rosie had booked a section of the pub for us to celebrate our birthdays. Bottom being the midsummer night's dream character, and not just a place to rest your posterior. Rosie had ordered a buffet for us, which turned out to be excellent. A fine night with lots of lovely people. Rosie and Innis, naturally, and Betty with an eraser which was also a little Kim Jong-un, among other things, and Anton  bringing a selection of excellent cards from himself and the bairns, who are now in Australia. Richard and Maria-Grazia, Hus and his charming daughter May, Rosie's pals Graham and Sam, and a couple called Matt and Jen, and a man called Paul I didn't really speak to, but who was chatting with Dawn lots.

Really cheery evening, and I had been given some lovely presents, mainly books which of course is splendid.

Below Lorraine, Dawn and I were first to arrive. I snapped the ladies while we were waiting. Lorraine snapped me, in my patented actor/model pose, and Dawn snapped Lorraine and I.



Friday, October 13, 2017

Working from home

Up early this morning. Had a bit of an ah-ha moment about my forthcoming poetry readings. Simply to position myself not as the great bard giving forth my poems, but remembering the audience are fellow travellers (most of them will be poets) about 35 years of poems including the failed experiments and some of the cul-de-sacs I found myself lost in. On another lofty literary note, finished the Diary of Adrian Mole, which was very nicely done.

I walked down to the gym this morning, but had to clamber off the cross trainer after a while as I was feeling tired and hot, and my leg hurt. Home feeling a bit ancient as a consequence. I also have a flare up of eczema in my groin. The tube of cream has to be kept in the fridge. Luckily I was done applying the unguents to my privates in the kitchen before Sonia let herself in.

Began my period of gainful employment this afternoon, a few hours writing about comforting pheromones for dogs who are left home alone. Had another bout of juggling dates, as my French friends wanted me all next week. Luckily my new Paddington Pals agreed to be juggled. The afternoon working quietly then, with Sonia hoovering around me and telling me to see the German violinist David Garrett, and showing me clips of his violin pyrotechnics on her phone.

Lorraine home quite late, and we walked around to the Red Chillies takeaway, put in an order and went across to the Park View for a glass of beer, and to talk to my lovely wife. Home soon, armed with Indian food, and strapped on the nosebags, and settled happily into the gold sofa.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A bit of Lamb on my birthday

My birthday. Lorraine gave me a book on stained glass, and is going to send me on a stained glass window course, which will be wonderful as I love them and have often talked about this, without actually doing anything about it. Now I shall do something about it.

Dozens of messages today wishing me a happy birthday, most of them through Facebook, but e-cards and, actual cards from Janet and Ken, and Maureen and Pat, and emails and so on, calls from Mum and Beth. Felt very touched by these, and the affection they represented.

And for my business conundrums, everything fell perfectly into place. The folks in Paddington did want me after all. This was reassuring as I was beginning to think I had completely misinterpreted everything. Plus they are happy for me to start once I have sorted out the work I need to do for my French clients. All in all, it couldn't have worked out better.

Heard people discussing The diary of Adrian Mole on the radio the other day, which is a bit Pooterish, and downloaded it as an audiobook, have almost finished it. It is really well done, and made me laugh a few times, and smile many more. It is also quite sad, which is a good undercurrent for a comedy. Listened to this today as I was mooching about in the park this afternoon, just walking and savouring my freedom as this will be in short supply for the next couple of months.

In the evening Lorraine and I drove down to Concorde 2 to see Lamb, a group Lorraine had seen before and loves. I knew a couple of their tracks before I met Lorraine, and really liked them. Nice to be out on a school night, and I like Concorde 2 as it is by the edge of the sea, so you spill out into the night sea air afterwards, which is always nice. Lamb were supported by a young lad called Reuben, who turned out to be the son of Lamb's singer Louise Rhodes, and songwriter whose beats were interesting, although it was a bit like watching a kid in his bedroom. Then a new group called Aya, who were two musical sisters, who weren't bad. Lamb were terrific, really exciting music full of energy with lots of dynamics, slow thoughtful passages with rather lively ones, some lovely Miles Davisish trumpet playing going on too. Lamb are built around Louise Rhodes, and Andrew Barlow, who is from Brighton. It was a bit of a homecoming gig then, and Andrew had lots of his pals in the audience. An excellent night, and we both really enjoyed ourselves. Felt transported by their music at times. If you don't know them, here's a link to a song called 'Gabriel'.

Below Reuben, Aya, and Lamb.




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Reaping the wind

Up later than the larks, as Lorraine had a meeting to attend first thing, which paradoxically meant she could get out of bed at 7 not 6. Spoke to her a couple of times during the day. A bit of a tough patch at school.  This morning my lovely French clients got in touch and offered me work next week. This left me with a dilemma. I told Val in Paris that I was waiting for a decision on the job in Paddington, and would get back to her by the end of the day. Val said she was only accepting this work, if she knew I could do it, and needed to know. I messaged the Paddington folks politely pressing them for their already overdue decision.

While waiting for all this to sort itself out, I mooched into town buy some eczema cream, and then I mooched into the Art Gallery as there was a sudden downpour. I took the opportunity to see some paintings by Glyn Philpot, 1884-1937, some of which I quite liked. Including a portrait of a seated woman, called Portrait of Mrs Woolmer. I just loved the colour combinations, and looked  closely at the deft touches of red in the fold of her hand, near the green bracelet somehow made the tawny and grey sing. Lovely stuff.

From there, I walked through the puddles to the pier and peered from the end of it out to the wind farm, a little on one part of the horizon. It was a windy day, and sea was foamy. But the wind farm isn't working yet. I am looking forward to seeing their arms circling, and hoping I will learn to love this addition to Brighton. While I totally approve of harvesting the wind instead of, say, fracking up the countryside, there is something about a horizon which suggests in the sensitive poetic soul the notion of infinity. If the horizon is cluttered it spoils this. On balance, however, I'd rather they were there than not there.

Walked home, through town and the park, and took stock. By the end of the day the folks in Paddington had still not responded. Spoke to Lorraine, for a quick reality check, then called Val and accepted her job. Otherwise I could have lost both, and my gut tells me something's awry with the Paddington biz. As soon as I had made this decision and had spoken to Val, I felt like I had taken control of my own life again, and was no longer in limbo.

Cooked a rather good, predominantly vegetarian chilli, and served it up to Lorraine when she got home. A quiet night.

Below the Portrait of Mrs Woolmer. The colour hasn't come out properly. If you enlarge the sea pictures you can just spot the wind farm on the horizon.