Saturday, March 31, 2018

Remembering Spider Fred

So up, fairly early, and finished work on my pamphlet for the Cinnamon competition, and sent it off. Remembering Paul Valery: a poem is never really finished only abandoned. However at least I met my self-imposed target which was good. You never know your luck.

While Lorraine was speaking at length to insurance people about the snowy sliding bumps in February, I spoke to Mum who had texted me that she had just found out that Spider Fred had died in December when she randomly googled him. I knew him as a child, as he was a great chum of Gerald my stepfather, and I was lucky enough to be taken out by him spider collecting. We drove out to a disused railway siding and put trays under bushes, and shook the bushes until the spiders rained down into the trays. These were then efficiently sucked up with a rubber tube with a glass end, and a filter made out of stockings material. A fascinating day. He had draws of spider specimens at home too. Once home I tried sucking up a large fly, but had neglected to put in the stocking material so simply sucked it right into my mouth. A nice man, who didn't talk down to children. Mum said some of the spiders he classified were named after his daughters.

Then an interlude of cat business. Due to persistent burglary by a black and white cat, who also bullies Calliope and Brian, we discovered our cat flap was broken. Lorraine and I bought a new one, and attached it to the door and poked our cats through so their chips were read. The way is barred.

Lorraine noticed that the Qashqai has a chip on its windscreen she picked up yesterday driving to the gym. Gah.

Lorraine and I spent the afternoon mooching about in Brighton. I bought a v-necked jumper, a teeshirt that turned out too small from fat face but fit Lorraine sweetly, a sweatshirt on sale from M&S for £7.99 and three cheap teeshirts from Sports Direct where Lorraine bought some gym shoes. She also bought a sports bra in M&S. Call me Sherlock Holmes, but I detect that she seems to be going quite sporty all of a sudden. Home by bus, the sunlight spotlighting cranes and buildings, against a really leaden sky.

Home and off to Cuckfield for a curry with Jess and Andrew at Spice Village their local curry house.  Had a nice relaxed time in there, Jess going to become a grandmother in October. Andrew seeming unburdened and cheery, having been released back into the wild by the medics after his valves replaced late last year. All good. Back to their house for coffee. I'm not one for dogs, but their little cockapoo Winnie has a wining personality.

Home in the Qashqai, and started watching Aliens V Predators, but had to go to bed instead.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Trying to end well

Hurrah! No work today, and the bank holiday staple of steady rain. However I got up early as I have been working on a new collection of poems. Charlotte said to me a year or so ago, that if my poems work together better as groups why not enter more pamphlet competitions. So there is another deadline tomorrow. New collection called Chrononaut. Unfortunately one of those days when the more effort you put into something the worse it becomes. Feeling somewhat frustrated, which seems to have been the chief emotion of the week. Lorraine out, meanwhile, getting her fitness assessment at her new gym. Frustration peaked when I got an email about a long poem I had submitted ten weeks ago, but mystifyingly I had attached all the workings of the poem, some 68 pages, but not the poem itself. The editor puzzled. I literally hated myself for wasting two and a half months this way, and I will have to wait months before I can resubmit it. I hated myself for about five minutes.

Sonia arrived shortly after.  I had ducked out in the rain to buy her some chocolate beforehand. She showed me a video of the way they decorate eggs with wax and thread and various other techniques in Bulgaria. You also boil and prepare a red egg to leave by an icon of Mary for the year. If the old egg is still heavy next year when you come to replace it with the new egg, everything is fine. If it is empty, woe betide you.

This helped me normalise somewhat and I was able to get on with work again after this. Lorraine home and assessed. She'd done lots of exercises and so on. Her blood pressure is excellent and her flexibility very good apparently.

In the evening we went off to the Crescent, near St Michael and All Angels, to drop in on the lovely James as it was his birthday. Lots of people there, including his Mum and sister and aunt, and creative people of all types, many with tidy beards. I chatted to James's mum, and Lorraine and I had a conversation with a couple in lycra who ran a hot yoga school. Apparently some people have to learn how to sweat. My chief observation was that it allowed you to squat, splayed-kneed, on the floor like a frog when talking to friends. Lorraine and I made fond farewells with James, and we walked home up Mount Beaky feeling happy that we have time off now. Alls well that ends well.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Goodbye to Cylons

So last day, up and working on the train this morning to complete the work I was supposed to deliver at 11. Finished job with five minutes to spare, presented it, luckily to some acclaim, so I was officially big and clever for a bit and the frenzy of the last 24 hours had been worth it. The treacherous work computer worked without fault today too, before it was taken away to be examined. Hopefully with a sledgehammer.

Lunch with Mark Dawson, an old copywriter pal from my days working in Glamoursmith. Went to a bar in an unpromising-looking hotel, which seemed faintly seedy. In other words, a great choice. We each had a pint of lager shandy, and a bite to eat. Not like the advertising lunches of yesteryear.  He told me his girlfriend had invited him to Kings Lynne, but he had refused on the grounds it was too flat. He seemed in good spirits however, and I've always liked Mark.

Yippee, work done and off for four days. Tubes doomed, however, and it took almost an hour to get to Victoria. Cabbed it home from Brighton as it was raining. Home to a very happy wife, as the term finished today.

To celebrate we watched the last of Battlestar Galactica. It really is the best SF series in my opinion. Lorraine and I discussing the meanings of the end. Now what? The real world? Shudders.

Changing trains at Hassocks, the sky full of rain.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A plaything of the IT gods

Fell foul of the gods of IT. My main jobs today was watching 18 or 19 video interviews, and taking notes towards writing a film that pieced cuts of these interviews along with other bits of my own invention. Spent the first three and a half hours trying to find a way of watching them, on various computers, from different servers with two or three people helping. Videos only playing in slow motion and with no sound. Then my work computer they went on the blink with an intermittent fault, that meant I lost much of the afternoon's work. After seven hours on all this, I simply left to work on my own computer on the train, and in the evening at home.  Eventually to bed, shaking my fist at the IT gods.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Two Figures

Just tired all day today. From yawning on the train in the morning to creeping off to bed with Lorraine. Plenty of work to do, and had to attempt to look lively when being briefed.

A spot of rain dodging at lunch. Here is Two Figures, which also seems to be known as Standing Man, Walking Man by Sean Henry near where I'm working. The Standing Man looking disapprovingly at something or other was taken yesterday. The other one today. I like them. They look almost like duellists sometimes. I like the space between them.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Little boats

To work feeling rather tired. Looking at poems on the train up for a wee bit, then reading The Driver's Seat, by Muriel Spark. I like Muriel Spark a lot, but this is a strange and dark little book.

Work good, as I was briefed on some work, and simply got on with it. Ate my tupperware of little wraps my lovely made me at lunch, then took myself out for a bit of a walk. To nearby Paddington Basin. A new area, with lots of modern buildings built around the end of the canal, with a floating garden with planters and artificial grass. The place has dozens of little boats floating in it, looking like paper boats. Sometimes their reflections make them look like stars.

Worked. Then home. Unusually tired today.

Below some snaps of the wee boats at Paddington Basin.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Up to see Mum and Mas

Up and off in the new car to Edgware. A speedy journey, able to listen to podcasts in a relaxed fashion. To Mum and Mason's house. The next door neighbours, those of the concrete dogs, artificial grass and leaf phobia have erected an ugly little fence between their door and Mum and Mason's. They have taken down their for sale sign, much to the gloom of neighbours nearby.

Mum and Mas on good form, and after a cup of tea, and seeing John the carer, who came by and generally laughed and told Mason how good he was looking, we drove north to the Waggon and Horses pub in Elstree. This under new Irish management, and the craic there has definitely improved, along with the food. A Sunday lunch there. Mason ordered one of their good burgers, and Lorraine and I had roast chicken. Mum had fish and chips.

Then as we left the silver tongued new owner telling Mas how much I looked like him, telling me how nice Mum and Mas were, and giving Mum a free bottle of wine to take home.

Mason much taken with the new car, and was stroking it appreciatively, as we climbed out of it back in Edgware. More chats and teas with Mum, before fond farewells and we climbed aboard the Qashqai and cruised home. The M25 slow but not jammed for a change, listening to the Classic FM's top twenty. Something execrable schmaltz this week at number one, The Glorious Garden featuring the doggerel of Alan Titchmarsh.

Lorraine working when we got home in preparation for next week. I did some ironing, watched by cats. Early to bed.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Cat kidnap

Up early for cat business. A cat kidnap of Calliope and Brian in the cat carrier, and into the boot of the Qashqai from where Calliope howled. Both good as gold at Top Cats, and tolerated being injected. They appear to be in good health. Home, howling slightly less frenziedly, with worming pills.

A relaxed day afterwards. Lorraine and I decided to loaf for a bit. I worked on poems. Lorraine went off to have her induction done at the gym. I sent some poems out to three magazines, one online. Amazingly, I heard back from the online magazine called Amaryllis that evening, with an acceptance, which cheering.

A nice evening. Once Lorraine back from having been inducted, we walked down to Preston Circus where we met Beth, fresh from her pals Milly and Ainsley's baby shower. We found Beth in the Hare & Hounds and had a drink before strapping on the nosebag at The Shahi, welcomed nicely as usual. Enjoyed catching up with Betty very much, and enjoyed the curry and beer very much too.  Betty telling us about how much she is enjoying her new driving lessons, about improv classes and various other matters.

Fond farewells with Beth, then Lorraine and I ascended mount Beaky back home, for a final Cylon before bed.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A famous cat

Up with Lorraine, and made breakfast and got to work right away on poems. Interrupted as I worked quietly in my study by a terrifying noise. Turns out an intruder cat had got through the cat flap and was giving vent to a bloodcurdling howl. It left pronto when it heard me, but this does explain the chewed through dreamies, and a tupperware of cat biscuits knocked onto the floor yesterday.

Off to Stained Glass, where I had a good time. I am not going to be able to finish my window in the time I have left, so we are all going to do more. I did make good progress today, however, as I am doing the most difficult part, which is the doubling up of glass with wide heart lead. I am learning a lot from Ben. He started, spontaneously, talking to me about astrology today. We seem to be on a similar wavelength.

A quick coffee with Mick and Chris, fellow glass students, and then off to get my hair cut. From there some food shopping and back home, not long before Sonia was leaving. When Lorraine got home we had a greek salad, with fresh chewy brown bread. Delicious, and a night in with the Cylons.

A vastly more cheery day today than yesterday. Perhaps Friday is the real Friday.

Passed Bailey the pub cat today. He's a star on Instagram. There are thousands of cats that are more famous than people on social media.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The new Friday

Missed my usual train, and got on a standing room only one. Miraculously, a space opened up and I was able to work on poems very well.

Arrived at work and after a while it became clear there was nothing for me to do. Robbie was there today, and I had a quick chat where he managed to say that poetry was not proper writing, and that stained glass was just the kind of tat you get in gift shops. I left him to his own devices.

I quietly worked on a poem for a bit, which I am very pleased with, and then was told I could go home at 1pm. I agreed, and had arranged to meet Mark Dawson for lunch. However, at ten to one, I was given an urgent and particularly tiresome cross-referencing-100-page-documents-kind-of-job which meant I had to work through lunch until four. Was also told that the work I'd done earlier in the week had gone down very well with the client, so my stock remains good, and that there will be lots for me to do next week.

Then I left early, and came straight home. However, amazingly, I got on the circle line train which was not even half full, and sat across two seats so engrossed in my book, that I failed to notice a few more folks getting on at the next stop. One of them, a burly Scottish workman literally shouted at me to free the seat (there being plenty of other seats around), I couldn't help but laugh at him, which made him even more aggressive. I told him to calm down, which to his credit he did. That's two fighty men in two days on the Circle line. Very odd.

The rest of the journey uneventful. Walked back from Brighton station, and feeling cheery at being away from the Smoke, and delighted that Thursday is the new Friday. Read some of the later Robert Lowell poems, which I find less strong.

Lorraine in the gym for a swym. Meanwhile, I weighed myself and I am still losing weight, which is A Good Thing. Cooked, and watched TV with my lovely wifey. An early night.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A slow motion tussle

A good day today. Able to work on poems on the train, and then slide around the circle line reading more Lowell poems. Lots to do this morning, a lull then a bit of a rush at the end. The work Lidya and I have been doing went down well, which was a relief.

A walk in Hyde Park at lunchtime. A completely different experience, being sunny and mild. Saw people feeding parakeets from their hands. Also saw herons and cormorants, not feeding from people's hands.

Left a bit late. Got into a slow motion and completely silent tussle with a man on the circle line who sat next to me, and proceeded to lean on me as if I were a wall. Had to fend him off. On the train to Brighton doing a bit more on my laptop, and reading more Robert Lowell. I find his work enjoyably readable.  Home by cab tonight, and Dawn was there so I had a chance to tell her I had liked David. Cats being weird at the moment, because they are being left alone a lot. Lorraine had found a packet of dreamies that had been bitten through and robbed. Immediate suspicion fell on Calliope.

After Dawn left, one more Cylon episode and then sleep.

Below a parakeet, a Henry Moore and a photographer and a heron.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Bit of a strange day. Woke up at five full of doom, better when I woke up again. Lorraine dropped me at the station, the train was a bit delayed but otherwise I simply read and enjoyed my Selected poems of Robert Lowell, which I have not done for years. Enjoying his poems much more these days, although his attitude to black people is nasty. It is all part of my attempt to refresh and increase my knowledge of US poetry. Have a great hunger for reading poems at present.

Scottish fisherman on the train, just as we approached Victoria carping loudly on his phone about Brexit fisheries negotiations and planning a protest.

Into work, and feeling oddly nervy this morning. I was given a job to do for the nice CD here. Found myself working with a good Spanish art director called Lidya on some concepts -- but also had to biff some work from my lovely French clients, which I don't like doing. A ten minute walk at lunchtime, which did wonders for my mood and perspective. I had a positive afternoon.

Reading Lowell on the way home again, sardined on the train. I was next to a man who had an appalling tic, head bowed, rubbing his face, eyes, forehead, scalp, and brushing his lap in an unbroken cycle. After 50 unrelenting minutes of this next to me I felt like screaming. Being compelled to do it yourself must be awful.

Walked home, and then started cooking, and spoke to mum very briefly. Lorraine sore throaty and not herself, we resorted to Masterchef and Cylons on the gold sofa before an early night.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Cold stroll

A lousy night's sleep, coughing again for a couple of hours. Sluggish this morning. Lorraine dropped me off at the station, and the train headed north through the thin scraps of snow. Read a short novel on the train today, Yasmina Reza's Desolation which was essentially the last monologue of a raging old man and was pretty good.

Bumped into Mark Dawson just outside my office, he is working across the road and we said we'd meet up for lunch.

A really annoying day at work. Waiting all day to be briefed, with nothing arriving. Bored, but frustratingly unable to get on with any of my own stuff.

However I took a full lunch breaking, walking in the face-hurting cold. Went to Hyde Park, and walked by the Serpentine. Lots of noisy bright green parakeets, which seemed a bit incongruous in the last bit of the snow besides the native birds.

Feeling somewhat frustrated by the end of the day. Good to be on my way home. Very cold in the wind coming up the hill from Preston Park station. Lorraine in a few minutes after me having had a swim.

Below a jay in a tree, and a Henry Moore in the park.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sleepy Sunday

L and I lurked in bed till midday, eating breakfast and drinking tea. Thin snow on the ground, but cold. We'd bumped driving off to see Mum this afternoon, because of it.

I finished my review of Jane's book, and then, as the weather was looking okay, Lorraine and I made off for her to join a reassuringly middle-class gym between her work and home. They gave her a gym bag and we had a coffee. It's a pleasant place surrounded by trees. There is a restaurant and a pool and so on. And a bar too.  The weather minibeasting again from late afternoon with snow again. It is amazing how easily you can get used to snow. We got home before it began again.

Home and cozy and watching Cylons. We are getting towards the end of the Battlestar Galactica series. It's great.

Below, a underwhelming beast first thing.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Day of the mini beast

Weather that has been dubbed the mini beast from the east arrived today. Quite a lot of snow falling this morning in Brighton, and then it resumed in the evening and settled.

Lorraine and I tucked ourselves onto the gold sofa and watched The Kite Runner which we both enjoyed.  Also watched The House of Small Cubes, a lovely short animation by Kunio Kato which won an Oscar. Lovely thoughtful symbolism done excellently.

Spoke to Mum who advised us against braving the mini beast. Snow falling still in London.

In the evening, Lorraine and I popped around to see Rosie and Innis, who are off to Brazil for three weeks, mixing business with pleasure. Rosie doing some education work at a conference with a British School, while Innis, poor chap, has lined up some work shooting photos of Brazilian models on a beach.

Then we met Dawn and her new boyfriend David over some pub grub in Shoreham. Clientele a bit noisy it being Saturday night. I ate a spicy bean burger, Lorraine and Dawn had Fish pies, and David had vegetarian fish and chips, which is fried halloumi in batter with chips. More importantly L and I both liked David, and found him interesting and likeable. A man with a hinterland.

Drove home and the mini beast was snowing again. Miraculously, there was a parking spot right outside our house. Happy to be home, and an early night.

A still from the House of Small Cubes.

Friday, March 16, 2018

My Friday

My weekday off! Friday has now become 'My Friday' in my mind. Walked off early to Stained Glass this morning, passing two men in top hats. Enjoyed stained glass, but slightly rueful that my design is so complex. Now getting to the bits where I am overlaying glass on glass, which requires sections of wide heart lead.I am liking everyone involved in the workshop these days. There is only one woman, Yvonne, who I am warming to lots now having found her difficult at first. She is very creative, always making pottery, teaching children various stuff in schools, and doing design work. She is very chatty and told me she was bipolar, but her medications keep it completely under control, and creativity is her great release. If she can creative she stays well. A feeling easy for me to understand.

Pretty washed out today, after having drinks last night, and my throat back to being spiteful. A quick coffee with my interesting fellow student, Chris. Noticed on the bus home lots of gulls sitting on top of bus shelters in town for some reason. 

Home and I showered, taking sensible precautions against lead then to work. I have a new batch of poems suddenly mushrooming up, a sort of more optimistic compliment to the poems in Sin Cycle with a working title of Nine Salvations although this sounds too religious. However I was quickly overwhelmed by tiredness this afternoon, and sat on the gold sofa and watched Brooklyn 99 and re-read my old copy of Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, complete with my marginalia that dated back to my final year as an undergraduate. Saw online that there is a more recent translation, but I looked at it on Amazon, where it gives you a glimpse of the book's innards, and the translation was dreadful. The Consolation is part poetry and part prose, and the poems have suffered over the years at the hands of tin eared translators.

Lorraine came home in her old car, which we parked on the edge of town, then walked back home chatting then had a cheeky scrambled eggs on toast before going back to the village hall near where she works for a pub quiz night run by the friends of Bolney, except not in a pub. Benches of contestants and mostly annoying questions on trivia. We didn't didn't come close to winning this year, and the winners contained a finalist for this year's Mastermind. Lorraine and I both tired, and escaped as soon as it was humanly decent. Home, and quickly to bed. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Moscow and Berlin

Liking the feeling that Thursday is the new Friday. Off to work in tired but happy mode, playing with poems on my laptop. The day okay, went for a mooch around at lunchtime and went to Moscow Road, where I used to go to the Moscow Arms back in the 80s, and now called the Phoenix. It was popular with all kinds of folks, including Aussies and Kiwis. I have a memory of going in there with friends I'd made when I worked at Casio Warehouse. One of the guys was a bearded Australian teacher on a gap year, who on entering the pub, which was rammed, simply had a pee against the fruit machine in the middle of the pub. I'd never seen anything like it.  Nobody seemed to notice either.

Home and straight into The Evening Star, where I met Glen, over from Greece, and Richard and Steve, and a few other pals. A cheery evening, and my first drink in a pub for a few weeks, and fine real ales they were too. Good to see Glen and hear about Greek life. Also had a long and fascinating chat with Steve about his experiences working in the US embassy in East Berlin at the beginning of the eighties.

Home, dead beat and sore throated, but having enjoyed a drink in pub. The site of the Moscow, now the Phoenix. Altogethery in the pub, and a bromance pic of Richard and Glen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A glimmer of pep

Slightly more pep in my step today, got off the train at Hassocks and waiting for my connecting Victoria train listened to the birds singing in the fields and gardens nearby. A lovely interlude. Then up to the smoke. Waiting on the westbound platform of the Circle line, the platform man kept repeating, in his unplaceable accent, "Step away from the YOLO line."  which made me laugh somewhat. Finished The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie on the tube. A perfectly-formed little book.

Work not too bad. And got away promptly. Home and Lorraine out at a leaving do for her old boss Chris. Dragging my sorry butt through this week. Nice to simply sit on the sofa and enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching several episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  Lorraine home late. Looking forward to the weekend when we have time to talk. She played me a message from an excitable Beth, who has just taken her first driving lesson.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wifely tupperware

Finally got into The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and read most of the book on the train today. I like Muriel Spark. She is funny and unsentimental. To work, and feeling a tad more lively, despite the evil throat. Read an article in the Guardian about the evils of lead. Obviously I am using lead at the moment in window making so this made me a bit concerned.

At lunchtime, I opened the tupperware Lorraine had packed for me. It made me feel loved from afar, via the medium of flatbreads and fruits. A walk at lunchtime along the canals. After the afternoon was done, home and walked back from Brighton station to find Lorraine had cooked a delicious ratatouille. All well.

Below. A barge called Starcross.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Unsinging hero

So to Preston Park this morning in the new car, but feeling heavy and ill and without a joyful song on my lips. Texted Bob on the train, wondering if he were okay after the Russian shenanigans in Salisbury.  To work, without incident, and apologising for being curt on Friday. Friendly folks to work with and a wee stroll by the canals at lunchtime. However, I felt more lively as the day went on. Anton called. Left slightly late, but walked home from Brighton station. Utterly happy to be home with Lorraine and boof onto the sofa.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Beware the wuss of March

Lorraine off to an all day teacher's conference. I tried to do some writing, then made off to Hove Town Hall. Trying to sort out the parking permit for the new car, but I didn't have all the information. After, I nipped over to see Janet and Ken, who were expecting guests. A cheeky cup of coffee with them, and then a bit of a chat with Janet's pals before I went.

Teeming with rain, and interlude of non stopping buses. Unaccountably tired and sore throaty this afternoon. Snoozing, till Lorraine came home and we went out for a drive... To Sainsburys. I love going to Sainsbury's with Lorraine, which is weird. She'd enjoyed her conference. We stayed in tonight. Cylons. Why am I always draggy wuss in March? March never brings out the best in me.

Friday, March 09, 2018

A relief

Up early, phoned doctor and then tried some writing. Then walked to the stained glass class. Soldering and cutting bits of moss green glass, and wide heart lead. I am feeling increasingly relaxed in this class. But I had to leave early to go to the quacks.

A new and slightly scary Greek doctor, with opinions. Various tests and was given pills but not antibiotics which are not needed in my case. Overuse of antibiotics is something for which I have invented campaigns f so I understood why.  Home and drank lots of water, and miraculously found I could pee normally again. A relief. Still coughing too.

Sonia told me about her latest holiday, in Switzerland for a bit, then at two o'clock, I settled at my desk, only to be phoned by the people in Paddington wanted me to work all afternoon. An offer I declined, which was annoying and a bit worrying that I had reneged on something. A not terribly productive afternoon after this. In the end I gave up and watched Precinct 99.

Lorraine home in her new Qashqai. It being late and rainy, we didn't go for a drive in but, but nevertheless sat in it for a while, and phoned Betty and heard her voice inside the car.

Then we nipped around the corner in the rain to pick up some food from Red Chilli and have a single beer in the Park View. Only drink of the week. It was a thing of glory. Then home and ate happily on the sofa. All's well that ends well.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Paddington is bearable

So off up to Paddington today, to start a new and quite lengthy four day a week stint. Unfortunately I had an unexpected flare up of prostatitis. Stealthy doctor phone calls. Doctor agreed to see me first thing tomorrow. If I became unable to pee at tall (prostatitis can interfere with this kind of thing) then I had to take myself A and E. All this not the ideal backdrop to a first day.

People there so pleased to see me and friendly that quite enjoyed the day despite this. I've been parachuted into an account that needs help and the clients are a bit huffy. But I can sort this out, and it felt fine to be back (Paddington is bearable). Quite late home, and walked back from Brighton station. Reading Jane's book on the train.

Lorraine had Dawn, Angie and Sarah around having a women's night in. I said howdy, squeezed Lorraine, and left them to it. After a few bits on the computer, I went upstairs to iron shirts. It was International day of Women today. The ticker tape screens in the train had quotes from women on them to celebrate.

A walk around the canals at lunch time. I find this very soothing. Here is some water.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Loose ends

Practical, tying up loose ends today before my big stint starts in Paddington. A bit of a heart sink committing myself to work there till the summer, but it will make the second half of the year  comfortable, and it is only four days a week so I am hoping this will take some of the relentlessness out of it. I am only tinkering with poems at the moment, and the agent's standard rejection I got for my children's novel today didn't leave me feeling particularly positive about my own writing. These moods pass. The key to being published these days is to be a celebrity first. I think the only celebrity avenue still open to me is crime.

Enjoying dipping into Jane's Guernsey Legends book very much. Will start reading it tomorrow and will review it on my other site shortly.

So sending the smidge of work for my French friends, then a bit of shopping, subscribing to poetry magazines, laundry, shopping and trying to look after Lorraine, who is having a very demanding week. Tomorrow.

Below a smiley on a postbox.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Boot on a fishy plinth

Lorraine still struggling with the school, which has no water and so can't have kids in. Luckily, the water went on tonight, after she had organised portaloos, and the water company had finally delivered bottled water.

Feeling a bit fed up. The previous night was another coughing one. Did a bit of French work and fiddled with poems, but my brain is not working well. Enjoyed binge watching Precinct 99 which Anton alerted me too, undemanding cop fun in New York.

Then contacted by Lynne in Paddington, who wants me to work there into the summer, starting... tomorrow. I declined to start tomorrow, but agreed to go up to the smoke Thursday. Brilliantly, they are okay with me doing four days a week.

Received a copy of Jane's and Frances Lemmon's Guernsey Legends from Steve Foote at Blue Ormer to review. Lovely looking book, with gorgeous colour plates.

Otherwise I saw a boot on the top of a fishy plinth.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Dawn of the Bronze Age

So, so long Beast from the East. It slipped off northwards. Noticeably milder when I got up and fed the cats and made Lorraine and I tea and breakfast. I had a decent night's sleep too, which was splendid, and so I felt more robust than yesterday. The snow in the back garden, crisscrossed with fox prints and cat prints melted during the day. We stayed in bed till late, with one of the heaters breathing the smell of scorched dust into the air.

Lorraine has constructed a big chart stuck onto the fridge called 'We can do it', plotting the year's weightloss. The plan is to drop half a kilo a week. Weighed ourselves again this morning, and we are doing well. I have lost about three and a half kilos in the last two weeks, quite remarkable considering that this last week, I did little exercise other than Olympic freestyle coughing.

In the afternoon off to a Nissan car dealership and we bought a Qashqai. Nissan scorn the letter 'u' obviously. A car salesman who was cheery enough. Lorraine sitting with the salesman and me in the back had a test drive. I'm actually quite excited that Lorraine is getting a new car. It has wee cameras to help with parking, and built-in satnav and bluetooth stuff so you can play things from your iPhones and DAB radio among other things. It is a car for the 21st Century. And it has a colour too... A kind of bronze.  Lorraine really relieved that we have finally decided. She will pick it up next week, handy as her current car is literally a write off as repairing it will cost more than the car is worth.

Home, and we switched the boiler on, which kicked back into life. The condensation outlet having thawed. Pleased by this, but it does beg the question of the point of a heating system that stops effing working at the very moment you most need it.

In the evening off to Cuckfield to attend Jess's birthday party. Enjoyed myself there,  as I had spent the week coughing and talking to very few folks. Also drank some beer, which I had not done much of for a while now and spoke at great length to a couple called Trevor and Natalie. Obviously I warmed to Natalie straight away when she said how much she loved Guernsey. Please to see Andrew, now recovered from his op and talking of holidays.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Colder than a postman's knees

Another foul night's sleep. Went to bed at 10 and lay there coughing continually for three hours. Eventually slept in exhausted snatches between coughing fits. Feeling grumpy this morning, a mood not improved by our boiler not working. We think it is because the condensation pipe is frozen, but as this is impossible to reach, even with ladders, without first dissembling our wee garden shed, so we simply deployed our two plug in heaters till it is warm enough for the heating to work again. Gah, Catch 22.

A chat with the postman as I was leaving on the house and I commented on his shorts (I was wearing three jumpers, hat, gloves, coat etc.) He said you just get used to wearing them, and you soon warm up doing your round. He also said that it had been colder yesterday, than he could ever remember in his 30 years as a postie. It was minus seven when he arrived in the wee hours for work.

Bussed to Evolution Arts, Ben urged me to speed up if I am going to get my piece finished. Nice chatting with Ben the tutor, who is a patient and thoughtful person.

Powdery snow started this afternoon, as I bussed home. The streets quiet for a Friday. I was going to go to a cafe, but just wanted to be home. Worked comfortably in my study with one of my heaters, the other a plug in radiator, soon warmed up our living room. Lorraine home, having closed the school early this afternoon. She kept her school was open all week.

My French pals have given me another wee job to do for next week.

Still coughing lots this evening. The pharmacist said it is lasting about two weeks. On that count I am still only half way through. Worrying about Lorraine now who is sneezing and coughing.

An unremarkable snap just before another light dusting of snow on Osborne Road today, but perishing cold guv'nor.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Wery cold

Gah. Bored now. Hacking cough, sore throat and general wanness all still in place. It feels like such a screaming waste of time. I seem to be good for a couple of hours in the morning to do work, but my ability to focus soon ends. Effing cold today for Brighton. Sloped down to buy some bread, and by the time I got home I was a wery cold gentleman, wery cold indeed. The cold makes me want to read Dickens.

Bloke at Choice Cuts was someone who had left. I asked if he was back, but he said he now works in tree surgery. But it was too cold for that this week, so he offered to help out back in the shop. Presumably because he didn't want to be left out on a limb.

I had a salad sandwich for lunch. Watching Precinct 99, an Anton recommendation on Netflix. Quite fun.

Very pleased to see Lorraine get home in one piece. I don't like her having to drive in this weather. She has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, especially when considering all the safety implications of keeping a school open or closed.

We had salad and fish and cous cous for dinner. Nothing complements a Siberian weather front like a nice salad.