Sunday, March 31, 2019

Off to see Pat and Maureen

Clocks forward today. Lorraine, Betty and I off to Ashford today to see Maureen and Pat. It is Mother's day, and also Lorraine and I will be away in Scotland next weekend, when it is Maureen's birthday.  A nice day there, Lorraine's brother Ken had cooked lamb, which I had not eaten in ages. And Pat and Maureen's old pal Cindy was there too, and it was nice to see her. Beth and Maureen a bit of a double act At one point Maureen screwed up a ball of paper and string and, looking at me darkly, said I throw my rubbish where I throw my love, and chucked it at me.

Lorraine and I snuck away for a walk down to the church nearby, and down to a little stream that when she was a child was surrounded by fields that she and her brothers used to swim and catch sticklebacks in. Now it is bordered by new buildings and on one side by the high speed rail link to the Eurotunnel.

Home again listening to the wittertainment Kermode and Mayo talking about films. Out of Blue sounds like a winner. Dropped Betty off at her place, and then straight home and in bed not too late.

Below Lorraine revisiting the past, and Maureen, Cindy and Pat.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Lorraine's second joker

Saturday, some time before eight a sound of roaring flames and a workman re-coating next door's kitchen roof. Betty chatting with him, having an early morning coffee and cigarette outside, a conversation she replayed with voices to us before going to work.

Up fairly early, and pottering about. We went to sit in Hove Town Hall for a while waiting to see the parking people, as we need a new yearly permit for the car. Then a shopping in Hove where I judiciously invested in some brown shoelaces. Then Sainsbury's and back home to sit in the garden for a bit as although there was a bit of sea mist over the water, it was a warm and sunny day.

Beth home tonight and we ate salmon, and salad, and the ladies did some jigsawing, while I read an absolutely wonderful short story by Thomas Ligotti called In the Shadow of Another World. When he is good, he is exceptional. Then a game of three-handed euchre, enlivened by Lorraine producing a second joker during one hand. All well, and Lorraine won.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Mum in the Salisbury

Up and working on the horror story for a bit this morning, after I had prepared three invoices. At eight o'clock the next door neighbours gardener came to mow the lawn. A tiny thing I could have done with my human powered mower in under three minutes. This job took a professional gardener half an hour's noise pollution with the world's noisiest strimmer, followed by half an hour of electric mowing. Baffling, and deafening.

However, off to Brighton, and there caught a train up to meet mum in town. Reading a Thomas Ligotti story and translating something into English for Val on the train. We met in the Salisbury, and just hung out there having a couple of drinks and eating, gave her a card for Mother's day, and a couple of ciders and we shared a bowl of nachos and shot the breeze. Mum reminded me that Dave had once had a shop in St Peter Port, which I had forgotten if I ever knew it. Nice to reminisce and chat with Mum. Fond farewells after a few hours and I hopped on a train home, and Mum zoomed back up to Edgware. Mason has new hearing aids, which are going to be turned up in volume slowly. Apparently he is listening to the TV really quietly and jumping at noises all the time.

I forgot to take a photo of Mum in the Salisbury. Next time I will.

Home and did a smidge of work, and Lorraine brought Beth back with her, as Beth is staying for a couple of nights with us. Beth in need of soft food having had a wisdom tooth extracted the day before. I nipped out to the Red Chillies and scored some takeaways, and watched a cheery Greek woman win the Masterchef Final before a surprisingly early night.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Glass half full

Hurrah, time to do a bit of my own work this morning, or at least start to make lists again. A bit of writing this morning, and then Ben called around at lunchtime as he asked me to help him install a window in a tricky site in a street close to mine for half an hour.

Quite fascinating to see how this installation was done. The window was rather beautiful had many broken bits of glass, which Ben had not only replaced but cast himself, making dimpled glass by  baking the glass onto clay tiles he had made, adding dimples by rolling a marble on the clay, and then setting the melting glass on it, thus producing dimpled glass to match the probably victorian window.

Slightly nerve-racking as for various reasons the window had to be installed from outside the house, and I had to lift it up to Ben on the ladder. A window of that size is quite heavy and there is a lot of give in it too. The window a bit big, requiring folding of the lead to make it fit. Mission accomplished, then inside to tie it in, and then putty it into position. Learned a lot, but also had a laugh chatting about stuff. The process took at least two hours.

Home, determined to go to the gym, but then there was a smidge of feedback on the job that I am doing for the new agency. Turned this around, and then zoomed down to the gym. Wasn't done till quite late. Spoke to Lorraine and we decided to meet at the Park View for a bite to eat, as the place has been refurbished outside and in for the last couple of weeks, although not wildly different it certainly felt a bit fresher and still smelled of paint. We ate a nice pie in there and had a couple of beers and I felt generally lucky and more optimistic than I have in a long while having now completed my recent glut of freelance, which means the Kenny coffers will no longer be in the unusually dire state they have been for the last few months.

Below Ben installing a window he has renovated.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Desk day

A desk day.  A smidge of writing of my own stuff, while awaiting feedback from the new agency. A few walks around the block while doing so. Feedback arrived at midday, and spent the rest of the day reworking the brochure before sending it off at the end of play. But the job is going well, and everyone seems pleased, which is the idea with a new client.

Attempting to utterly ignore the politics at the moment, although it is the best soap opera in town. May now offering to resign, if her deal which has already been voted down three times, goes through.

Below Steve Bell on May taking back control.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A cheery interlude

A rather glorious day, with all clients at bay, and time to think and read, and write a little of my own stuff. Woke up feeling lethargic and a bit rubbish, but decided to go to the gym early, and found I had gas in the tank and this perked me up lots. Read another story by Ligotti today, called Flowers of the Abyss, and started reading his philosophical work The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. Also researching horror podcasts. I am becoming increasingly interested by doing my own podcast in one form or another.

In the evening, after cooking a rather spectacular chicken stew, and fed Lorraine leaving her about to watch The Great British Sewing Bee, I sloped down to the Rose Hill Tavern to watch a Jazz combo and meet Ben. Good to see him, and had lots of chats in between the music. He really is a lovely man.

A strange night, with a troubled but talented saxophonist/clarinettist who kept complaining about his borrowed equipment, apologising for wrong notes that nobody could spot and so on. He also refused to continue to play on a song half way because it didn't make any music sense. Last time I was there he was playing piano and clarinet.

Despite this kind of thing, the band played well and the place was full and full of people of all ages listening hard. Ben and I were sitting right at the front. A few people did showy dances, you could hear one middle aged couple's feet rasping about on the floor during quieter bits.

Assorted jazz cats, who may or may not be called Sunny Side. All good fun.  

Monday, March 25, 2019

Work and an hour by the seaside

Up with Lorraine and the larks and doing some ideas for my French clients for several hours this morning. This all sent off, I walked over to Richard's new flat, phoned en route by Val to discuss the concepts. Arrived at and found him and Silvana ready to be photographed. Fortunately it was a glorious day. We went into St Ann's Well gardens, right by where Richard now is, but there were no good places. We went down to the sea, and I was able to take a few snaps of them. Richard not in his happy place being photographed but he relaxed eventually.

As I was doing this, the new clients called asking for some copy tweaks in the middle of this, so had to nip home fairly smartly afterwards to get that work done and returned.

Star Trek tonight, with Lorraine, who was somewhat bushed having started a sore throat yesterday. An early night.

Below some snaps I took of Richard and Silvana -- aka Bossa Love.

Sunday, March 24, 2019


Lorraine and I had great fun today, falling on the garden. There are big plans for this year, if the stars align. Lorraine had an idea for a pile of pots set one upon the other in decreasing sizes full of gravel mixed with compost and she poked in the succulents we bought yesterday. I mowed our little lawn and planted another fern, and Lorraine created order in the rest of the garden. At one point she nipped indoors and returned with a jug of Pimms rattling with ice and full of bits of fruit, and some bits of cheese and cut up apple, and some Italian dried bread snacks and we sat outside for the first time this year. It was hot in the sun, and cool out of it.

A luxurious afternoon snooze late in the afternoon, as I still feel a bit drained and sore throated. Called Mum, and chatted about meeting up next week, then sat with Lorraine as she cooked, which is always fun.

Watched two TV documentaries, one about the golden age of Children's TV, and another Deep Ocean voiced by David Attenborough about bioluminescent deep sea creatures, which was great. One theory was that deep sea creatures use the light as camouflage, as predators usually come from below, and being able to emit a wee gleam makes them blend in with the faint light coming from above. Although they were still busy gleaming at night, so I'm not sure if that works.

The strange opening flower of 'watch with mother' gave me a Proustian thrill. One of those things that stands at the edge of  your memory, and seeing it exactly the same again is amazing.

Finished reading The Call of Cthulhu today, by H.P. Lovecraft. Quite astonishing levels of racism in it, even for the time, but otherwise quite interesting.

Below a black and white flower unfolds in my deepest memory, and a deepwater jelly with gorgeous bioluminescence.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Flower power

I felt vey tired today, and Calliope as ever no respecter of weekends and was climbing on me at at six. A full day once we did get up. Took a mattress to the recycling centre, then bought some hardboard to do glasswork on, and then went to a garden centre, and Lorraine bought a few succulents and bags of gravel and compost.

Then off to Bolney village hall where there was a horticultural show of spring flowers. Lorraine's school had entered some, and the prize for the single tulip went to the school, which made me smile. Lots of snowy haired keen-eyed folk wandering about looking critically at daffodils and voting in boxes. If you were a member of the horticultural society you got a vote.

Then a cup of tea followed by a talk on the Modern Kitchen Garden by Barry Newman, I enjoyed saying loudly to Lorraine that she had told me it was Gary Numan. Weirdly, as we are just planning on doing more stuff to our garden, we both enjoyed this talk, and Barry was an excellent speaker, and his presentation was full of useful tips and stuff we did not know.

Home and then off to see Beth, who is puppy sitting Pippi at the moment. Pippi doing very well, and Beth loving it lots. We took it to the dog-friendly Better Half and had a bite and a beer there. Everyone a bit tired though, and we went home fairly early.

Below part of one of the table row's exhibits. And below, the school's winning tulip.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Zombie Friday

Up and slaving like a dawg to get the document ready for the new agency on time. Managed it, and had  a couple of hours to spare in the afternoon. Went to the gym, but felt weirdly underpowered and sweaty, so simply stopped after twenty minutes and walked home again feeling a bit wussy.  Then started work on the French stuff.
At the end of the day, rather pleased that I can stop working for a couple of days, and really cheery that I have had work which is earmarking doubloons for the Kenny coffers.

Very tired this evening. Finished reading The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft. Went out and scored a small curry when Lorraine came home to a deep discussion with Maureen about the new wood burner she had installed today. Photos had already arrived.

Tom arrived this evening to stay. Chatted to him, but both Lorraine and I in a bit of a zombie state.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Chalk and fromage

Another day manacled to my desk, albeit punctuated with brief walks. New agency phoned this afternoon. The client who selected the route I had created, with images of people and quotes, now says he is really happy with this route except he doesn't want images of people or quotes. Sigh. The agency knew this yesterday but only thought to tell me about it this afternoon. All the emails I have sent to the agency went into their junk folder. Naturally they still want the job delivered for Friday.

More happily, Valerie phoned me from Paris, pleased with what I had done, and wanting a smidge more from me on Monday. Two agencies, but it's chalk and fromage.

Had another Thomas Ligotti book delivered today, cheerfully entitled The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, and have discovered a podcast called The good friends of Jackson Elias, from a website called Blasphemous Tomes. They have a bazillion episodes mostly about H.P. Lovecraft, but horror in general, but it strays into H.P. Lovecraft-based gaming from time to time. But I listened to an episode on Ligotti, and now started one on H.P. Lovecraft.

Otherwise, all's well in Kenny Towers.

Below abandoned toddler shoes in Blaker's park.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rewriting robots

Chased the new clients who, after a bit, gave me the green light on the job. While I was waiting I had started working on my novel pushing that on by a cheeky 500 words, and had yet another idea for a short story, which I just jotted down.

The rest of the day a slog, gradually rewriting and humanising a 28 page brochure previously written by a robot. Had a quick walk before lunch and then a longer one in the park after five, when my brain and eyes had given up. Ate boredom bread and jam today. Spoke to Mum, after I had finished and all being well I will zoom up to see her next week.

We are on the cusp of spring, but things are bleak beyond my own little bubble.  Brexit has been delayed, Mrs May has written to the EU to request an extension. The country and its government is quite rightly an international laughing stock, and there is no foreseeable outcome that is not dreadful. Even a so-called soft Brexit leaves us far poorer, financially of course, but also culturally and in terms of international influence. Those days when the UK could be taken even slightly seriously, are fast becoming history. Brexit is madness pure and simple. And while all these numbskull Neros fiddle, the basic infrastructure of the country is groaning under the strain of neglect and mismanagement. Meanwhile there are huge swathes of the population who persist in the delusion that pressing the self destruct button is a tremendously good idea. It is a collective madness. If it can happen in the UK here and now, it certainly helps me understand the madness that swept Germany in the 30s.

The truly appalling thing is that all this is a tiny sideshow to when compared to climate change. God help us all. The shrivelled fields I saw in Chad are coming here soon. No wonder reading horror seems like an escape into a more rational world.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A breather

Waiting for an update from both clients today, but update came there none. Treated the day as a breather, and simply got on with my own horror work for a bit. And sent some of the photos to Richard. Looking again at the story that had come out of nowhere yesterday, and toying with another short story. Later I returned to the novel, when it was clear no freelance was going to arrive. Mooched into town this morning, and went to the gym, and came back and simply worked on my own stuff. Only did the cross trainer as my back was at me.

Home and feeling tired I even had a luxury 40 minute snooze. Read The Last Feast of Harlequin today. Thomas Ligotti writes some excellent stuff, and this story a bit less clotted than some of his earlier stuff. Lorraine and I watched Fleabag which was excellent, lovely acting and every line a zinger.

Here is the cover of my Ligotti book. I'm learning a lot from his approach to horror.

Monday, March 18, 2019

An old rose comes in handy

Up and working early on the project for my Parisienne pals, but only after I had blurted down in about half an hour, a complete short story of about a twelve hundred words. Wrote itself guv'. Currently called The Dream House.

Broke off for a bit after lunch to zoom off to Preston Street to take photos of Silvana and Richard, as Richard asked me to help. They have a Bossa Nova duo, called Bossa Love. Felt rather stressed by this as work was full on, and they were both looking at me a bit blankly. The venue, called The Medusa, was a nice little bar, and the owner very friendly. However it was a very dark and cluttered interior. I took them outside but it was raining, so all in all not much joy. Leaped on a bus and then made it home quickly and was able to resume work on the animal health business which I sent off at the end of the day. The day a bit of a slog.

Very pleased to see Lorraine home a bit earlier than usual, who sorted out some salmon and salad and couscous for our dinner, which was rather good. We watched Star Trek and a few other bits before an early night.

Below Silvana and Richard, with the trusty This Concert Will Fall In Love With You rose. I always knew it would come in handy.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Flowers at the edge

Working for a few hours today on the various freelance bits. Lorraine went to the gym for a leisurely session while I had the desk manacles on. Afterwards when she came home we ate some hot cross buns and went for a small walk down to the walled garden, looking at the twisty branches of the magnolia trees, and hellebores and other fragrant white flowers. Then down to the wee Sainsbury's pausing at one of the pubs at the bottom of the hill, called The Crown and Anchor inn, and spontaneously deciding to go in it, as it seemed to have been refurbished and we had never been in there.  Nursed a pint in its high ceilinged spaciousness for a while, and chatted. It smelled of polish. Then to Sainsbury's to buy some cheese and dreamies for the cats.  

Home and a vegetarian supper tonight, we tried cauliflower steaks, slabs of cauliflower put into the oven at a very high temperature for a short while. Lorraine put olive oil and cumin and paprika and pepper on them, and they were tasty with a cheesy sauce and roast potatoes, and veggies. A healthy Sunday dinner.

A day of footie action, Brighton making their way into the semi finals of the FA Cup by beating Millwall on penalties. Chelsea losing again.  It's all going wrong at Stamford Bridge, and it is depressing to watch. 

Reading the stories by Thomas Ligotti still. They are a bit hit and miss, but occasionally they enter a darkly pessimistic world all of his own. The story I am reading now Vastarien, is a wonderful story about a world the protagonist only sees in dreams, and an occult book he buys that was written for him alone.

Went to bed after watching another lengthy episode of Endeavour. Boofed down on the pillow, and my head suddenly full of creative ideas for my own writing. Made an effort to memorise them, before  gratefully slipping into sleep.

Below magnolia flowers on the edge of Preston Park.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Leisurely day

A leisurely morning, or at least it would have been if not for Calliope waking me up by whiskering my feet. Up and made breakfast in bed. Did a few bits of work on the bovine poos work, and then we loaded up the car and zoomed off stopping off at Martlet's charity shop in Hove to drop some bits off, then off to Shoreham to Lidls for a bit of variety, and then to Sainsbury's. Dropped some stuff off at Beth and John's place, and picked up a chair they no longer need.

Then home for an interlude before bussing it back to Hove where Beth preparing home made coleslaw, and couscous and bits of chicken and halloumi. with the help of Lorraine. John and I sat about listening to more far out bits of King Crimson. Beth bouncing back after a disappointing week, with not getting a part she was really after. I felt for her. Rejection is so much part of an artist of any stripe's life.

A fun evening, and Rosie and Innis, just about to go off to Brazil next week, brought Pippi the dog round, who peed on the floor with excitement at seeing Beth. John and Beth are going to do lots of dog sitting when Rosie and Innis are away.  I drank beers. John and Beth on a bit of a health kick.

Lorraine and I went to the bus stop, but ended up grabbing a cab as it was cold and windy. Home and a bit of footy on the TV. All well.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Coffee and stained glass

Slipped off the manacles at lunchtime and zoomed over to the Caffè Nero on Western Road to meet my glass buddies. They had reserved tables at the cafe. Nice to see them all, especially Ben, Chris, Yvonne and Adele. Lots of chat about glass, and Ben and I arranged to go for a cheeky jazz beer soon. Yvonne chiding me for not having got my glass work station ready yet. Jumped on the bus on the way home, and got back to thinking about multiple sclerosis and a touch of bovine diarrhoea.

Finished listening to Horrorstör tonight just before Lorraine came home. Although it was a horror story and had gore and a few bits, it mostly reminded me of a superior children's book. Chatted a bit with Sonia, as I mooched on. Eventually stopped work at tea time. Lorraine home quite early, and feeling shattered. I slipped out into the blustery night and got some takeaway food. Lorraine very pleased to be at home, and snuggled on the sofa. We watched a documentary called Three Identical Strangers, about triplets who find one another at 19. Starts off quite cheerful and then ends up being a bit like an X Files episode.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Quietly working

Quietly working on the new brief from the new agency all day today. Lorraine working at home in the morning, lunch of pieces of layer pie with pickle, then in the afternoon I broke off from work to go to the gym. I found myself sweaty but I suppose this is a good thing. Home and a bit more work before dinner with Lorraine. Just working, and happy to be doing so.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

More glamour

Having to chase the new agency to get information today. However some stuff sent me, which I duly pored over. Luckily Valérie sent me some work to do from Paris, so I simply got on with that. Unbelievably, it is another shit job. This one about cow diarrhoea. The glamour. Still, all this keeps me out of trouble guv. I had got up early too, so I managed a bit more on the new story.

A few walks to stop the brain from seizing up. Have been listening to Horrorstör, a rather fun audiobook, a horror story set in a downmarket Ikea-a-like store.

Made one of Mum's layer pies, a firm favourite as a child. It is a pie, which I made in a bread tin, lined with pastry, and then layered with chopped onion and pork luncheon meat. Beaten eggs, a dash of milk mixed in with a bit of turmeric and black pepper, are then poured slowly into the pie, letting it settle in between the layers. It looked rather good once pulled out of the oven and rested. I cut it revealing stripes inside. Nice.

A quick walk around the nearby parks at lunchtime. Here is a magnolia tree opening up in the walled garden.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

An interlude

Some communication with new agency, and Val called me from Paris to ask if I have any availability too. This all good news. Two lots of work now speeding towards me. This is great as people will generally pay you for it. Feeling a tiny bit like a money magnet again. Worked for several hours on my story.

However, today something of an interlude. I read a book about plotting called, Take off your pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing, by Libbie Hawker, which was about plotting and not flying by the seat of your pants. It was short but practical, and I gleaned a couple of useful things to help me with the current horror writing project.

Background babble of Brexit chaos this week. It is a festival of headless chickens.

Went for a walk before the rain started today. Saw the aftermath of the blown down tree nearby. Adrenaline pumping stuff round here I can tell you.

Spoke to Mum today, and Mason getting new hearing aids which are apparently very good.

When Lorraine got home, after parents evening, we watched an episode of Fleabag, which was excellent.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Old friends and nice pizzas

Call with the agency that contacted me last week this morning, and it looks like there will be some work this week from them, which is excellent. Waiting for them to send me a contract, which didn't arrive till the evening. Still all well. I went to the gym in the afternoon, after writing my story in the morning.

In the evening I walked off to Anton's house, where Lorraine headed too. Christiane was over from Australia with her partner Sam who I met for the first time and liked a lot, and their toddler Sadie. Interesting to hear about their lives in Perth, in Western Australia. It's a very remote town. I remember reading about it in a book called The Boy Behind the Curtain, by Tim Winton. Lovely to see Christiane again, who I have always liked. Sadie a spirited, sweet natured little thing. The Godbairns there too and Anne, so a cheery evening all round. Oskar had been skiing lately, and loved it. Anton made his peerless pizzas.

Home fairly early, Lorraine somewhat washed out and tired.

Sunday, March 10, 2019


Tile rattling high winds this morning. A chair in our back garden was flung several yards into the garden from the decking, and a tree came down in a nearby road, lucky I suppose that all the leaves aren't out as there would have been more.

Up fairly early, and scanning some ancient sample material to send to the MD of the company I will be talking to on Monday. It is only the second time in all the years I have worked for myself that I have had to prove to anyone I can write, and this despite the fact the MD's right hand woman was someone I worked with closely for a few years. Sent what I have off.

Then Lorraine and I had a slow breakfast with Trace, then more chats till we drove her down to the station. Whenever I see Trace I always feel that a good deal of proper talking has been done. L and I squeezed her at the station and wished her will in Scotland. By coincidence Lorraine booked some train tickets up to Edinburgh for us to see Sam and Jade. Looking forward to this as I have been thinking about Scotland a lot, and have based some of the story I am working on there too. So will be good to refresh myself on it.

Text from Tobs asking about the Summer holiday, which seems a long while off at the moment.

Then Lorraine and I toddled around Sainsbury's and continued chilling out at home. An episode of Endeavour which, for reasons unknown to me, I find disproportionately comforting.

Nicked this pic from facebook of Surrenden Road, a two minute walk from us.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Tracey stays

Luxuriating in bed this morning. Got up and bought some chewy brown bread, and made breakfast in bed. Then we walked down to Brighton Station to meet Tracey, and spent the day with her, mooching about in the North Laine having coffee, and popping into infinity foods. Then down to the sea and along the pier. A stiff wind blowing.

Home and then we all hung out chatting for hours in the kitchen, with Lorraine cooking vegan food for us. Trace is just about to have a few months in the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland. A change from working as a social media manager in California. She is born under a wandering star. Trace helped refresh my thinking on my writing projects, which I was in dire need of which was excellent, she is as ever interesting and interested company, and keen to hear about Lorraine's nursing experiences.

To bed, Lorraine rather tired today, Trace to bed early, and I watched Match of the Day before bed. A cheery day.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Tying up the week

Last day at Shadric's studio, and walked there upright like a human the back gyp having mostly worn off now. Midweek temperature now gone, and I felt a bit more energetic, but still had a paracetamol breakfast, and before bed as a bit achey.

As I was walking to work a former colleague, Helen asked about my availability. So I may have another substantial bit of work starting next week, fingers crossed. Arranged a call on Monday morning. A few more instructions from Pat and the gang up in Hampton. Had a quick stroll to buy a bit of lunch from the cafe. Chatting this afternoon about music and art with Shadric, a nice guy and a good designer. Then home a bit before five, and walked home. Lorraine working a bit late, so I finished listening to The Exorcist, which I had enjoyed. A robustly constructed story.

Lorraine home and tired after a long week for her. I nipped out to get a takeaway, and we luxuriated in being at home and watching Masterchef, and an early night.

Thursday, March 07, 2019


A long night's sleep. Lorraine dressed in pyjamas for national book day, brought me up a nice cup of tea which I had with a paracetamol breakfast. She left still in pyjamas for school. However, as the day wore on, I was feeling a bit perkier than yesterday, although still a well under par. Walked to Shadric's studio in the sunshine, pausing to look at the hosts of golden daffodils. A steady day's work. Noticed some of Shadric's designs and an enormous pencil drawing of his grandparents, which I really liked.

Went for a brief scurry around at lunchtime, simply to free up my seizing back, which is slowly improving too. After work, walked home and guiltily bought a bag of fish and chips, as Lorraine had an arduous and lengthy governor meeting tonight. I went to bed before Lorraine came home, as I was still feeling unwell. I had spent the evening listening to my audiobook of The Exorcist, which is very interesting and as much about the idea of faith as it is spooky stuff, and also had a chat with mum.

Below, daffs looking cheery, a quick walk from Shadric's studio, a squirrel spotted through one of his studio windows, showing the trees that the wind soughed in all day. Lovely.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019


Felt utterly rubbish this morning as I walked to Shadric's studio office. As I turned off London Road onto Tongdean Avenue, the road narrows under the railway bridge. A woman was made to fall off her bike by a car. I was too busy looking around me and being creeped out by listening to The Exorcist to notice what had happened. Voluble swearing from the bicycle woman, and the car that was involved also driven by a young woman. It all blew over though and nobody was hurt thankfully.

I arrived at Shadric's studio running with sweat, with a headache, achyness, painful throat and generally exhausted. Typical. Cancelled a few cheeky beers with Anton scheduled for tonight.

Slipped out at lunchtime to buy a pack of paracetamols at the shops in Eldred Avenue. Also bought a vegetarian sausage roll made with kidney beans, tiny cafe there, with four people having an awkward business meeting, with one bloke being incredibly self important about the subject of signage.

Nice chatting with Shadric. Walked home with a rubbish back, then simply sat about on the sofa. Lorraine cooked for us, and then we both went to bed at nine, Lorraine making me an Ovaltine. I fell asleep quickly, feeling poor, but very happy to be in bed.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Lawyers and designers

Worked in the morning from home this morning, getting a flying start on the work I'd picked up yesterday. A few distractions. A letter from a solicitor that I could not make head nor tail of. I phoned to explain I had a degree in philosophy, and worked as a writer but could not understand what their letter was trying to get at. Turned out it was something to do with not choosing to act as an executor. I hate language that's sole purpose is to obscure meaning. I bite my thumb at them.

The designer I met yesterday, who rejoices in the name of Shadric Toop, picked me up in his car at lunch time, and drove us to near the Withdean stadium to work in his studio office.  I had studio envy. It is a lovely place. He works on the top floor, and there is a pottery wheel, and pots in various stages of completion. Upstairs he has desks and a view out onto trees of his mother's garden. He's a nice guy and from all the work here and there in his studio a good designer. His mother is an artist too, as were his grandparents. Skype with Pat at his office.

Worked there for a few hours, and then I hobbled painfully back home in the teeming rain, and listening to The Exorcist. Very happy to creak down onto the sofa, and watch a bit of TV with Lorraine after I'd cooked.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Loping among friends

A poor night's sleep, although it did have a couple strikes of lightning nearby around midnight. Up to Hampton this morning, managed to tweak my back evilly just before I left home, and so spent the day loping unable to straighten my back, which made having to stand in a crowded train all the way to Clapham Junction somewhat tiresome. From Clapham to Hampton, able to sit and listening to The Exorcist. Where I loped along the streets to Pat, the French Bloke and Perky's lovely riverside office. The place full of friends, Keith was there too who came over and gave me a hug, and great to see Max, who was sitting on Michel's desk.

Pat and Michel then briefed myself and a designer called Shadric in their new downstairs place, with the river virtually lapping up against it. Shadric is from Brighton, and we spent rest of the day getting to grips with it. We were released back into the wild at around 4:30 and will be working from home on it, and I Shadric and I will work together in Brighton when we need to. Nice chat with Shadric on the way home, he sent formative early years in a band, which were signed up by a record company and then released, which was a disappointment. Since then he has been all about the design.

Loped home from Preston Park, and then gratefully to rest my stiff back, onto the sofa. Lorraine at the gym tonight, and we watched the new episode of Star Trek before bed.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Blustery Sunday

Up fairly early this morning, and then Lorraine and I walked down to The Geese to meet up with Catherine and Tanya at noon for a tasty early roast lunch. They were excellent company as usual. Catherine making a point about money which is so obvious, that money is a very emotional subject for people. And people often shun dealing with it because of its scariness, and boredom. This we followed by walked down the road to their home to have a piece of Jamaican ginger cake and admire their cats.

Then a walk home again, blown uphill by the blustery wind. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying not to sleep, and reading a poor story by Thomas Ligotti, and spoke to Mum and Toby this evening. Mum's next door neighbours, the concrete dog people, increasingly eccentric. Toby all well despite it being a hard winter. I mustered my ducks in a row for going up to the agency by the river in Hampton tomorrow.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

A goodbye

A slow and cheery start to the day. Lorraine out to do a spot of shopping. I sent off a couple of poetry manuscripts, and listened to a wee bit more of The Exorcist.

Early evening, Lorraine and I walked down to The Station Hotel pub the other side of Preston Park Station, where we met Sarah and JD, Dawn, Steve Geliot and a few other friends and relatives of Sarah and JD who are moving permanently up to London next week. A cheery little group some of whom had been Lorraine's former neighbours. I had fun socialising, a chat with a young guy in the record business called Richard, who I really liked. A bit of drama as we began to leave, as Dawn's handbag had disappeared, but it turned out that a couple had moved tables to be away from our group as they were eating, had mistakenly picked it up.

Lorraine and I stopped off at Chilli Pickle on the way home, L having a wee starter while I sensibly opted for a chicken dhansak. Home and a bit of Match of the Day, which sent Lorraine asleep as usual.


Friday, March 01, 2019

New starts

First of the Month. Pat confirmed I have a week of freelance work to look forward to next week.  Just as well as the Chiswick agency's pencil for next week failed. Otherwise I slunk indoors, working on the horror story, although not so fluently as earlier in the week, waiting for another section of the story to open up before me magically. Lorraine working from home first thing this morning, which was nice.

In the evening, after L got home from work, and I had a short walk, listening to the beginning of The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty. Starts ominously, which is what you want with horror.

In the evening, L and I jumped in a cab and went to the Station pub in Hove. John and Matt were setting up for their gig. Confusingly, their band, Body Talk, have a new bassist, also called John, who sports a near identical beard to our John's. They have a new singer, called Amy, who was pretty good too. This leaves  Matt to focus more on guitar and some backup vocals. They played lots of new tunes, very well, and it was the best I'd ever heard them play. Our John's drumming was exceptional, particularly in the cover of Smooth Criminal.  I mentioned this afterwards to John. I also had a nice chat with Matt too.

We sat with Betty and Laura, and ate some good pub grub. Enjoyed hanging out with them very much. Laura moving into a new flat soon with her boyfriend Braheem. Was recalling Laura's car she had when she leaned to drive, which she customised with eyelashes. I liked those eyelashes, although Laura seems slightly embarrassed by them now. L and I keeping our fingers crossed for an audition Beth has next week.