Friday, May 31, 2019

Ticks and Thalis

This morning, I applied the desk manacles and began writing a website about parasites -- sandflies, mosquitoes, ticks and fleas for my lovely French clients. Found it a bit hard to concentrate, but forced myself. Lorraine mooching about at her own pace, then went to the gym this afternoon.

A pleasant day. Did a short walk after four, when the writing was done. Writing about parasites made me feel itchy all day. When Lorraine came home, we jumped on a bus and made off to The Bottom's Rest, where we met Innis and Rosie for a beer and thali. Had not seen them for a couple of months, and they had been in Brazil for a time. A lovely evening, and sensible vegetarian food, and a few beers. We left the pub early and came home, happy to be sprawling about on the gold sofa.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Goodbye to Guernsey

Last day in Guernsey, and the best night's sleep for me. We got up and had a large Barbarie Breakfast, and then packed, stowed our bags with Sally at reception and walked down to Moulin Huet. Another misty morning, and the planes were delayed. Mixed feelings about not wanting to go, and hoping the planes would fly.

Just lovely down at the beach, with tops of the cliffs still misty. Lurked there for an hour or so, then climbed up to have a cup of tea in the Moulin Huet tea rooms, before climbing back to the Barbarie. A lunch and a final pint of beer in the bar, before shaking everyone's hands and being given a warm farewell. Taxied to the airport, through security (officious and annoyingly requiring my bag to be open) before waiting for our plane which was then delayed three hours.

The flight itself really good, and on one of the jets. We had extra legroom being near the emergency exit, and the flight lasted 40 minutes.

Through the airport, quickly, and then to the car in the carpark. Reading a few messages on my phone, and feeling a bit glum about being home. Nevertheless good to be back in Osborne Road, and see Pat and Maureen who had been looking after the cats, and having fun in Brighton. Very tired tonight generally. A quick chat with Mum too.

Below scenes on Moulin Huet, the second one down is sand. The last one features a mermaid Lorraine.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Fog and rain, but Guernsey

A bit bushed after the long walk of yesterday, and Lorraine's feet were bad. A low key day. I went for a walk but the heavy misty cloud turned quite drenching, and I returned after an hour or so, with my wet top slick. Happily read some stories by Robert W. Chambers from the collection The King In Yellow. Also had a snooze. Marvellous.

After a fine dinner, we walked down to Saints Bay, which was misty and mysterious with the rocks and cliffs in tones of foggy grey as they receded. We were completely alone there until another couple came down just as we left. Walked slowly up the hill as the misty evening grew darker under the trees. Pausing not far from the Barbarie, with bats zooming overhead, one so close to Lorraine she could feel it pass. Two Germans walked past, and Lorraine said bats to them, and they said Ah fledermaus! Lots of German folks on holiday here for some reason this year.

Back into the bar, and Lorraine had a rhubarb and ginger gin and I drank some bottles of Guernsey beer. Thomas and Marina were in the bar too, and Lorraine and I chatted with them, after playing another game of crib, which Lorraine won.

Below, a walk in the rain, with rain on the lens, and a lurk on Saints bay on a foggy evening.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A perfect walk

Up for a full Guernsey Breakfast, and then contemplated what to do. It was a cool but sunny day, and Lorraine and I decided to go down to Moulin Huet bay. However as we walked down Moulin Huet valley we began to realise the tide would be fairly high, and suddenly opted instead for a cliff walk to Jerbourg. We mooched steadily along taking moments to stop and sit and stare at the beautiful cliffs, and look at all the flowers. It was such a nice time.

When we reached Jerbourg, we went to the kiosk and had a couple of pieces of toasted gâche and some teas and cold drinks. From there we walked back until we cut in from the main road to walk along the paths to the wishing well.  A big building job was going on there, however, and the well was dry. Tried not to read too much into the wishing well being dry, however the water was still flowing down the waterlane and it was still beautiful. I did my wish a bit further along as the stream fell towards the top of Moulin Huet. From there we walked back to the hotel.

A rest there, and then to Les Dovres for a bite to eat. The food was good, but the service a bit rubbish. Back to the Barbarie, where Lorraine had a rhubarb and ginger gin and tonic. I had some bottled beer from the white rock brewery called Wonky Donkey, and it was fine.

After a game of crib we were talking to a German couple from Hamburg, called Thomas and Marina. We were chatting about various subjects, and I asked him what music he liked. Without hesitation he said King Crimson, which rather made me smile. Lorraine went to bed then, and I had an absolute bloody final with my new pal before bed.

Various bits along our walk. Lorraine standing by a wall with St Peter Port daisies, and flowering valerian, assorted cliff views, including Lorraine in the water lanes,

Monday, May 27, 2019


A cool morning. Up early and after some urgent scampering about getting ready, we jumped in the car and drove off to Gatwick. The roads empty as it was a bank holiday. A prop plane which only slowly climbs to 16,000 ft. A pleasant enough journey, despite the knee pressing seats. I felt calm on the flight, although Lorraine felt a bit claustrophobic.

Arriving in Guernsey in sunshine. A cheery lady taxi driver, and we were soon sitting outside the bar at the Barbarie. The entrance, bar and restaurant have all been redone. Quite smartly, but anonymously, in greys and topes and mushroom. They have stripped out quite a bit of what made it specifically La Barbarie. There are classical columns in the restaurant, what they are doing in a Guernsey country hotel is a bit questionable, and it is trying to be a bit Italianate, with a vinyl of an Italian maze in one part. When you are on the most beautiful corner of one of the most beautiful islands in the world, it does beg the question why not a photo of St Martin's. However, it was comfortable and needed a refresh.

We sat outside on the new decking suddenly in hot sunshine, and had a glass of lager and a bite to eat.  Then to the room, collecting our bags, Andy, who had greeted us warmly, muttered VIP to the reception woman, which was lovely and we were taken automatically to one of the better rooms.

Then our by now traditional walk to Icart, and around on the cliff path for a bit. By the time we reached Icart it was a bit cooler and cloudy again, but it was beautiful to be back. We sat on our engagement bench and listened to the sea below, and the wind soughing in the pines behind us (when plane noise from the airport ceased). A lovely walk around, different flowers out this time. Most noticeable for me were the spikes of pennywort that were everywhere.

Back to the hotel, and I took another short walk to the graveyard to look at Gwen and David's grave and a general mooch about the area.

Lorraine and I had dinner at La Barbarie tonight. A good mean, and sat drinking cheerily in the bar for some time before bedtime, Lorraine patiently teaching me how to play Crib again. Below Liberation lager in the sunshine. L and I on the engagement bench, and the jungle outside some disused glasshouses on Saints Road. Other sights and scenes from our mooching.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

A house day

A day of getting ourselves ready, delving in the dungeon, out into the garden, in our craft room, along with laundry and various other bits and pieces such as attaching edging to the board on which I am going to do stained glass work. A house day, which was rather satisfying and both of us enjoyed it. Despite having lots of time, we still found ourselves packing our bags well into the evening for tomorrow morning's flight.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Pooh pilgrimage

Up at 7:30 this morning to gird my loins to be ready for Anton at 8:30. Leaving Lorraine, on the first morning of half term, in bed.

Anton drove us off to Ashdown Forest where we walked about without pause for about three hours or so. A beautiful day for walking, coolish with quite a bit of sun. Great to be walking (brisk walking is Anton's new fitness tip and he has been doing lots of it in the Cotswolds and other places lately). There is something great about just sloping along and chatting, as we passed into woods under tree canopies, sandy paths lined with gorse, past a small recently burnt bit, across buttercup fields, the path of a disused railway, where with nothing in sight for half a mile in either direction we had a judicious wee in the bushes, only to discover that a poor woman was sitting tucked away on a bench about ten yards away. Also crossed Pooh bridge, with a little clot of tourists there looking down at the penny coloured water. Discussed lots of stuff that needed discussing. I was very grateful to sink into the seat of Anton's beamer in the Piglet car park as the last leg was all uphill.

Anton drove me home, I had a shower and Lorraine had returned from dropping off our old lawn mower to Laura and Braheem. Rested legs for a bit and talked to Lorraine, then we jumped on a bus to Hove to meet Krys, and to look at some open houses. Lorraine bought me a charcoal picture that I loved as soon as I looked at it, a snip at £35. It is called Heart shies away from sorrow, by Billie Eliot Turner, a young illustrator.

Then we spent some time in a house specialising in ceramics, stoneware pots and so on. Gorgeous stuff there. Krys bought a few bits in there.

Then we went to The Better Half to meet Betty for a bite to eat, after all that walking a lager was a many splendored thing. Home by bus, and a bit of TV before bed.

Below various scenes in and around Ashdown Forest.

Friday, May 24, 2019

A day out with Bob

Travelled up to London today, and met Bob in Trafalgar Square. A children's protest against the trashing of the planet going on. Bob said he saw one placard that said, keep the planet clean, it's not Uranus. Bob and I repaired to the Mitre and had a pint of soda (B) and soda and lime, me, and discussed what to do with our time. We opted to visit Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art where we saw the How Chicago! Imagists 60s and 70s exhibition which featured the work of Roger Brown, Sarah Canright, Jim Falconer, Ed Flood, Art Green, Philip Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Christina Ramberg, Suellen Rocca, Barbara Rossi, Karl Wirsum, and Ray Yoshida. They all took shedloads of drugs by the looks of things, but we enjoyed the art. Bob is great to see art with in general, although he always points at the art, arresting his finger half a centimetre over the surface, which always makes me nervous.

From there a few beers at a nice pub, full of art students, called The New Cross House, sitting in the garden, where there was a building with no windows that students could smoke in. We were there, feeling a bit ancient, among the bright young gender-fluid things. A nice place though.

Then a bit of a snark hunt for a decent curry. Ended up back near London Bridge at a place called Mango, which was pricey but decent. Lots of chatting all the time with Bob of course. We'd not caught up for long time, so there was lots to say.

Getting home a bit of a nightmare, I got on the wrong train, and phoned Lorraine who was with Beth, and Beth texted me details of how to get home. My app does not seem to work any more for that kind of thing. Home at about 11:30 after a long and fairly sober journey home. Crept gratefully into bed.

Below Victoria Station, a child posing for her dad carrying a socialist worker placard saying system change, not climate change. I watched as he tried to get her to pose with a clenched fist, but she couldn't quite get it. Two pieces from the Chicago exhibition, The Four Seasons (1974) by Roger Brown, A Benefit Paiting of the Hyde Park Art Center, and Elcinda (1973) by Ed Paschke.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Spidey sense

Up and doing some work for the French agency on a skin product for dogs. They asked me to do a few hours on a project. I struggled with having too much to do in a short time, and instead of getting on with it, I felt uncharacteristically bamboozled. Eventually I got it done, but it took longer than it should, and I ended up having to biff a meeting with Helen on the Centaur project.

Rebellious GI tract for the last few days.

At the end of the day I slipped into town, went to the gym, where I felt a bit underpowered, and had a haircut. Told the barber that I was going to vote in the European elections today, and he groaned.

Beth phoned as I was walking back. Her improv project has been green-lighted by the venue, and she and her partner start in September. Exciting. My spidey sense says this is the start of something good for her. Later Beth sent Lorraine a picture of herself. There are lots of apps these days that purport to show what you would look like as a member of the opposite sex. With a bit of stubble, she looked really like Sam.

Home and sat outside in the sun at six and read more of Matthew G Rees collection of short stories. Lovely stuff. Then prepared a salad boiled new potatoes and grilled mackerel which we ate outside. Then we sauntered up to the top of the hill and voted. Passed a man in a Guernsey jumper at one point. I should have said something to him.

Lorraine is one day from half term now. I think I look forward to it almost as much as she does.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hillforts and zombies

A good morning's work, from 7.30 to 1.30 mainly working on the structure of the Nothing compares to you story today, and rearranging bits to help it make sense.

A walk at lunchtime taking in the Hollingbury Hillfort. It is well placed, there is not too much to see apart from curve of the large wall. I was looking at it online and there was some interesting stuff dug up there in the nineteenth century. A torc, which is some kind of neckwear for ancient Britons. Feel a bit agoraphobic on the top of the hill there sometimes, but walked across a couple of drives on the golf course back towards home. Listening to my audiobook of Carrie by Stephen King as part of my ongoing Horror education.

Back had a Victor Frankenstein bout of trying to jolt my marketing project back into life. As I was finishing this, I was phoned by Val in Paris saying she had sent me a little job to do tomorrow.

Was due to see Anton tonight, but he had an important meeting tomorrow so passed. I instead bought fish and chips and watched a film on Netflix called The Girl With All The Gifts. The girl in question was a child zombie, who had eaten her way out of the womb of her zombie mother and kept in cells with other similar children. However this generation of Zombies is much closer to humans than their parents. Despite the zombie business, it was actually quite thoughtful and interesting.

Below the curve of the wall on the east side of the Hillfort, and a torc or torque found thereabouts stolen from a British Museum site.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Scrabble at sunset

Up and breakfasting when Tom arrived. Then L off to work and I sat down and wrote for five hours, reaching my ambitious daily target for Nothing compares to you quite easily today. Then to the gym, Sainsburys and then back again to continue assessing the marketing project and how to repurpose it for Kindle.

I made meatballs this evening, chatted to Tom who had gone to the gym, and then had our dinner outside when Lorraine got home, even playing a game of scrabble as the sun went down.

I spoke to Sophie having been a poor friend to her in recent months. She was touchingly good about it though, and said she had loads of support from family and so on. I will properly chat to her next week. Turns out today is the day before the anniversary of Andros' death, although I had not consciously realised this.

Notes with Richard and Jane, who sadly we will miss when we go to Guernsey as they will be in Belgium. The idea of going to Guernsey really exciting.

We watched the second of the anxiety provoking TV called Years and Years, an all too believable near future drama. 

Below the view from the Scrabble deck.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Tapping hard

Up with the lark this morning. I started work at 7:20. Tom arrived and went to bed after his night shift. I tapped hard today, reaching 40 thousand words on the Nothing compares to you story, and have been reviewing and considering how to alter the marketing project I'd called A Galaxy of Light-bulbs for Kindle too. First thing to change will be its name I think.

Spoke to Mum who was cheery, despite having to go off for a routine hospital visit.

Calliope spending twenty minutes biffing my ink pen repeatedly onto the floor.

Otherwise overcast and occasional light rain today. Most of it when I broke off for a couple of hour walk to oxygenate my brain up in the middle of the day, while listening to the audiobook of Carrie, by Stephen King. I see quite a link from Ray Bradbury to King, in the American flavour of the stories. More work, and then chatting briefly to Tom before he made off again in the evening, made a salad and relaxed with Lorraine when she got home. Watched the final episode of Mum. It did make us laugh out loud, and it was very touching.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday gardeners

Up fairly early this morning and after breakfast we drove off to Carolyn's house where she was having a gathering and seeing bits to raise money for her charity project in Nicaragua, The Forgotten Children of the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes. Had a nice cup of coffee made by her friend Martin Antonio Ruiz Hernandez in Ometepe Island, who gave her some to take back with her. Bumped into Lesley and Derek in Carolyn's gorgeous little garden, had a nice chat about Guernsey and other things. Enjoyed this morning.

Then off to a garden centre where we bought some soil and a raised vegetable bedding container. This proved to be galling, as there was a problem with one of the bolts which meant we had to wait ages, and were given a discount but sold something with a dodgy bolt that we are going to have to replace or rectify. Felt pretty cross by the end of it.

Late in the afternoon a burst of work in the garden, creating a new area for plants and stones. We had fun doing this, and it is all looking rather nice now I think.

I wrote this blog at 8.00 on Monday morning, and this is how it is looking.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Farewell to Matt

Up late, after breakfast in bed. Lurking in the garden discussing our next steps.

Lorraine went to a Bolney W.I. meeting this lunch time. I did little and when Lorraine came home again, we went off to The Brighton Tavern, and met Matt there with Reuben and John Hood and others. Matt and Reuben are moving to Yorkshire. Lovely to chat to Matt who I have not seen much of for some time. Usual chatty throng at the Tavern, with Lorraine finding herself attached to a nice and rather drunk man called Alec who kept telling her how wonderful she was. John left soon after we arrived. Also met Tim, a very talented poet and pianist, who arrived with a baritone horn for Matt. Much hugging of Matt and we were very sad to see him go, although it was great to see him so excited about moving into a new house, which he has bought. Felt like the end of an era for me, although Matt and I have not worked together for several years now, working with him on This concert will fall in love with you and other pieces, was one of the most enjoyable things I have done.

After fond farewells Lorraine and I had a bite to eat at the wee tapas place in the North Laine. Found ourselves sitting next to Claire Turner on a ladies night out, about to see a play in The Warren.

Home, with news of Manchester City beating Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup, the largest margin of victory since 1903. City have won the domestic Treble for the first time, and I bite my thumb at it. Meanwhile we watched the end of Eurovision, a dire performance by Madonna, the excruciating points awarding and the UK, whose song I have never heard, taking last place. To bed.

Below me and Matt looking crazed, and Lorraine's new pal Alec, Reuben looking like he was going to slap his forehead, and Lorraine outside the Tavern.