Thursday 29 May 2014


I've been meaning to mention that The Boy returned a week ago.  I should have mentioned it before, but he arrived with enough washing to keep the washing machine going for a week.  Without a break.  That's quite a lot of smelly pants and socks...and all the rest.

He and his friend had driven the 800 miles from Austria to Essex in one day.  They arrived in a zombie-like state at midnight.  I don't know how they did it.  I was delighted to see them, but in truth they couldn't really string a sentence together.  They declined all offers of food and drink until I'd given up and gone to bed.  At which point they sat in the garden for half an hour drinking a glass of whisky before they too headed for bed.

Of course it's brilliant to see The Boy again, and I've loved seeing him at home...but there's been little time to relax.  We had to sort out his student loan, plus organise the application for accommodation for Edinburgh University.  He spent some of the week doing his new found love - climbing...there's a new 'boulder' park for him to practice his skills.  Edinburgh strikes me as just the place to be for his enjoyment of outdoor pursuits.

He's now headed off to Newquay for a week with some more ski friends...they are a great little community together; no wonder he has enjoyed himself so much.  Hopefully he'll be back at the weekend and able to relax a little.  I think he's back to Kitzbuhel for the summer a week or two later, but getting a firm fix on that is a challenge that I'm not up to...

We had a couple of days in Brighton...braving the traffic on Friday evening.  The journey took a frustrating three hours, but I guess that's inevitable, even when the weather was promising so little.  As the Open House month was coming to an end, we had a couple of pieces to pick up and find new homes for in the flat.  We managed to defeat the invading fruit flies by taking the pot they were appearing from outside, emptying the soil and washing as much as we could before repotting the plant.

As part of the Festival, we went to listen to a couple of talks.  Lynn Barber, the celebrity interviewer was talking about her new book.  She seemed very pleasent, her talk meandered around without revealing any great insights, and I came away being none the wiser about what makes it a worthwhile profession.  Or why a celebrity culture is either good or bad.  I did learn that she very much dislikes PR people, so I was tempted to ask her whether there was a PR involved in setting this up and promoting her book, but then I realised that might embarrass The Cat's Mother so I stayed stum.  Having described her interviews as 'like one-night stands' it seemed a shame that she seemed to lack a sense of humour when one of the audience then asked if she had ever wanted a one night stand with one of here interviewees, snapping back that she was married.  We didn't buy the book.

Tony Parsons (no that was Nick Hornsby who was played by Hugh Grant) was a different kettle of fish.  We hadn't been sure we'd recognised him in the bar before hand because he has a bit of a bald patch and we thought he was still it turns out he's 61...but still looking (apart from the hair issue) fit and young.  Of course he's cocky, but actually very engaging indeed.  I'd gone there ready to dislike the man, but found him fascinating.  Clear and forthright in his views, he had the confidence that has come through having had success and talent since a very young age.  His new novel, now no1 in the Sunday Times best sellers list, is a piece of crime fiction that has been very well received indeed.  Of course most people sat there open mouthed at some of his tales...meeting Debbie Harry in his office and taking drugs 60 seconds later, being advised by Keith Richards that he needed to stay healthy when on tour with the band, so drink plenty of orange juice with all that vodka.  Was it Keith Richards?  I'm not sure, there was just one escapade after another recounted.  Anyway, back to the book.  We liked the talk, we bought the book.

To round off the weekend, we visited The Regency House.  A Regency House that is slowly but surely being restored and turned into a Museum.  Beautiful, utterly beautiful. Although there's a long way to go.  It was being used as an art space reflecting on immigration in the local area.

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Changing order

I had a nice little e-mail from Jason D asking me to promote his blog here.  Anyway, he's an expectant Dad (his words), and as The Boy seems to have turned into a Man, it struck me as a good time to pass over the baton of 'Daddy Blogging' to Jason.  He's only just started so I expect he could do with some support.  My only words of wisdom to him are "it's over before you realise it'.  So good luck to him. And his partner. And their forthcoming baby…

The cleaner hadn't been coming in to the office for the last few weeks since the people who rent desks from me moved out.  I called and texted but nothing until I got this which I am still trying to translate

"Hi I am not doing the cleaning last day 19/04 I was doing and were moving so much for clearing on 19/05 and returned on 29/05 before I spent most my number and told me he'd call me to spend the new address and am waiting until now.  Was the high lord of the front of his desk, most if not changed I'd still the cleaning if you like I will this weekend sorry for the bad"

There is a certain order in life that should not be disturbed.  At meals times first the meat and two veg, then the pudding, getting dressed its put on pants before trousers, in finance its earn some money before you spend it and for old male entertainers its ask before you touch.  One of the other orders that guides my life is watch the film at the cinema before you see it on TV.  Its a good rule that's kept me out of mischief most of my life.  But this week things were turned on their heads a little.

We were great fans of The Trip the series that followed Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as they ate their way round the Lake District in the finest restaurants.  At the time there was a lot of confusion as to what was 'real' and what was 'entertainment'.  The PR worked well for them, and the show got great reviews.  I'd recommend the DVD if you have a few spare quids.  This year, they repeated the exercise by driving round Italy in a soft top Mini.  It was still good…very good indeed…but obviously didn't have the originality of the original (!) and felt a bit more scripted.  What we hadn't realised is that whilst we in the UK saw it as a six part series, the rest of the world saw it as a two-hour film.  We went to see that this week, with the promise of a Q&A with Brydon and Coogan to follow.  The film version was better than the TV series…not just because it was more focused, but because it had a different balance and a more rounded approach to its humour.  I suspect that unless you went on the same day as us you will have missed it…it was one of those live broadcasts to 180 cinemas around the country.  If you did, buy the DVD…as for the Q&A I suspect it was a mistake.  The question master was up to Parkinson standards,  and his questions were at best week, tweeted in questions were banal and the ones from the audience were not up to much either…the dynamic duo clearly wanted to make more of it than they could.  But the concept was great.  And actually this new-fangled idea of seeing something first on the TV and then at the cinema worked rather well.  Change can be a good thing.

Grandma in Cyprus has not been well.  Not well at all.  And I've sat here like a rabbit in headlights wondering what's best to do.  She's in my thoughts all the time and I hope she recovers quickly.