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  Thu 6th November 2014

I have declared Winter; the first of the wood the neighbours have given me is spitting away in the fire, heating the room in a lopsided Victorian way: one side of your face glowing, the opposite leg stroked by a draught, against which all measures are naught. But infinitely better than the in-arrears, desiccated cloy of central heating.

Trina sent me an email which started by saying that she was pleased that she no longer feels any romantic feelings for me. That's a fucking relief. She then informed me that my behaviour towards Donna was "very unfeminist" and that I "treated/treat Donna like a sex object and a whore." The email then swerved back to say that "nevertheless", she is looking forward to our planned orchestrics.

I ignored it. I was more interested in inviting Wendy and her daughter out to the fireworks at Kirkby Londsale. They're better than ours: in Lancaster, Council lackeys go around with buckets of water, taking sparklers off children.

I accidentally sent the text to Trina, therefore lighting the blue touchpaper. I was told, in unambiguous language, that I hold Wendy in higher regard than her, and was twice invited to fuck off, one of which was spatially and affectively qualified with the phrase "out of my life." She also said that she'd read a letter from Mary-Ann (with whom I am in regular correspondence), but assured me that "I don't mind about Mary-Ann. All she goes on about is her [private problems]." I was silent over this as well, partly out of renewed shock at her egregious ignorance of how unacceptable it is to read other people's private letters.

In the morning, the usual abject apologies, urging us to take "little steps at a time" to "rebuild"; explanations involving drink, and thanks extended to me for being "fair and patient" -- and so on, and on, and cyclically, on.

She wanted to drive up and take me out for a pizza "to make this up to you." She proposed coming back to mine for a bop in the bedroom. I told her I thought it best if we called it a day after our tea. She did come back to mine for an hour or so, but eventually I did that prayer-like clasping of one's hands and a bright "Oh well...", which she understood as her cue.

Back at hers, probably deluding herself that we are rebuilding through pizza, she hit the Merry Tablets. In one of her texts, she looks back in detail upon an episode from our sexual past. Reading it, I turn my head away from the screen.

Donna rang tonight. She'd been on a successful first date with a man from Milton Keynes. After an hour down the pub, they went back to hers and they put up flatpack furniture in two hours of Carry on Screwing British DIY innuendo. I told her that I am not drinking in November. "I'm glad you're stopping drinking for a while, looby." "Oh dear," I laughed. "Was it that obvious?" And then she said the first of...

Three things I was skippety-happy to hear this week: 1) Donna: "I like you and I care about you." That was an eye-glistener. "I like you too Donna. Very, very much."

2) Overheard from the living room after I'd cooked the girls' tea on Saturday. "Mmm, roast potatoes. Dad's good at them."

3) Bumping into the former director of a performance space located in a higher education establishment not far from here: "Yes, you and A--- were the first people to really get what we were trying to do there."

I've got a date on Tuesday in Manchester. She's 5'11".


“Accident” my ass. Any dime-store psychologist would say it was done intentionally, albeit subconsciously.

I’m posting this from Florida. The last day of a family holiday to Harry Potter-world. A big hit with my daughters while being just a financial hit for me. Anyway…it’s not winter here and it doesn’t look like it ever will be. Blue sky. Sunny and warm. I’m not impressed. That sort of thing gets old, and I’m not kidding.

Good luck on the date. I expect a full report. Don’t get all private on us.

Thu 6th November 2014 @ 15:10
Comment from: [Member]

Well, the text was a genuine mistake. I honestly didn’t fancy an argument to go with the lovely coal fire.

I wondered who the new poster from Florida was. Glad your daughters like it – if the children like it, peace and harmony reigns.

I have come to like Lancaster’s climate, even on days like this, with one band of rain making dinner hour a sodden one, and another heading this way just to the west of the area on this radar picture.

Thu 6th November 2014 @ 15:29
Comment from: [Member]

i am officially in the “Good Gawd, Trina! Go directly to the local ‘lost and found’ and see if you can recover your self-respect” camp… i concur on the ‘reading of private letters’ thing - it is tough to forgive that one…

Also looking forward to your report on the date with the tall woman. For gods sake, don’t open with jokes about ‘how’s the weather up there’ or references to basketball. a simple “nice tits” would be better…

Fri 7th November 2014 @ 04:03
Comment from: [Member]

It’s the lack of awareness of how she has not simply overstepped the mark, but taken a triple jump beyond it, that puzzles me. And then, having made that clear to her over the letter to Donna – she says that she’s read *another* letter, this time from Mary-Ann.

Long Tall Sally works in a male-dominated industry so has no doubt heard all those before. If her pictures are a reliable indicator of her looks, it won’t be difficult finding a couple of understated compliments.

Fri 7th November 2014 @ 08:29
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

I just don’t get the reading peoples stuff…

that became a major argument point in our household once, just after I got sober. Now to be fair whilst I was off in the countryside trying to reaffirm myself as a human being that could exist for more than 24 hours without libation and sticking my head in a bee infested lavender plant in an attempt to find my “Higher power” (I just got stung several times) she did have to take over the running of all finances etc etc. but…

She continually opened mail addressed to me. “It looked important” - “well ask me first by text or phone” “You have something to hide” “I have nothing to hide but require respect"… she just didn’t get it when my son moved to uni that when a letter arrived that looked important I’d call him up saying “There is a letter. Looks like it is from hospital/doctor/dentist/bank/student finance/uni etc. Do you want me to forward it or open it?” He always said open it - she didn’t get why I thought that important. Also why when her phone pings with a text I take the phone to her not read it as she still does with mine… with the “Who is xxx? Why are you meeting them Friday?” “Friday is AA business meeting isn’t it. I’m given xxx a lift there she needs to talk about yyy"… distrust is a dirty thing…

Wed 12th November 2014 @ 11:58
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

PS Oh - good luck on the date and future developments with Donna.

PPS can I come round yours for a roast lunch? ;-)

Wed 12th November 2014 @ 11:59
Comment from: [Member]

I quite agree F. It’s absolutely unacceptable. I would never, ever, dream of opening someone else’s letters or looking at their phone. I’ve had two women do that to me. Frances hijacked my phone and texted Denise saying “Fancy a fuck?” and now Trina has read two full sides of A4 to Donna and a letter from Mary-Ann. Like you say, the most difficult thing, as with your wife, is that they don’t understand why that is so utterly wrong.

Donna’s tending a new bloke at the moment and things seem to be going well. I will always be fond of her and desire her happiness. And desire her, full stop.

You’d be very welcome any day for a roast dinner. Vegetarian mind, but I’d be surprised if you didn’t enjoy it. If you were coming, I’d do the special nut roast, the one with a layer of prunes soaked in cognac in the middle, like Kirsty’s dad used to make.

Wed 12th November 2014 @ 15:06

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

M / 56 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.

There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
Chinese man I met during Freshers Week at Lancaster University, 2008

The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
James Meek

Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

I hate the iPod; I hate the idea that music is such a personal thing that you can just stick some earplugs in your ears and have an experience with music. Music is a social phenomenon.
Jeremy Wagner

La vie poetique has its pleasures, and readings--ideally a long way from home--are one of them. I can pretend to be George Szirtes.
George Szirtes

Using words well is a social virtue. Use 'fortuitous' once more to mean 'fortunate' and you move an English word another step towards the dustbin. If your mistake took hold, no-one who valued clarity would be able to use the word again.
John Whale

One good thing about being a Marxist is that you don't have to pretend to like work.
Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
Mick, The Golden Lion, Lancaster, 21 Mar 2011

The Comfort of Strangers

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