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Stomach pains

  Mon 24th December 2018

To Lancaster for a couple of days. Wendy rang as I was in The Shipbuilder's Arms. I'd told her that I have some presents for her and wondered if I could pop them round before I went back to Bristol to work Christmas Eve. To my delight, she said that she'd rather us leave it until we could arrange an unhurried handover, maybe in the New Year. An afternoon or evening with Wendy is what I really wanted, not just a brief hello at the door while her possessive ex simmers with unjustified jealousy inside.

The conversation got round to Kitty. I had a text from her on Saturday, the day after she broke up for Christmas, but nothing since. I've left two voicemails and a few texts, saying that I hoped she was enjoying days of bra-less leisure. She had an interview last week -- her escape route out of her desperate current situation -- and I hoped that it went well.

"But she got the job!" said Wendy. I was shocked into silence. "Are you still there?", she said." "Yes." "Oh, sorry, I thought you knew."

I walked up to Kirsty and the girls' house, my stomach and eyes working somersaults over the distance that now pertains between me and Kitty. I texted Wendy. "Please don't say this to Kitty but I'm really upset that despite texting her and asking if I could bring her pressies round she never told me about the job. I suppose I've not been the best of friends this year though. It really makes me almost tearful." (It wasn't 'almost'). "Please don't tell her this. She's every reason to keep me at arm's length."

Still stunned, I went back to Kirsty's. The girls' birthdays fall on Christmas Eve so there was plenty of distraction. I was muttering, criticising myself for being yet another man upset at not being included, a telling-off unable to erase the visceral upset. I was glad to get to hers for a forced change in my self-pitying mood.

My three girls, and a suspiciously industrious Kirsty, who was using the busy occupations of the girls' birthday and Christmas to cover tipsyness or, more likely, the effects of something more dessicated. I improvised various precarious perches on the furniture in order to tack the paper chains, decorations, and card string into the walls and the ceiling, as The Wombles wormed their way into a semi-permanent lodging in my ear.

But thoughts of Kitty stalked insistently round my head. As I was leaving Kirsty's, Wendy replied, saying that Kitty's been under a lot of stress and not to take it personally, and asking me if I were seeing her. I'm not sure how I can not take it personally, but I didn't say that. "Yes, of course she has been. And as to seeing her, I think not -- she hasn't replied to anything since Saturday and I don't want to push it now. I'm just glad for her, and a bit upset that she didn't tell me. A lot upset really. Never mind, off to Bristol now x"

My instinct is to ring her, congratulate her, tell her that a little bird told me some great news, but she probably just wants me to leave her alone for a while.


With commendable timing, my adopted pub in Bristol has been kind recently. Last week I found a bag of what might be dangerous chemicals. Worried that these might fall into the hands of children, I took them back to my house for safe keeping. A few days later, there was a tenner on the floor looking unloved.


Thank you all, for persisting with me this year. Writing this is one of the few activities in my life that I care about intrinsically, where the effort involved doesn't feel at all like work; but it would eventually be a lonely furrow to tread without your reading and commenting on it. And to the small but almost perfectly formed gang of fellow bloggers -- your endlessly interesting and sharply individual styles are a source of pleasure to me all year. Merry Christmas everybody.

7 comments »

7 comments

Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Ever read Alan Watts? or listen to his stuff (it’s all over youtube), think you might find it interesting as he presents eastern thought (buddhism, hinduism etal) as a way of psychotherapy and self analysis, a way to understand and navigate this world, of course i don’t understand a fucking bit of it but apparently that means i’m on the right track, fuck if i know!!

I could go on but then this would turn into a ramble of epic proportions which i’m sure no one wants!! lol!! So i’ll just say Happy Chrimbo mate! hope it all comes out in the wash and ride the wave while the universe is smiling (suspicious bag of fluff, tenner on the floor)… i’ll make $100 US today delivering pizza to the Breadwinner’s bidness which will be put to good use buying drugs and vinyl… speaking of which i stumbled into some killer hash, i love being bombed on the hash, which will come in handy when dealing with the shit show called holidays and in-laws… you’re always a good read so keep up the good work, cheers!!

Mon 24th December 2018 @ 12:46 Reply to this comment
Comment from: daisyfae [Visitor]

Merry Christmas, looby! You’ve had quite a year, and i do genuinely care about your well-being! Hoping for more found chemicals and tenners in the coming days - and the year ahead!

Oh, and trust your instinct. Let Kitty be for a bit…

Tue 25th December 2018 @ 12:07 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Thank you kono. I’ll have a look at Mr Watts, but I think the explanation is simpler – a mixture of self-pity and alcohol. I might slightly up the frequency of the LSD dosing, as that has been helping in getting the drinking down – but not by enough.

Hope your anaesthetic helps you get through the next day or two, and I’m glad you’re spending your income wisely :) I realise your Dad will be a strong absent presence, so best wishes mate.

DF – Thanks! I just wished Kitty a merry Christmas by text this morning, and we’ll leave it there. Hope you and yours are having a good Christmas.

Tue 25th December 2018 @ 19:30 Reply to this comment

I don’t know that his jealousy is all that unjustified! You’d steal her away if you could.

I’ve been away from the internet on a holiday. You previous post and this post makes me want to quit blogging. I guess I could regurgitate another journal entry but this stuff is so good that it makes me feel lame. I’m not fishing for compliments. That’s how I see it. Just look at that middle section. Beautiful. Not a wasted word. Well done, you.

Wed 26th December 2018 @ 18:22 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

There’s no way that Wendy would ever get together with me. She doesn’t find me attractive. He’s jealous of our friendship, and knows that I fancy her.

I couldn’t write a better tick-list for a girlfriend than the quaities that Wendy has. She’s gorgeous, witty, pisstaking, literate, superbly dressed, confident, a commercially published poet and part-time druggie, and she’s best friends with my best friend – but it will never happen.

I’m touched and humbled by your comment Mark. But don’t quit blogging on my account. I don’t want to put anyone else out of business, least of all you. Let’s just carry on doing what we both do.

Thu 27th December 2018 @ 01:24 You are currently replying to this comment
Comment from: Sandra [Visitor]

‘Life doesn’t imitate art, it imitates bad television ‘
Woody Allen

Mon 31st December 2018 @ 18:47 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I like a bit of crap telly.

Wed 2nd January 2019 @ 23:25 Reply to this comment


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


M / 55 / 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

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