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Annual Report

  Wed 7th August 2019

A year ago today I moved to Bristol. Three jobs, one resignation and one dismissal in ignominious circumstances; one night of sex with a much younger very attractive woman; and one hernia gained after over-exercising in the park with a friendly black man. I like that in Bristol I don't know what's going to happen in each day.

Last week Hayley said she'd like to come to Manchester with me on Saturday. I'm going to see Wendy, Kirsty and the one daughter who is still in Lancaster, then off to a house music all-nighter. The thought of Hayley looking alluring in one of her miniskirts, choosing to come out dancing with me, was one I turned over repeatedly, a little fix of pleasure as I bent over the dishwasher for hours on end. I told Wendy and Kirsty, who both said they'd be pleased to meet her.

Everyone lets everyone down at some point, but the first time it happens, you feel it keenly. The fact that her reasons -- that she might be able to move some of her art up, and see her son, if she goes to Devon this weekend -- made perfect sense, did nothing to shift the disappointment I sat under for the rest of the night. My feet ached and moaned from work; she was on her phone a great deal.

She's currently homeless, staying at a friend's house, wrecking her back from sleeping on a settee in order to escape her previous place in which mould was growing on her suitcases. She loves me for my futon. I have asked my landlady if she could move in here while we found somewhere together.

That would be quite a strained few weeks all round. I'd find Hayley being here all the time oppressive, and I'd be worried about everyone getting on with each other; but she's nowhere else to go, I work long hours now, and the stress of it would be an incentive to get our own place as soon as possible.

We're having a summit meeting tomorrow evening. The landlady has stipulated that I am to be sober for it. Whilst I will avoid making a spectacle of myself, she can fuck right off if she thinks that a plongeur on his day off can give such an undertaking.


Fiona and Melanie, my eldest and youngest, are unhappy at their voluntary work on a farm in Brittany miles from the nearest town, and no bus service. The hosts provide lovely food and drink. but leave them completely on their own devices after about 2pm every day. The somnolent days in a tiny internet-free village in deepest Brittany move slowly. They want to come back on Friday, so I've got to tell the hosts something to relieve them from having to give any explanations themselves.


I went to Taunton, to see the play that Jenny (actress daughter) is taking up to Edinburgh this week. Sitting outside a convivial cider bar, I get talking to Karl, an ex-Army Officer able to quote passages from an unmodernised Chaucer and who was recommending a radio play he'd heard recently. "Now let me guess," he said. "You're an engineer."

10 comments

Blimus - you get around the country and foreign environs (almost) as much as me! Grand to read that you’re back and on good writing form. Ain’t you a tad old to be told how to manage your sobriety (or not)? I guess (finally) having gainful employment means the opportunity to get legless before you’ve stood the day up (or is it stood up int’ day?) will help said sobriety for t’meeting later? I hope it goes well. Very much relished your collocation - histamined evening - spiffingly sneezy. I went to The Proms t’other night to see Sibelius (Karelia Suite), Tchaikovsky (Pathetique) and Mieczysław Weinberg (Cello Concerto). My synaesthetic senses soared with a kaleidoscopic burst of textured glee. To be less pompous - ’twas fucking A+. Welcome back :-D

Thu 8th August 2019 @ 08:16 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Oh that sounds great. I once had a first date with a girl and we decided we’d both like to listen to Sibelius’s Violin Concerto round at her flat. I thought we could have done something more interesting round her flat, but never mind, it’s an original idea and I like Sibelius.

She got bored after about ten minutes. So whether she was trying to impress me or something I don’t know, but that wasn’t very impressive.

The meeting will be fine. There’s not much to discuss. It’s a yes or no I’m after. My landlady is strapped for cash – a carelessly discarded letter from a debt collection agency – which I didn’t touch by the way – told me so when they were away one weekend – so we’ve offered them more money. It’s far from ideal for all parties though and I can see a bit of Sturm und Drang looming. But poor old Hayley, she’s trying so hard.

Thu 8th August 2019 @ 08:27 Reply to this comment

That first paragraph is proof positive: Progress!

Had to Google plongeur. I’ve been one in the past and didn’t know it had a fancy name. Brilliant, as always. Keep at it, sir. You are in my thoughts.

Thu 8th August 2019 @ 11:53 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Thank you. Yes, it’s been a good move this. Quite happy here. Hayley makes a huge difference, and it’s almost too much to hope for, that we will have some arty little place where I can write and she can do her art work. But just daily life here is interesting.

I used plongeur instead of any English term because that’s the word for a pot wash, or kitchen porter, in the classic of dishwashing literature, Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London.

Fri 9th August 2019 @ 09:47 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

So Hayley doesn’t want you for your plongeur?
What a wonderful word, thank you, I will steal it and use it in a couple of years’ time and pretend I found it first.
Sx

Fri 9th August 2019 @ 10:06 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

I’m always pleased to see a woman getting a grip of something new.

Fri 9th August 2019 @ 10:21 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Tony Lea [Visitor]  

Glad I wasn’t the only one who had to use Google. :-)
I hope the meeting went well and you were inebriated just to show the landlady what she can look forward to.

Fri 9th August 2019 @ 13:51 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I asked reschedule it as,I got offered a ten hour shift on the bar at an Indian wedding. Jeez, they were putti g it away.

Sun 11th August 2019 @ 13:18 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I’ve been a plongeur, a soda jerk, a factotum and a purveyor of fine herbs. I worked in a breakfast place circa ‘93 washing dishes and scrubbing pots, it was the toughest job in the joint with the longest hours, i spent my breaks smoking copious amounts of ganja and sucking all the nitrous oxide out of the whipped cream canisters with one of the waiters, i got a free plate of food and i got to stare at the lovely waitresses, a free breakfast was a boon to a broke lad prone to spending his money on drugs and alcohol and since it was the end of the season it wasn’t completely horrible, i was usually done by 2pm and in the bar by 3, which in turn led to me meeting a nice young lady one afternoon of African-American descent, we knew each other casually like and she’d been to a few parties at the old whorehouse where i lived, upon finding out it was my birthday that fine September afternoon she decided it would be right and proper for us to go back to my room, roll a joint, and fuck until i was good and happy. It sure beat cake and ice cream.

As always good stuff sir, i never tire of the adventures and for those who haven’t spent an afternoon (or more) in a pair of women’s knickers they don’t know what their missing, lol!

Sun 11th August 2019 @ 18:54 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

What a cracking tale kono, thanks, and what a considerate woman to give you such a fine birthday. My break — unpaid and singular – is not nearly as interesting as yours. We’re captives in the airport, unable to leave. But the free food is a big bonus and I spend hardly anything on food now. The Indian wedding was good. Free drink!

Mon 12th August 2019 @ 09:04 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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