14th Nov.

I am at my brother’s monastery for just one night, and am writing this in my room after what would normally be Vespers, the last service, of around 20 minutes. I do not know what it was today, it says “Majorem caritatem” on the bit of paper on the desk; but I am not a catholic, have no clue, and there is no context. What I know is is that it took 50 minutes and half of that was kneeling in silence. I am not complaining, but I certain appreciate a cushion more than I did an hour ago.

The raido alarum went off at 6.00 in the midst of a vivid dream (involving an airport, losing a coat, an inability to speak the language, a straight road of ups and downs, a circuling aircraft, and a strange catalogue). I press the snooze button, and went back to the dream. I have done this a few times in the recent past, and it does seem odd.

Left the house calmly and ahead of time. Got talking to a couple who got on at Wakefield, who were going to see Sister Act at the Palladium.

There was a young mother on the train from Victoria with a baby and young boy. I spent a little time playing, lean to one side, disappear with the baby; who gurgled and laughed. Apart from exchanging smiles with the mother that was all the contact.

Went to the Artillary Arms when I got here, and the landlady asked how my poetry was going. They have nearly finished doing out the small function room. I had a look and I reckon 20 – 25 capacity. So OK for a small show with no slides, but for me it would only make sense to play here if I was doing something elsewhere before or after.

I went to the Sailors Church and found two ladies selling coffee, the first time I have ever seen anyone from the church in there. I explained I wanted to do a show and got a few details about how it actually works. Like the service order, it is something so plainly obvious to those that know that they do not realise jst how blank it is to outsiders.

There were 4 non clerical guests, more than I had seen before, and supper for guests on a Friday is now in the guest room (the monks fast). Much easier, and I had a chance to teach the two Italians here to learn english what a pie was. How can any language course about English-english not teach what a pie is? It is fundAmental to understanding the culture.

I also introduced one of them to Marmite. He was not impressed.

15.8.09

Up at 7.00, well after Matins, but I could easily have gone to Lauds, but seeing I am not a Catholic and I am under no internal obligation.

The main reason for coming down was so me and Basil could have a drive to Crawley for our mother’s 88th birthday on the 18th. We set out soon after 8.00

A good trip. Stopped at a village called Hawk Hurst to buy a pie in a bakers shop that looked like it made less profit than payphone, very good sausage roll though.

We then went to Brightling – to visit Mad Jack Fuller’s follies, I will try and post pictures. The memorials he paid for in the church and his pyramid outside, were especially memorable. We also saw a buzzard when we were at the Sugar Loaf.

We then went on to Batemans, my first visit after 3 previous attempts. A nice house which would be interesting enough even without all the Rudyard Kipling memorabilia, and I learnt some useful things.

After Batemans Basil was not so well. We talked about it and he seemed to be suffering from mild hyperinsulinism. He certainly got better when he had some of my chocolate.

We drove on and had lunch in a pub that did not impress me so I’ll not try remembering the name. 3 cups maybe. Food was ok but I would not good enough to make me want to go again.

Monday 17th Nov.

Dug the potatoes and called Tamar about the Priestley show this morning. A much better crop than last year, and not much slug damage, but apart from a random one ma stuck in a container the yield was little more than double what I put in (brilliant flavour though), Tamar’s advice was sound.

After dinner me and Basil went to London, almost on a whim. He had seen a good revue for a pub in Pimlico he remembered when he was a postie there decades ago. It had been the Pimlico Tram, but has been remodeled as the CASK (their capitals).

It was worth a visit, but it is not special enough to make it generally worth my effort to travel the fair distance from Victoria Station.

We had Capital cards (up a third from the last one I bought just a month or so ago) so we got buses; the best being the Route 38. We got off at Holborn, walked down to High Holborn and stopped at the Olde Citie of Yorke, a historic gem of a Sam Miths pub, and a first visit for me.

We then went to the Mitre on Ely Place; I have been to the street a few times, but again a first visit to this pub. Good pub with a function room (albeit very small) and the apprentice of Lol the stonesetter was there with a mate, so I knew someone. Basil impress them with his knowledge of the physical properties and historical context of golds.

Then moved on to the Horseshoe, off Clerkenwell Green, where landlord Richard shook our hands.

Called in at the Jerusalem Tavern for the least friendly pint.

A good day.