Breaking Point / New Job
This will be my last night in the Leamington Garret for almost four weeks.
I am exhausted, running on empty, having not had a break since February. I cannot wait to take a break from the endless routine of slogging up and down the superslab between here in Leamington and Lewes, East Sussex.
I am so, so sick of those motorways, the endless delays, the lousy weather, the whole shooting match.
That said, I have not been especially unhappy this past month. I am almost resigned to my plight. I like Leamington in the summer, although what a summer! The bloody British weather had better improve for the next three weeks or so!
It is 11.22pm and Dylan is on the music centre. I was going to stay in tonight to pack and write this valedictory missive. Instead I went out with my flatmate Attila for a couple of pints of Guinness at the St Patrick's Club, beside the Leam. A fine evening!
So, I shall be keeping this blog (and flashback) short. I need to be in the land of nod by midnight for a 6.45am start tomorrow.
Poetrywise I have been fairly quiet this month. I did a gig at PureAndGoodAndRight in Leamington. Elvis McGonagall was headlining. He was excellent and a decent bloke to boot. Laura King, supporting, was equally good. There were a million other poets on - another fascinating poetry marathon. The variety of styles at Sean Kelly's club is remarkable.
The other great event of the month was the 7/7/7 Cotesbach 400 celebration at Cotesbach, Leicestershire, mainly on the country estate attached to Cotesbach Hall.
It was a hectic day for me because I also had to drive to Oxford and back for my dear mater's 70th birthday lunch (and got stuck in enormous traffic jams). Both events went well.
In Cotesbach, where I have lived twice, it was really strange to see more than 1,000 people wondering about the estate - for an event to mark the land riots in Cotesbach four centuries previously. The live music went on late into the night.
Sophy and Tom Newton and all the others involved in getting together this event did an incredible job. And the weather, for once, smiled, as you can see from the very grainy sunset photograph above.
Not so for most of the rest of the month. Over the weekend the park beneath the front of the Leamington Garret was a lake. I was in Lewes but, fortunately, Attila took these photographs.
Looking at these images of Jephson Gardens and the Pump Room Gardens, I wish I'd been here. Apparently, the Leam bursting its bank proved a hit with the tourists.
The chap at the Irish club, however, said it was nothing compared with an occasion in the 1990s when the bandstand in the Pump Room Gardens (which I am looking at as I write this) almost completely vanished under water in the biggest flood in living memory.
All the same, I cannot wait to get away. From Friday, I am free for more than three weeks.
I am planning to go to the Edinburgh Fringe for a week and hope to get on some minor bills reciting my doggerel.
Otherwise, I just want to chill and do nothing. Nothing at all.
New Job (Flashback to Tuesday, 4 January 2005)
First day of my new job. This is the weirdest feeling. I am working in a field in Warwickshire after being in jobs or work in London since 1988.
Everyone is making an effort to be friendly, but it is cold here and I can feel the change of culture hitting me like an iceberg.
Last month I was working for bishops. Can my life get any odder?
* I have decided that this is going to be my last "flashback". I have enjoyed doing them, but, going back into 2004, the events that happened to me were too painful for me to wish to recall.
It is best to look forward...