Can you see a pattern emerging?

7:55 – Get out of bed. For some reason this was difficult today.

8:10 – Sitting.

8:45 – Breakfast.

10:00 – Guitar practice: Primaries, Tiki and beginning to learn Afghanistan with Haru.

13:00 – Lunch.

14:10 – I call the Registry Office about bringing the date for the wedding forward.

First I have to explain all this to the receptionist on the main switchboard at the council, who it seems thinks she can cope with it all herself. This is worrying, as she seems to completely not understand the situation. Eventually she’s good enough to put me through to the right department.

They give us an appointment for the 16th of November, but I need to send (or take) them a letter confirming the change. This conversation was also confused and difficult.

I write the letter, but in order to print it I have to go downstairs and buy some paper for the printer. I think I’m buying the cheapest, but pick up the most expensive. There is some confusion.

Can you see a pattern emerging?

15:30 – I leave the flat. On the way to the bus stop I stop at a shop that used to sell travelcards, but am re-directed. At the correct shop I ask for an Oyster card, but am told I need a travelcard to buy it (I misunderstood what Haru told me about when she got hers). Again that familiar look from the guy behind the counter: the unmistakeable expression of someone who’s confronted by an idiot.

I get a one day bus pass from the machine, which isn’t confused at all.

16:10 – I reach the registry office ten minutes after it shuts and put the envelope through the door. I hope it’s the right door and the right department and, for that matter, the right letter.

I catch a bus going back towards the Elephant, get off to look around the pawn shop at the foot of Camberwell Road, then take buses into the centre of town.

It appears I’ve condemned myself to walking up Oxford Street. I go into the T-Mobile shop to ask about getting a SIM card for my old phone for Haru, but no one seems interested in serving me (unsurprisingly, really), so I walk up Oxford Street to go to Argos, but decide against buying anything there, and eventually just get the phone unlocked and buy a T-Mobile SIM card from a shop. There’s actually no need to get the phone unlocked. The guy behind the counter gives me that look. He still takes my money, though, I notice.

Still, the phone works, and if I did want to put a different SIM in it, I can, and the whole process cost less than any of the other processes I was thinking of, so what the heck.

I walk home, trying to avoid further encounters with individual people. The general horde is unavoidable.

I reach home at about 19:00, and Haru has made dinner, which includes vegetarian sausages and leftover chicken. There’s something about the incongruity I like, there.

After dinner, I wash up, then get milk for the tea and plain chocolate digestive biscuits.

And after that, we watch School of Rock on DVD. The combination I’d prefer (dubbed into Japanese with English subtitles) is sadly not available. There are situations in the film that I’m not unfamiliar with.

23:03 – Complete and post. Soon to bed.

some very lovely china

7:04 – Rise.

7:30 – Sitting.

8:15 – Breakfast.

9:05 – Guitar practise.

11:00 – Haruko goes out. I do some bits and pieces and some website work.

14:00 – I go to the chemists I went to yesterday to pick up the rest of my prescription of indomethacin.

14:45 – I return to the flat.

15:30 – The ParcelForce man delivers another package from Japan. The bad news is that this time he wants duty money.

17:30 – Haru returns. The package contains some very lovely china.

19:20 – Dinner, made from yesterday’s left-overs and strategic new additions by Haru.

20:00 – Sitting on the sofa for the evening. A pleasant evening in, a few emails sent.

23:02 – Begin writing this.

I’m not in a position to argue, really.

7:05 – Rise, shower.

7:30 – Sitting.

8:15 – Breakfast.

9:45 – Leave the Flat.

9:55 – I’m passing a chemist’s on Lambeth Walk, so I drop in to cash my Indomethacin prescription. They sign off everything on the prescription before telling my that I have to come back tomorrow to collect most of the prescription. I’m not in a position to argue, really. It’s another example of things not quite working.

10:15 – Arrive at Walker’s and begin Maisying.

13:00 – Lunch, followed by a walk, with Denise, to the Vauxhall City Farm (which is closed, as it always is on Tuesdays, apparantly) and then a stroll around the park by Lambeth Palace.

14:00 – Back to work.

18:15 – I’m alerted to the presence downstairs of two cakes, a chocolate one and a carrot one. I commandeer a plastic box and some aluminium foil and take a piece of each home.

18:35 – Leave Walker.

19:00 – Return to the flat.

19:15 – Dinner. Delicious chilli by Haru, followed by cake from Walker. I’m spoiled. Then I wash up.

Upload pictures from my lunchtime walk to Flickr.

20:40 – Guitar practise with Haruko. We’re wilting slightly.

22:05 – Begin writing this.

22:16 – Complete and post.

Very good, fried parsley.


7:30 – Sitting.

8:10 – Breakfast.

8:45 – Guitar practice with Haru, who also begins to learn Tiki

9:35 – Leave the flat, passing by the bank to pay a cheque in. However, the machine that used to accept deposits no longer does, having been superceded by… a postbox in the wall. I would also have to fill in my own account details and would receive no receipt (that is to say no official recognition by the bank that they’ve received anything at all, unlike paying in at the counter or the machine that used to accept payments until recently.

They have people wandering up and down the queue (who could be manning the counters) encouraging people to use the postbox to deposit cheques.

I’m peeved, as I have to wait for over twenty minutes in the queue (worse at lunchtimes) and mention it to the woman behind the counter. She says if I want to queue, I’m free to. I tell her I don’t want to queue, but I don’t want to entrust that much money to a fundamentally insecure system.

In short, the fact that the bank are encouraging people to use a system whereby the customer takes on liability for their own mistakes and those of the bank is something I find slightly worrying.

Sorry, a bit of a rant. It winds me up more than I feel comfortable being wound up;

I should’t mention the name of the bank, but it rhymes with “Cat Vest”.

10:25 – Arrive at Walker’s.

13:00 – Lunch. Still annoyed about the bank thing. I share.

14:00 – Back to work.

18:35 – Leave Walker’s.

19:00 – Arrive home.

19:30 – Dinner by Haru – Gratin and fried parsley. Very good, fried parsley.

21:00 – Watch the last two episodes of Dr Who with Haru, and in between them a Bob Godfrey cartoon from 1961.

22:48 – Begin writing this.

And kawaii, of course.

7:00 – Rise.

7:30 – Sitting.

8:15 – Breakfast.

10:00 – To the supermarket with lengthy shopping list.

I’m spending a lot of time archiving a website. I’ve used every automatic program for the purpose that I can find, so I’m doing it page by page, renaming the pages to something sensible and bulk-changing the links. Relatively straighforward, but long-winded.

13:00 – Lunch, by Haru again. Stir-fried left-over chips with parsley. Very fine actually.

More archiving.

14:25 – Leave the flat. Arrive at Waterloo East just after the train has left the station, so sit on the platform to wait for the next one, which we take when it arrives.

15:45 – Arrive at Denise and Terry’s – impressively the whole front garden has been turned into a tent with the strategic use of canvas sheets. There is an extraordinary quantity of very good food (I never worry about eating too much if the food is nice) including authentic Bratwurst and sauerkraut (best not to call them hot dogs…), amazing desserts and, later on, a klezmer/Eastern European band, none of whom are Eastern European (perhaps not even Jewish), but that doesn’t seem to matter. One thing that Guitar Craft is good for is as a preparation for playing in 11/8.

Very enthusiastic dog in attendance – a Boston Terrier, apparantly. A show dog, and very young. Very instructive to watch the dog, his thinking patterns and his relationship with his owner, who has trained him to show. It’s obvious who the Master is, here. Very useful. And kawaii, of course.

19:00 – Leave the party and walk to the station to catch a train home. It turns out that the next one only goes to London Bridge, so we elect to take that one.

19:30 – Arrive back at London Bridge and walk home. London Bridge is amazingly bustling – I can remember when it was dead between Friday evening and Monday morning. I suppose this has to be an improvement.

20:00 – Return home, sit on the sofa. I get back to archiving (and reach some kind of conclusion for the time being), whereas Haru is tired out and has to go to bed.

22:20 – Begin writing this.

22:37 – Complete and post.

from “pricey” to “obscene”

7:05 – Rise, shower.

8:00 – Sitting.

9:10 – Breakfast.

10:00 – Sorting through stuff in the bedroom, that will be stored away for a year or so.

11:30 – To the store with the stuff from the bedroom, including one incredibly heavy box of books.

13:00 – Lunch.

14:30 – We leave the flat and walk up to the local cookware shop, then through Coin Street to the River, along the Embankment to Jubilee Bridge, across to Charing Cross, up to Brewer Street (and the Japanese supermarket), then up to John Lewis, have a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, and browse in gadgets and in kitchenware, but don’t buy anything, then back home, via the Japanese supermarket (where essentials are stocked up on), across the upstream Jubilee Bridge, then stop at Sainsbury to buy coffee and diet Ginger Beer, then…

18:30 – Stop at Masters Fish and Chips for, um, fish and chips. A bit of a queue, but the usual deliciousness, favoured by taxi drivers and the police (who know their fish and chips – there are usually a couple of off-duty black cabs and the occasional police van stopped outside, and tonight there are three police officers ordering dinner themselves).

19:00 – Dinner. I calculate that today’s walk used (for me, anyway, because I’m heavier) 950 calories, probably as much as the cake I ate in John Lewis. After dinner we check out the prices of tickets to Bath. These go from “pricey” to “obscene”. With a little prodding “affordable” makes itself known.

20:00 – Watch two episodes of Dr Who with Haru, who has the last few episodes to catch up with.

22:36 – Begin writing this.

22:50 – Complete and post.

Mark I (or possibly II)

7:00 – Rise.

7:30 – Sitting.

8:10 – Breakfast.

9:00 – Practising with Haru – Calisthenics and revisiting repertoire.

10:10 – Leave the house. The piper is standing outside the cathedral, where there are a number of black limousines and a horse-drawn hearse. My curiosity is piqued somewhat. He’s not playing Danny Boy though.

10:35 – Arrive at Walker’s

13:00 – Lunch.

14:00 – Back to work.

18:05 – Leave Walker’s.

18:30 – Arrive home.

19:00 – Dinner by Haru.

19:30 – I wash up.

Conversation. I show off my Mark I (or possibly II) Sony Walkman.

21:07 – Begin writing this.

My number of actual emails received outnumbered the junk mail today, which I think has to be a good thing. A day of relentless clarification, which also has to be good.

21:13 – Complete and post.

are the most fascinating

7:00 – Rise, shower.

7:30 – Sitting.

8:15 – Breakfast.

9:15 – A call from my father. Extreme change is put off for a year, at least for the time being. So that’s all right.

Haru begins to unpack her boxes and presents various presents that we have received – lots of cool soup, rice and other bowls and chopsticks.

Haruko goes out to rediscover London. I have another cup of coffee and (hangs head in shame) caramel digestives.

Various emails are sent regarding GC activities in the UK.

Continuing to colour and once the colouring is done, burning a DVD of my work to send to the publisher.

16:00 – Haruko returns with vegetables and useful things.

16:30 – To the Post Office with the DVD with Monster and Frog 2 on it.

18:30 – I go to the recycling bins. Outside the Cathedral is a bagpiper, playing Danny Boy, which isn’t ideally suited to the bagpipes, so he’s changing mode and lifting and dropping octaves to fit, until what he’s playing only bears a tangental relationship to Danny Boy, leaving something wilder and more eastern. I wonder whether this degree of latitude is common in bagpiping, or whether they are simply unable to admit that a tune is beyond the (rather limited) scope of their instrument.

19:00 – Dinner by Haruko, authentically Japanese. Excellent.

20:00 – Evening on the sofa. Why is it that the most boring jobs (such as watching a web site download file by file) are the most fascinating?

22:00 – Haru goes to bed.

22:36 – Begin writing this.

22:46 – Complete and post.

Meeter Greeter

4:00 – The alarm goes off and I get up several minutes later.

4:15 – Shower.

5:10 – I catch the 148 to Marble Arch. The bus is full, which I hadn’t suspected. Must be the early shift.

5:25 – I get on the bus to Paddington just as the door is closing.

5:35 – I arrive at Paddington and buy a Meeter Greeter return to Heathrow airport. Something in me makes me not able to say “Meeter Greeter”.

5:35 – The train leaves.

6:00 – As I’m arriving at the terminal I pass a stream of people who have obviously just arrived from Hong Kong. I wonder if Terminal 4 is less glamorous than Terminal 3, which is possibly the grottiest arrivals lounge I’ve ever experienced.

6:20 – Haruko appears!

6:45 – On the train back to Paddington. We share the carriage with a shining light in the Boobyism movement. He sings Let It be; He air-drums enthusiastically; he sings Mrs Robinson (after a fashion). The fact that he’s listening to a personal stereo is an explanation, but not really an excuse.

7:30 – Back at the flat.

Acclimatising, a bit of tidying, occasional snoozing and internetting. A lot of discussing future options, which (like many things at the moment) are becoming more complicated. The flat needs a lot of work, for a number of reasons, some of which have only become apparant over the last couple of days.

14:10 – Out for lunch at the Vietnamese noodle place. Very good and cheap. Important things both.

15:30 – Back home.

Hanging out.

Working on the Monster & Frog book.

18:30 – Phil J comes round to pick up CDs for the artwork of the new album.

More work, and making the bed. I buy tickets to go back to Kiel for a visit.

20:00 – Haru goes to bed.

20:50 – Begin writing this. I’m flagging and should go to bed soon.

21:22 – Complete and post, listening to Jordi Savall play Bach sonatas for Viola de Gamba on headphones. Is it just me or does Mr Savall grunt while he’s playing?

(a part of it, anyway)

7:00 – Rise, shower.

7:30 – Breakfast.

8:10 – I leave the flat.

8:45 – I arrive at Sandra’s.

8:55 – John H arrives.

9:00 – Sitting.

9:45 – Most of the rest of the attendees arrive.

10:05 – We begin. Tuning, Second Primary, Mike G arrives, First Primary, Circulation, Kalihari (a part of it, anyway), The Stick, The Eye of the Needle. A stab at Thrak

13:20-ish – Lunch. Delicious salad.

14:05 – Meeting without guitars to discuss the future. I have a new role.

14:45 – Dessert and coffee/tea. Mmm! Delicious brownies, flapjacks and summer fruits with cream.

15:15 – We resume: Circulations, Hope, Invocation, Third Relation exercise, Asturias.

17:00-ish – We complete. There is more off-duty playing, a lot of washing up and some chatting.

19:20 – My father picks me up from Sandra’s with the chairs. Owing to the Thames festival thing, it takes a very very long time to get home. Finally passing over Waterloo Bridge, there appears to be nothing much happening with large crowds of people to watch it.

20:30 – Finally get home. I write an email (though I don’t post it yet), eat two bowls of muesli and browse online travel agents. Outside crowds trickle southwards from the Thames Whateveritwas.

23:00 – Begin writing this.

23:12 – Complete and post.