Friday, June 06, 2014

Home Alone In Hove

It has been a strange few weeks - home alone in Hove. 

Fortunately, there has been some good weather and, of course, now I have the lovely Mr Cheeky to keep me company.

When I am at my desk, Mr Cheeky likes to sleep on the nearby bed, on top of any papers I might want to consult!

He seems very happy. Occasionally, he wakes up and jumps onto the desk where he sits down beside the screen and telephone and watches me sort out the household bills or other chores.

This week he has been campaigning to be allowed out.

Yesterday, I caved in, put the collar and magnets on him, after a little tussle, and pushed Mr Cheeky through the catflap.

Guess what? He completely changed his mind and decided he did not want to go out after all!

Early this morning, he went out for a wander (at around 5am), returning at the dot of 8am for his breakfast! I do not think it will be long before he has claimed his territory.

I have spent a lot of time thinking and walking around the city.

We went to some Brighton Fringe shows, really enjoying Phil Lucas and Julie Oliver's Heat Pumps, Kate Garraway and Other Niche Concerns, and also Luisa Omielan's Am I Right, Ladies?

We saw Luisa at my old friend Nik Coppin's Shaggers comedy club at The Quadrant and then in her solo show.

She is extremely funny and very good at acting - a massive star in the making.

Talking of stars, I was taking my morning constitutional when I chanced upon Gary Lineker making another crisps commercial.

There was a circus of film crew and extras around him.

It was like they were shooting a Hollywood blockbuster.

Not going into London during the day has allowed me to get to know Brighton and Hove in a way I never have done before.

There is so much going on, it is terrific. Always something new to see or do.

And being at home full-time, you do everything for yourself.

This morning, for instance, the record player broke, so I dismantled it and worked out how to get the rubber band that drives the turntable back on. Very cunning how it is done.

I feel OK, much better and stronger than I did a few weeks ago.

Brighton is a funny place. Even the seagulls are an endless source of amusement.

The other day, I even saw two of them practising their acrobatic skills, one standing atop the other.

Last month, we went to Ireland for the first anniversary of my niece Emily's tragic demise.

My brother Nic, his wife Catriona and the wider community where they live in Tipperary have created a beautiful monument, Emily's Seat, at the spot where she died.

It was dedicated in a moving speech by Catriona and also with some words by the well-known Jesuit priest and intellectual Oliver Rafferty, a great preacher and raconteur.

After the dedication, people chatted and Nic and Catriona sat on the seat.

An extraordinary thing occurred. One or two children sat down next to them and then, gradually and completely spontaneously, all the children of the neighbourhood gathered round. Emily's little friends.

Back in Hove, my acting class carries on. This will be my sixth consecutive run. Performance night is on Tuesday, 24 June, from 7.30pm at the Iron Duke, Waterloo Street, Brighton/Hove.

One time I am in two scenes, from Days of Wine and Roses by J P Miller, and Private Wars by James McLure. Both good ones.

It is a drop-in class and, consequently, performers often drop out during the eight-week run-up to performance night.

As I have written before, it is remarkable how our tutor, Steven - a son of famous Irish actor, the late Milo O'Shea, always produces a good show!

Life could be a lot worse. I have now completed 21 weeks of moderate drinking, which means I have not had a hangover for more than five months.

Never, ever getting drunk has changed my life.

Somehow, through sheer will power, moderate drinking has become my hard-wired habit.

Even under the most extreme stress, I have managed to keep my consumption of alcohol low.

What does the rest of June hold? There is Father's Day, which as a failed father I am not looking forward to, and also my younger daughter's 18th Birthday. I would love to see her but suspect that once again that will not happen.

I try to keep myself busy. I have been taking quite a lot of photographs.

My friend Guyan Porter, an artist, has put on a tremendous show, Future Dreaming, in Lewes.

As part of it, a large stone will dragged around Lewes tomorrow (Saturday, 7 June) and a book of debts burnt on Sunday (8 June).
It is well worth a look.

Next blog entry I plan to write about the Battle of Hove Park!

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