I went home yesterday to my folks. Hoped to get some walking in, but it was too dingycold and mizzly to bother going out again. I found out an old friend of my dad's had died recently; someone I didn't know well but liked: I remember best the smell of pipesmoke and the parping tunes he made through the pipe when he wasn't smoking. My contributors' copies of This Spectacular Darkness were waiting for. It's a hefty book and a thing of beauty with a creamy yellow dustjacket and a small cover photo with various mugshots of the giants of weird fic in foxed sepia. I shan't start it properly for a while yet.I stayed huddled in bed for most of the day with James Agate's diaries and the latest Egaeus Press anthology, a gift from John, who I saw Saturday night. Christmas crowds made us detour to the gay quarter and the Old Fox, a nice theatre pub I haven't been to in years. Lots of old stage posters and geometric stained glass and a jukebox playing punk in the back bar. A fight broke out between a barman and an aggressively-pissed couple while I was outside smoking. I didn't intervene much more than to tell them to fuck off (as did a few other peaceable drinkers) but seeing someone's glasses knocked off in a scuffle gives me playground flashbacks. As to John and mine's conversation I don't recall much beyond talking about satirical cartoons, the last Quatermass serial, spomoneks, and Lovecraft's vignettes.
I couldn't sleep until 4 am this morning. At least in the city I often have company to listen in the form of the insomniac birds (song thrushes, I think) fooled by the dawn-con of the streetlights. My home seems too quiet now. I've not heard or seen foxes around there for a while now and that saddened me.
I start another "voluntary" (ie, at the request of my Jobcentre) placement at a charity shop tomorrow morning. At least this time I've got a degree of autonomy and control my hours (I'm just doing one day a week; I can't afford a bus every day). A few doors down from the place is the local Oxfam Books, where I nipped in today and bought a (hopefully) satirical Handbook on Hanging and a chapbook on the misericords of Wells Cathedral. It has such delightful captions as Alexander the Great being carried up to heaven by two griffins tempted by a piece of meat and Ape mimicking a pedlar (broken). All a bit M R James. It might inspire me to do a bit of drawing again.