Nicholas Quirke was excited about his day when he woke at the unearthly hour of 4.45am on 15th July. He was looking forward to the boundaries of his knowledge being expanded and felt his exploration of Sussex life, since his return from his Odyssey, would continue apace with a visit, courtesy of his client to Barcombe Mills and the Anchor Inn the day before and his impending Glyndebourne trip that afternoon. The summer was continuing to scorch and delight so it was with  heavy heart, that when he walked out onto his roof terrace that morning, he discovered someone had vandalized his attempts to beautify his surroundings. Before heading into town to meet Audrey for tea at Marwoods, he made some salads for the evenings picnic. Audrey was in good form and they laughed and mostly avoided talking about work, till Audrey revealed that if any thing is going wrong with the people management, the management are now blaming the former managers, very bad form and he was quite discombobulated. By happy coincidence Peta was also going to Glyndbourne and he was able to give her a lift. Despite having been to Glynde and knowing his way, he utilised his sat nav, which chose to take them on an exquisite route through a typical English village he had never heard of. The gardens looked sublime and once they had found a suitable shady spot they took a turn round the estate. It was a perfect location and summer moment. He was there to see Saul,an Oratorio by Handel an he was deeply grateful to Osman who had organised a complimentary ticket for him. It was a Dress rehearsal and Nicholas was impressed to learn that the management provided tickets for all their employees and a guest, a truly benevolent gesture. It was some years since he had been to the Opera (If he didn’t count Peking} and literally decades since he had been to Glyndebourne and seen ‘The Electrification of The USSR’ with his friend John Chapman., and he was looking forward to reacquainting himself with the artifice and theatricality of the medium. He was not disappointed. It was spectacular and everything, from the haunting Baroque music, the astonishing voices, the vitality of the chorus, the inventiveness of the design, the subtlety of the lighting,the vibrancy of the costumes to the quirky choreography and the clever direction served the story and created an unforgettable event. He thoroughly enjoyed the 90 minute interval, picnicking with Peta and Rachel. It was an elated Nicholas Quirke who drove home as the burnished sun set on another lovely and fulfilling day.

 

 

Nicholas Quirke was anticipating a day of feeling proud on 13th July and he was not disappointed. He set off to London with Eileen at 7 and it was clearly going to be another scorching summer day. The roads were surprisingly free moving, despite rush hours, and they made it to Cole’s in Hendon by 9am. Cole was feeling a little anxious about the day, but by the time he had picked up his gown and reminded himself of how much he liked dressing up, seeing how very dashing he looked, he was able to relax. The ceremony was held in a huge Marquee on campus and was a really lovely event, though he found the guests around him were not very supportive and were not clapping the graduates other than their own. Cole’s name was mentioned thrice in the speeches as an ambassador for the university as a result of his outstanding win of the Free Range exhibition and his solo show in February and he and Eileen swelled with pride at his success. After drinks and photo opportunities galore they joined the students and tutors for a farewell drink. They then made their way to Camden to meet Richard and for a late lunch of Vegan Pizza at Purreza. After dropping Cole back home and loading up the car with some of his belongings they drove at a slow moving pace to Brixton for Brother Michael’s Open House exhibition. They were about half an hour early so enjoyed a coffee in a surprisingly white middle class restaurant. They had a wonderful time at the Exhibition, and though he only seen them on Sunday, thoroughly enjoyed talking with his nephews and nieces and was delighted to see heavily pregnant Lucy. On the way home Nicholas insisted they listen to his Podcast which he had launched that day. It had been a long but enjoyable day and home and in bed by 11 he allowed his pride in his son to enjoy a final burst before going to sleep.

Nicholas Quirke was being industrious this week with his friend Penny Parker, recording and editing the first edition of their Podcast; Quirke: A Day In The Year of a Nobody, to be launched on 13th July You (Listen and preview here) https://goo.gl/wtHnry. It was the culmination of a couple of busy days for him when he had been Cooking ‘Kitchadi’, for his client and making Pesto, driving to the Race Hill Garden Centre, the Tip, Homebase, dealing with his bank over fraudulent charges on his account, fruitlessly pursuing resolution on issues with Apple, I tunes, Go-Pro, KnowHow Cloud, as well as socialising with Cathie, his sister Kate, visiting a friend at Sussex Beacon , seeing the dentist to have a crown fitted, shopping, sorting out his diary, cleaning his card, online purchasing, and some job hunting. It felt really busy, but still having to work on his bed made him feel like he was relaxing rather than engage in productive endeavour. Plundering his past through his diaries was both funny, revealing and endearing, reviewing the mind of a young and relatively confused young man and sharing these with people was and interesting step for him to take. He was pleased with the outcome of their recordings and was looking forward to getting some feedback.

Nicholas Quirke was pleased by the industry with which he began his day 9th July 2018 despite not waking till 10.30 am. He managed to do laundry, housework and some research work on the computer for Terry in Denver, before deciding he needed to take advantage of  members cheap seats on Monday at the Duke o York’s and took himself to see ‘McQueen’,a documentary about the life  of fashion designer Alexander McQueen. The passion, vision and commitment to his craft and art were amazing and the journey to his tragic demise at the end of a rope deeply moving. He was pleased to note that the lethargy which had crept into his life had abated and he was feeling active and energetic again. He was also buoyed by the news that Brighton Terry had arranged a complimentary ticket to see Saul at Glyndebourne for him. He did some preparatory work for the Podcast and then set of to the Dome to meet Aaron and Audrey, his mother, to see Burt Bacharach in concert. Nothing could dim his excitement at seeing the legendary composer, not even the mother son altercation, which was swiftly bought to resolution with the appropriate opening song, What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love, though I think Burt had his thoughts directed on a global political scale.and not in the everyday, could colour the thrill he felt at hearing some of the most familiar tunes from his life played by their Creator. There was something heart achingly beautiful hearing this 90 year old’s broken and plaintive voice sing ‘Alfie’ and Nicholas was reminded that when he last been in the venue, on the night before his Odyssey began, The Divine Comedy had also performed ‘Alfie’ it seemed a perfect circle ha been drawn. Once they had been encouraged to join Burt in a rousing rendition of Raindrops Keep Falling on my head, the were sent home into the streets and home to bed.

 

Nicholas Quirke was excited to be traveling to Sutton Coldfield for a family reunion and seeing everyone from his fathers side of the family, Uncles , Aunts, Cousins, Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, nephews nieces, 2nd cousins and those twice, thrice removed. He was driving up with Harvey, Grace and Cole and though the start of their journey was a trifle tardy, due to the celebrations of England’s success in getting through to the semi-final of the world cup, they managed to get to the venue for 12.30. He had to endure some teasing about his dips and the dirt he appeared to be  feeding them but he had generated that particular thread and needed to suffer the consequences. It was a really enjoyable day and he was able to catch up with his cousin’s Clive, Jenny, Elinor, Damien, Stuart and Greg, as well as Uncles and Aunts, Tony and Angela, Marilyn and Graham, Cyd and John, Morris. He felt the absence of his Aunt Doreen and of course, his own Father, despite the 40 years since his demise. It was also good to spend some quality time with his brother Michael and Sister Kate their children and his Mother. He was able to congratulate his niece Megan on her Degree and learnt of his Nephew Dominic’s year long sojourn in Israel, he now had an excellent reason to get to the promised land. The drive home was longer and more torturous in his leg as there was standstill traffic on the motorways 40 and 25 and the constant lifting of his foot on and off the pedal caused him some anguish. He was reminded of his own father,who when suffering from sciatica due to a cancer he was fighting, insisted on driving him and Michael to a party in Knaresborough, a 20 minute bus ride. So intense was the pain he had to keep stopping the car and making Nicholas, in bad humor, huffing and puffing,  get out of the back seat so he could lie down and get some pain relief. The ungrateful brothers finally demanded that he let them get the bus and they sent him back home. From his current perspective it was evident that their Father desperately wanted to do something for his sons, demonstrate his love and at the time they couldn’t see what it cost  to want to do this for them but in the here and now Nicholas was moved by the memory. After dropping his offspring at their home, he returned to his own and exhausted retired to bed,

Nicholas Quirke was puzzled having spent Saturday 7th of July, after meeting Cathie for tea in Nero’s and Rory for tea and an avocado in Cote, making dips for the family day in Birmingham on Sunday and no matter how good they tasted , the dishes he had prepared uniformly looked like dirt. In the main he had been in a positive place since  28th June but now it was 7th of July and he was troubled that his sense of well-being had not engaged his creativity over this period. He had shared his positivity at a meeting with his Men’s Therapy group and since then having enjoyed in the heat wave a walk to the Chatri War memorial, Celebrating Cole’s success, his first Class honors degree, researching UN resolutions for Terry, a movie at the Duke of York’s ‘Leave No Trace’, A trip to Ikea; meeting Sam, Bernie’s boyfriend and driving to Stenying and Amberly, finding Hollyhocks, supper at Wagamama’s with Campbell, taking Terry out, camping at Vert Woods with his men’s group and celebrating Betty’s birthday with his ‘blended family’, he was having a happy time in the sun. Yet nevertheless he was feeling conflicted. The sun was wonderful, but the lack of rain meant that grass and trees were being scorched and damaged, his sciatica was persistent, when he should be working through his voluminous list of things to do he was overwhelmed in the heat with lethargy and fatigue, he watched TV for 6 fruitless hours and nursed bites and rashes from insects and sweat, Nicholas was happy with what he had achieved  and felt that  whilst heat and injuries continued the tide may have turned.

 

 

Nicholas Quirke was still feeling proud of Cole’s first prize win in The Free Range exhibition https://www.artrabbit.com/events/free-range-2018, when he woke 26th June and still eager to share the news. However, he paid the price for his pride and smugness when he was rewarded, after a shopping trip with his client, by accidentally parking his car on a lamppost and scratching the passenger side. He would have to curb his enthusiasm and be more modest about Cole’s success. As usual he had to rely on the kindness of Strangers and Harvey’s mate Greg to rescue him from his predicament. By the time he got to the dentists to be measured up for a crown his distress had evaporated and he was ‘singing like a canary’ about his son and was able to continue torturing this tune by meeting Eileen for tea in Preston Park. They took a walk round Preston Park and the Church and Nicholas returned home to do more work on his CV’s. He met Harvey and Grace at Duke Of York’s to get tickets for Hereditary before a light supper of chips at Al Campo lounge. The parsimony of the chips, courtesy of Harvey,  and the flatness of the Coke led them to decide not to eat there again. The film proved to be genuinely creepy leaving Nicholas a little nervous about being at home alone. He didn’t need to worry as he completely crashed out the minute he lay down, waking at 4 am on 27th June with the lights still on and his laptop at his side. If he had known how long it would take to drive to London to collect Cole and some of his belongings, he would have set off then! The journey may have been long, but it was good to see Cole and once they had packed the car with his dark room equipment they set off for Camden, the Lock and something to eat to prepare for the equally long journey home to Brighton. Cole presented him with his Fathers Day present, which Ironically was another pair of converse. The good thing about any drive was the quality time he got to spend with his offspring and the 3 hours it took to get through London  was  worth it, though he inadvertently entered the congestion charge and would need to pay for 1 minute in the zone. Infuriating! His evening was spent at his friend Bernie’s and after a catch up on life they watched 45 Years, a  touching and painful story of love lost, deceit and its consequences. They also managed to see a Francois Ozon short, A short Dress, charming and fun, before Nicholas went home to bed.