Nicholas Quirke was feeling very cosmopolitan on 16th June. His constant traveling ‘up smoke ‘ for ‘Fatherland’ was making him feel like a Londoner again. And venturing up  to Cole’s degree show at The Old Truman Brewery in the ever regenerating Brick Lane area of the East End and consorting with Eileen and her husband Richard compounded his feelings of worldliness. His morning was spent in town as usual with Cathy and this weekend,  her sister Fanny who was visiting from Totnes. Nicholas was still suffering with possible sciatica in his right buttock, which he believed was the result of a repetitive, groovy little move he was doing in the play, He was taking painkillers to take the edge off but it was fairly constant and it seemed that  dd nothing to alleviate the ache and the numbness and pins and needles in his foot. Constant driving was also doing nothing to help him escape the hurt. The Middlesex University  exhibition was immense and Cole led his happy and excited party to his display. They were very quickly introduced to Cole’s tutors who were all extremely complimentary about his work and his persona. Nicholas was feeling very proud of his son and his work, a cinematic storyboard montage of his family,  friends, places and memories. It was unique in its presentation, a completely different format to the large scale prints that were on display from the other students. There was some really impressive work and Nicholas enjoyed seeing the subjects and the way they were handled and he also left the the exhibition with his ego truly massaged by the people who commented on his ‘Steeze’. . He drove the family safely home to Brighton and as he was tired and sore he went straight to bed and sleep the minute he got in. Sunday was Fathers day and he looked forward to being treated by Harvey to Lunch at the Green Kitchen and then Celebrating Richard’s son Jamie’s Birthday. Not only was he bought lunch, a vegan English Breakfast, but Harvey had got him a stylish pair of 70’s style high top converse as a present an Cole contacted him to say he was coming down to Brighton to celebrate. After collecting Grace and Rocco they walked to Eileen’s for the Party. It was lovely to see many old friends, Tim and Becky, Carolyn, and he was particularly delighted to see Mary and Pete, Chrissie’s sister and husband who made him feel really cherished. Harvey and Cole wanted to watch a film and they went back to Gloucester Road and snuggled down  to watch the disturbing Ex Machina. It had been another long Day and Nicholas, exhausted, collapsed  into bed

Nicholas Quirke was never far from complete confusion when it came to understanding his technology. He was in the dark when it came to linking, transferring, updating storage and comprehending the where how and why of ‘Data’, it was therefore perplexing to him that he was acquiring hardware that needed all manner of ministrations that were beyond him. A laptop that glitched out. An mini iPad, which after 3 repairs now did not play sound., a new I phone that failed to link to I-tunes and a camera that could only take selfies and an iPad which could not link to his pc. He wanted them all the work seamlessly for him but each one served to help then frustrate and diminish him. It was time he took it all to a specialist and request support. Nicholas had work he wanted to get on with but it was left unresolved as he battled made calls and tried to get help. He had not seen his friend Terry for a couple of weeks due to various problems and he was looking forward to catching up . Terry was not in good spirits. Eyesight problems left him almost blind and further mobility and hearing issues were causing frustration and some anger. Nicholas could not offer much solace but he was able alleviate some worry by offering to pick him from Hayward’s Heath Hospital the next afternoon. Coincidentally his friend Terry, in Denver, was having an unsettling time and Nicholas, here too, felt unable to do anything constructive to help. It was ‘Fatherland’ matinee day and he needed to be at the theatre for 1.30. As he would have to pay for paring if he drove Nicholas decided Instead to to catch the train. The usual issues abounded with trains running 40 minutes late. He was able though to get himself to the theatre on time. Susie, The head of drama from Eileen’s school had bought a group of students to the show and he was able to catch her for a flash mob selfie. The in-between hours were spent in surreal discourse with Elliot, Martin and Calum at Nando’s, a walk to Hammersmith Bridge and in a vast disturbing Wetherspoons, where they were witness to some blatant sexual harassment. The evening show passed quickly and he enjoyed a  surprisingly swift train home ad to his bed.

 

Nicholas Quirke was considering the Brevity of his weekend and the wisdom of writing about events in in his blog. His Friday was due to start with some PA work, meeting with a dear friend from his past, and then a party at the Royal Academy with Brother Mike for the Summer Exhibition in which a painting of his was being exhibited. The day did not end with his expectations being fulfilled. He was informed that Eileen’s Mother, Betty. his son’s beloved Grandmother ,was facing imminent demise and Nicholas made plans to call in and see her. This change of plan  meant that his client cancelled him, enabling him to spend some of his day with his family at Betty’s side. He was delighted to receive Cole’s book of photography. His arrangement to meet Dawn went ahead and their tea at the Rotunda in Preston Park was full of reminiscence and excitement at having met up again after a 22 year hiatus. He learned that his Brother’s family were facing a similar situation and the plans to attend The Royal Academy Summer were scrapped leaving him again free to return to the nursing home. Everyone in the family was present and it felt like a privilege to be party to such a sacrosanct moment and it really was a memorable family moment sharing stories and laughter as one of life’s beautiful characters was peacefully ending her time in the corporal world. If Betty’s mind was present she must have been enjoying the company and continued to linger. Nicholas had a long day on Saturday beginning with taking breakfast to an exhausted Eileen and Richard who had continued the vigil at Betty’s side throughout  a second sleepless night before his usual morning tea in Nero’s with Cathy. Numerous errands, including the third visit to the store to get his I-pad repaired, were made more onerous as Nicholas was taking pain killers to numb the agony of a suspected muscle strain in his right buttock, and they had dulled his senses and made him somewhat irritable. As it was a matinée day, Nicholas took the train to London and was mildly surprised that it was a smooth, fast journey, He enjoyed both shows immensely and was delighted during a ‘Chorus of Others’ moment, to capture their Director, Scott Graham, in a selfie, who demonstrated what it meant to truly connect with the moment. Nicholas was looking forward to his Sunday in Godalming to celebrate his sister Kate’s birthday and the drive with Harvey, Grace, Cole and Peta, despite its unusual 2 hour duration was fun. Kate, as always proved to be a wonderful hostess and it was lovely to catch up with Katherine Stocks and Miranda. It was a lovely sunny and hot day that bought with it the immense sadness of learning from Eileen that the waiting had finished and Betty had finally left the mortal realm. It was and overwhelming moment for Harvey and Cole who were relieved that their wonderful grandmother was no longer in pain but were devastated that they would never see her happy, loving person again. Nicholas found it difficult to see his children suffer one of lifes inevitable lessons but shifted seamlesly into the parenting role to help them manage the loss and their grief. Nicholas too would miss his time and conversations with Betty who was always full of Irish fire and energy, stories of her family and friends,  compassion and wisdom and humour. It was the end of an era.

 

 

Nicholas Quirke was trying to put a positive spin on life since Kim had admonished him for being weary, fed up, disappointed, disgruntled and generally misanthropic in his blogs. He couldn’t help feeling that, despite an inherent determined optimism, forces in the world were out to complicate, obstruct, disrupt and bring disorder to his daily life. Spending 4 hours the day before waiting for his I-pad to be fixed was a drain on his time and energy, as was having to make phone calls to chase up former employers for his pension arrangements and revisiting either endeavor would be detrimental to his sense of balance and well-being. His positive mood took a knock early in the day when he discovered that fixed screen on his device looked great, but he could not take photos which meant he was going to have to go back to the repair store and give up more time to resolve this issue. He was doing his PA work and had a mercifully early start at 7.30 am. His mood deteriorated further when he made more work for himself by spilling a bucket of water flooding his client’s bathroom. He returned to the repair shop and they promised a new camera and to have it ready for him before 4 pm as he would be leaving for London and it was key for his role in ‘Fatherland’. Nicholas then paid a check up visit to his dentist and discovered that his teeth and gums had improved by 20% but he still needed to have a crown. He managed Lunch before setting of in surprisingly good spirits for Hammersmith. His mood improved greatly as a result of 2 playful conversations he enjoyed with his friend Terry in Denver and Zak in Brighton as his GPS decided to take him on a new, mysterious and interesting route to the theatre through Reigate. It was good fun to be with the company again and they made the most of their long wait to get on the stage with excitable and amusing banter. Nicholas realised that he not posted any of the selfies he took during the show and decided that it was time to share the fun he had captured from his first attempt with Director Scott Graham, his colleagues, in the wings and with the audience. The day ended for him on a positive note as they were paid expenses and were given a Tee-shirt promoting the show and Nicholas could finally acknowledge that he was happy.

Nicholas Quirke was not surprised on the morning of Monday 4th June that replacing the shattered screen of his iPad mini was not the straight forward, though costly, task he was led to believe it would be. Having booked it in for repair at i.Smash for 10 am he anticipated being out of town by 11 and getting on with work at home. So when he was forced to have another green tea in Cafe Nero at 12.30 his patience was wearing thin. The enforced wait did mean though that he was able to check in his Moscot sunglasses for repair and cost some household items that he needed which would have to wait till the sting of his expensive repairs dissipated. He was finally reunited with his iPad at 13.45, a horrendous 3 hour 45 minutes wait, which after shopping for groceries at Taj left little time for lunch as his meeting with Penny for another practice recording of their Podcast was looming and he still had some work to do before the creative muse was upon him. They spent an entertaining hour testing microphones and exploring the landscape of 6th June 1980, where he discovered he’d left his job at Harrods to go and work for the Dry Cleaners he and Kim lived above. He remembered he had some photo booth photographs  from that month and made a note to check them when he got home. They now had a plan and at the next meeting they would select a launch date. Nicholas went straight to the Duke of York’s to see  Gilbert and George’s 1980 film, ‘The World of Gilbert and George’ which was an eccentric celebration of their art and their days, Nicholas particularly enjoyed a sequence of the uninhibited pair dancing to ‘Bend it’. He had an early start the next morning and as he did not get home till gone 8 pm decided to forgo supper, do some work before watching the final episode of ‘A Very British Scandal’ about the former Liberal Leader, Jeremy Thorpe’s fall from grace, and retiring to his bed.

 

Nicholas Quirke was enjoying the glamorous life on 26th May and despite a disturbed night as a result of an upset stomach he was loving the luxury being with Kim was affording him. He had never craved the high life but after LA and now Mayfair he was seeing the comfort it could bring. Kim had arranged to meet her cousin, Victoria, in the foyer and they made their way to The Pain Quotidian for breakfast. Nicholas was delighted to observe in a smugly casual and cosmopolitan manner, that he had frequented a branch of this cafe in Central Park in New York. It was lovely to see Victoria again and they agreed that when she returned to London after a European tour that she and her boyfriend must come to visit him in Brighton. Kim was eager to enjoy the streets of Mayfair. The explored Claridges where they had dined in 1980,  Alfred Dunhill store in which Kim managed to rope the sales assistant into taking a photograph of them, The Connaught and Mount Street. Nicholas returned to the hotel to enjoy the final hour of luxury.  The drive to Hampstead Theatre was swift and simple and they had plenty of time to sit and chat. Describe the Night turned out to be a fascinating play about three real Russians, one of them Putin,  in which the narrative crossed decades and in which the actors transformed themselves into utterly believable old people. Wonderful performances and an insightful, witty and clever script. Cole met them at the end of the performance, just after Nicholas had displayed a moment of temper. It was with much merriment, that Kim and Cole found themselves allies against his occasional irritable outbursts.  As the were in the vicinity they drove down England’s Lane and then to the former Drama Centre. Now an Art Gallery and open, they could not resist the temptation to walk inside the halls in which they had first met 40 years previously. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane. They dropped Kim off at the National Theatre and Nicholas an Cole headed home to Brighton. When he finally got in Nicholas was so tired he collapsed on his bed and turned the television to start watching Season 2 of  Thirteen Reasons Why. He woke at 3 am to find himself fully clothed. In a daze he managed to get himself into bed and a deep deep sleep.

Nicholas Quirke was feeling dislocated when he woke on 25th and found that his morning routine did nothing to help him get into the day. A sense of unease after the dress rehearsal the day before seemed to permeate his being, even though it had gone well and been fun. Nicholas suspected it was fatigue from the driving up to London every day and having a very busy though relaxed schedule. He was regretting that he agreed to take his client out into the country to be Sheep and Dog at Fulking as he would have preferred to have some time to chill before the performance in the evening. The drive into the country actually helped take his mind off his concerns and he enjoyed the company of his client. His sister was in Brighton as she had taken their Mother to the hospital for a consultation and she called in for a coffee before she headed home and he left for London. He was annoyed with himself as he left his overnight bag at home and as he would be staying with Kim in her grand hotel for the night. he was not going to be feeling particularly fresh on Saturday. It was opening night for ‘Fatherland’ and he strangely felt himself in the grip of first night nerves. There was a great sense of camaraderie among the  Chorus who all leaned into support each other. It felt like the performance went really well and the time on stage was controlled and fun, despite momentarily losing count. Kim had come to see the performance along with Sonny who both loved the show and felt touched by the overwhelming male presence on the stage sharing the experience of being Father’s and Sons. The theatre put on an opening night party for the company in which he got to mingle with the actors and director and share some of the positive experiences. Nicholas drove Kim and Sonny to their hotel and was once again excited to make use of the Valet Parking at the beautiful Beaumont Hotel in Mayfair. It was a really gorgeous Art Deco establishment, glamorous and luxurious. They had late supper in the most stylish bar before Nicholas headed to the suite and a relaxing bath and bed