Nicholas Quirke was perturbed by the way his day worked out. Due to commitments he had turned down seeing his son Harvey and subsequently his dear friend Rory. He finally, after some very early starts and lack of sleep, managed to have an extra long and deep slumber and on waking at 8 discovered his friend in Denver, whom he was doing some online work for wanted him to work a session later that day. It was going to be another active and full day after his days of gardening and working with the horses. his first appointment was cancelled due to the ill health of his friend, but this gave him the opportunity to prepare his work for the online examining, and it also gave him the opportunity to do more clearing of the flat, though he made a big mistake in thinking that examining a suitcase full of correspondence dating back to the mid 70’s would be a swift and easy matter to deal with. Nicholas had never thrown away a personal item of mail and as he began to explore the extensive contents, priceless treasures began to reveal themselves. A birthday card from the ‘Pop Lady’ , a shop they went to when on holiday in the New Forest, piles of letters from lost old friends, Kate Ley’s, Angela Cody, and letters from people, he hesitated to call friends, he no longer knew who they were. There were a host of notes that had been passed around during some classes at Drama Centre and further letters from now deceased friends and family members. This quick clearout turned into an immense task and actually occupied the time that he had when his training was cancelled leaving him with only one final opportunity to leave his home. He went to his friends to do some additional recording for the podcast, a welcome break, before returning home to face the emotional roller coaster he had embarked on. Nicholas felt the whole day had gone off balance an that he had missed the opportunity to get some really needed work done and though he managed to get his years of correspondence in order before disposing of the unwanted and unknown, he wold be going to bed with more serious issues undone.

Nicholas Quirke was was avoiding reviewing his year on new years eve 2018 which had started with Fireworks in Melbourne and was ending on his own in his flat in Brighton, counting the cost of Christmas; financially, physically and metaphorically. It was something of a whimper with which his year had finally finished; losing his precious sunglasses, experiencing another puncture, a parking fine, losing his lodger and losing his cool with his offspring. And though he was extremely grateful for the company he had enjoyed, from his family on Christmas, to the occasional company of friends and the parties of Peta Taylor in Newhaven and Helen Nevitt’s 60th, he was surprised, but not disconcerted, that his festive season had been so quiet. He was used to his own company, but of course in a fixed spot, he reflected, there wasn’t the same desire to get out and explore or challenge himself. Was his worst outcome starting to happen? Was he becoming complacent again. Though he hated to make New Year Resolutions, hated setting himself up for disappointment, hated the optimism that would fade, he did realise that he needed a plan. 2019 was going to require something audacious from him and a new look, new lodger new friends was not going to cut it. Nicholas was not in rush to make decisions but decisions would be made and his one resolution for 2019 was that it would be be a very different outlook to the one he was enjoying right now by the end of the year

Nicholas Quirke was excited on 14th December to be embarking on a Road Trip with the youngest of his Progeny, Cole. He had woken really early after having been at a Men’s Therapy Group Meeting the Night before. There had been a couple of sad farewells to members leaving the group and he himself and confessed to feeling quite content and if that was the case, did he need what it offered anymore, It was hard to tell if this was contentment or his head had got firmly wedged in the sand! The early start was meant to get him packed, but his Chinese friend Terry in Denver had hired his services for some English Grammar work and he found himself preparing 90 questions for a test and this made him late to collect Cole to begin their journey to Cornwall to see the exhibition Cole’s photos were in. It was an easy journey, despite the late start and they arrived in South Brent for their first stop and lunch with Shirley by 1 pm. Cole had not seen Shirley since he was a child and it was great to see how easy and relaxed he was in her company, but then Shirley was an expert in talking with people and making everyone feel they mattered. Nicholas had to take 15 minutes out  to complete the grammar test which was with a 12 year old in China, he only managed to get through 30 of the questions he prepared, but then he settled down to enjoy the food and company. They had to get on their way and they made plans for places to stop on their way back to Dartmoor. It was a quick drive and they got to Penzance for 5pm but the Gallery was  closed and they would have to visit in the morning. The AirBnB they stayed in was lovely Judy and Glyn were very friendly and they had made Vegan Cinnamon buns for them. The house smelled lovely a a result. It transpired that there were fireworks in Newlyn and despite the harsh cold wind they wrapped up warm walked along the promenade to find somewhere to eat and to enjoy the display. They were unable to find a restaurant and instead bought some supplies from the Supermarket and went back to the BnB and watched a film, Paul, which was amusing, but Nicholas, exhausted fell asleep. He woke in the night with stomach ache but by breakfast he was feeling fine and enjoyed the delicious food served up by Judy. They said goodbye and headed in the drizzle to The Exchange Gallery to see the ‘Many and Beautiful Things’ Exhibition. It felt like a really big deal. Sponsored by the Tate gallery, Cole’s work was featured on the cover of their programme for the part of the show given to emerging talent, it was quite thrilling, Nicholas felt very proud of his son. They then saw the rest of the exhibition at Newlyn took some photographs and then headed to Polperro. the rain was lashing down and didn’t bode well but they made some stops along the way to capture some of the intriguing sights they saw. Because of the weather they had Polperro to themselves, barely a face in sight! They took dozens of photographs between them of the amazing smuggling village. The weather cleared, night began to fall and they drove to Widecombe in the Moor to stay with the Reeves. It was good to catch up particularly for Cole who had not visited them on Dartmoor for 7 years. While the family went to see the local Pantomime, Cole treated Nicholas to a substantial and satisfying Beetroot and Chickpea Curry at the Old Inn. They tried to watch John Boorman’s Excalibur, Nicholas’s first attempt at seeing it again since deriding it in 1981 on its release, 37 years later the derision continued and they gave up on it and retired for the night.