Keen readers may be bored of the fact that I moved out of London a little while ago. Although the early mornings are a bit of a pain (up at 6, in at work by 7.30), I am enjoying the fact that we now have a garden. We've planted courgettes, lettuces, runner beans and this morning potted some tomato seedlings. It was a pretty fine way to start a Sunday.
Gardening seems to be one of those mindless things that helps your brain fly off in all sorts of directions (a bit like running or driving), so I find myself having all sorts of ideas about work and writing and creativity and all of that rubbish while I'm doing it. I guess this is a good thing.
PS for those of you who heard about the floods and then immediately thought "I wonder if Dan is OK in the countryside?" don't worry. The garage flooded a bit and we had to chuck a couple of boxes of junk away, but there was no indoor carpet damage.
I really want to write some proper stuff about moving out of London. But I'm on holiday (one of those holidays where you stay at home and just faff about) so I'm still on a sort of blogging sabbatical.
The concept of a holiday at home is good though. We've only lived here for a couple of weeks, so it still feels like a holiday. We keep meeting new people from the village, so they are my new holiday friends. We went for a big family bike ride today, with Ruby in the little seat on the back of my bike, and that felt like a proper holiday too.
Then we got home and made a real fire in the fireplace, which was slightly unnecessary, as the house is pretty warm and has radiators, but again, it felt like the holiday thing to do.
And now I'll go to bed and get up tomorrow and perhaps go and do a bit of tourist stuff in one of the funny little towns near here. Maybe Dorchester-on-Thames or its neighbour Wallingford. I think they have old crumbling walls and perhaps an abbey. That'll definitely feel like a holiday.
I wrote about taking holidays at home in a thing I wrote for howies recently. And the concept seems to be working out well. So I'd better get back to it.
See you when I'm done holidaying.
PS camera battery has run out and charger is at work. No holiday pictures to speak of. So you will have to make do with this recent photo of a baby in sunglasses. Works every time.
It's been quiet round here. Went to Spain to make an advert. It was the best innocent shoot so far in my opinion - not too many people, everyone knew what they were doing, weather was spot on, and the star (8 year old Freddie) was much better than the bloke in the last ad.
I am hoping that the flying banana makes the final edit
Then to the countryside for Easter weekend. They don't take kindly to blogging in those parts, so I kept my head down, ate a lot and hung out with the pirate.
Arrrrrr, pieces of eight, where's my parrot/zebra? etc
I'm not a stalker. I'm not a weirdo. But today I had one of those days when all you see is famous people.
First of all, lunch, in a restaurant near work. I am with my wife and baby daughter. The latter is behaving herself brilliantly, considering this is a mildly respectable sort of place where infants should probably not be seen, let alone heard. Sitting at the back of this restaurant is a man eating alone, dressed in black, wearing dark glasses and who orders his food in a rasping voice. It's an amazing sounding voice, almost tracheotomized. We Germains order our food (mackerel for me, aubergine for wife, mush for baby) and have a nice time, sitting next to a sunlit window.
As we are getting up to leave, the man in the dark clothes passes us. He's leaving too. He has a stick to help him walk and stops at our table. He leans over, strokes my daughter's cheek and says "That is the loveliest baby I've seen for a long time." I made a rubbish joke to the effect that she had only been well behaved because we had slipped her half a glass of wine, at which he raised a chuckle and shuffled out of the restaurant.
Getting your cheek stroked by a Nobel Prize winning playwright, aged 11 months and 8 days. Very special.
So that was the first famous person. The next one was less dramatic. Michael Gambon, outside the recording studio opposite innocent, getting some fresh air. I think the Gambon and Pinter sightings may have been connected; they may be working on something together. Anyway, Gambon was number two.
Then came number three. I was cycling down Goldhawk Road at about 4.30pm, on my way to a meeting, when who should lope across the road in front of me but Ian Brown. Now, when I was 16, the Stone Roses album came out and I played it until I'd worn a hole in the record. Went to Alexandra Palace, wore flares, had a shocking haircut, all in the name of the Roses. So this was a good spot for me. And I handled it well. Slowed down on my bike, shouted "Ian Brown" and did a sort of Black Power clenched fist salute. I don't exactly know why (I'm not black, I'm not powerful) but it seemed right (and in hindsight, extremely rubbish).
Luckily, Mr Brown thought it was OK and returned my shout/fist salvo with a shout of "Yeah" and his own salute. And I rode on, all the time thinking "That was Ian Brown. I should have stopped. I should have had a chat with Ian Brown. I should have got a photo of me and him being mates." These thoughts carried on for about 200 metres, at which point I turned my bike around and went looking for Ian Brown so I could say hello, tell him how much I loved his music when I was younger (still do) and get a photo taken of me and him being mates.
But he'd vanished. I couldn't find him. I was annoyed.
Still, it was a good day for seeing famous people.
I don't think I've ever really been homesick before. I lived in Thailand and Indonesia for a few years and seemed to cope pretty well. But being away for the last four days has been very tough. I think it has something to do with this small person, pictured modelling a new winter hat.