Archives for category: Self Sufficiency

IMG_4742

1.

Another wholly preventable wild-fire in the mountains.

If only, like the Mexicans, the residents of the Santa Monica Mountains could bear the idea of a yearly brush burn.

Then, every decade, they wouldn’t stand miserably by their pyre lamenting the loss of personal items on the early evening news.

2.

So.  I’m writing my last will and testament.  And, after much prayer/thought, I’ve decided to leave everything to my former school Monkton Wyld.

I am also discussing making a charitable donation to Monkton which is now a residential education center.

The Grade II listed neo-Gothic building is set amongst an idyllic eleven acres of lawns, gardens and meadows.

Designed by Richard Cromwell Carpenter, the rectory was built in 1848.  It is in need of help.  Tracery needs restoring, energy efficient windows need installed and a large bay window at the front of the house needs underpinning.

As a Centre for Sustainable Education, Monkton Wyld hosts a range of courses, conferences and gatherings for adults, families and children.

From bee-keeping to scything to yoga, Monkton’s programme promotes low-impact, earth-centred skills for changing modern life.

Meals are prepared in the house kitchen using fresh organic ingredients from the Court’s own Victorian walled garden, orchards and farm.

The Court is managed by a resident volunteer staff with the help of volunteers and overseen by a board of trustees.

They work to develop and promote a lifestyle based on mutual respect for each other and for the wider community and environment.

Sounds perfect doesn’t it?

I want my ashes scattered there.

Have you written a will?  How many single people do?  It is imperative.

I’ve been thinking for many years what to do with any money I might have when I die and this, I believe, is the best solution.  Helping with the fabric of this building may secure its future for decades to come.

20120725-172013.jpg

20120725-172035.jpg

20120725-172056.jpg

20120725-172111.jpg

Plane home to LA.  Lovely few days in NYC.  Returning Delta.  Man had panic attack and had to be removed just as we were taking off.

Really lifted my spirits.  (The trip not the panicking man.)

Upon my arrival in NYC and the ghastly Comfort Inn I had a few moments of bitter disillusionment (the cause of which was mainly in my head..actually the cause of which was totally in my head)  I had the best time with Jake, Dan, Lady Rizzo, John and Jamie.  The little dog hated the rain but didn’t like being left at home.

Drank far too much coffee in the East Village.

At the behest of a new friend Bernard, who works for the Judd foundation,  John, Jamie, Jake and I privately toured the Donald Judd private residence at 101 Spring St, Soho and reminded myself that on that very corner one cold winters afternoon in 1983 Fred Hughes and I saw John Gotti smoking a fat cigar.

We brought expensive cookies and marveled at the Japanese themed bathrooms and kitchen.  How come the HUGE Dan Flavin in the bedroom felt like it was spewing microwaves?   That thing, however beautiful, must have fried Judd, his wife and children.

I was recognized by one of the staff who LOVED the sex rehab show.   “How you doing now?” she asked with a sympathetic crumpled brow and puckered lip.

After The Judd residence tour Jake and I celebrated his birthday with a dinner at the restaurant of his choice and the waiters brought him his desert with a candle on top.

Last night Dan and I attended a charity auction at the Milk Gallery to raise funds for the Stephen Petronio Dance Company.  I was in a spectacularly good mood and was seen to be so.  I met Cindy Sherman who had donated a huge, dark work, which raised over $20k for the troupe.

I bought 3 works including a very beautiful Dustin Yellin.

Dan and I had a late dinner at Westville where we saw Sam Rockwell.

Back in LA soon where I have a traffic court date, a returning lover and Mary the organic gardener has her new driving license which means she can continue tending the garden.  I have a great deal to look forward to and a huge amount to be grateful for.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Having a blast here-so far away from the trials of Los Angeles.  No car, no worries, just me and a small suitcase and whole lot of hope.

Now, deliciously, I also have a pair of pink and black leather shoes that only I and a handful of truly stylish, brave friends could wear.

Thank you Comme des Garçons, thank you Rei Kawakubo. Thank you style Gods.

How many of you look at charlieissocoollike on You Tube?  Real name Charlie Mc Donnell.  I love him-no, not like that.  He’s only 19, fresh, funny and talented.  My friend Mr S Fry made a charming end credit for him.  I will write more about Mr Mc Donnall soon but do check out Charlie’s Duet with Myself.

Did I tell you that I had TERRIBLE food poisoning after our delicious lunch at The Standard Grill?  The rabbit ragu served with the ‘home made’ pasta and chanterells did me in.  I have not vomited for YEARS.  I mean, hanging over the pan and violently chucking up the entire contents of my belly whilst simultaneously shitting my white comme des garcons under pants.

I love NYC.

I don’t expect much from life.  I really don’t.  But I get so little in LA.  Like so many people I may end up being one of it’s finest victims but…I doubt it.  I am heading east.  I’ll tell you all sooner or later why.

The goat project has been put on hold until I have some more spare cash.  The film I want to make is ready to be born so I will just make it.  I may just be in it.  I am all a quiver about making a new film.  Can’t get it out of my head.

My friend Joan thinks that I am all over the place but that’s how it has always been-all over the place.

I tweeted today about being grateful.  It’s easy to complain about life, then when it gets better forget to be grateful. I am sitting in a warm, well decorated room overlooking the Hudson River, my belly full and friends to see.  What more could I want?

I am really glad that I came to the USA for as long as I have.  I have learned so much from you people.  Good and Bad.

More facts emerging from the Kristian Digby funeral fiasco.  Kristian’s mad mother apparently very dismissive about KD at funeral to his visibly upset father.  Friends and some family members and work colleagues unable to attend the funeral-asked to stay away.   Real friends got together at tree in Torquay and buried box of memories.  One friend reporting that Kristian’s coffin was dragged into church rather than carried respectfully.    I will repeat my earlier assertions:  Kristian’s mother is an insensitive hag who ruined great portions of her son’s life.  The truth will out Mrs Digby.

Met some PR type gay in Soho House the other night.  Single. attractive but after ten minutes of conversation..really ought to have stayed in the closet.  BACK IN THE CLOSET for you young man.  He told me I needed to filter what I was saying-we were talking about politics.  What a fucking boooooar.

Finally, did I mention to you how much I loathe Sophie Dahl?  How she went out of her way to ruin my experience of LA?  That poor sweet crooner husband of hers will see straight through her conniving ways sooner or later.  You can’t marry a woman 8 inches taller than you-why?  Because you never get to look her directly in the eye.

There’s nothing more exhilarating that an unresolved resentment don’t you think?  One day I will recount the entire sordid story for your delectation.

Jake and the Virgin Jake and Duncan Jake Jake Jake butt Jake in bed Jake in Bed 2 Jake Bauman Soho House

Mary in the vegetable garden

The transformation begins.  The property is suddenly alive with Sean and his partner Mary pruning, tilling, weeding and the like.   The terraces that run down to the property line in front of the house are beginning to look like vegetable beds and as I have said before the earth is rich and soft after the heavy rain.

The torrential rain caused damage to many roads across the region and this time our neighborhood was not spared.  In the mountains above me the upper part of Rambla Pacifico has fallen away.  100 feet of road crumbling off of the mountainside like royal icing off a wedding cake.

The fencing for the goats has been mapped out and at the beginning of March I hope to complete this part of the project.    After a long discussion yesterday with Mary and Sean I think I may very well become a vegetarian.   This will please those of you who think my plan to eat the goats was cruel.

The only problem for me being in Malibu is what happens to me when everybody leaves at the end of the day.  I feel incredibly lonely.   So, last night I headed over to Jennifer and Jason’s house near Trancas and fell into a deep sleep on their sofa.

My friends Jennifer and Jason are conspiracy theorists and believe in Chem Trails and government corruption and after an evening discussing their worldview I am exhausted by unrelenting pessimism.

It was fun waking up to their three children and their sleepover friends screaming around the house.  We ate thick creamy porridge and black coffee and I drove home.

However, the truth is, before the children woke up I woke up feeling desperately sad.  Apart from the usual sense of doom that overcomes me each morning when I remember that half of America is gripped by a terrible financial firestorm-as well as the snowstorms that have snarled the capital and all other major East Coast cities.  I was sad because I woke up too many thousands of miles away from the man I want to be waking up besides.

I am falling in love.

Falling in love is not an easy thing to do for a sex addict.

The moment things don’t go my way my default is to retire to a safe and quiet place and lick my wounds.  Why should romantic love be so damned painful?

It has been hard these past few days to make sense of what happens to me when the love thang kicks in.    Of course I want to see him but he is in NYC and he is otherwise engaged.    Why can’t I meet someone who lives close by and is good at farming?  Anyone know a good gay farmer who wants to spend his days in total paradise with me..I suppose THAT is the fly in the ointment-me.

Who would want to do that?

PS Obviously anyone in London who knew Lee McQueen is upset by his untimely demise but I am especially sad as he was so maligned after Issie Blow’s death.   Artists are fragile creatures, he was especially so.  Somehow, at the end of the day, art is simply not enough to sustain anyone.

The house has been redecorated so I can sell it, yet it is more beautiful so I don’t want to sell it.

I have been having long, stressful conversations with the realtor and the bank.   I pray, I stay in consultation with my peers.

A woman I was at school with wrote to me recently and reminded me of a poem I had written when I was eleven.  I think it’s rather good.  Good enough to share with you all.

There’s a hole in my mind/

And I do feel inclined/

to cover it with leaves/

so the hands of thieves/

cannot touch it.

It’s quite a telling little poem written by a mad little boy drowning not waving.

The past days have been deadly confusing. Is this what happens when grown ups fall in love?  Is that it?  It’s really hard to write convincingly about love because the symptoms of love remind me of the symptoms of addiction, of drugs, of hangovers.  It is all so damned intense.

Who doesn’t want to fall in love and feel all these things?

I cannot move-does love cause this geriatric immobility?  I cannot think.  I am frozen to the spot – then in the next, immediate moment I am running around making important decisions that I should have made months ago.  I an revitalized, confident, hopeful.

I decided to sell my art collection.  I called a gallery owner.  He will come and assess the art I keep in Hollywood then on the tenth of February (when the renters leave Malibu) he will assess the rest.

I can’t wait to see it all go.  Every last bit of it.  I am tired of all this STUFF.  Too many things in too many places, too many plates, too many forks, too many vases, too many paintings, etchings and far too many sheets and pillowcases.  Too many rooms for too many guests that I no longer feel like entertaining because I want to bury myself in him.

Now I am eyeing the furniture and the silver and want to liquefy it all.  The odd thing is-if I get the correct price for everything I can be debt free, run my little farm, get off the grid and beholden to no one.   That’s what the goats and the chickens are for: to clear the brush and lay eggs.  Of course, some of you don’t like the idea of me eating the goats but that’s what we do when we live off the land.

Isn’t that the dream we all have?

When I am in Hollywood I lay in my bed listening to my neighbors screaming at one another.   They scream the most disgusting, violent things.  He tells her to ‘shut the fuck up’, to ‘get away’ from him.  He tells her that she is a ‘fucking bitch’.  Then they repeatedly slam all the doors in the apartment and she gets deathly quiet and I worry he may have killed her.

Whenever I see them in the lobby they behave as if we don’t know.  As if none of us who live near them can hear.  As if we are deaf to insult, blind to knives in rotten flesh.

No one/someone/no one/someone/none?  For almost everyone I know the choice is obvious.  My mother scoffs at people who have no one.  She would rather be in any relationship, however bad, than come home to an empty house.  I would rather come home to an empty house than any half measure.  Loveless, passionless half measures.  No, that’s not for me.

If he is unavailable?  What of that?  What if he had someone else?

Ben Wishaw and Hugh D’Ancy are performing in a play called Pride in NYC and my new friend Jake Bauman went to see it.  He texted me during the interval that Hugh fucked Ben.  I knew what he was thinking.

I read the reviews.  The comment.  The predictable gay outrage because Ben won’t make his fucking mind up about what he is.  Good for him.

You know that I am writing this for you?  You know that after I finish writing this I will hear your voice and I will be complete?

Jake Bauman Cam Jake bauman canm 3 Jake bauman Cam 2 Jake bauman

Enhanced by Zemanta

Luis the decorator and his sidekick Miguel are here in Malibu.  They are painting over the mess the last renter made in the house when she failed to open the flu and filled the house full of acrid smoke.  That, my friends, is the great disadvantage to opening your home to renters who are less able or practical.

Luis is a great painter and has a great attention to detail.  I like having him around.  He has two small daughters that he raises single handedly.

The house stinks of wood filler and oil based primer.

I must admit that I am really enjoying living back here in Malibu.  It is a perfect time to be here.  The weather is everything one would want it to be.  The air is chilled.  The sea glistens.  It was grand to wake up to the oyster hued sky at 5.30 this morning, the sun rising over the mountains.

The little dog, rather foolishly, ran after a little fox that popped out to greet us.

At breakfast with my Wednesday crew we discussed a couple of great film ideas and it occurred to me that I am ready to make another film.  It just depends what.  I am thinking about my LA film.  I really can’t move on until I have made THAT film THAT LA FILM.  The one I promised myself I would make when I arrived here all those years ago.  We discussed two great film ideas.  I just need to attend to business like it were the subject of my great and enduring love.

Joe, my actor friend, popped by yesterday and we discussed his career.   There are two different types of actor is LA.  The actors who need repping and those who are essentially repping themselves.   My friend Karim repps himself.  He networks at Sundance, Berlin and Cannes leaving no stone unturned.  He chases new directing talent and doing the do.  My friend Joe is less proactive and thinks that everything hinges on finding an agent.  Which one do you think gets the jobs?

I have my second meeting with Sean the garden/goat/chicken man today and we will go through his bid carving out the essentials, abandoning the non-essentials until later on this year.  I am excited that he will start work as quickly as next week.

As for the great NYC love of my life-I am growing a nasty obsession.  How quickly my addict climbs into the driving seat and roars off heading at full pelt into the nearest brick wall.   My obsession is as real as a carbuncle and just as hard to remove.

Sex addiction transmutes into love addiction as quickly as I can say I love you.

I love talking to you.  I love listening to you.  I love you when you are not in a darkened room.

Is there no area in my life that can’t be subject to addiction?  I am immediately overwhelmed, subjugated, mesmerized, fantasized, living in somebody else’s skin.

Beautiful, clear days after the big rains came and went.   I am in Malibu with Cooper.  We are cooking, walking and gardening.   He has found a garden bench where, one day soon, the goats will roam.   He sits there and reads quietly, leaving me up here in the house to write my novel and call Verizon to add telephone services-a most frustrating task.

Sean, the goat and permaculture guy arrived yesterday afternoon.   He was much younger than I imagined.  He arrived with a black eye and a big smile and I knew immediately that he would be the ONE.  The ONE who would build the goat shelter, re-fence the property and redistribute the spring water into where the vegetables will grow.  He looked enviously at the spring and pushed his fingers into the soil and told me how lucky I was.

Sean explained how he intended pumping water to the terraced vegetable garden using a solar powered pump.   He explained how to deal with gophers and raccoons.   He explained how we would mulch the land and work with the subtle California seasons to our best advantage.

He wandered the property in awe and in turn it sprawled out before him at it’s lushest best.  His property, Sean explained, is rockier and dryer.  Everything is so green, here on the mountain, at this time of year.  The days are occasionally hot but mostly overcast.  Still, at 68 degrees a whole lot nicer than grey winter days in London or Herne Bay..or Margate.

Sean has chickens, goats and, interestingly, a small horse that protects the goats from the coyote.  My neighbor Trevor, who lives near the PCH, is worried about my keeping goats and chickens because he seems to think that they are impossible to protect.

The great thing about optimistic Sean was that he came up to the house without getting lost, armed with solution and solution is what I need.  As he was leaving I told him that I was excited to work with him, he grinned and said, it was going to be easy as everything I wanted he had just completed on his own property.

Last night hung at Amanda’s.  Delicious risotto.   Great company.

Amusing post Sex Rehab anecdote:   I am minding my own business at the luggage carousel at LAX waiting for my luggage when I notice that a bunch of 14-year-old girls have recognized me.  In fact, about fifty 14 year-old girls have noticed that I am waiting for my luggage.  Unable to escape I cling to one of the nearest fellow traveler for support.  “Help me.”  I say.  There is a frenzy of prepubescent window tapping and photo taking when out of the melee a teacher approaches me and asks, “Are you that guy from Sex Rehab?”  My voice is cracked and tiny as I tell her that I am.  She then calls over the girls who ask for autographs and photographs.  But, I’m thinking, I’m a guy on a show called sex rehab-surely you shouldn’t want to have your picture taken with me.

The Cloud Gobbled Us Up

The rain just keeps on coming.   Folk are being evacuated over in Flintridge for fear of mudslides.

I paid my water bill yesterday and I asked the gentleman there if the Los Angeles County Waterworks harvest rain water.  He didn’t know.  He didn’t ‘think’ so.  He said, after some thought, “No, we don’t harvest the rain water.”

During the worst of yesterday’s storm the trees were bent double, the rain was smacking into the house horizontally and a waterfall pounded under the drive.  Perfectly normal, I might add, for Whitstable but noteworthy for Malibu.

One storm after another smashes into Southern California and will continue to do so until Friday.  After the storms pass we will have a few days of glistening palm trees and clean air affording views for miles around then the black LA dust will start building up over everything all over again.

I am guessing that this winter will be very wet.  Very, very wet.

Anyhow, the Democrats lost Massatusetts.   It didn’t come as any great surprise.  I imagine that it suits the White House as they now have a really good excuse not to do anything other than maintain the Bush status quo.  Obama will have an even better excuse after the midterms when the Dems lose both houses to the Republicans and the arguments get easier.   I am surprised we don’t all just start talking about terrorists again.  It’s so much easier than discussing healthcare or equality for the gays.

Today Obama is ‘all up in my grill’ screaming at the banks-more hollow words from a president who sucks on the cock of the banking/insurance industries.

The problem with New Agers is that they don’t get back quickly enough.  I am still waiting for the goat shelter to be built-so I can buy the goats.  I am still waiting for the fencing man to get back to me and the gardeners with their plan.  The only people who get back in a timely fashion are the solar guys who all want to sell $40k solar systems.

Rain Washes The Windows

Sometimes I have a waking nightmare that by buying goats and chickens and creating a kitchen garden there is something oddly Michael Jackson about me.  It was just a fleeting thought..

There is a storm brewing over Los Angeles and it seems also to be brewing in my heart.

I really need to connect with my 12-step brethren.   I am experiencing a disconnect.   My head is thumping and I know that this isn’t brain cancer just anxiety.

I know what to do-all I need to do is get on my knees and pray but I am scared of using up my only option.

I have a million things to do tomorrow.  Cooper arrives from NYC so maybe we can do those things together.

I have to take action rather than let life wash over me.  Yet, I feel tired-exhausted.  Keeping optimistic in profoundly pessimistic times is exhausting.

I think that you can tell, dear readers, that I am under the weather.

So, this week I have goat shelter, garden plan and solar decisions to make.   I have to prepare the house for rental and get the sofas that need repairing out of the house.  I have to call the bank and respond to various requests that have been left unanswered.

I think that the idea of a relationship weighs heavy on my soul.  I can’t go though any sort of misery again.  I want joy in my life and to share the projects I have with another interested party.

Haiti is a ghastly mess.  The images and news reports from the Caribbean are harrowing and add to my sense of helplessness.  It reminds me daily that a large earthquake in LA could cause the same sort of terrible catastrophe.  I have made several charitable donations and am shocked that Rush Limbaugh has urged his listeners not to give to any charities suggested by Obama.  What kind of racist monster is he?   Where is the compassion?

Street Art 2010I woke at 5.30am and made my way to JFK.  My driver, a jolly chap from the Dominican Republic, saved us from smashing into the back of a reckless driver weaving all over the freeway.

I am suddenly OVER Virgin Airlines who have managed to lose the Marc Jacobs sunglasses they told me they found last week when I arrived.

I am sitting next to a very effusive Jewish girl who is typing and organizing and eating and reading prayers out loud, asks the same questions repeatedly and is THOROUGHLY irritating but funny.  My expectation is to sit next to a cute, quiet male who will speak when spoken to and not read prayers out loud.  My resentment stems from this unrealistic expectation.

I expect to get to the air port and have my sunglasses waiting for me.  God has other plans.

Last night had dinner with Dan and Cooper at Prune on 1st street.  Delicious baked marrowbone (a la St John’s in London), pot au feu and trifle.

Without a doubt I am falling in love and have to be incredibly careful that this love does not become a dangerous obsession.  Remember what happened last time?   Expectations and Resentments.

I spent a great deal of time seeing old friends whilst in NYC and meeting some new ones.     I saw Daniel R briefly and met up with the last of the book agents.  Very nice man who I found myself explaining my circle plan.

I am being remarkably well behaved.  I am not flirting, intriguing or altering my route for the wrong reasons.  I see and immediately own up to the men I objectify.

I spoke to another man with a dog in the street called Chandler who then later found me via this blog.  Thanks!  Keep in contact.

I called John in LA who is in the doldrums.   We Sex Addicts, what a glum lot we can be.  Saying that, I had a very healthy time in NYC.   I enjoyed spending time with Benoit and being around his book launch and his boyfriend.  I enjoyed what I heard in the rooms-especially from our compulsive brethren.    I related to other men who spoke movingly about multiple, on-line identities.    I felt as if I had a greater understanding of my addiction so am less at the mercy of it.

I am going back to LA to get on with the goat and chickens house that needs built ASAP.  I am having a final meeting with the solar guy and waiting on a price and timetable from The Edible Garden.

The first wave of solar appointments came and went.   I have to remember that they are sales men and women and their primary interest is to make the best possible sale.

They do not necessarily have my best interests at heart.

My electricity bill for last month was only $45.  The highest bill this year was $120.  I don’t use very much electricity.  Apparently the price of electricity in Malibu compares very favorably with other providers in the greater Los Angeles area.  My electricity is from coal fired generation and produced in Utah.

I don’t like using a clothes dryer and line dry my washing, I don’t have AC or a TV.

I have two main considerations when deciding upon which sort of solar solution to invest.  The first is aesthetic; I don’t want an ugly system on the roof of my house.  The roof needs replacing anyway so I have decided that I want black shingles rather than the tan already there.  This will camouflage the solar panels and give the house a ‘Tudor Japanese’ appearance.

The second consideration is far more complicated.  Do I really need solar when my electricity bills are so low?  If I had solar would I use more electricity?  Would I get air conditioning?  Would I use the dryer? What sort of mega wattage should I get?

As I said, it’s hard to get independent advice from sales people.

The first company I met with was called ‘Phat Energy’ and, as the name suggests, they are aiming to have cool solutions for all your Solar needs.   The two guys that turned up seemed impressively prepared with figures and plans.  Yet, if I am honest, because they were first company I met with they were at a little bit of a disadvantage.

Phat Energy provided a plan for an ‘off the grid’ scenario and a ‘pay back’ solution.  The former is as it sounds, I generate electricity to cover all my needs.  The latter essentially means that you make electricity during the day that pumps into the grid then at night I buy electricity if and when I need it.

The ‘pay back’ solution seems most sensible.   I might very well turn a profit using this scenario.

After all federal and local grants, tax credits and rebates one can expect a 50% reduction on the initial cost.  This makes solar a very affordable solution.

Still, at approximately $20k this capital investment will take 10 years or more to pay for itself.

I asked them to consider letting me pay them over three months.  They balked but I urged them to consider it.

The younger of the two sales men from Phat was very persuasive.  However, it made me smile when he tried to factor the increase of house value when making my decision.  I laughed.  Nobody is selling anything in my neighborhood and house prices have diminished by 30%.  In my reckoning this financial situation/crisis may last for the next 7 years.

Ultimately the decision is largely a moral one.  I believe that every house in Southern California should be generating electricity so I should put my money where my mouth is.

The second sales man, Alex, from Suntrek a company based out of Irvine.   An ex-professional baseball player Alex explored the property thoroughly and creatively offered alternative solutions from water pumping to cooking.   His visit was largely to assess the site and discuss my needs.  Equipped with knowledge from the earlier conversation with ‘Phat’ this blue-eyed sales man quickly understood my needs and, he concluded, I will be hearing from him shortly.

The rest of the day was taken up with a visit from David the architect who will reconfigure the interior of the house-so I get to have another bedroom and use the space more efficiently.   Hard on his heels the contractor pitched up, he will be building the goat and chicken shelter.  Finally the guys from ‘An Edible Garden’, Julianna and Kevin.

Julianna was reassuringly posh and Kevin reassuringly gay.  I liked their attitude and responses to the site.  They spoke my garden language and I am going to very much enjoy working with them during the coming year.  During their three hours at the house we discussed, amongst many other things, a timetable of events.  These events included when and what crops would be planted, critters, irrigation and site preparation.

My friend Jennifer and her children arrived and we sat around imagining all sorts of jams, chutney’s and preserves that I might want to cook with excess produce.

Julianna and Kevin were particularly impressed with the natural spring at the bottom of the property, which will provide free water for the crops and will be pumped using a solar pump directly into the vegetable garden.

So, the Malibu house adventure has begun.

Amanda in Malibu

Miserable day in LA.  Misty British rain rather than the fat tropical raindrops we usually have.

After breakfast with John and the lads I drove to Malibu and built a HUGE fire.  It was raining so hard I had no view what so ever.   A huge cloud had gobbled the entire house.  Luna went on a garden adventure in the rain and came home covered in mud.  I had to turn a hose on her, which caused her some consternation, then, being the Luna dog, she began to LOVE.

Now, when it rains, rather than looking downcast, worrying about how many weeds I’ll have to clear in the spring so my house doesn’t instantaneously combust when the fires come-my eyes sparkle.  The property is now one big goat buffet.   I cannot wait for them to arrive!

One of my readers suggested that I contact a goat rescue if one indeed exists.  And, blow me down; one really does exist in California.   I’ll call them tomorrow.

The general contractor arrived to discuss the changes I need to make to the roof to accommodate the solar cells required for me to get off the grid.   I also discussed how we would pump the spring water that bubbles up at the bottom of the property into where the vegetable garden will be.

Anna as Garbo

Last night Anna invited me to a party at her and Mel’s house in East LA.  I was the only man.  It was such a groovy party.  We wrote down on pages of Anna’s old script what we wanted to forget about last year and what we wanted for 2010.  I wanted to forget rather a lot.  My aims for this year are simple and sure.   I stayed a couple of hours, chatted with Jamie Babbitt and some girl who is going to be in the reality version of the L word.

Since writing yesterday how much I had forsaken during the past three decades in pusuit of hedonism I began today to formally grieve.  In pursuit of selfish ends I have destroyed a potentially wonderful career, the chance of a lasting intimate relationship and an enduring happiness.

This is no time for self-pity, however.

Misty View December 2009

My father died when he was only 53 and I like to remember that on his deathbed he would turn, at last, to God.

I’m so glad that I have a God in my life who I trust will show me the way, regardless of whether the route is treacherous or not.  To put ones life in God’s hands is not for the fainthearted.

Tim and Amanda drove from Beverly Hills to sit by the fire with me then we hacked back down the mountain and ate lunch at a raggedy hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant on the Pacific Coast Highway.  It was perfectly delicious.

As we were leaving we complimented the chef who was also lunching but on a plate of boiled hen heads.

The good news:  I can keep goats and hens on the property in Malibu.  I spoke with a very polite lady at the Malibu Council code violation department.

I was expecting a very long conversation, instead, it was very short.

“Can I keep three goats on two acres in the Santa Monica Mountains?”

“Yes.” She replied, adding.  “You can keep 3 goats on your property as long as they’re 50 feet from anything humanly habitable.”

Silence.  She cleared her throat.

“Is that it?”  I said, expecting more.    “Yes.” she replied, “that’s it.”

“I think I may very well be in love.”  I murmured.  She giggled like Marge Simpson.

The last vacation tenants just left the property leaving a rather unpleasant egg smell behind them.   Perhaps they were vegetarians or something.   There was orange peel on the paths and some child had broken a faucet that cost $85 to mend.  I shall take it out of their deposit.

This morning, after breakfast with John and the others, I started my list of things to do for the New Year.  Suddenly I was thinking about yield per acre, chicken coops and chevre.

Malibu house.  The dogs just love it here.  Luna spends hours exploring the garden-just like the Big Dog.  I missed darling Big Dog so much today.  Jerome left pictures of her in the mail box that I could not bear to open.  They remained unopened since Christmas in a large pile on my desk marked ‘urgent things to do’.  I thought I better look at them.

It made me feel sick with grief when I saw her sweet face.

I wish I felt that way about my grandmother.

Anyway, I spoke to a very eager sounding vegetable garden planner, my architect and a lady who lives near Sacramento about buying goats.    Our call was dropped so I’ll call her again tomorrow.  She is a ‘grazing service provider’.  I met the plumber  at the house who mended the faucet and tomorrow, first thing after breakfast I need to make a list-like call Lewis for instance who will reconfigure downstairs so I can start living there in April.

There is just so much to do!  I just need to do it.

At breakfast I confided in John that all my life, my real career has been the maintenance of my addiction and anything else I got up to was a hobby.  Making films was a hobby, making theatre..a hobby.  A distraction from the disease of addiction.

My primary purpose has been the pursuit of selfish pleasure.

Today, I have only good news to report even if Luna trotted out of the long grass covered in ticks.  Everything was very dealable with, not nearly as scary as I expected-and I never once had to take a nap.

Sometime I wake up as if from a nightmare but the nightmare is the day ahead.

Someone commented yesterday that they would rather read about sex than money.  Yet, the same issues spring from both.  Shame, fear and resentment.   When I hang out with my very rich friends I come away feeling like I could have done better.

Most of my rich friends were either born that way or have handsome divorce settlements.

As the New Year approaches I am beginning to worry about what comes next – even though I know that the universe has and always will look me after.  I want more.   Yet, what do I do to get it?   I enjoyed the relatively simple occupation of Reality TV.   Just be oneself and do the work of being oneself.

The conundrum I have always had in sobriety-how can one be ambitious yet with gentle optimism hand over the reigns of ones life to God?  How?

Dinner with Anna last night.  She cooked linguine and aubergine mille feuille.   Delicious.  I tried wearing a huge, Russian inspired ensemble but as it turned out there were only four of us at the table and I felt like a bit of a prat.

When I got back to the car Luna had spent the hour tearing apart the rest of the passenger seat.  Very distressing.

I must confide in you, dear blog, that I am trying to be optimistic about self-sufficiency.  I would prefer to be doing it with some one.  Being on ones own and making another project happen on ones own can be very, very depressing.

So, as well as becoming self-sufficient I may stop paying my mortgage.  The house is worth 30% less than what I paid for it.  Perhaps, like many Americans, I should negotiate a reduction in principle.  Yet, the only way to do that seems to be to force the hand of the bank by not paying ones mortgage.

It’s a miserable option.

Fresh linen sheets.   I love when the cleaning lady comes.  The fresh smells she leaves behind her.   As soon as she arrives I am forced into action.  Clearing, folding and stripping.  The first week she came she broke an 18th century plate.  I was sad but I didn’t really care-my attitude toward other people breaking my stuff is that at least it was used and enjoyed.

There are some exceptions.

I lent a 12-inch Venini handkerchief vase to Korda Marshall when his then wife Felicity had her baby.  They returned it in pieces.  The vase would be worth $11, 000 now.  I wrote to him recently asking him to replace it.  He ignored my email.  Korda is head of Warner Records UK.

I loved that vase, it was a gift from Matilda, Duchess of Argyll and I had carried it from Ardfern in the Scottish Highland all the way home to Whitstable on a bus.  When Richard Green and I first opened the Whitstable Oyster Company we filled it every day with fresh cornflowers.   Of course it could never be properly replaced but occasionally one chances upon one at an auction and would love to buy it.

Still winding down from Sex Rehab.  It feels odd not to have somewhere to go on a Sunday night.   I suppose I have the same feeling of loss that people have described to me here on these pages.   I liked revisiting the Rehab even though it frustrated me.  I liked to remember the process.

So many unexpected doors have opened since I started writing this blog.  Another literary agent contacted me yesterday and I am going to take meetings with them all when I go to New York next week.   I like literary agents.  They are very different from Hollywood agents.  Hollywood agents are like Wall Street traders: crude, indifferent.

I found a short story about the Twin Towers that I had written last year.  I found the first chapter of my novel.  I diligently sent them off to the nice agent Jake B at Rob Weisbach Creative Management.   Now all I have to do is stay out of the result.

After I do the work; it’s none of my business what happens next.   I used to be one of those guys who worried about when he would hear back, when they would read it, see it, make a decision.  Thankfully I am delivered from that particular hell.

I discovered some 13 years ago that my tearing my hair out would not alter the result.

There is absolutely no point in fretting about the outcome.  What will be will be.  I’m not saying that I wasn’t relieved/upset to find out that I had got the grant, was HIV negative, he wasn’t interested etc. etc.  But I saved the feeling for after the fact rather than before it.

The house in Malibu is vacation rented to people from Hawaii who arrived at midnight the day before yesterday.  In the morning I received a flurry of text messages and calls from them claiming that I had scammed them, that the house was nothing like I had described it.  It quickly transpired that they were calling from somebody else’s house.  The following morning, after some testy phone calls,  the Vacation Renter called me to apologize for their foolish mistake.

I am just happy that who’s ever house they were describing never came home.

Goats from Santa Barbra.  Must buy goat.  Why goats?  Well, brush clearance for a start.  The house is situated in the highly flammable Santa Monica Mountains and every year I have to pay $3000 to have the brush cleared around the house.  The last fire stopped 150 feet from my front door.  Goats eat brush.

Also, Birria is a delicious Mexican goat dish.  I love eating goat.   I get to drink goat milk.  Do you remember eating that delicious braised goat on that private, secluded beach with Philippa and Louise on Patmos?  A truly memorable meal.   A man in a shack with a pot of boiling goat.   Delicious.

I have even thought about becoming a vegetarian but I think the deal I will have with myself is this:  If I have grown it or bought or bartered for it from the abundant land then I can eat it.  By the way, I am including vacation rental income in this equation.  I don’t expect to survive on half a pound of plums and a mango.

I wonder how much goats cost?  I have to make these calls on January 1st.   There are over 50 goat-grazing services in California so I don’t think that the acquiring of a goat will be much of a problem.

I have already located a woman who helps plan and plant vegetable gardens.  I have a meeting with her in January so will report then.  Many people have written to me offering advice and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

My lease here in Hollywood expires in April so I have until then to get things into order so I can move back and fully take the reigns of my new Malibu Hill Billy life.

First Year Harvest

My ambition this year is to make the house in Malibu fully self-supporting.

I bought the Malibu house two years ago after selling the property I had owned in Whitstable for nearly thirty years.

The Whitstable house was a slim, 1880’s, three floored, terrace.   Clad in white ship-lap it looked over the Swale and I would sit on my wide, all weather balcony watching the sea crawl over the long, shallow beach.  Sea Gulls wheeling over the ocean, huge cargo boats on the horizon.

The Malibu house could not be any different.   Built in 1972 the house was originally one large family home but had been divided into two apartments in the mid 80’s.

Frankly, it was the ugliest house I had ever seen: Big Sur interior meets Scandinavian sauna.  Acres of dark wood, bad carpet, virulent yellow paint and stained glass windows.   When I moved in I threw away thirty clinking clanking wind chimes.  The downstairs apartment, where I originally moved, was beautifully proportioned and very cozy but upstairs, where I now live, had towering ceilings and mahogany Shindleresq detailing.

By far the most beautiful aspect to the house was the view over the Pacific.  I traded cargo ships for schooners and sea gulls for pelicans.  In February, every year, the great hump back whale migrates across my view.

Isolated

The house is either ‘wonderfully isolated’ or ‘terribly isolated’ depending on who you have visiting.   It was made more isolated in 1984 when a portion of Rambla Pacifico, the road that leads directly to my house, was destroyed in a landslide cutting off hundreds of people from their homes-mine included.  Thankfully, this April, the road will be rebuilt after 26 years.  So, instead of a 7 minute drive through the Santa Monica Mountains from the Pacific Coast Highway it will take two minutes.

Why, you may ask, did you buy the house in the first place?  Well, the house may have been ugly and isolated with no direct road from the PCH but the three acres of garden was an oasis beyond description.    The moment I stepped into that garden I realized that I would have to buy the house.

A long drive, planted with palms and lavender and fruit trees, leads past a deep fish pond to a wide granite path weaving through grandly planned terraces stepping from the top to the bottom of the property.  Under a canopy of Brazilian orchid trees the paths are dappled with sunlight.

In the spring, after the heavy rains, waterfalls gush down rough-hewn gullies and then a miracle happens the arid mountain is transformed, becomes lush with wild flowers and green grass.

Last Years Bananas

There are fruit trees planted all over the property and my first year in the house I harvested bananas, plums, grapefruit, figs, lemons, mangoes, guava, oranges, nectarines, peaches, walnuts and tangerines.

There are foxes, coyote, deer and bob-cats.  There are hummingbirds, hawks, and quail.  At night huge white owls feast on gophers and field mice.

I pride myself on knowing the names of trees and shrubs where ever I live.  I could tell you the name of every species that makes up an English hedgerow.  I knew nothing of native Californian flora and fauna so I threw myself into learning what was what in my new garden. I found Rye, Coast Live Oak, Black Live Oak, Baby Blue Eyes, Morning Glory Wild Lupins and California Poppy to name but a few.

With my possessions arriving from Whitstable I had to make upstairs livable.

The first great simplification!  I painted everything in the huge, upper apartment a pale cream, covered up the stained glass windows, painted the kitchen cupboards a pale blue-gray and one accent wall a Sottsass pink.   I hired migrant workers and planted empty parts of the garden with native grasses and drought resistant cactus and the like.

My furniture arrived from London and seemed to suit it’s new home.

This Summer

My friend Maury Rubin who owns the legendary City Bakery in New York moved into the apartment below and I got hooked to the Internet and the parameters of my Malibu estate.

Today, instead of abandoning Malibu I have decided to move back into my home to enact the second part of this Californian story of how the west was won and hopefully I can take you all along with me.

My intention is this:  to get off the grid, to be fully self-supporting, to grow vegetables and graze goats on the property.  I want chickens and a pig.  I want more than fancy fruit.  I want tomatoes and onions for chutney and green vegetables to keep me moving.  This year will be the year of the great growing and cooking experiment and we’ll throw some personal drama into the pot no doubt-but this year is about growth of the natural and the personal kind and it will all begin on January 1st 2010.

I am quite sure there is a community of market gardeners and goat owners only moments from my house and to whom I am going to reach out and make this dream come true.

I have no idea if I am even allowed to do any of this-or what laws I may break or if any or all of this is possible but that’s what this new blog is for: to bring you along as my trials and tribulations unfold.  I know that you’ll help me,  you’ve helped thus far.   Let’s have another adventure shall we?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,123 other followers