Sunday, 19 February 2017

Sunday

When I came home from work on Friday night, the fridge had died. I'd only just cleaned it. It was 10 years old and had been quite expensive. Most of my friends expressed sunrise that it had lasted that long. In my house - nothing is allowed to last less than 30 years. I was, and still am, quite pissed off.

Had a long and complicated - but reassuring conversation with a mortgage advisor on Friday as well. Quite a lot to think about there.

I went out 'socialy' last night. Something I seldom do now - it was partly associated to a work thing. I bought myself and my mate Ian who is doing digital work for me a pint - that was a tenner. later when we were joined by friends at a much cheaper place - I bought a round of 4 drinks for fifteen pounds. That's £25quid all together. I could have cried. I can't get that out of my head - I can live for a week on 25 quid if I need to - and bought 25 cans of lager from the supermarket if drink was a necessity.

Last night I managed to get paella rice mixed up with risotto rice. It was actually quite nice.

Shaved my head and beard yesterday, now have about 4 days of looking deathly unwell until something grows back. Also, seem to have put on a little weight (wore a jacket for the first time in ages last night and it was a 'struggle')

Quite a bit of work to do this week - plenty of new stuff booked but not 'here' yet - which is a really worry. It needs to hurry up.

I have to work out how to get rid of the rodent behind the plasterwork without actually killing it. It's started digging holes in the kitchen floor.

Bumped into a neighbour who told me that the old guy across the road has started to go senile and his family are very concerned that he can't live alone any more - he has quite a large house, presumably if he goes into care they will have to sell the house to pay for it. New tenants have moved into in the house directly opposite - they have taken to standing in the window watching me. I'll have to start pulling the blinds. I presume they will get bored eventually.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

ups and downs

Today started in a panic. Somehow the Google drive that I use to communicate between my various hard drives and phone etc decide to wipe itself - after some stress and a very panicked cycle ride home to collect a laptop - I was able to retrieve everything, in a fashion - from a waste bin via an apple cloud link - if this all sounds contrived and complicated. Imagine how I feel. I had about 4 hours of piecing things together - and reconciling multiple copies. All these digital drives are supposed to help us. I can assure you, they don't. I really did think I'd lost 20 years of records, passwords, logins and invoices. I have absolutely no idea what happened.

In other news, after some stressful checking of numbers - I discovered that I am finally below the 80K mark on my mortgage. In fact, I probably am now in less debt and with more equity than at any time in my adult life since I became a home owner. Probably by quite a margin. Not that it helps.

I put a load of stuff on Ebay today - sadly, many of the very good art and design books I've collected over the years appear to have lost all their value - I suspect it's because you can easily get complete copies online, scanned and fully downloadable as PDF's - for free - from Pinterest, Tumblr and Flikr. Most disappointing. And frustrating.

I'm not having much luck with mortgage and financial advisors - they don't seem too bothered. I'm clearly not talking about enough money.

I watched the first episode of Blakes' 7 earlier today. It was pretty terrible. Not what I remembered at all.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Tuesday

Yesterday I was in London. It was essentially a school reunion. My two best friends from school - their children and one husband etc. It was very nice, actually - better than I expected. We spent the afternoon in a very posh Weatherspoons in Chancery Lane - Judges and Barristers kept walking past with their wigs on. They have both confounded nature and lack of nurture and become ridiculous over achievers - highly skilled and paid professionally - all 3 of us have Masters degrees - one has a PHD, and a BAFTA - both are happily married to former sports stars and their children are fantastic too - one is studying politics at the LSE, one is a radio DJ (at 17...) and one is the head of marketing for a major UK charity. I had very little to bring to the table. They both looked younger than me too, by quite a margin. By coincidence - my best friend here - who is a film maker - is in Manchester filming something Pinter for the BBC and met up with the radio DJ daughter at the same time (she interviewed him on-air once).

It was a lovely, warm, sunny day and I kind of missed London a bit. I always feel very comfortable there anyway. Even the trains were fast and on time. Being half term there were families and children everywhere doing 'fun' stuff - and I got off at Waterloo East which is probably a much better Station to use than London Bridge. I'l bear that in mind.

Sadly - it was inevitable that we would talk about Robert - my best friend from school, who took his own life in his early 20's because a woman he had fallen in Love with treated him quite badly. The last time I saw him they were together and he was glowing. I still feel some grief for him all these years later.

Lynda and Amanda are the only two people from 'there' who I still talk to - aside from very close family - and I'm happy to keep it that way.

It cost £23 return to London - almost 2 hours each way - and good value for money. It cost £8.50 to get a cab from the station up the hill to my house - 3 mins. And the drivers was, as usual - a miserable, prejudiced git.

Back home and I have more grief on that I can handle at the moment - I've been trying to get a decent financial advisor to talk about what I might be able to do with my mortgage going forward when the fixed rate period ends - and I honestly think I'm going to have to face some pretty hard choices soon. I can't do anything practical about that missing chunk of time and earnings. I'm getting pretty depressed about it now and not sleeping at night. I need to grit my teeth and take some practical advice. The stress is starting to effect me at work - and I really don't need that. Getting by on a day to day basis and paying the bills while I try and build the business back up again is exhausting enough -m but I still can't pay that old tax bill and I really need money for the house urgently. I'm not in a position to take stupid risks (not in my nature anyway) so I need to find some solution soon.

Over the weekend I watched (in the background) the original first and second series of 'Survivors' from the 1970's. It still holds it's own very well.

I had a tesco cheese sandwich earlier and it's really making me feel ill. It's Valentines day. As usual - I have not received anything. I'll probably get home and find something from a Baliff.


Saturday, 11 February 2017

Saturday

A day at home, freezing cold all day - woke up to about an inch of snow and a few hours of sleet. Deeply unpleasant.

Came face to face with the thing living in the space behind the plasterwork. It's much bigger than I expected, and bolder. It's certainly not a mouse. I could do without this.

Last night I went out for a drink with a client and met up with people we both new. I had forgotten my wallet so I needed to borrow a tenner from the bar downstairs. I really enjoyed it. I used to work with one of them 25 years ago and another - who I didn't know, recognised my name for a photographic book credit. It was very nice to be out with people, I'd do it more often but it's expensive and I don't enjoy drinking now.

I'm going to be in London on Monday so I'll be in the studio all day tomorrow. I have a 'date' with my two oldest friends - I went to school with both of them and although we seldom meet we are in almost daily contact via social media. We all 'escaped' from Wales and did something with our lives so we have that bond. One has a PHD and a BAFTA, the other is head of drama at the top private girls school in the UK. They are both happily married and have very high achieving children. I'm looking forward to it - but not the cost of traveling and anything I spend on the day - but I'm under strict instructions not to bale out.

Work is going really well and I'm getting good reactions from people - part of me is quite confident that things are improving but I'm really having too work at it - very little continuity or stability. I'm going to change my website in a couple of weeks and try and get more time to market myself and push some new work. There are some money issues in the background that are really worrying me but I'll think about them in the studio tomorrow - I'm too tired today and I need to sleep tonight.

Last night I had a conversation with someone I know who has a very large, very nice house - and an interest only mortgage on 1.5% - he pays about £150 per month. I dream about things like that - the value of their house has rocketed and he's able to spend money on it. I know several people in the same lucky situation. Came away feeling a bit doomed.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Thursday

Long day - running on empty. Had a catch up with my mate who got married in Boston 2 weeks ago. Lovely to see him. Bought him poached egg on toast as a wedding present. Todays classic spellchecker accident - computer changed 'tangerine' to 'tangerine' - I didn't notice until too late. It also changed 'went to bed' - 'to wet the bed' (I went to bed with my socks on last night because it was cold and woke up still wearing my cycle clips)

I'm trying to get an appointment with a mortgage specialist next month - he's highly recommended - to try and work out what to do next. Kinda clutching at straws there - all I really need is a consistent, reliable income.

As an aside to my last post - I know quite a few people in publishing, many of whom worked 'properly' with TPT and all of whom (and they are generally not very charitable types) thought a great deal her - one posted this on Facebook. It's incredibly sad.



Wednesday, 8 February 2017

TPT.

I found myself feeling incredibly sad about Tara Palmer Tomkinson’s death. I saw a photograph of her a few weeks ago wearing a terrible wig (nobody wears a wig like that for fun) and looking really unwell - having lost all the subcutaneous fat from her face, she looked haunted - despite the party clothes and big smile. She was a strange one - it’s pretty clear she suffered from a form of manic depression - she’s talked about it herself and had the kind of addictive personal and desperate need to please and be part of something that I recognise from my mother. She just wanted to be liked. I don’t have any problem with her being rich and connected, that’s just as much of an accident of birth as being born poor. She was always ‘doing’ something. I particularly remember her on TV a few years ago - presenting her new career as a singer/songwriter. She wasn’t too bad, played the piano well, the song was OK, as were her voice. The video was mildly entertaining but uninspired, she talked about it with pride and some satisfaction but clearly knew it was just ‘ok’ and she was no great talent. I had the impression that she was always trying to do something for herself, to make people like her for her own achievements and talents, even though she clearly had so little to offer..

Years ago she was on the Patrick Keilty show in Ireland and came on later than she had expected, gave a good interview and then pointed out that she had to leave because she’s miss her flight and was working in London the next morning. Keilty kept trying to make her stay and mocked her for needing to leave when she clearly didn’t need to work - and that’s the problem. She was either very, very photogenic - or looked like a complete car crash and that kept the gossip columns very happy. Obviously she was responsible for her own actions, as he could have retired to the country and painted landscapes - but people like her, with her problems - really don’t have anywhere else to go. We are what we are. One slight aside - and this is a bit oblique - another reason why I liked her, was that she was almost certainly the only woman of her generation who lived in the media, but refused to have her body ‘improved’ with silicone. It did her great credit. Sadly - I think I always knew she’d ‘never make old bones’ as my mother used to say. And even more sad, I doubt that she was ever happy, all the money in the world can’t fix that. For smeone who has spent their whole life - being ‘alive’… facing death must have been very hard.