Saturday, 30 August 2014


I've had a headache all week, and two flat tyres on the bike. The weather has been a bit rubbish and I need a haircut - however, I'm fairly chirpy and being pragmatic about everything.

A couple of friends are going through the most horrendous personal grief at the moment that has turned their lives upside down - but they are handling it with incredible calm and fortitude - so I can't complain about my little lot.

Work this week has been very hard and tiring, a lot to do, all difficult, and part of it dealing with the most unbearably passive aggressive monster imaginable. I'm not letting it get me down. I'm in work tomorrow and working in-house on Tuesday - next week looks really busy already.

Small dog has gutted the last of my chairs - I give up, now sitting on hard wooden kitchen chairs for the foreseeable future.

Looked out of the window earlier - a neighbour is cleaning out his garage - as I watched he appears to have rediscovered his long forgotten porn stash, work has now stopped.

Someone stole my seagull proof rubbish bag while I was at work. Very disappointed in that.

Friends are selling a really nice two bedroom cottage on top of the West Hill of Hastings at considerably less than market value for a quick sale to pay for emergency medical treatment that's not available on the NHS, literally just re-wired and re-plumbed - 80 foot garden. Anyone interested - email me.

Later this afternoon a Vulcan Bomber will fly over my house - looking forward to that.

Have a new camera back - so I can take photo's again - and the new lenses I bought are great. I'll get the other one repaired when I'm feeling flush - will probably cost more than the camera is worth.

A big arts festival opened last night in Hastings, went to the performance and launch party - much more professional than usual - very good turnout - got told off for talking while a fat bloke was singing - just burst out laughing. I found being in a large crowd really difficult until I'd had a couple of drinks. Had a discomforting episode of face blindness and realised that I'm constantly confusing the husbands of two friends with each other

Whilst Ore Village may be tumbling headlong towards gentrification - what with a shop called 'Simply Vintage' opening (nothing in there is vintage at all, it's just tat painted white and then scuffed) - the local charity shop for the blind being re-painted in Farrow & Ball colours (proper undercoat and everything ), a new Aldi about to open (they sell lobster and champagne now) - I was heartened to see something more familiar. Very overweight middle aged woman in a floaty Summer dress, and a large, half full urine bag taped to her ankle with the tube ascending upwards - must have been worried it would ruin the cut of her garment.

last night a woman I've never seen before said hello to me - and pointed out that I walked past her house every day with my dogs, I went to great pains to assure her that I always pick up after them.

Have been watching a series of documentaries about great cities going through periods of cultural flowering, have watched one on Vienna and one on Paris - the presenter is very good, but I think the BBC have realised he's an 'asset' and are 'sexing up' his role, he's gone from academic and historian to fully groomed sex god in one fell swoop - lots of distracting tableaux, out of focus shots of him in sunglasses and 'fun' sequences. Very distracting.

Senile dog has been staring at me for an hour - no idea what's going on in that head.

George Osbourne was in a building around the corner from my studio on Friday - they kept it very quiet. Listening to Theresa may talking about 'imminent threats' on the radio was depressing - she was trying very hard to sound important, serious and powerful - she just sounded like Janet Brown being Margaret Thatcher. talking terror threats - it's really unhealthy to make us all think that there are monsters lurking everywhere. When I lived in Aldgate and the IRA set of the Bishopsgate bomb, and I watched from my balcony as a giant cloud of smoke filled the sky and pieces of foam insulation snowed down onto my house - I was shocked, but not filled with fear - the only time I've ever been frightened was when I saw a group of black clad policemen with real machine guns on the streets of London.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Bank Holiday Monday

It's the big August Bank Holiday, last gasp of summer - and of course, it's raining. A lot.

Yesterday I managed to surprise myself, and my neighbours - but taking down the front door - filling any holes, sanding it down and giving it a decent undercoat - doing the same to the door frame and also cleaning, stripping and filling the domed roof area above my bay window in anticipation of painting it.

I shall be deciding the exact colour of front door today or tomorrow - initially I thought black, but actually - being pale is quite nice - so probably a grey, the house will be a darkish grey - so something like this -

I bought a new set of kitchen knives, they are exceptionally sharp - for years I've been using the same blunt old things I've had since I was a student - generally my technique for cutting bread has been closer to smashing and tearing - now I've discovered the joy of doing it properly. A revelation.

Had a strange recurring dream last night about school - that I'm supposed to have filled in an evaluation form and sent it back when I left - only 30 years late, I filled it in last night in my dream - it wasn't very positive, have had exactly the same dream about college.

Like everyone else in the UK I watched Dr Who on Saturday - I thought it was OK, as usual the internet was full of pseudo experts complaining that it didn't meet their high standards - they are exactly the same people who will be saying 'best Doctor Ever' in a few months - but having a really strong actor at the helm is a good move.

Talking strong actors - sad to hear about Richard Attenborough, bit of a titan in all things. By coincidence  - I'd just watched 'In Which We Serve' before I heard he'd died which contained his first screen role as a cowardly sailor who redeems himself after an act of very British Mercy (from Noel Coward, obviously) - and he clearly lights up the screen - I was surprised it was his first role - he comes across as quite magnetic and with a more intense, modern and honest acting style than anyone else in the film. Of course the news reports are full of all his 'big films' - but my favourites are the smaller ones - 'Seance on a Wet Afternoon', 'A Severed Head', 'The Angry Silence', 'The League of Gentlemen' and 'The Flight of the Pheonix'. Basically - the entire span of modern British cinema from start to finish in one performer/director.

As I'm stuck at home all day - I'll be forced to tackle things that I've let slip - this may include paying bills, doing paperwork, washing, cleaning, fixing things that are broken (I repaired a leather bag yesterday with some special glue and a big needle - I deserve an award for such practical prowess!) Couple of films I want to catch up on hanging about in the background - and some planning, I might find myself double booked soon, not much I can do about that - and I can't afford to turn down either job.

Here are some pics of 'Dickie' in my favourite films - I might have a dig about in my DVD's later to See what I can find and watch one later.

Seance on a Wet Afternoon

The League of Gentlemen

In Which We Serve
The Angry Silence

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Saturday Morning

When someone comes towards you in a field at 7am with an off-lead Akita and tells you "it's OK - he's friendly" - you already know he ain't. People who can't control their dogs or take responsibility for them should be shot on sight *only a very slight exaggeration there*

It's going to be a nice day - tomorrow will be cooler - but with less wind, so I'll cycle then - Monday will be wet,may actually go into work.

I finished this week off in a good mood - in fact, I can't remember being in such a good mood for no tangible reason. In the morning I went past Debenhams - they are having a sale, so I had a look at the Levis, I only wear one style - 30% off... quite pleased about that so bought 2 pairs, at the till she took another %20 off - so half price. Cheered me u no end!. Worked hard yesterday - didn't even lose my temper in the afternoon when a 4 hour upload crashed at 95% - took it home, managed to send it from my superfast home broadband in less than 20 mins.

There is a month long arts festival in Hastings starting this weekends - Coastal Currents - an artist is fixing a large wire sculpture to the front of our building with a giant cherry picker - it wasn't going very well and there was much crying and shouting - I decided to keep out of things and left them to it.

A quick shout out to Bill, who reads this blog and his random act of kindness yesterday - it was very good of him.

I have a conundrum - I posted a link to a house I wanted to buy about 10 days ago - it may actually be more feasible than I thought - I'm going to spend the weekend thinking about it very carefully.

Postman trued to deliver a parcel at 8am while I was dog walking  - they NEVER come that early - I think it's my camera body. Annoyed about that, weekend would have been a useful time to tinker.

Today will be mostly practical stuff, cleaning - washing, looking at videos of funny cats on the internet etc. I might go for a bike ride later - all this extra exercise is really doing me good. I had a letter from the doctors surgery yesterday asking me to go in for a health check - they probably do theses things based on age - I can't stand that surgery - I'd be curious to know if the doctor who insisted I was depressed when I wasn't is still there. The receptionists were horrible to me as well.

Vaguely thinking about stripping paint off the stairs... probably won't get that far.

Friday, 22 August 2014


Today, I was weak. I came into work at 7.45am - so by 8am I'd eaten an egg MacMuffin, 2 hash browns and a coffee. I'm ashamed of myself. I even paid with a debit card.

Still consumed by rage at the death of my camera. I bought a new camera body last night - and a couple of cheap 'faux' macro lens fittings. Buying the body was cheaper than buying an add-on viewfinder that would have bypassed the broken LCD screen. madness. I had already wasted the best part of 2 evenings trying to get help online (the company website was so user un-friendly I nearly lost the will to live), it just seemed like the only practical thing to do. I can 'buy' a download of the repair manual for £20, or pay the same amount to ask an independent engineer the questions I already know the answers to. Later on, I will probably get 'my' camera repaired - I really liked it - and I have a selection of good lenses and a decent bag. I'm angry because, like most things, I've looked after it carefully - it was in mint condition. On the whole internet I could only find one person who had experienced the same problem - and they managed to get it repaired 'no questions asked' because it was still in warranty. The bloke sitting behind me at work has a camera that's older than my dad would have been, takes perfect pictures - I have a selection of good SLR cameras at home, but I need digital for work.

Just down the hill from me in Clive Vale there is a - or was - a small house on a prominent corner. It's all large, well maintained Victorian family houses with nice gardens around there, a very popular area - typical seaside - lots of Yuccas and Cordelines and gardens full of the lurid coloured border plants that the English love so much. This house was single storey and not particularly nice - but in a brilliant spot with great views and a lovely large garden all the way round. It was sold last year, the new owners put some extra foundations and footings around the house about 6 months ago - and a couple of weeks ago  knocked the entire house down except one internal room (looks like just the airing cupboard, and a chimney breast. The have now built the frame of a very large modern house with an extra floor on top - I think this counts as 'improvements;' rather than 'new-build' and is a sneaky way to get around planning permission. It's a huge house and dominates the whole area. I see people walking past staring at it with real anger in their eyes. talking houses - now that the wrecked house on the end of my road has been finished (someone in there already - so it must be rental) - the old lady two doors away is having the front of her house painted today. It's now just me that's letting the whole street down. I saw the old woman next door last night trying to do her shopping. She can barely walk - I told her not to try that again and just ask me to go for her.

One of my better clients is in India for 10 days from today, with loads of my work - they are in licensing and have a lot of business out there - this could actually be quite a big turning point for them if it goes well, I've spent most of this week on projects for them - I like working with licensed product, it's difficult and very hard work - and people are quite snotty about it - but it makes a lot of money and employs a lot of people. I see people in the studio looking over my shoulder as I work on illustrations of kittens and monkeys riding bicycles and I'm sure they think I'm strange or took a wrong turn somewhere in my professional career. I'm expecting a delivery of a large box of kids stationary and accessories from competitors later - that should be fun.

In addition - I'm working on high end light bulb packaging that's going to end up in Heals, at least I'm not going to get the two jobs confused.

Working with kittens all day... I suppose it distracts me from the news - I'm trying very hard not to engage with the outside world at the moment - too grim.

I wish I hadn't eaten that muffin, I actually feel dirty now - the inside of my mouth is coated with a bad taste - I'm going to brush my teeth