Tuesday, 29 July 2014


Tuesday morning.

I overslept for some reason - not sure why - no particular cause - I considered staying home until lunch but boredom got the better of me. I eventually left at about 9 - just down the main road from me is a Salvation Army charity shop - they had a very large white globe light fitting with the original chrome ceiling parts - about 25cms - for £2. perfect for my bathroom - so I bought it and went back home. While I was there I had a look at the render repairs to the front of my house. I haven't painted the house yet (Can't afford to). There were a lot of cracks at the front of my house that came through in the last couple of years - mostly due to poor repairs from 1986 - when there was a fire ( I didn't know about the fire until earlier this year - the estate agent kept that quiet) I'm pretty sure that the bay at the front of my house is still moving and will need to be knocked down and replaced. I just can't afford it. As you can imagine. I'm quite pissed of.

It's warmer than I expected and I'm in the office sweating. I'm still waiting for feedback on work I did last week - and 6 of the 7 jobs I've been waiting for the go-ahead on are probably not happening (at least for me). I'm about to go and collect something from the post office, it's a gift from a client I did some work for but refused to charge - probably a bottle of wine - I am kinda hoping that my good will gesture leads to something else. I am working on some packaging that's going to be in Heal's. Quite pleased about that.

The sun is now much hotter than I expected and I'm wearing the wrong clothes. Today can't get much worse. Can't face checking my bank balance.

Monday, 28 July 2014


Monday Morning.

I've come into work very early (7.30am) in a bid to get plenty done, it's due to rain later and I'd like to avoid that - but quite nice outside now - although just up the coast there have been phenomenal storms since 6am, apparently with flooding in parts of Hove and a friend has already set me photographs of an inch of hail, and told of every car and burglar alarm in the area being set off by thunder.

I cleaned the house thoroughly yesterday - and did about 10 loads of washing, it is all now pristine. In an attempt to relax I forced myself to do nothing in the evening. I hated it. Really frustrating.

For the last few months I've been half-joking about how senile Alfie Greyhound has become over the last year - this morning it really hit home just how far he's gone. He really is out of it most of the time. Grumpy, surly, wilful and belligerent - or just vacant, and asleep for about 22 hours a day, but not looking like he's resting much. I'll do some proper research later - not too sure what I can do to help him.

Vaguely thinking about my next bike ride. I'm perfectly capable of cycling to Brighton in about 2 hours 20 mins - I 'could' get the train home from there - or see how I feel about cycling back again, alternatively - I could cycle to Dungeness, although apparently you have to be careful of the wind off the sea - if it's against you either way - you're in trouble. Another alternative is the Denge Sound Mirrors which I've always been interested in - I'll pick a good day and take a decent camera.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday morning

 Another scorcher.

Yesterday - I got above myself and decided to cycle to Eastbourne. I left the house at 8.45 and to my delight managed the journey in exactly 1 hour and 10 mins. It's a lovely ride, mostly along the beach - made better by the spectacular weather.

I really like Eastbourne - much to the mockery of many people I know. Whilst Hastings may have a reputation as the Dalston of the South Coast (I'm still not convinced by the 'Shoredich on Sea' moniker) - Eastbourne is much like the bywaters of Kensington and Chelsea. Posher, cleaner, brighter and more moneyed. Large Victorian and Georgian houses, much better maintained, better gardens - public and otherwise, little roads of mews houses that would have been for staff and horses etc - and interestingly - the main seafront road is smaller and narrower - so the buildings are very close to the sea - and it's not the main road, unlike Hastings which can fit 4 lanes in between the beach and the hotels. Hastings has a shabby charm, Eastbourne has a bit of polish. It's also bigger, but seems calmer. It even has an area called 'Little Chelsea'. I realised later that the key difference is the windows - in Hastings, everyone has cheap, replacement PUV windows on the old houses, in Eastbourne - they have made more of an attempt to match the original sash or gone for secondary glazing.

Exactly 1 hour, 10 mins - Pier to Pier
I locked my bike up in the centre of town, which was already packed with people as there seemed to be a pagan festival on, drummers, marchers and a sinister walking Wicker man. First stop was the 'Museum of the Shop' - which is pretty fantastic but really badly run, very amateur with a terrible website. They don't take cards - cash only, but there are a few gems in the small shop. If you get the chance and are interested in graphics, packaging or the social history of Britain - have a
go. It's worth the effort. £6 per ticket might sound pricey, but it's a great place for research.

The Wicker Man, for some reason.
Terrible mannequin in a brilliant museum
One of the many room sets at the Museum of the Shop
After that - The Towner - a wonderful new museum (but with a rubbish shop) and the Peggy Angus show. I really loved it, because she was essentially a designer rather than an artist - which coloured everything she did, including her palette. Really great space for the show - lovely views from the windows, including Queens tennis club and the south down through the windows of the cafe. They also had a show of domestic design including work by Ravillious, Wedgewood and Ascher - that included the most fantastic giant printed fabric panel by Henry Moore.

Giant Henry Moore Wall panel for Ascher Textiles


Shortly after that - a  trip to Camilla's vintage bookshop and a spend of about £9 for a bag of great retro graphics. I bumped into one of my old students and his wife who were visiting their families from Leicester where the wife is a doctor - and had a good catch up. He was eventually one of the best students I ever had and won a number of international awards - despite the first encounter I had with him that started with him telling me 'I can't do this'

One of my finds at camilla's - fantastic typeface that I shall be investigating further
After that - a walk around Eastbourne and then a more adventurous ride home around Sussex, including Cooden ( a dreary hell hole of trimmed lawns, million pound houses and perfect shrubbery - the very atmosphere of genteel retirement sucking the air out of my lungs) - an accidental trip about 10 miles in the wrong direction on an A road at high speed to Hooe, not recommended - I passed a dead fox and momentarily saw it's features merge with my own, and then Bexhill - a posh little seaside town with a great art gallery but an odd population of people waiting to die and people waiting to live. That whole town is about waiting - as I arrived I could see that the streets were lined with thousands of people and no traffic - apparently there was a motorcycle event of some scale expected - but after about 20 mins waiting, during which time I bought a homeless man a can of pop and ate a mars bar - nothing was happening so I gave up. Leaving thousands of people with beers in their hands. Waiting.

People in Bexhill, waiting... presumably for death.

I arrived back in Hastings at about 3.30pm, after about 70 miles of cycling - feeling pretty good. Hastings is now on full carnival week mode and the town and beaches were packed with people, many in some strange costume. Street music, drinking (as usual ) and stalls in the streets. I saw someone I knew and congratulated them on their 4 pieces in the Sussex Open at the Towner I'd seen earlier - and bought an old 1960's galvanised metal bin from a junk shop. I think Hastings has become a town for everyone in London who wants to find somewhere to live where they don't feel the need to apologise for their alcoholism.

By the time I got home I was exhausted - not from all the cycling, it was the last 10 mins trying to cycle up my hill. It kills me every time. I had a quiet night at home - could have gone to the cinema but I was too tired - and my face is a bit red from all the sun. Need to clean the house today - lots of work on tomorrow, might go for another bike ride later - feeling surprisingly fit.

A friend went to see Gillian Anderson in 'Streetcar Named Desire' last night - I had planned to go myself - I love this play - but apparently it wasn't great, although she's an actress herself so I can never believe a word she says.

Thursday, 24 July 2014