Sunday, 22 November 2015

And another week has passed...

Sorry about that.
Very awkward week - lots of work issues to deal with - non-stop really. Sadly - I earned almost nothing. I don't seem to get paid for project management, client management, crisis management or sorting out other people's problems. I did a day in-house and I've had a conversation with another client about 2 months work over December and January - but it was vague and not particularly secure. I often get people asking me to free up great tracts of time so that a 'phantom' project can be slotted into their timetable - they never come off. 'Checking My Availability' just wastes my time.

The main computer at work died a couple of weeks ago - I sold it for scrap but retained the hard drive as a spare - yesterday I received the replacement - a brand new, top of the range MacMini which is frankly a quite superb little machine. I couldn't actually afford it myself - I was lucky that my brother had a load of unused John Lewis e-vouchers that would cover it and he loaned them to me. The process of converting them into code numbers to use online and then inputting into their system was complex and unnecessarily convoluted - requiring several phone calls. But we got there in the end. I also needed several phone call to Apple to register it properly - and they were actually very helpful, and a protracted 'live talk' with someone in India working for Adobe who was totally out of his depth. Out of sheer kindness I have decided not to complete the 'customer satisfaction' survey they emailed later.

It's working now and I'm delighted with it. I need to get t least 5 years work out of it - It better not let me down. It's going to the studio on Monday Morning. I intend to create a couple of servers with the other hard drives I've retained and run the pretense of having an actual professional studio. Or something.

Cycling to work this week I have noticed that drivers are getting much worse. Also pedestrians. Every day gets worse.

The bar under my studio is now open. I have come to realise I now live in my own episode of Ally Macbeal. There is even a baby in the house.

Last week was overshadowed by the Bataclan tragedy - and the inevitable outpouring of stupidity and thoughtlessness on the internet, I've just had to pull back and not allow myself to get involved.

It's gone very cold. We had about 10 mins of snow yesterday. Later I have to climb up onto the kitchen roof and try and close the studio window that has rusted partly open - or I won't be able to use that room. It's that time of the year when it takes a week to dry socks, or wear them damp.

I seem to be getting a lot of people asking me professional advice at the moment. I should charge, they usually ignore me and go off and make terrible mistakes.

I have to do a lot of washing today - clean the house and deal with some money stuff - or I may do that at work tomorrow where it's warmer.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Spectacularly busy week

Thursday morning - going into work a bit later today. Have managed to get a lot done this week but I have a client in at lunch time so I'm taking advantage of a slow start.

I'm really enjoying work at the moment - it's handy to have something to focus on that is working well for me.

Cycling home at night and it's dark now - which means dealing with the idiots that just step into the road without looking, and then shout abuse at you for 'not' actually hitting them. I read that 4 people ( all over 70 ) died in the last year after being hit by cyclists - and I can believe it - I have to keep one eye on the road and one on the pavement ahead in anticipation of death with pensioners. I've put 2 extra lights on my bike - including one designed to point into the road so cars get an idea of the proximity.

It's still really warm, wetter and windy but around the 14/15 degrees point - almost balmy.

Still have a really bad memory so I'm struggling to remember what I did this week - I went to an event on Saturday - walked through the door - didn't recognise a single face and walked back out again and went home. Being in a room with more than 4 people is still hard work - although to be fair, they looked like they were having a great time.

The bar on the ground floor of the building I have my studio in opens on Saturday night - really looking forward to it - but it will change the profile of the place a bit. I'm a little cautious about the bicycle situation. We have to haul our bikes up and down the stairs and I'm not sure what's going to happen when there are punters milling about - but it looks great and I'm really excited for them. I developed a brand for them and drew an entire typeface for the project, looking forward to seeing how it all works out.

Unfortunately - small dog, despite being in perfect condition and full of life - has taken a downward turn when it comes to bladder control. There is nothing wrong with her (Trust me - she's been to the vets enough times) but ever since she was 'done' she's had no real control over her bladder. I've been mopping up piss for 10 years - now it's up to 4 times a day. The patch of floorboards by the patio doors will never dry and I'm quite sure the house smells bad. I usually mop the dining room with caustic soda at weekends now. The house is damp enough anyway, this just makes it worse. I'm exhausted. She's not helping herself by constantly ripping up the mattress protectors either.

The whole of Hastings smells damp at the moment - the perils of living by the sea - however, this reminded me why I live here. It's still exactly the same.

I have about a dozen outstanding invoices at the moment and no time to chase them - I'm solvent on paper only. Tedious.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

I know... it's been another week...

But I've been busy with work. I've just spent a few days working Inhouse, which I really enjoyed, and a couple of other jobs have come to fruition. A big project I worked on recently - creating a brand for a company that specialises in very high-quality photo restoration and re colourisation is in the news a bit. They just worked on the archive of the discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb - so it's been all over the web. It even got a big splash in the Daily Mail.

Another job required me to draw my own typeface from scratch, again - really enjoyed doing that. I'll post some pics later when I've cleaned it up a bit. The '£' was the hardest.

I've put weight back on, I look fine now - all the exercise (Talking and eating etc) has had the result that both sides of my face work in unison now - a triumph, and with a bit of stubble - I look fine. Even the scars on my back and arm are fading. I'm officially ibn 'rude health' - just a few memory lapses and I still have rubbish handwriting - but I'm even enjoying cycling again.

Despite loads of outstanding invoices - getting money in is harder than usual. My brother has kindly stumped up a loan to buy a new computer but I didn't get enough cash in to cobble all my bills this month - so my mortgage has bounced. I'll have to deal with that on Monday. It's never happened before and actually been my fault. I'll survive etc.

It's still very warm - I'm in short sleeves with the door to the garden open - but it's really wet. The house smells very damp - damp patches on the wall that faces the sea and the floorboards are a funny colour in patches. At some point I need to magic up a lot of money and deal with it all - and address problems with the leak from next door - I don't really want to be harassing a very old, disabled woman to sort out her drains, but it's causing me real grief.

I was tentatively planning on a trip to Wales yesterday to go to a funeral - but I had to work - it would have cost me a fortune and the logistics were impossible.

I'm pretty tired today - I have to work tomorrow so I'm going to just take it easy, do some cleaning and stuff at home. I'm due to go to an event later -a bloke has a massive collection of 70s, 80's and 90's crisp packets and they will be on display with some associated stuff - see how I feel.

My kitchen looks like I have squatters.

Sunday, 1 November 2015


November - and I have the patio doors open. Blue sky, nice and sunny.

Managed to avoid Haloween and now appreciate being headache and hangover free. Walked the dogs earlier and marveled at the debris from the night before - smashed pumpkins in the road and abandoned costume ephemera etc. Papers full of dreary pictures of overpaid celebrities in silly 'sexy' costumes looking bored at dull looking parties somewhere expensive.

There is a baby crying next door  - I still can't figure out how many children they have - it's at least 2, maybe 3. The older one still has hysterical tantrums.

I washed every pair of jeans and trousers I own yesterday - apart from the pair I am wearing and the fly zipper is broken - so I'll be spending the day at home.

Watched a few films last night - hidden in the dining room with the lights at the front of the house turned off - just in case.

Yesterday - the local COOP went into Haloween overdrive. One of them was dressed as a mad scientist and had a badge that said 'Dr Ben Dover'. I was mildly amused to hear the tannoy crackle into life and a voice plead 'Will Hannibal The cannibal please come to the till, shoppers waiting". This turned out to be the slim, shy bloke who always looks nervous and never makes eye contact. I actually think he was enjoying wearing the mask and I'm pretty sure he was smiling. It kinda suited him.

I'm going to move my computer and desk upstairs to the small room later because it's easier to heat in the winter and the lack of daylight doesn't matter now. Might encourage me to finish decorating the front room - although the bay window probably needs knocking down and rebuilding - the ceiling is cracked and looks like it's going to fall and I'm really short of money - so probably not.

None of my expected invoices were paid last week - so I'm in a rather tight spot for the end of the month - and I'm still waiting for confirmation on something that will probably not start until next year - back to being very broke again. I made a vegetarian slow cook sausage casserole that should last 3 days to celebrate.

Awkward work week coming up - need to get some difficult stuff out of the way - not a lot on the horizon at the moment, not really comfortable with the way work is looking and not very much to fall back on - awkward.

I haven't decided what to do today - it may include plumbing, electrical work, cleaning... or just watching films and wishing I was someone else.

Friday, 30 October 2015


Been a busy week - spent a few days working inhouse - long hours but really enjoyed it. One of the projects will have a great deal of local impact when it's announced - I had no input on it myself but it's actually a great piece of work so delighted to be associated in a tiny way.

Additionally - some work I did earlier in the year has been launched now. Dynamichrome are experts at restoration and decolourisation of photography - they are very professional and ethical about it. At the moment they are working on a big historic project that will be quite big news, previously it's been things like the Marylin Monroe archive and civil war stuff for the History Channel - they are here - I've developed a logo and new watermark branding for them, to indicate who they are and indicate photography that's been altered. Really pleased with it all. It will be rolling out properly soon.

Somehow have managed to cause a few cracking arguments online and have been roundly abused by numerous random digital idiots. I'm starting to quite enjoy it. After reading an article about the cook / activist Jack Monroe - who has announced that they are no longer a 'she' but is not yet in a position to be called a 'he' I pointed out that repeated uses of 'they' in a short online article were clumsy, cold and impersonal and just indicated that it was time to probably look at how language is used, and try harder (most online journalism is badly written rubbish). Afterwards, I had literally hundreds of comments, messages and emails that became more and more abusive as people stopped reading the original comment and only ready the one above their own - and was accused of everything under the sun from being transphobic to being a child molester. The strongest word I used in my comment was 'interesting' - and yet there were people out there who made it quite clear that they wanted to kill me, but without actually being able to explain why. One person said that she had a friend who was happy to be called 'it' - and decreed that we should all be called 'it' from now on. Clearly they were never called 'it' at school or they wouldn't be so stupid. I use the internet all day - it's great, but it really brings out the stupid in people.

There is a cat in the studio. There are people staying upstairs in the B&B who are allergic to cats so it's down here for the week. I like cats, but it clearly doesn't want to be here and spends a lot of time crying or throwing its litter tray about. We are all getting a bit annoyed. Smells a bit, too.

It's due to rain today - I'm in the studio early to avoid it - I want to get some stuff out of the way and have a look at my finances - which are a bit of a mess, obviously - even though I am owed money - probably a bit stuck at the moment. The dreaded cash flow. Still waiting to hear about a big job and loads of smaller things to finish so I'm quite tied up. I need to deal with some money stuff that includes me using the phone - not looking forward to that one.

My uncle died a couple of days ago - his funeral is next Friday. Have given some consideration to going - it is in North Wales. Logistics, finances and timing look difficult. I wasn't close to him but I have a lot of time for both of his daughters. His wife, who died some years ago - was lovely.

During the week we needed to send something to Bexhill for a client to review - I offered to cycle - actually quicker than driving. I took the opportunity because I wanted to recreate the journey when I had my accident - I'd been avoiding it. I half expected to find the rusted frame of my old bike at the side of the path - stripped of all the expensive fittings - or have a flashback - but it was fine. I've got that out of the way.

It's basically xmas in Hastings now - the shop windows are already done - pre-bonfire, pre-Halloween. Stupidly early. There is yet another event at the weekend, as well as the 'traditional' Halloween thing - a Herring Fair on the beach - with loads of cooks, retailers, fishermen etc. It never ends.

Monday, 26 October 2015

I'm doing my best here -

- but I really don't have much short term memory now. Let's try again.

I'm working in-house tomorrow - found out at 9pm - some urgent reorganisation needed.

Went to a birthday event yesterday - the main act didn't bother turning up - lots of tension and refunds at the door - quite upsetting. Nearly a fight afterwards due to the doorman being rumbled for taking too much cash - it was bound to happen someday. I had two pints of lager and as a result was up all night. Can't deal with alcohol at all now.

Have developed an amazing talent for causing rows online, without actually getting involved myself. I've become quite balanced and equitable - but somehow people keep shouting at me.

I bought two decent looking Aloe Vera plants for £5 today - less than half price. I had a load but the last really bad winter killed them all. I've always liked them.

Glad of a bit of extra light in the morning but seriously considered going to bed at 6.30pm.

had a bit of a moment today - I was listening to the radio via my computer and the 2pm news came on - but my clock and my phone both said 2.30. seriously thought I'd mentally lost it until I realised iPlayer was on a strange delay.

I keep a Hotmail account so that I can channel purchases etc away from my 'proper' email. Using it today was like being taken back 20 years - I really hate the interface. First time I've lost my temper in months.

My eyesight is noticeably worse now - I'll have to get new glasses - and that means an eye test - which I hated last time.

I'm going to try and wait up until 10pm to try and understand the Tax credit vote - getting simple information online today seems impossible.

I'm owed a decent enough amount of money at the moment - lots of small invoices mounted up - but none of it seems to be coming through and I have no idea if it will be here by the end of the month.

Work was fairly grim today - nothing I'm doing is interesting or creative in any way - like wading through mud. Couple of things are just not happening now - so I'll need to find new work.

More hastings events - we have Halloween to look forward to this weekend and the town gets a bit silly with that - and there will be a large Zombie walk and a big 'Day Of The Dead' Mardi Gras type parade - if you like that sort of thing. I'll probably stay home.

I'm really looking forward to Xmas now - just for a couple of weeks in suspended animation.