Sunday, 22 May 2016


Long and event full week.

1. Worked in Brighton

2. Dealt with other peoples grief, every day

3. Picked up some new work

4. Did a lot of cycling

5. Put on some weight

6. Forgot to pay my council tax

7. Chopped down a tree

8. Got a ticket to meet Jeremy Corbyn

9. drank too much tea

10. Had a small explosion

Working in Brighton was great, the dynamic of that office is probably the best I have ever worked in - really nice people who know what they are doing and everyone in the right job. Makes a nice change. As an aside, I also read that COOP have reverted back to their original logo from the 1960’s - a wise move. I’ve worked on quite a few COOP projects and the branding and concept of ‘Co-operative’ really doesn’t work - the new version by North is much better.

Dealing with other people’s shit is really pissing me off - it’s a daily occurrence. Additionally - everyone expects me to just roll over and be submissive all the time - if I ever stand up for myself - they think I’m being unreasonable. People can just fuck off.

Cycling has been good - feeling quite confident on the bike at the moment - gearing up to a much longer weekend bike ride when the weather improves. The new Pier in Hastings has officially opened with a day of events and a concert by Madness - it was very loud, you could hear it from my house - I have no problem with that. It’s clearly a success as people have already started finding things to moan about. Typical Hastings.

I have put on enough weight for me to be thinking I could lose a bit - a good thing and a bad thing at the same town. I’ve given up nearly all dairy - just milk and cheese left now, sometimes. I probably eat too much bread.

I forgot to pay my council tax  - that’s rally pissed me off - I’m going to be really short at the end of the month - if I don’t get some invoices paid - I won’t be able to pay my mortgage. Something that I’ve been close to before - but has never actually happened. Yet.

I chopped down most of the Photinia in my garden - too bloody big, and I’m probably going to chop down the cherry laurel - same problem, in the wrong place - vulnerable to the wind now and just in the way. I hate chopping stuff that’s healthy - I’ll mull some more. The soil is so shallow in my garden that if it gets wet - things just wash away as the water hits the clay base and turns the garden to soup, my bay tree is held up by lanyards at the moment.

Jeremy Corbyn will be in Hastings on Tuesday - as a labour party member I had the chance to apply for a ticket to be there - which I have. I don’t really like him at all for a lot of reasons, but I’m going to see what he’s like in the flesh.

I’m constantly drinking tea at the moment - I’m sure it’s not healthy.

On Friday evening, I came home from work and just fancied chips and a film. I put the oven on and sat down (with a cup of tea) when there was a loud bang and a very bad electrical smell - and all the fuses blew. It was obviously something kitchen related - so after a night in the dark watching something I had on my laptop as the battery died before an early night (8.30pm) - I spent saturday trying to fix it. Inevitably I ended up stripping the kitchen, pulling all the plasterboard down and discovering that the electrical supply for my large range cooker came from the same cable as all the downstairs sockets. I’ve managed to re-wire the kitchen now - at some point soon I’m going to have to fit a new cable from the consumer unit into the kitchen to power the cooker (it’s off, obviously). This house is constantly finding new ways to piss me off - it needs a complete re-wire. Today I finally decided to strip out a couple of dodgy and poorly positioned sockets and replace some light switches. I will hopefully be able to replace a lot of the poor cabling over the summer and make things safer. Same with the plumbing. Assuming I don’t get repossessed. I even moved the box for the broadband cable - it used to be in a cupboard upstairs - the engineer wrote 'is in the closet's the chit - and whenever I log onto my broadband account - the legend 'in the closet' appears.

The studio is being fumigated over this weekend - we had a large rug in the middle which turned out to be totally infested with moths - and they have all come to life at the same time. I have quite a bit to do next week, and quite a lot to worry about. At least I have lights, a washing machine and a fridge now - I can live of cold food through the sumner until I've re-wired the kitchen. Obviously - the kitchen now needs complete redecoration, it will just be bare brick and battens by the time I'm finished - I hope to be able to afford T&G. When I re-wire I'll be able to connect the new hot water unit I bought, so that's something. I have a slow cooker - so tonight I had a very hot and spicy bean casserole.

Picked up a copy of 'The Letters Of Martha Gellhorn' in Oxfam - dunno when I'm going to get the chance to read it. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Tuesday afternoon

The weather is lovely - I ate a bag of chips on the pier at lunch time - it’s not going to last - so I decided to make the most of it.

I have just finished a very difficult project in Brighton, working in-house. I had to work incredibly hard and really use my head. Last night at about 10pm I received an email from my client thanking my for the work I had done and the help I’d given them. That never happens - I was very touched. It’s one of the few places I work in that has a really healthy working environment. Just the right skill balance and good relationships between each employee - I wish more companies were like that.

On the way home I caught a train from Brighton station that was overtaken by harmless but loud and intimidating football supporters. At least I had my book to read.

I’m really tired today - not surprisingly - I did 4 days work in two - I’m probably going to finish early as I came in at 7.30 and have already managed to pull together a couple of weeks new work - So I’m less fretful at the moment - I need to go home and have a break for a couple of hours while the sun is still shining.

Being in Brighton yesterday was very strange. They have occasional very sunny days where everything seems much brighter and cleaner than usual - dazzling. The office is in a part of Brighton I like and am very familiar with and there is lots to see and do that’s always new and exciting. Sometimes I forget all the bad stuff about Brighton and really miss living there. I felt very much at home for some of the time I was there. In particular - coming into the station from a long day at work always made me feel better.  I could never afford to live there again and don’t suppose I shall ever want to - but a big part of me belongs there ( well - my 30’s). I spoke to two people I knew last week who just talked about the financial help their parents had given them to buy property - they were actually quite smug about it. I just grit my teeth.

I think I may do some more garden clearance - it’s very crowded now - the yucca closest to the house is going to flower again this year - thee size of the new stem for buds and the speed at which it has grown is quite alarming.

I have to spend Friday in Bexhill - it’s a work appointment - I’m looking forward to it and I’ll need to prepare. A new person is moving into the studio shortly so there will  be a bit of a change around during the bank holiday weekend (I’d forgotten we had another one) and then it’s the Europe Vote - I still can’t get my head around that one actually happening.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Another long week.

I've been working in Brighton - I don't mind commuting in the summer - it's easier to manage the dogs and getting up very earlier to walk them properly is a pleasure. I also like being able to read on the train - I'm half way through 'Notes on a Scandal' at the moment which is a much, much better book than I expected.

Some work of mine has been in a design fair in New York, bulb packaging - apparently it’s gone down really well and attracted interest from Bloomingdales - I’ll find out more next week. I’m in Brighton on Monday finishing off a fiendishly difficult project that has required me to think very, very hard and create a lot of complex problem solving solutions at speed - so I’m quite tired at the moment. Yesterday a client came down from London and O had to spend time showing him around town - and later I went with friends for a quiet drink, they work in film and one of them spent the previous evening filming Iggy Pop. Kind of makes my life look a bit dull.

I went home and watched a film, and avoided Eurovision - which I loathe with a passion, I hate the parody that it has become and it makes me really angry.

On Thursday night I ran the for at an acoustic musical event in the bar below my studio - it was really good - the singer (Katey Brooks) actually could sing. They are hoping to continue with more ticketed events like that one - the area is really improving now and businesses are keen to move in - not gentrification, but realisation of it’s potential.

The big 1930’s modernist house at the end of my road is being clad in an insulation material before rendering. It’s a shame, it will change the building and make it unrecognisable - but I have a great deal of sympathy for them - they have been trying to maintain that house for years but it’s exposed to the sea and is probably very cold inside, and damp. The owners seem to be very design conscious - I’ll reserve judgement and wait to see how it turns out.

As it’s Sunday - I need to do a ‘long’ dog walk (It’s sunny - so that will be a joy) and clean the house - do a load of washing and potentially a lot of gardening. I am not thinking about money until I have finished the work in Brighton - so that’s possibly Tuesday - after that I will have a hard look at the end of this month - which isn’t looking great.

Yesterday - in one of my now only occasional ‘bad brain’ moments - I asked someone for a ‘nail gun’ when actually I wanted a hammer. It made perfect sense to me at the time.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

A long week

Despite being a 'short' week  it's been very 'long'. I managed to get a lot done - loads of very difficult and badly paid work - nearly everything done and dusted - hopefully clear the decks by the end of Monday. Then perhaps I can look forward a bit - whatever that means,.

One thing I did last week was to go out for a ‘proper’ drink after work on Friday - 3rd time in a year - actually really enjoyed it. Didn’t cost much and I had to get up on Saturday to work - but it was fun. A friend had an exhibition of his new paintings and managed to sell nearly all of them, so we all went for a drink afterwards.

One good thing this week is the huge increase in people along the seafront and walking through Claremont thanks to the new Pier - it’s great - really good for the local businesses. I’s like being in a new town. A couple of places have already started improving their presentation in that area and a new bar is opening already just opposite.

I seem to have found myself in one of those stupid work situations where I’m basically working for free to support a client who is out of totally out of their depth and going to fail if they don’t wake up to marketing and presenting their business properly - I think that ultimately - he’s a really nice guy and great at what he does, and deserves to succeed - but needs to wake up to the world.  I’m trying to turn this round for myself so I can create something I’m proud of and can show people - it’s in my interest that it looks good and succeeds - but I might be fighting a losing battle. Dunno how I keep getting into these situations.

I’ve re-written the opening paragraph of my website about 20 more times this week - it’s starting to make more sense, still not happy. I’ll probably be retired or dead by the time it goes properly live.

There was quite a big queue when I went to vote this week - but in the end the turnout was quite low - there was almost no real change in the political landscape, but there were a surprisingly large number of votes for my local 18 year old Conservative candidate and the UKIP candidate.

This has appeared at the bottom of the road - I cycle past it on the way to the studio, the building next door (big Victorian villa) is being converted from an old people’s home to some kind of multiple occupancy place - I think it’s for single mums. Which is odd - as there are no shops here and it’s at least a 20 min walk to buy a pint of milk.

I cycled to Bexhill yesterday, I really don’t like this new bike at all - the seat has become loose as the clip holding it in place has already broken - it needs servicing again - I left it at the studio but really need to spend half a day on it.

Might have a new client this week - they contacted me last week and I’m waiting for them to set up a meeting. A load of design work is going to be taken to New York on Tuesday for the big design fair - I really enjoyed doing all the new lightbulb packaging for Dyke and Dean, hopefully production will go smoothly. Went really well last time when we only did 4 - but there are 18 different bulbs in 4 colours this time - quite a lot of logistics involved and thinking about how people buy bulbs - a surprising number of bulbs are returned because customers have bought the wrong one - I’m trying to design that ‘out’.

Finally put a bit of weight back on, feel better for it. Bumped into the husband of the woman who lives up the road who nearly won the Booker Price (and probably will eventually) - he was someone who saw me less than a week after my accident and was pretty complimentary about how much better I look now, that cheered me up - still can’t really remember anything from last year.

It might get as hot as 30 degrees later today - I’d forgotten what that felt like - I spent the whole of last summer in bed - It’s quite a shock to the system - but I’m not complaining.

Monday, 2 May 2016

2nd post of the day.

I made a point of not going out in the end, I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I cleaned up a computer hard drive and made a lot of lists - not as easy as it sounds.

I spent quite a lot of time on the internet trying to gather information on adding a tie to the front of my house to support the bay window. It’s quite clear that the bay is being pushed forward because of damage in the fire of 1986 - the repair work had been hidden and wasn’t noticed by my surveyor. Clearly the single story bay is being pushed forward by the weight of the roof and windows - about 4mm in the last 10 years but I don’t know how much before - it was too well hidden, but I suspect about an inch. I think that a simple metal band across the front strapping it to the house will be enough, there isn’t that much weight on it and I’m 100% sure that there is no subsidence or sagging below. I’ve spoken to a builder and an architect already - I know I need to talk to my insurance company but they were so shitty with me when the roof ended work that I am dreading it - so I need to know what to say. I can’t afford to do anything - it’s really stressing me out but it needs addressing fairly soon.

My mortgage hasn’t left my bank account yet despite it being the 2nd - which is unusual - and when it does, along with a few other costs - I’ll be broke. I am owed a bit but it’s not great. I’m actually in Debt now - I managed to pay off the small loan I took out after I was ill but now I have a bigger one - it’s only £100 a month and that’s manageable - but it’s something I never wanted to have happen. What really annoys me it that I have constant monthly costs now - my broadband, mortgage, studio, software licence, very cheap mobile, Webhosting and council tax all mount up and all go out on different days - it’s just spinning plates. I find everything getting on top of me and playing on my mind all the time - it’s stopping me from concentrating on work. I honestly don’t see things getting any better soon and I’m running out of clever ideas - I don’t have much left that I can sell  - the real problem is lack of decent commercial work. I get constant requests for ‘mates rates’ and freebies - or just ‘advice’. It’s actually very difficult to know when to say yes and when to say no. When I was in Debt before - I had everything piled onto a single credit card - it was actually much more manageable than this, and although to was a problem - I found it much easier to cope with. I always saw it as a temporary blip that I could get past, which I did, I don’t feel like that now. The fact that I have so many outgoings - just to keep the lights on - is really fucking everything up. I put a lot of effort into NOT getting depressed about things. A thousand pounds is going to vanish from my account tomorrow in various standing orders. I have also considered getting a credit card in case I have vets fees in the future, just in case. I try not too think about where I’d be if I hadn’t had that accident.

I also need to sort out the garden fences, I was out there yesterday and could see into next doors kitchen - there was a woman in a white uniform making a cup of tea - presumably she has daily help now that’s she’s less mobile. I felt a bit guilty that was I was relieved she couldn’t come into the garden and moan at my not having replaced the fences yet, at least my garden is nice to look at. Thats something.

I seem to be having real problems with Google Chrome at the moment - not sure why. I’ll have to delete the cache and have a look later.