Sunday, 16 March 2014


Ah - an entire week of getting up at 5am - being on a train at 7am and home at 9pm.

I've actually really enjoyed it - the weather has been good - very cold in the mornings but bright and sunny during the day - despite occasional sea mists, and I'm really enjoying the work. It's very hard being freelance and having to 'slot in' to a company without any lead up - and immediately be able to turn on and tune into what's already in progress - you have to hit the ground running straight away, but I like that way of life and you are only really as good as what you are working on anyway -  I've always been like that.

I have taken advantage of the time to catch up on reading. I really enjoyed both Daniel Tammet books in order - his book about mathematics is great - but his first book, 'Born on a Blue Day' - about growing up with Aspergers and as a mathematical savant - is far more interesting, while the later book is warmer, more sophisticated and full of nuance - the first book is flat, monotone and economic, perfectly reflecting what it's like to grow up with Aspergers and trying to negotiate a world you don't connect with, quite a lot of the early stuff was very familiar to me - although he was really lucky to have a very large and loving family - something he is careful to express. The way he explains his relationship with numbers and colours/synesthesia is well formed and clear - I enjoyed it very much. Now that he is much older and more experienced, like most people on the autistic spectrum - he's formed a better social relationship with the world - evident in his later writing - but the earlier book was far more rewarding.

I also read two books about 'the back room boys' who worked behind the scenes during the century to develop the UK's technology industry - mostly through defence - but fascinating, nonetheless.

They have helped make commuting bearable - bespight the fact that if Beach Head wasn't in the way I could actualy see Brighton from my house - it can take between 90 mins and 3 hours to get door to door, trains a dreadful places early in the morning. On Friday I caught a very early train because it was direct ( I usually have to change at Lewes) - it was full of tired call centre workers from Hastings Direct and a few jobbing builders. One sat opposite me reading a paper - at St Leonard's station another builder who was clearly on the same job got on and they started a conversation - the 2nd man was about 30 - both were in paint splattered work clothes - the new passenger smelled bad enough - but had the worst halitosis I've ever encountered, the whole carriage went silent - the first builder tried to continue the conversation but looked desperate, shifting in his seat - and his eyes actually started watering - sitting opposite - I got the full force - I seriously considered getting off the train, it was that bad. Thank God they both got off at Bexhill.

It's been odd being back in Brighton, there are so many more people and it's so much more active and vital - everyone looks busy and motivated, big contrast to sleepy Hastings. I suppose I miss that. On Friday I was forced to get off the train at Eastbourne for a 30 min stopover - that happens most days, and I was surprised how many people got off the train there too - I miss all that activity.

I've repaired all the render at the front of the house - it's looking really good now - just a bit more cleaning up to do and I'll be ready to start painting, I'm glad I've taken my time over this one - can't afford to have the front of the house looking like a botch job. I'm also going to replace all the silicone seals around the windows - they look terrible, really poorly applied.

The dogs spent the week in kennels and came home yesterday morning for one night - taking them back later. I've already been asked to work another week - I'm worried that although they like being in Kennels - it's disorientating for me to bring them back for just a day, which is what I'd planned next week - I'll have a word with the bloke at the kennels later.

Despite all the work and commuting - I'm feeling pretty well at the moment and not getting tired at all, I actually like working hard, it suits me -  and earning decent money helps. Still no progress on the insurance claim and I'm not worried about the PPI issues until I have more time - the paperwork is very opaque and I need more information. The two guys who own the company I'm working with went to Nottingham Uni with about 8 or 9 other people I know - we're all contemporaries and it's strange how many people we have in common, design used to be a much smaller industry before it became fashionable - and not many people survived the last 20 years intact and have gone onto other things - we're all stalwarts.

One odd thing, because I'm not dog walking every day - when I took them out yesterday I was shocked at how much has changed in just a week. New fences, houses painted and re-roofed. One of my neighbours has had all their windows replaced with very good and expensive looking sash windows, and another has had a complete garden 'transplant' - fully mature plants and flowers appearing where 7 days ago was just hardcore. The magnolia's are all out and there is a lot of yellow everywhere from the daffodils - and I loathe yellow, it's a colour I can't be in the same room as without flinching, it's like nails on a blackboard.

I watched the film 'My Week With Marylin' last night - I'd read the book and the author has been on the radio quite a few time talking about it - I thought Michelle Williams was very good, I can't stand Branagh and his accent was verging on the camp parody - but the film as a whole worked really well. I'm not engaging much with film/TV at the moment - I'll have a look at watching something later today, hopefully as good as last night.

One of the advantages of the dogs being in kennels - the house didn't need cleaning this weekend. I have to take them back in about an hour - I'm dreading it - I have a feeling Alfie Greyhound may not want to go.

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