I'm working at home today - it was a necessity.
I've just had two very, very difficult days dealing with 'issues' - including HMRC. To be fair - I've coped really well - but it's been brutal. The revenue is determined to destroy what little self-respect and self-esteem I have. I am particularly impressed by the way they refuse a generous and carefully worked out payment arrangement I can 100% guarantee I keep to and insist on something that I 100% cannot.
Additionally - I've started a PPI claim that spans 4 mortgages, 3 banks and 2 credit cards, and asked for a claim form to apply for Tax Credits - which I'd never heard until last week nor actually understand. Next week I need to speak to someone at the revenue about the expenses I've claimed over the last 2 years - which I deliberately kept low (less than I was paying 10 years ago) so that I could keep my income high - in case I needed to move. They are too busy this week dealing with people who have not filed their tax returns - I got no thanks for submitting mine on April 5th. I'm going to have to find a way to generate a large amount of money and increase my income substantially to get them off my back - and I'm quite prepared to go all the way to the edge of criminal activity, within reason. I'm also selling off stuff I don't need - had several conversations with traders about that yesterday and I also managed to have some rather robust conversations with clients that actually were not as bad as I thought. I'm going to have a vague conversation with my mortgage company later and possibly investigate getting a loan. I loathe being in debt and promised myself it would never happen again - but I may have to consider it.
Heard on the radio earlier today that personal debt in the UK has risen by 40% in 12 months. I don't count my mortgage or my tax bill as personal debt, I consider them to be like a terminal illness that you learn to live with - so at least I can be a teeny-tiny bit smug about not having one.
I was so stressed out last night that I didn't sleep at all and kept having very dark thoughts - despite the fact I did something I've not done in at least 3 years and bought a bottle of wine to drink with my dinner. I'm vaguely interested in going online and checking my credit rating - but I have a bad feeling that as an 'off the grid' type with no credit or loans - it will be pretty terrible. That takes me back to the fringes of crime - but I think in the short term I'll try eBay.
In other news - I'm going to be at Expo 2015 Retail Design show at Olympia in Mark, I've designed a stand for a client and I'll be there hawking my own practice too - and the launch for Avicenna took place last week, so over the next few months there will be the first 20 of 200 UK pharmacies that I rebranded and designed popping up on high streets. A nice, high profile job that I got paid quite badly for, so I really must capitalize on that. I've also branded a fashion chain in Nigeria called 'Adeline' ('Ade' means King) - a bit Urban Outfitters. I got rubbish money for that too. Some work I did for the promotion and brochure for Hub Westminster in The Haymarket will be going to print soon. I might post pictures.
I must sound absurd that I'm doing all this work yet earning almost nothing, it is. 5 years ago things were very different - I was seen by a very experienced all-round designer with expertise in branding and a network of complimentary trades I could call on. Now I'm seen as a dinosaur with limited appeal despite being better at my job that ever. Clients cannot understand why they pay a freelance designer for something they want to give to a middleweight company - even though I'm better and cheaper and middleweight companies always fuck up - and lump me in with other freelancers who have limited skills and experience and cost very little. Really having to work on that. Have started having some bullish conversations with people.
Have a meeting - next week I think - coming up to look at building a new website. I really need to blow my own trumpet a bit. Still waiting to find out if the work in Europe we pitched for is going to come off - hopefully before the Euro crashes. can't really think of anything else I can do - any suggestions gratefully received, including low-risk petty larceny and mild extortion.
Bought a small Rhubarb crown yesterday for £1. I'll probably have to forgoe such luxuries now. Crazy foolish luxuries.