Monday, 12 January 2015

Monday afternoon

I got bored with being in bed, and I felt better so by 3pm I was downstairs. Bored - and stressed out by having spent far too much time thinking.

I've not had a single work related email or call today, that's unusual and very unnerving. I've dropped off the map. January is actually quite a rubbish time anyway. I'm supposed to be developing some ideas for something happening in March that I'm helping another agency with, and researching for a print project that won't generate any income - just exposure. Both of those I'm happy to tick over in my head for a day or so - and I'm waiting for feedback on a project I completed last week that needs to be seen by the client (in Nigeria) before I can invoice. These things go one of two ways - the end client goes off on a tangent and the project is dropped (that happens I lot) or I get an email asking for something totally different - which means I was mis-briefed, and I have the difficult problem of getting the client to admit it was their fault and pay me more money. There is a regular client who is in Hong Kong at a trade fair, so they are quiet - and they have taken on someone who doesn't like me and I can feel that one slipping away. Another project was half finished before xmas and needs finalising - but I have a horrible feeling they may get someone in-house to knock it together to save money.

Work does not look great this year ( although to be fair - it is early ) and 2015 will be a slow start. I don't really have the funds to sit it out and I've been trying to come up with a strategy to manage survival and getting in more income. Being here ( Hastings ) is quite awkward. I really like Hastings, but it has aspects that really bother me - apart from the overwhelming drinking culture (I'm not talking about the Yates's level piss-heads and the street drinkers - but all the way up to the 'down from London' types and regular artsy crowd who basically live to drink and drink to live).

I think it's a very introverted town, quite tribal and clique-y - and the transport is just awful. If I am to earn more money - I need to pick up work in London - and it's just too difficult to get in and out, and expensive. Today was the first 'Express Service' - much heralded by my awful MP who is convinced that it's all her own idea and do-ing. We now get a single service every day in to London at 8.04am and one back at about 4pm - it stops at only 5 stations rather than the usual 15, yes FIFTEEN!!. It's 'supposed to be' 90 mins to Charing Cross - but that's just bollocks, it's 90 mins to Waterloo East - after that you need to change to a different service because of the works at London Bridge - so expect another 30 mins to travel 15 mins walking distance - in one of the most spectacularly over crowded routes in Europe. Of course - it's a waste of time - unless you can persuade your employer to let you work 10.30am - 3.30pm, it's also about £33.00. The Train people have also been warning everyone for a decade to avoid that route now for at least a year because of the re-build at London Bridge. The Ashford/St Pancras service is much better and could probably do with being 5-10mins faster on the Hastings/Ashford side - but it's really expensive - and the Hastings / Brighton service would be at least 15 mins faster if they just turned Hampden Park into a transport hub for the fast hourly service and cut out Eastbourne. That would totally regenerate the town - making it far more attractive to students, and people who can't afford to live in Brighton but work there.

One of the projects I'm looking at now requires me to research this stretch of the coast towards Kent and as far as Margate and I'm starting to like the idea of Folkestone. just over an hour to London, just under 2 hours to Paris, lots of great cycling opportunities (really easy quiet rides all the way to Dungeness on the coast road) and cheap property. I can't imagine not living by the sea and I'll never move back north again - Brighton and London will never be affordable again, Eastbourne is nice but dull with the same transport issues as Hastings - if anything, it has less to offer - and I have never liked St Leonards - despite what the papers keep telling everyone. I also have this really irrational dislike of anywhere called the 'New' anything else - New Brighton, New Hackney, New Shoreditch, New Dalston. The are just silly names dreamed up by estate agents and property speculators - or people trying to pretend they didn't move down here because they were priced out of everywhere else. I also kinda like the idea of being able to get places without having to change trains constantly.

It's something I'm going to have to mull over this year - if things don't improve I'm not going to have any options, but I think I perform better when I have something to work towards - which I've not had in a long time. I've lived here for over 7 years - longer than I've lived anywhere in my entire life, and I don't seem to have much to show for it, and at my age - the constant, relentless, grinding uphill struggle is getting to be a bit of a bore. I'm probably just feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything, including the weather and time of year ( 'Blue' Monday is apparently in 2 weeks), perhaps a bit of decent daylight... and the odd break in my luck.. would help.


Anonymous said...

I've heard that Folkestone is a good place, but I've not been there. Why don't you care for St Leonards? I quite like it.

Anonymous said...

I've nothing at all against St Leonards - but the transport issues are just the same - friends who live there really like it, there are 2 OK pubs etc - but nothing much else to attract me - I'm probably just getting itchy feet.

Anonymous said...

Which are the 2 OK pubs?

Anonymous said...

well, The St Leonard - if it's empty and the Doom and Gloom, ditto. I know people who are inexplicably fond of both - but at the same time, I know people who hate both with a passion. I was in the Groom recently and it seems to have new toilets. The St Leonard is a no-go area if there is anything 'on' - such as a quiz, it just turns into a private party. Mind you - I'm not really a pub person - I've been into both about 3 times in 4 years.

Anonymous said...

Hello - I chanced upon your blog when looking for some info on Edward Pond after I saw one of his artworks on the Thameslink Trains and wanted to find out more about him (shockingly the pics have been semi obliterated by an obviously philistine privatised train operator with no respect for the artwork at all). I had not realised he had died and very much enjoyed reading the info you had posted about your time working with him.

I recall enjoying the pictures when I first saw them back in the 1980s when they were newly installed.

Just read this post including the bit about the Hastings journey times. On an anecdote of possibly little use the railway line to / from Brighton once had an 'avoiding' line that allowed fast trains to skip the leg down to Hampden Park and Eastbourne compleltly. It ran direct between Polegate and Stone Cross. Actually it's clearly visible on an OS map so you may know it. It must have reduced the travel time considerably.

I walked along part of it in the early 1980s when I lived nearby, at that time the ballast looked like the rails had not long been removed. I do not know when traisn stopped using it and all went via Eastbourne. Recently when i was in the area I saw from the train that some modern looking houses have been built on the start of it / the site of the old Polegate station platforms.

Good luck with your work and various projects.


Anonymous said...

For the sake of completeness I looked up the ref on the web and found this:

Polegate East Junction to Stone Cross Junction, East Sussex. There was a time when trains could run from Brighton to Hasting without having to reverse at Eastbourne; the 1½ mile long Willingdon Chord from Polegate East Junction to Stone Cross Junction facilitated this, but was lifted in stages between 1969 and 1984. Nowadays, the extension of the Cuckoo Trail from Polegate to Eastbourne follows just over ½ mile of this old formation between grid references TQ 594047 and TQ 604043, although most of it runs along the southern edge of the old railway and not on the trackbed proper. As recently as 2012, pro-rail groups have been calling for the Willingdon Chord to be reinstated (see here) in order to provide improved rail services along the south coast from Ashford and the Channel Tunnel; locally, the problem is that houses have been built on the western end of the chord, nearest to Polegate. (Jeff Vinter)
Published here:

And here is a picture of a train ‘back in the day’ that the caption says would have gone that way. Not sure how much faster it would be but quite a bit I would think.


Anonymous said...

Hello DL - thanks for your comments about Eddie - I'll pass them on to Hannah, his daughter, people contact me quite regularly after having found that reference, he was held in great esteem and affection by many people, we will not see his like again.

Also - your information about the Polegate/Stone Cross junction - I KNEW it wasn't just me that believes in this. Judging by the current timings as advertised - I think you could save 16 - 20 mins on each journey. I'll distribute the information on another platform where there are people much more active in local politics than I am.

Best Regards


Anonymous said...

Thanks Richard - yes my first post about that link was prompted by your comment about the journey time which jogged my memory about the link (i'd forgotten I'd walked along it all those years back until I read your point!). Then I googled it and of course came across various people making the point that it had a 'strategic transport value' to use some jargon.

I grew up in East Sussex, and I spent a lot of time travelling Eastbourne to Lewes and Brighton and also on to Hastings in my teenage years and before. V much enjoyed other pages on your site about cycling along the coast etc.

Anyway, thank you for passing my comments to Eddie Pond's daughter. That's really kind. I saw the image on the Thameslink Train just after New Year (found myself sitting in front of one - I then walked through the whole train to look at the set of pics) and it was a pleasure to see them again. Just made me think I must have been one of many people whose spirits were lifted both by the fact that someone had made to commission the art to start with and then the effort that Eddie and team (inc your good self) put in to produce the images. I've always enjoyed a train journey but I'd like to think the pics would have lifted the spirits of a traveller after a bad day at work etc and I'm sure they have done for thousands of people over the years.

In fact I was very angry about the way nasty advertising posters have been fixed over the images. Totally crass.

I learn the Thameslink trains are being renovated and will be moved to operate between Liverpool, Manchester and Preston in connection with an electrification scheme there. I fear the artwork will be removed forever as part of the renovations.

In fact I wondered if the National Railway Museum have a set of the artworks off the carriage walls. They seem to have quite a large art collection of railway related pictures so I thought they should have a set of these because it seems rare to have public art of this nature these days. I e-mailed them to ask but have not had a reply yet. I'll chase it up if I don't hear in due course. Maybe you know if they have a set?

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

Hello again DL. To best answer that - I was involved (along with Eddie's son, Chris) with a group of enthusiasts who approached us and catalogued all the artworks in situ and went to a great deal of trouble to try and trace the original artworks. I have about 64 (there were A LOT of images ) from the later period that I created myself under Eddie's direction - all the earlier artworks are either part of the Pond estate or were lost during the scanning process - each artwork was drum scanned on a giant cylinder - some of them didn't come out in one piece, and many others were carefully taken apart to be cut into screens and not always put back together. The actual process of creating the artworks is quite interesting - they were screen printed directly onto ceramic coated bulkheads that were then baked in an oven to 'cure' them like a glaze and made almost indestructable. There was a fairly big effort to have an archive for the NRM and a book produced, but like everything else - funding got in the way. Somewhere online is a full archive with carriage details - if you want to try and find it.

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