Monday, 16 January 2017


I didn't enjoy today - I was really tired and had a lot on my mind - and apparently it's 'Blue Monday' - that figures.

Last week a client I have worked with on and off for 20 years and have done a lot of good stuff for contacted me about coming over to Brighton next week to meet a new client - over the last couple of years they have booked me and canceled at short notice, but later on the work we had talked about appears finished on their website - clearly done internally and generally not that well. I wasn't expecting this new invitation but quite happy about it. Today I was asked to confirm - it's actually a train strike day and it would take me rough 2 - 2.5 hours to get there (and back) - so it's a full day out of the studio. Also - I decided to ask who/what the client was. No point in my turning up 'cold'. After some  back and forth emails the truth emerged. The just wanted me to populate their office and make it look busy - the client didn't need to see me, and there wasn't any actual work, and they would only be prepared to pay my train fare. Obviously - I refused their kind offer. Without getting angry.

I did actually lose my temper last week with someone and came close to throwing them out of the studio. It got shouty. They have since apologised to me and have been much nicer.

Work has been busy - but messy. On Sunday I went for lunch with some friends - it was a set menu priced at £15 a-head for 2 courses - so for three of us, that would be £45. The bill came and it was £70 plus £7 in service charges. When it was pointed out that they had overcharged by £25 the waiter just tossed it off as a mistake - no apology.

I lost a client on Friday, not that bothered - he was a pain in the arse and turns out that he's passed the work onto someone he knows (me having done all the hard stuff) - I work with him through his agent - who now knows exactly how I feel about being taken advantage of. We haven't spoken since.

Came across my old house in Brighton by accident online. It's from a couple of years ago when it was listed for rent. I'm surprised at just how much is still the same - basically all the 'big' work I did is still there - they just painted everything white and added the porch. I wish I hadn't sold that house. I've probably said before that I went through a strange period of grief afterwards. Seeing this house again made me remember a few things I've not thought about in a decade. On top of my mortgage I was paying my mums mortgage and bills by direct debit, and about £3k per annum in train fares to London, then later on I had to borrow money to replace the whole roof and a load of other bits and pieces - it was a real struggle at the best of times. Commuting was very expensive, I couldn't eat at home during the week so I must have been spending £200 a month on coffee and sandwiches. It got to the point where something had to give and at about that time my mum needed to be sectioned, which was done through me - she was actually hospitalized twice. The first time they called me at home after a few weeks, and after an initially friendly conversation it seemed that they were under the impression that she was going to come and live with me after she was discharged. My sister had a small family and my brother was working long hours in Birmingham - I have a feeling the idea actually came from my mum just to get them to release her back to her own home. She was imobile at this time after having broken her hip a year before. It was impossible for me to take her in, and it would have destroyed me. I became quite upset during this conversation and they backed off - she went back to her own home and had regular care 3 times a day. When she was hospitalised for the 2nd time - the mental health team were much better and told me that I should separate myself from the situation or it would drag me down with her. As I was struggling with the costs and spending almost every weekend back in Liverpool - I decide to move up for what I assumed would be about a year - it would be cheaper and I would be 'on hand' - and I could continue to work freelance. In the end it was 4 years and house prices rose rapidly back in the South, and working up North was much harder than I anticipated. To make it worse, my mum really didn't want me around and was never comfortable with my visits, she would just watch the television and ignore me - so they petered off - but she was still happy to take my money. My initial plan was to be to move back to Brighton where I had friends and work - I even tried to buy my old house back - but it was impossible. I'd also managed to burn through all the profit I had made on the house - having just enough left to put a deposit down on this house - and still with about 17k in credit card debt. Mind you - I like this house - even if it is falling down and I can't afford to do anything about it.


Steerforth said...

It's very sad that you've suffered as a result of helping your mum, but you did the right thing.

Richard de pesando MA(RCA) said...

I don't really think of it like that. It was very unfortunate, difficult, unexpected and often unwelcome. I don't think I did a very good job and often wish I'd been more effective. When I was about 14 she sold her jewellery so I could go on a school trip - so I consider it a fair exchange.

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