Wednesday, 30 September 2015

September 2015

It's been a busy month and I feel slightly like I'm crumbling away around the edges, but despite that, I am thoroughly content.

August/September is our very busiest time at work. This year, no late-nighters, which is a success, but lots of hard work, including nearly an entire day of arduous scalpel work. Another year passes with all my fingers still intact! Mad skillz.

A lot of the busyness was in the run up to my company’s big annual meeting, in which we get to showcase all our exciting new materials, and listen to lots of (genuinely interesting) presentations about the state of the international education industry (spoiler alert: the Tories are screwing everything up, what’s new).

There is also usually a fair amount of alcohol involved in the evening (of no interest to me), and a lot of free food over the course of the day (of a LOT of interest to me). Two years ago, at this exact meeting, I ate so much salami at the buffet that I felt so ill, that I went vegetarian, permanently. A year ago, I ate so much cheese at the free buffet that I felt so ill (and disgusted with myself) that I went vegan permanently. I think everyone thought that it was like when hungover people say “I’m never drinking again”, but a year down the line, here I am, still vegan, feeling better than ever, AND, for the first time in my entire career so far, DIDN’T eat way too much at this meeting. A victory, of some kind.

My good friends Georgina Voss and Wesley Goatley had an art commission as part of Brighton digital festival, a sound/art installation exploring the hidden networks surrounding our transportation networks. It was pretty amazing. This was the opening night. This was also the first time I ever had a pea fritter. For the uninitiated, a pea fritter is a fist sized blob of mushy peas, deep fried in batter. It is INCOMPREHENSIBLY GOOD, and so green you can almost convince yourself it’s healthy. All in all, an excellent evening.

My senior designer had a baby. When he told us a few months ago when it was due, my boss (jokingly) accused him of intentionally timing it for the absolute peak of our busy period. In the event, while we were stupendously busy, I (just about) held it together by myself for the two weeks of his paternity leave, AND even found the time to make a card for his new daughter Farrah (although tbh she can’t read yet, so she probably won’t really appreciate it)

I thought fangirling would ease once I came out of my teens, but it really doesn’t. I blame all the insanely talented people that compel me to get obsessed and over excited by them right through into adulthood. My friend Kris is currently going through an intense Bertie Carvel fan phase, so we got all squealy together about the joy of just being utterly infatuated with unobtainable artists, of any description.

Tidy house = tidy brain (in my case, at least, tidiness/cleanness is crucial to good state of mind)

Ok, so the last week has actually FINALLY been quite nice, but rain continued to distress me through much of September. Especially this particular morning, where I thought I was prepared but was actually woefully under-prepared for the sheer intensity of rain that was thrown at me on my walk to work.

I’ve been really enjoying going to dance classes, so I’m very sad that my dance teacher has had to stop doing them for a bit. Hopefully she’ll find a new place, as I’m way too intimidated to go to the hip hop dance class at the Marina where all the scarily good people go.

Did this drawing of a full English breakfast for a work project. Have spent most of the rest of the month craving a full English, but haven't yet been bothered to make one...

Some days.

So the previous weekend I said to Alex and Justin (who I live with) ‘We really need to sort out the garden’. The response was more enthusiastic than I was expecting, and we decided to ask if anyone else would like to come over and help us hack away at weeds/trees in exchange for a tasty dinner… The response was better than we could ever have expected, with NINE people coming over to help with the garden (plus some extras for dinner and boardgames)… The garden now looks SO much better, and we had such a lovely day. Thank you again to everyone who came and helped. Sorry I'm not very good at drawing accurate likenesses!

Took care of Familiars (Wes and George’s aforementioned exhibition) for a bit of afternoon on the last day. A pleasure. And I stole lots of their lovely stickers for this.

Something went wrong with my face, but because I was going away for the rest of this week, I couldn’t get to the dentist. DISTRESSING.

Construction parts of a soon-to-come editorial illustration.

Turns out it wasn’t a wisdom tooth or a cavity, just a TRAUMATIC ULCER. Gross. But no requirement for major dental work, so I’m cool with that.

Jeremy Corbyn is coming* and IT’S GOING TO BE AMAZING (*Possibly not in a giant mecha, as I imagine it would go against his pacifist principles)

Now October's nearly here. I'm not feeling ready for the inevitable coldness that is to come, but everything else is okay, so hopefully that will keep me warm in other ways.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

August 2015

August has mostly just been me complaining about the rain and how miserable it's making me. Well, not quite, but that's how it feels.

Other stuff has happened though.

For starters, I went 'home'. Well, the place I grew up, Anglesey in North Wales. It’s not really home though. It’s a place I spent 19 years, but I've felt more at home since leaving than I ever did living there. I’ve been away long enough (nearly 4 years) to build up some sense of vaguely fond nostalgia though, so going back was interesting enough.

TBH though, no amount of idly wandering the streets of my childhood matched the joy I got from hanging out with these goats. (P.S. Got the dates wrong on this and the last one: actually the 3rd/4th)

The reason I went back was my best friend was getting married near there, in Llanberis, in the heart of Snowdonia. I did this fairly terrible drawing of her and her husband, which doesn’t nearly sufficiently express their beautiful wedding glow.

After I got back I assessed my experience of returning to Anglesey for the first time in so long.
The village closest to where I grew up is proper gentrified now. Wills and Kate lived on the island for a while, and especially for them, Menai Bridge got a Waitrose. Now there’s an artisan bakery selling freshly made sourdough, and loads of shops selling fancy house detritus. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FEEL.
I also discovered that I’m still clinging on to a lot of the fear I had growing up that whenever I encountered a group of teenagers I would get abuse/aggression hurled at me. Despite living in a city where I’m probably far more likely to actually get mugged, I walk around Brighton at night with no fear. Menai Bridge? Nope. Too scared some kids will come and kick off at me for being ginger and steal my chips. Despite that fact that I'm now 27 and could totally take them in a fight.
Other things: spent some good quality time admiring the typography in the beautiful graveyard in Menai Bridge, plus the quality time with goats. Pretty great.

Sorry you guys. I don’t like Cards Against Humanity. It’s forced humour of the worst possible variety, and bad taste with absolutely no justification.

Which is disappointing.

Took Justin bouldering. First time I’d been in a couple of months. Arms weak, brain scared, and hands covered in open blisters within an hour. Distressing.

These noodles. So good.

Dead of Winter is an amazing boardgame. But it can get VERY bleak if things start to go wrong.

So we decided to walk from Devil’s Dyke to Hassocks via Poynings on the hottest day of the year. This may have been a mistake, although I have no regrets. If it hadn’t been for a well placed pub in the middle of nowhere we might have died of heatstroke though.
Anyway, the highlight of this outing was where I stood on a bridge over the railway by the ‘Clayton Portal’ (a big tunnel) and as a train emerged, I raised my arms and shouted “TRAAAAIN” and the train driver sounded the horn (I like to think) especially for me.

As mentioned: the near-constant rain has been getting me down in a big way.

I’m still trying to learn to dance. It is a long, slow, undignified process.

Had an indoor picnic for Matthew’s birthday (because it was raining outside. Obvs.) and I ate way too many tortilla chips.

Onwards into September. Quite a bit onwards into September, I'd been too busy to get this written until now! Hopefully good things and not too much rain await.