Back at work today after my 5 day weekend. Went out for dinner on Thursday night with Kristy, which was nice - we chatted a lot, although my food wasn't great - tasted like a microwave meal (which it probably was).
On my birthday on Monday we went out for lunch at a very old English pub in a small hamlet dating back to the Saxon era. My nan lived there for many years, and as a child we used to visit her on Saturdays.
The pub is one (of several) that claim to be the oldest in the country and records show alcohol being sold at that location all the way back to 560 AD. I always love how short rooms are in very old buildings - I have to stoop down in a lot of buildings to avoid hitting my head - especially door frames etc. But in this pub, the ceiling in every room is too short for me. The food from there was amazing (as always) and it was a nice day out. Mind you, I ate far too much and felt quite a bit of reflux in the afternoon.
My time off was pleasant enough. It went by quickly, as expected. I rested up as much as I could. Lazy days, daily naps and nothing too strenuous. Today is my 9th day off staffing to help my shoulder heal up. Perhaps I slept on it funny, but I woke up yesterday and had bad pains in that shoulder all day. It was a little frustrating as I'd been avoiding staffing specifically to let the shoulder heal up, and then I somehow wake up in agony. Pains linger a little today, but my main gripe has been fatigue today - I'm exhausted.
I ate way too much yesterday too. So much so that I was sick last night before I went to bed. Normally I make a point of refusing to be sick - just find a position in bed where I don't feel overwhelmed by the nausea - and then I'll get to sleep. But last night it was clear that I was moments away from the act, so I just went downstairs and made myself sick. A minute later, and a glass of water and I was ready for bed.
ABS and traction control lights came on my car dashboard yesterday. Took it to a local garage that morning and they ran a diagnostic check on it. Said it's the speed sensor in one of the rear wheels. Booked in for Friday. Had 2 tyres changed whilst there as one was close to blow out. So it was a good timing I suppose. Originally he said they'd just do the tyres on Friday (as I want all 4 doing). But he announced they only had 2 in stock and would have to order 2 in. I took my chances, and asked if he could do 2 of the tyres now, as one is dangerous. His boss was in the room at the time, and she gave him the nod to do it. So that's one less thing to think about. They fitted cheaper tyres - which normally I'd avoid, but at the same time I know that by the end of the year I'll be doing a lot less mileage, so a cheaper option can be somewhat justified, especially when it's saving me over £200.
The car drives fine though. My last project car had an ABS light on, but the brakes would lock up just as the car would come to a stop. Thankfully this car is behaving normally. My boss is letting me work from home on Friday, so I can drop the car off first thing and the mechanic said it should be ok to collect later in the day. They'll do the other 2 tyres as well - so that's one more thing done.
June/July is expensive as a lot of annual things line up - TV license, car MOT, car annual service, car insurance. Also, I wanted 4 tyres changing on my car, the exhaust back box has a small hole in it which is causing a whistling noise when it accelerates. It got through it's last MOT fine, but I need to get it sorted. Also, there's stone chips that need addressing on the paint work. Finally, there's clutch judder in 1st gear. It'll cost over £1000 to get these repairs done, but I'm going to pace myself and aim to have it done before I move house.
ABS and tyres first. I've asked their bodywork guy to check the stone chips on Friday as I don't want rust to spread. Plus I need to get an idea on cost and how long he'd need the car for. Exhaust backbox isn't hugely costly and once they have the part in stock, I'm sure that'd be a 15-30 minute job. The clutch judder could mean a replacement clutch - which would be around £600+ Thankfully it's fine in every other gear and the clutch isn't slipping and the biting point hasn't changed on the pedal. So I think it'll go the distance, I just have to be very smooth and slow with releasing the clutch in 1st gear, otherwise it jerks like mad.
It'd be nice to have the car all ready for the beginning of September when I'm back with my folks. I'll be doing more mileage for 3 or 4 months whilst I live at my parents, so it'd be nice to have peace of mind when it comes to my car. Thing is, once I have my own place, and living in the same city as where I work, my mileage will plummet. So, again - having the car in good order will mean once it's done, it should last me a very long time after that. I know that newer Hyundai's have a good reputation for reliability, and my car hasn't got all the gadgets and tech that tend to break. Plus it's not even hit 70k miles yet. It's a 2014 year car. But I know modern engines can easily go 200k miles or more, if properly maintained. The fact I'll probably do less than 6000 miles a year from 2022 means that the car could be kept long term.
All of this reminds me why my dad recommended setting aside a certain amount each month for car maintenance. I think I should do this.
Stomach continues to give me jip. I think it's going back to coffee and the comfort foods which has done it. Considering it started shortly after reverting back to my old ways. Whilst I know the house, work and break up has caused stressors - I think it's probably more to do with how I've been eating and drinking which is causing me the most grief. I know what I need to do, finding the drive to do it is another matter. Eating healthier isn't exactly difficult, and not drinking coffee isn't problematic either. You just have to do it, and stick with it. It's the inner voice that's teasing you towards giving in which is the main issue with lifestyle changes.
Ran a few ads on my FB art page. Photos of Kes always did better than any other photos or drawings I did ads for. It's a little upsetting that a picture of a strangers cat would get 4-5 times the amount of views, likes and responses as my artwork. Yes, our cat was beautiful - and I understand how huge animal pages are on the internet. But, at the same time - a cat isn't that unique. A picture that took over a hundred hours to complete getting so much less attention was rather annoying to be honest.
Still, there's no drive to draw. It's been 2 years now. I'd been finishing up colouring in my last drawing when I first started this job and my 2 year anniversary at this job is tomorrow. I did one drawing last spring to celebrate reaching 300 followers on my FB art page. Now it's sat at over 1100. No sales though. Never any sales. I've spent over £2000 on my website, ads, prints, frames, materials etc. I've made less than £200 in sales and sold a total of 4 prints.
I know people say that making money from art is hard. There's also so many people saying "don't give up" and even more people saying things like "you're so talented". Their enthusiasm and kind words are nothing more than an irritant at this point. I still maintain that perhaps I'd do better at art and craft fairs - perhaps.
COVID sort of justified my anti social and introvert nature. Can't go out? Nae bother. Work from home? Sure thing. Can't go to a pub? Sober now. Quieter roads? More of that please.
Not even sure what wave of COVID resurgance the UK is on. Seems strange they locked down whenever it spiked - now it's spiking and they say in 2 weeks time we're removing most of the restrictions.
Art and craft fairs don't sound appealing during a pandemic. Yes, the dream remains making things which sell. But being the travelling salesman? Pitching to hundreds of strangers at craft fairs? Getting my hopes up every time someone looks at my stuff, only to have them walk off? I don't know. I'd hoped a website and FB page would start to generate sales. But it hasn't - and yes, I could invest a lot more time in this. I could go to town on marketing, promotions, pamphlets a lot of other ideas I had. But when you're spending more and more money - for no sales. How long does this dynamic continue?
I was over the moon when I took my drawings to a local gallery and they said £5-600 per picture for my medium size drawings. Crazy money. I was shocked - excited, and hoping to finally make it. But nothing sold. Nothing came of exhibitions. The prints I sold cost less than 15% of what an original was supposedly worth. Of course, getting those sales made me excited - but financially it wasn't enough to ever make a profit.
I guess at this point I look at my cache of drawings and I think to myself - this is supposedly worth over £15,000. Is it though? If none of it's sold, how can it be worth anything? What's it worth to me? A lot of depression and frustration and self loathing. I suppose you can't put a price on that. Or maybe the cost of all the therapy sessions it'd take to ease the self loathing I feel around my art.
Tonight is my last therapy session. When I get my own place I'll have to decide if I wish to do the 40 min trip to my current therapist, or potentially look for another in the city where I'll be living.
Strange to think that in less than 2 months me and Kristy will go our separate ways. I'm feeling a little down about that at the moment. The fact our break up has been so civil, how we continue to have such a laugh every day. The playfulness, the sarcasm and silliness etc. I will really miss that dynamic that we have. I also know how friendships fizzle out when locations change. Thing is - I know I'm independent and thrive in my own company. Living on my own in that respect shouldn't be an issue. At the same time - living on my own could present issues for my mental health.
Loneliness is poison.
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