Welcome To My World

I meet some wonderful people during the course of the day. And then of course, there are the others. You really wouldn’t believe how difficult it is for some people to figure out how many beans make nine, would you?

Well, you are very welcome to my world.

As I have said, I meet some real treasures. Often elderly. But some, certainly, with more youth and vigour than I can even remember having. So funny. Upon occasions, grateful. Predominantly respectful and polite. And so many have become acquaintances or friends.

In due course I will relate some of my more endearing experiences with my buying public. But to start of with, let me tell you about some of those who not only singularly fail to warm the cockles of my heart; but instead make me want to emigrate to Vladimir Putin’s Russian Republic.

A reflection upon the present day pre-occupation with all things electronic and computerized, is the manner in which people will happily accept any price for framing their beloved artwork, which is determined by the pricing programme on my laptop. They request at least an indication of how much their torn, folded and wrinkled 1903 sepia print of great aunt Myrtle is going to cost: to be finished in an oval double mount with elaborate washlines, with low reflective UV protective glass, and in a corresponding elaborate oval guilt frame.

I enter the details into the programme, add a couple of pounds to cover hanging fixtures etc and press the Result button.

“Oh” they exclaim. Maybe with a slightly bewildered expression on their face, but ….

“Will it really cost that much?”

Er ….   No, I’m only pulling your leg madam. I’ll tell you what. I’ll do it for a fiver for you.

Of course it will cost that much. Or, at least it will if you take to the guy in the posh shop on the High Street.   That’s what I think. What I say is – “Yes. I’m afraid so. Your artwork is obviously very precious to you and of great sentimental value. So to enable me to do credit to it …..   etc etc.”

And their response?

“Okay then, if that’s what it will cost I suppose I’ll have to pay it.”

Now, they have just stepped onto their ‘Winning Streak/Today Was a Good Day’ joyride.

Because my default rejoinder to their acceptance is –  “ Actually, I can save you a little money. Because I have no aspirations to be a millionaire, and I’m happy to cover my materials and services costs, and in addition, only sufficient to ensure that on Friday evening there is a bottle of Glenfiddich to hand. So how about …… £*** ? “

Everyone is a winner. They go home delighted because they believe that they have struck a bargain. I have something I enjoy doing, to occupy at least part of my week. And Friday evening sees me embarking upon a Happy Hour with the content of a bottle of golden splendidity.

However, if they even attempt to start to barter, the price remains where it is.

But 98% of people accept the computer generated price without a word.

The alternative scenario is one where I have generated the price from my own calculations, because the laptop programme is not available, for whatever reason..

Then the fur really begins to fly.

“You’ve got to be joking!! You can’t charge that much. I want the piccy framing, not a bloody en-suite/five bedroomed house building around it. C’mon pal. Get real. It’s only four bits of wood slapped round a grotty photo”

Now, at this point the gentleman is always facing the door. I don’t know how that happens. When he started to red-mist, he was only inches away from the end of my nose – but by the time he is taking his second deep breath, he is always facing the door. It must be the physics of the thing. Something like negative polarity. It seems to affect his blood pressure too.

Occasionally he will try to negotiate. But most often it is with the following statement.

“But …… but, the guy on the High Street will do it for £** ”

And he will look at me in a thoroughly bemused fashion when I ask him, “Why are you here then, wasting my time providing you with a price? Go to the fella on the High Street. If I could do it for that price I would have given you that price.”

At this point in the proceedings the gentleman may storm off in a fury. That is unlikely though.

Because he wants Auntie Myrtle framing. And it’s not his Auntie Myrtle. It’s his wife’s Auntie Myrtle. So he knows very well that to go home with anything else but a done deal, doesn’t even bear consideration. Not if he wants the ‘usual’ on Saturday night, it’s not. And if she had heard him describe Auntie Myrtle’s relic as a grotty photo, he would really find out how monks cope with celibacy.

He only came to me to get a price because he has already been to the guy in the posh shop on the High Street who would consider my price ‘derisory’ and ‘just for starters’; and who had offered his “You have got to be bloody well sodding joking !! price.

So, the more likely event is that he will capitulate. Albeit, reluctantly and with poor grace

Now. You will almost certainly remember the lady who ‘just stepped onto their ‘Winning Streak/Today Was a Good Day’ joyride’. For no other reason than that your short-term memory is so much better than mine.

Well this young man (whatever his age) is about to step onto his ‘Life’s a bitch, and then you die’ treadmill. Which, as it happens, is where he does seem to spend most of his time.

Because today, he is paying top-dollar. And I’m laughing all the way to the bank.

5 Stags

I don’t often take a great deal of notice of artwork which I have in the workshop, to frame.  More often than not it is another piece of work – unless the subject particularly catches my eye.
And yesterday, a gentleman spoke to me outside my workshop, asking if I was ‘the picture framer’.  I conceded that yes, I was.  He asked if I could frame a photo for him.
And what a photo it was.
Five pristine Triumph Stags, lined up together.  In a parking bay which looked as if it had been designed specifically for them.  (if you don’t know what a Triumph Stag is – Google is your friend)

We agreed on a frame profile – and a price for the work.  And I reluctantly suggested that he could return for the finished article today.
Reluctantly, because when I was in my 20s – a long time ago – the Triumph Stag was one of the vehicles that I coverted, and longed for.
(I settled instead for an ex police Triumph 2.5 PI)

My friend, who lives across the road, and is approximately the same age as myself, responded to the photo in exactly the manner that I did.  And during yesterday afternoon and this morning until I started work on it, there have been a succession of similarly aged ‘memory laners’ through my workshop to oggle at the photo.
Suffice to say, the photo has been mounted, glazed and framed and returned to its owner.  But I did enjoy it whilst it was in my care.

So, thank you Marcus, from each of the locality’s ‘old-fogies’.
May your picture always hang straight.

Comfortably Warm

I have spent the majority of this week, either outside with the camera, taking commissioned shots, or in the workshop on the lathe or cutting and assembling frames.
The only time I have been truly warm is during the evenings.
I now understand why we do not see glamour photos of Eskimo ladies:-D
Given that the forecast is for a snowbound weekend, I have been to the shops and bought sufficient milk, and a loaf of bread, to ensure that there should be no further need to venture out again until well into next week.
And I will not be deprived of tea and toast. :-)

So, having been cold all week; today, when the snow appears to have arrived in earnest, I am safely, and warmly esconced indoors.
Sorting out artwork.
Producing mounts for a variety of pieces of art.
Hand-finishing some framing profiles.

Grand !!!!

1Kpx 1801 04 
the start  1Kpx 1801 012 silly crow
1Kpx 1801 07 
Mum, we need to get out in the snow – Pleeease
1Kpx 1801 017 
this looks as if it’s in for the duration
1Kpx 1801 Dx02 
with a ‘Landscape’ Menu setting – to try to make it look less grey and dismal than it really is.  The first four shots are on a ‘Neutral’ Menu setting, which is actually more accurate in terms of tone & colour.

1Kpx 1801 Dx03 
my workshop roof
taken from the comfort of the ‘clean workshop’ window.
  :oops: :-)

A client who is presently out in the States and due to arrive home on Sunday, suggested that he may call round to collect his finished articles as soon as he arrives back in the country.  Unless it is anything like this on the eastern seaboard, I suspect that by Sunday, having travelled from New York, via Heathrow, to Northampton, he may be happier just to get his feet in front of the fire.  Maybe he is made of much sterner stuff than I am: or can imagine.
We could, though I sincerely hope not, be knee-deep in snow by Sunday evening.

PCs and laptops take precedence over lathes, Morsos or carving benches.

As the daylight faded, I took some bread to the lake, to feed the ducks.
There was not one in sight when I arrived on the bank.
I clicked my tongue, twice, and magically mallards appeared from everywhere.
Almost instantly my feet were surrounded by at least fifteen ducks (and drakes).  When I dropped small pieces of bread into the snow for them, they couldn’t find the pieces. So I threw the bread pieces into the lake – it appears that fowl find food by sight or feel, rather than by smell   :lol:
For just those few moments I was as popular as I can ever remember having been.  :-D
It wasn’t much of a meal for them:   3 slices of bread between 15 ducks;  but they did behave as if that was all they had eaten all day.
And up to their waists in cold water too.   :-(

Do have a comfortably warm weekend folks  :lol:

A Bad Day

Today commenced as a day like any other.  A working week day.
Utterly normal.   Except that today has been one of those days that I hate.

Please be assured that the following is not a ‘sympathy trip’.  It is merely a record of a day, in the same manner that I have recorded many other previous days.

The plan for today was to sort out the commencement to a prestigious turning job. Then make a high quality frame for a military commission.
But, to start off, by quickly taking a photo of the the tripod adaptor and inserting it into yesterday’s Tripod blog, in the designated spot.

From the moment I set up my camera and equipment I knew that it was going to be awful.
I have days like today as a result of my strokes.
My memory, particularly my short-term memory, is shot to pieces -
my concentration is nil -
my co-ordination is all over the place.
If I tell you that the two very mundane photos in the Tripod blog are the result of maybe 20 to 25 attempts to set up the camera and lens and get a decent shot: and that it has taken me over an hour to write this, and correct all of the mistakes in it:  :oops: :roll:
you will have some idea of just how bad it has been so far.

I was getting results from the D300 that I had no idea how I had achieved, nor any idea of how to correct them.
I couldn’t figure out whether bounced flash made it better, or worse.
In P, A or S, I couldn’t remember how to adjust the variable.
I kicked the tripod leg on the several occasions when I thought I had it all set up perfectly.  In the end, after many puerile attempts to edit in PS CS4, I managed to get the two shots which I have now inserted into the Tripod blog, because I resorted to Manual mode – but it took me 20 minutes, and possibly 10 attempts, to upload them because I couldn’t remember how to carry out the insertion process.

I went into the workshop and took the length of framing from the rack, for the military piece and almost dropped it.  It cost me over £13 per metre.
I can’t afford to mess a 3 metre length of that up.
So I very carefully put it back into the rack.

I’ll do no more today.  It is so demoralizing.
A thoroughly Bad Day.

Tomorrow will be better.  In fact, tomorrow will almost certainly be fine.
I have a bad day possible no more often than once or twice a month.
I’ve had to learn that no matter how devastating a bad day is, it is part of having suffered a stroke and I have to just accept that – being grateful that I’ll be able to return to normality tomorrow.  I suspect that had I not persevered with keeping myself fit and looking for ways to remain active – with the photography and the workshop – every day would, by now, be a bad day.   And I’d be thinking  “I’ll be glad when I’ve had enough of this.”

So, in truth, I have a very great deal to be thankful for.  :-)

Wednesday 9th January

Back to normal today – even yesterday evening was better.
This morning I cut and fitted the military frame, and have half finished the commission for the engineering company.   :lol:

Onwards & Upwards

I’ve completed the last of the Christmas, and post-Christmas, work.
I have an arrangement with clients, prior to Christmas, that if they require their order to be completed in time to be wrapped for a Christmas gift, they must finalize the order before a given date.  If they cannot do so, they may have to wait until after Christmas for their order to be completed.
99.9% of clients comply with this requirement without a murmur.
The 0.1% who  object to this contravention of their civil liberties are politely advised to take their business elsewhere.  Which for some obscure reason most appear reluctant to do; protesting that other service providers have expressed much the same sentiment – consequently, there being no-one else to go to.  (it is almost ~ but not quite ~ heart-breaking to listen to.)
For those who don’t/can’t make the cut-off date there is the assurance that their work will be completed, sequentially, as soon as possible, following the return to the workshop after the New Year.  For this amenable group of clients, the response is often “that’s fine – let me know when it’s ready for collection.”  Or “he/she is a big boy/girl now and doesn’t believe in Father Christmas anyway.”
For these, the work is always completed ASAP.

And these are the commissions which are now all complete.

For this coming week, I have a delicate job for a prestigious engineering company. Located locally, but known world-wide.  With a reputation for excellence.  So this will be precision work – to the highest standards. 
(the same as all of my other work, for everyone else then?) :lol: ;-)

I have three photographic commissions.  One fairly mundane.  But no less important, for that.   The other two, quite interesting and further afield.  I’m looking forward to those.
Then a day processing and editing the results of the three shoots.
And to round off the week – two fairly elaborate framing orders.
Plus, the completion of an on-going military presentation item.

2013, so far, is coming up smelling of roses‘  :-D