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:

I Was Right

If you have read Grrrrrrr, you will remember that I concluded with the statement :-
“I’m back in business and things are looking up.
Or else, something really BAD is about to happen !!!

Well today it did.
I woke up this morning convinced that the date was Friday the 16th of November.  My calendar said it was the 16th ~ my mobile phone confirmed that it was the 16th.
I was happy with it being the 16th.

Yesterday, the 15th, I took delivery of some materials from Wessex Pictures, amongst which were the materials ordered for a customer’s watercolour painting.  I duly stocked the remainder of the order and commenced with doing the decorative ink-lining to the window mount for the watercolour.
That done I put it to one side whilst the ink dried, cut the glass and by the end of the day was satisfied that, for this job, I merely needed to cut and assemble the frame, put the whole package together and notify the customer that his painting was ready to collect.
That was yesterday.
Today started off nicely as Friday the 16th.
Until about 10:00am.
I had sorted out the frame profile for the watercolour from yesterdays delivery.  I had cut the mitres and glued and wedged one long and one short side together.  This, I had placed upon the workbench, as I commenced gluing and wedging the second long and short side.  It was at this point that Friday the 16th instantaneously turned into Friday 13th.
The first joined sides, quite inexplicably, toppled off the bench and onto the floor.  Onto the rear of the corner.
When I say “quite inexplicably“, what I mean is;  I was sure that I had placed the assembly on the workbench in such a manner that it would stay where I had put it.  However, I was wrong.  As vociferously as I blamed the piece for leaping off the bench, I had to admit that it was my fault.  I tried streaming the bruised section back to life; and in all fairness it almost recovered, but not quite.  I knew that the client would see it and object to it.  And as I had ordered just two lengths; one for the job and one for stock, (It’s not a section I sell a lot of, so don’t keep a large stock of it.) I pulled the other length from my stock rack and proceeded to make another frame.  I won’t tell you what happened to that one, sufficient to say that I made a mistake with the underpinner and I was less than pleased with the finished article.
Now I was faced with driving to Wessex Pictures (about a 50 miles round trip) to buy another length of framing section.
This I duly did.       [I bought two.  One for stock !]  :lol:
And during the drive to Leamington, I persuaded myself that I was not incompetent, useless, a blithering idiot &/or incapable.  All of which I had accused myself of being for the first quarter of an hour following the ‘quite inexplicable‘ fall and the subsequent ‘mistake‘.  I further reasoned with myself that the day had turned sour, not due to one of my ‘bad’ days, which I occasionally suffer as a result of the strokes, when co-ordination is difficult. 
(I was driving to Leamington OK)

It is so easy to look for, and find, something or someone else to blame, isn’t it?
The events of the day were simply due to the fact that I had been careless.
Nothing more.  Nothing less.

I returned from Leamington and made the frame.
The next step is to prepare the package ~ clean the inside surface of the glass ~ ensure that the artwork is spotlessly free of particles of dust, fibres, specks of foreign matter; then very carefully assemble the package ~ watercolour – glass – frame – tags to hold it in place ~ and turned it over to check that everything is still as pristine as just a moment ago.
Yes.  You’ve guessed it.  Flumbs. #  Five of the little monsters.
So take it all apart again.  And each and every one of them has disappeared.
Re-clean and re-assemble; hoping that you’ve got them all.
Sure enough.  All gone.  Not a flumb in sight anywhere.
Finish tagging the back of the frame.  Place the barrier board and tag that.  Tape the rear of the frame to prevent the ingress of any further foreign matter for the next 40 years.

#  see Glossary of Terms under the About TAA tab

Now from experience, I always turn the frame over again and check it for a second time at this point before fitting the final pieces to the rear of the frame.
I smugly turned it over.  And there it was.  In the top right hand corner. 
So small it almost couldn’t be seen.

So small it could easily be missed.
But I knew that the client would spot it.  Immediately.  In exactly the same way that he would spot a flashing blue light.  He’s not a vindictive man.  He is simply, the customer.
And that’s what customers do.

So once more, the entire package was dis-assembled.
And once more there was no sign of the offending speck of ‘whatever-it-was’.
By this time I was convinced that this was not just Friday the 13th, but this was a decade’s worth of Fridays’ the 13th, all rolled into today.
I was almost frightened to re-assemble it.
But I did.
And it looks fine to me.  I finished the frame – hangings, labels, wire, buffers etc.  And it still looks fine.
It’s ready for the client to collect.

But I am so nervous.
I will have dreams tonight of the frame falling to the floor, breaking the glass, denting the frame and being infested by flumbs like the locusts of biblical proportions.

I really do hope that tomorrow will be Saturday the 17th of November.
That everything will have returned to normal; and that the customer will be pleased with his picture.

Watch this space :roll: :-)

 Saturday 17th November  :lol: :lol:

I did wake once during the night, but immediately returned to sleep and can’t for the life of me remember what I dreamed about; if I dreamed at all.
My client has been to collect his watercolour and has expressed himself pleased with it.
My wife has asked for a small standing frame to be made for her brother for Christmas.
And I have done that, without a problem.

It would appear that life, as I know it (most of the time) has returned.
What a relief !!
But I still shudder when I think of yesterday :oops: :-|

Concentrated Effort

For the next couple of days I am going to apply myself, with concentrated effort, to do all of the things that I know I should be doing but, for a whole variety of very plausible reasons (to me at least) have not being done.
And I have become increasingly conscience struck by my lack of application.
[I'm not doing confessional because it's Sunday morning]  I’m on this website, in my ‘clean workshop’, in the warm, until my pride will no longer allow me to sit here typing: at which point I’ll grit my teeth, gird my loins, put my fleece and my apron on, and go into the (relatively cold) ‘dirty workshop’ and make a start.  :roll: :-?

On Tuesday, I have a gentleman coming to view the ‘matriarch’ Morso, with a view to purchase.  We’ve discussed the matter fully and agreed upon a suitable exchange rate. And subject the him being satisfied with his prospective purchase, he will take the ‘old lady’ back to Worcestershire.  :-D
In the interim, I don’t want to make too much mess in the workshop, as I’ve cleaned and tidied up, prior to his visit. And the Morso is cleaned and awaiting his inspection, under dust a sheet.

So today, I am going to make pens:lol:
Ball-point Pens.  Fountain Pens.  Propelling Pencils.  And Pen Sets.
‘Slimlines’ for the ladies and youngsters
A whole variety of ‘chunky’ styles, for the men.
And each of them with a varied selection of exotic woods.
oak ~ ash ~ sycamore ~ spalted beech ~ rosewood ~ walnut ~ cherry ~ plum ~ teak ~ zebrano.
Probably five or six of each.

That should keep me busy during the remainder of today and Monday.
And on Tuesday afternoon, I can photograph and catalogue them and put them up for sale, here on the website.
So if you’re looking for something appropriately classy and good quality ~ a bit different ~ with a realistic price tag, for presents for Christmas, a birthday, athank-you‘, at any time of the year, come and have a look, under the ‘Turning‘ tab, later in the week.  :-D

A pen selection is now available to purchase: maybe a stocking-fillers for Christmas.
Maybe for a coming birthday, for a friend or family member.
Have a look and see if anything takes your fancy  :-)


I’m unsure, at the moment, whether it is enlightening or worrying, that customers have such a varied and far reaching perception of what picture framers and wood-turners do.

This particular customer turned up with eight McIntosh dining room chairs.
Could I please re-upholster the seat squabs and re-glue the joints of the chairs?  It’s true that these particular items were showing signs of considerable use by persons (or otherwise overweight mammals) greater in mass than the McIntosh designers had envisaged would be using their products.
Disintegration would certainly be an inappropriate term: imminent collapse would seem to fit the bill quite nicely though. :lol:
McIntosh furniture is very good quality ~ from the 1960-70′s era.
Kirkcaldys’ finest.
But these particular pieces had been subjected to either an exuberantly boisterous family or a hard life.  It’s the same thing, I suppose, really.

Oh, and could you re-polish the chair frames too, please?
Oh and, there is a dining table, to seat ten, and an 8′-0″ long sideboard from the same suite, which needs re-polishing if that’s possible, when you’ve finished the chairs.
Oh yes; another thing. I want two carvers made, to match the eight chairs, as well please.

I explained to her the bit about picture framing and wood-turning, but it didn’t seem to register at all.  It was almost as if I hadn’t even mentioned it.
I said that I’d contact her in due course, with a quotation: first for the restoration of the chairs, then we’d see.
The theory, in business, is that when faced with work which you do not want, for whatever reason, you submit a quotation which takes the customers’ breath away.  Literally. :lol: :lol: If they hastily look around for a seat to sit upon, and look faint, you know that you’ve achieved your goal.  :twisted:   It’s not that I don’t particularly want the work; but if I become inundated with framing &/or turning work as well, I’m going to be working day and night shifts, just to keep everyone happy

I contacted a local upholsterer and obtained a quote from him.
Based upon his quotation, if the client has all the work done which she is planning upon, she’s definitely not going abroad for any more holidays for quite some time to come.
A long weekend in Corby, in a tent, maybe:  if she pays for it in installments. :roll:

Well, as you can see, I have concluded by on taking on the commission, with the condition that it will take a month to complete ~ thus allowing for any sudden influx of framing or turning work.   Even if, or even hoping that, I don’t get inundated with other work, I will certainly be able to take a holiday in the Caribbean at Christmas.   :lol:

Payment in Kind

My friend came round yesterday ~ it’s amazing how many friends you discover you have when you can photograph competently well, frame what you’ve printed and turn wood on a lathe, which permits circular or elliptical frames too. :-D :-D
They spring up from all sorts of unlikely places.
In all fairness, this friend lives just across the road from me and has been a friend for many, many years.  During the last 25 years we’ve been through thick and thin together.
He wanted to make a frame for a photo of two of his grandchildren.
He had purchased the framing material – a small hockey finished in chantilly.
Could he please use the Morso guillotine and underpinner?

He made the frame, approximately 10″ x 8″, with only minimal input from myself.
We went up into my clean workshop and he cut himself a piece of glass.
He then told me that his wife had specified that it was to be a ‘stander’ to accompany a similar photograph of his third grandchild, on the hearth of the fireplace, in the lounge.
Could I make him a standing-back please?

Well, to cut a long story short, he went away with his photo, suitably framed and ready to stand beside the third granddaughter.  Seemingly  delighted with the finished article, but inevitably making silly comments about paying for the glass and the backing etc.

We long ago established that whatever we do to help each other, money doesn’t change hands and there is no accounting of; he owes me this; or I owe him that.  That has never been the way we’ve worked things out.  It’s always been a ‘swings & roundabouts’ thing.

My wife came in this evening and said “that blue bag in the kitchen must be for you.  I found it in the porch on the way in and it’s not mine.”  I duly found the blue plastic shopping bag she was talking about.
Eight cans of 1664 happy juice.
I have no idea where they came from :roll: :-?, but I’m prepared to lay good odds on that my friend from across the road will help me to drink at least half of them.   :lol:  That’s what ‘swings & roundabouts’ means, isn’t it? :-D .