Friday, 22 January 2021

My neighbour is stressing me out - Persnickety Neighbours Telford

So my neighbour is stressing me out again and I am allowing him. I thought if I write it all down I might feel better.   Let me explain.  When I first moved into this property about 15 years ago, there was a couple on my joined side ( its a semi detached ) and the other side there was a single mum like myself. Everything was fine and dandy.  As I am joined to one house this couple are really the only folk I see.  They were and always have been fine and over the years we have got more friendly as to be expected.  I can't remember when, but a few years after moving in the other side single mum got a new fella. 

Initially he is quite scary to look at as he has tats on his head and face.  He didn't work and well he really fell on his feet moving in with her.  Anyway regardless, each to their own. Not my cup of tea but I was sort of happy for her as heard she was a widow.  He is a biker and has a huge quad bike thing that makes a hell of a racket which he has tinkered with for years. I don't think he worked for years, but apparently he is a school caretaker now.  Being an old biker myself I can kind of put up with it.  But I work from home and have for over 11 years so when he is revving this beast outside it can be frustrating.  But I have never said a word as well I am very easy going.  Plus after seeing the couple out and about I found them not very social or approachable so that was that, not a problem.

In 2013, having worked from my dining from since 09 I rebuilt my clay room which I called it which was the conservatory / side room which is attached to the side of my house which joins the (non joined house neighbours) :






The old one was falling apart and it was damp, so this was just upgrading what was already there. It houses my kiln.  It was now fit for purpose so I could move my business into there which I did.  I then went about creating a kitchen.  There is another post about that here if your interested.  I have some luck! You can see on the picture how nice the job was.

Then out of the blue I get a letter from the council telling me that my dog barking is a nuisance! WTF was my first reaction.  I had a trained border collie that was better behaved that ANY child.  As I was worried who I had upset I went knocking them all.  Turns out it was the scary tat man neighbour as I call him.  Every other neighbour was as in as much shock as me for getting that letter.  

I asked him why he didn't speak to me before going to council.  He didn't know why and was very sheepish and childlike.  It was a bit like ner ner ner ner ner type stuff.  Straight away I thought what a dick. I am very social and approachable so I couldn't understand why he did it, and he couldn't explain either.  He was just very twatty about it. I explained how I would play a game with the dog.  I would pretend to throw something down the garden and she would go off running and barking. I didn't do it that often.  By this stage I was running two businesses from home which would be impossible if the dog was a barking nuisance. Plus all the neighbours agreed he was just being a twat. 

The chat with him left me fuming and I called him a pussy and left. He was very strange.  I would ask him a question and he would just stare and smile.  Its like he lost the ability to talk.  He must have lied to the council as surely they are not allowed to send letters unless he had tried and failed to resolve with me. But I didn't know he had a problem. 

Ever since the dog incident I have been weary of him. I have been looking to move and been looking for years now.  For other reasons, not just cause of not getting on with him.  In 2017 I bought a motorbike and well it seemed to go down well with that neigbour as he became more social and would smile and talk. Just normal neighbour stuff.  So I thought great, live and let live we got over our hickup, neighborly again.  I was then offered a workshop down the local museum I work at and I thought yay, get me out of here. I haven't enjoyed working in that room since the fall out.  But boom 2020 Covid hell... 

Also during the past 5 years my joined 'nice' neighbours have heard about me wanting to move and it frightens them.  They are worried who might move in.  I have one side saying don't move and the other side I again now not getting on with...

So covid hits, my artist in residence on hold.  Dog died, life is shit.  I mention to nice neighbours about stuff and she said I have the space why not build a workshop.  This got me thinking and it was a no brainer.  So last year I spent loads of money on building a super new garden room which I should be moving into in a few weeks. 

There was a lot of prep work needed as the back on my garden was very overgrown and trees falling over.  My joined neighbour agreed to help.  Around the same time the tat man knocked my office and told me he was extending his workshop (which is attached to my current one in pic above) and that he is putting a new roof on it and my guttering will be down for a bit.   He said about putting a window and pointed where. I said I didn't need light as never sit out the front and anyway I am moving as I am building a new workshop at the back, which they could see.  I then showed him my art work and we chatted normally.  I was more excited about my workshop build than what he was doing.  

A couple of weeks later a window appeared which I thought odd.  Why put a window when I said I didn't need light?  Other neighbours told me he needed planning and shouldn't put a window looking down on another neighbour.  Frosted glass has to be used, but he needs my consent.  Everyone thought it was odd as even with that window, unless he opens his workshop up fully, no light will get through to that window anyway. 

So I spoke to them and said I am not happy could they brick it up.  For a while it looked like they were going to fill it in but now a frosted window is there:


Since he started his extension, I have built a 20 x 16 ft garden room all finished but windows and he still hasn't finished his roof.  It looks terrible and I told her.  Plus as the drain pipe is hanging off I have to listen to drip drip drip... 8 months now I think.  So annoying.  I have now moved into my kitchen as I feel even less comfortable working in there.  All work has stopped.


It has looked like that for months.  Not sure what he is waiting for.

This is the back of his cock up of a roof, and my frame for fence.

PUT MY GUTTER BACK PLEASE!





Since that time I have built this:








And created this wildlife area behind it. Its a great spot to watch the sun rise.



When I was preparing this land we noticed a number of trees growing dangerously so we cut them down.  The tat man came out and offered us the use of his chain saw which was kind.  I told him I was planning on turning this area into a wildlife area and he said him and his mrs were thinking the same. So I said we could cut two trees his side also as they were also leaning bad.  Thinking he might help!  But no he didn't help, he just spent hours sitting on his roof obviously portending to work on it.  You can see here of you forward to 3.34.  The man is the nice neighbour helping me:


This picture below shows the door they come out of which I hoped to hide.




That picture of the new fence going up is why I am doing this post.  My builder suggested I tidy that area up which I thought would please these neighbours.  So he started building the fence, I said to go as high as legally allowed.  Then I heard my builder talking to that neighbour and I could hear he wasn't pleased. 

So I went out there and he said its too high because it will block light into their utility room.  This made me giggle because well the sun comes from their side anyway it comes up in front of our houses then goes around THEIR side before dropping. He was just being awkward in my eyes.  The wall between us blocks light to my garden because of how the world revolves around the sun. Not much I can do about that.  Plus I have never been happy that they can see right into my garden and since they got that camera.  I know how wide angled cameras can be.  Not sure why he has it, we get nobody around the back of our gardens. With the fence I was hoping to hide their building and stop them looking over.  A bit of privacy.  They can see right over into my garden which I explained.  His reply, "we don't like you looking over us on that chair" pointing to the wildlife area I have created which is on council land so its not mine, he can go smash it up if he wants.  It was for everybody.  Like I told him when I was clearing the area.  I even offered to help the lazy twat when he does his side as love a bit of hard labor.  Why we cut the trees that were hanging over HIS side I don't know.  We was on a roll and assumed he would help. Wrong. Lazy twat. He has done pretty month nothing since then which was July last year.

This was like a kick in the teeth. I broke my back making that area, and I have sat on that chair what like 5 times.  You cannot see into their house or garden as its so far, my eyesight isn't that good.  I thought it would make a nice viewing area which it does and everyone can use it. 

By the way lucky them having a utility room.  If I had one, I doubt I would want to spend much time hanging out in there.  Surely a light-bulb is enough for a room where you do your laundry! Maybe she likes to watch the laundry go around in the machine.  Surly this is them being persnickety.   

So once I chilled out I went round and spoke to his Mrs saying I didn't want to fall out.  She was fuming so it was a bit heated at first but we soon got on track.  But it is quite clear that he lies to her.  Apparently I agreed to that window. Why would I?  Everyone around me thinks its odd, my boys think its to be nosy.  What she said didn't tally.  I thought as they put that window up when knew I didn't want it, the compromise would be letting me hide their building for privacy in the back. She did say she understands that I would like privacy.  But there was no compromise. She went on about the seat I made and how she was annoyed when the builder lifted a fence post. I asked her when the roof would be fixed and she looked down and said I know I keep on to him.  He has stopped all work.  She said they couldn't work out how to fill the hole so put the window in! Seriously. What was so tricky? I have had a window filled.  It is not rocket science.  I assume they intend to clad or render the breeze blocks.  But anyway excuse after excuse I left disappointed but kind of on better terms, with her anyway.  She admitted he was out of order with the council letter. But there was still no compromise. 

Well I am not happy with the pair of them now thinking about it.  My kids have reminded me of stuff over the years.  All I do is compromise.  I had a lovely Virginia creeper vine I think its called that turned red in the autumn and I grew it to cover the fence. It did get a bit wild and I could tell they were cutting if back their side which was fair enough. One year I cut it down and replaced the fence panels. ( I remember that neighbor was moaning as it was open for a few weeks FEW WEEKS not months ).  They said they hated that vine so once the fence panels were up I stopped it growing.  WHY to please them.. I loved that vine, stopped me having to paint the fence.  I also removed the big root last year. 

I suppressed the dogs 'happy time' to please them.  Told my boys off enough.  WHY?  To please them and stop her annoying them!  And their dog barks also so its not like they are not dog lovers.  My eldest would always say to me, "WHY do you care what the neighbours think" or " who cares what they think" etc.  But the man is a twat and I have hated living next to him since the council letter. 

So that is it.  Today my builder wants to carry on so I have to decide what to do.  Do I compromise AGAIN and let them have their way, or do I stick to the legal height allowed and sod them?

Letter to them.. I might just give them the url of this blog actually... 

Dear the couple that live at 25 Hartshill Avenue, Oakengates, Telford

(you would think I know their names after 15 years)

If you ever want to move house I will give you 10K more than its value if you sell to me privately.  If you sell to me within 2 years from today I will make that 20K.

From Carolyn Clayton
27 Hartshill Avenue.

There its written!  I do feel better now.

Covid Project - Building a Studio in my Garden 2020

So this has been a year we will all remember.  For me it was supposed to be the year of change in that I became an artist in residence at Coalport China Museum. Having worked from home for 11 years in SEO I was ready to change things around and become a full time artist or at least 80% of my time was going to be on my art.  Two floods and then Covid-19 in the Spring meant that the museum has been shut all year.  Coalport has been my happy place for many years and one of the reasons I have stayed in the area.  It won't be opening anytime soon. So that was sad.

What I have found hard this year is that it feels like my human rights have been taken away.  To keep me sane (and this is good advice for anyone planning to stay working from home),  you have to make sure you get out and have a social life away from home.  I used to play badminton twice a week with two different groups of people, that with my friends and family and trips away kept me sane.  I don't like the gym or pubs really, so I have felt frustrated with the restrictions.  

Loosing my old border collie in August was the last straw. She had been ill all year, she was 15, so when the inevitable happened and I couldn't go travelling (which was also my plan for this year) I decided to put all my focus on building a workshop studio in my back garden.  I will then be able to run classes and do all the stuff I planned to do down Coalport.  As for the public viewing, there of course is YouTube so the plan is to get busier on there.  I still want a space down the museum but at least when this is built I wont be able to turn down the bigger jobs which Coalport helped materialize.  I got a job to make a number of large wall flowers for the store Macy's in USA.  With no space here and the need of a larger kiln it was thanks to Coalport I could take the job.  Soon I will have a larger kiln and plenty of space.

I have a good 100ft plus garden so there was plenty of room:





Clearing behind my garden

This was my garden back in August 2020, dog just died, sad time, time to get busy:


I knew I had to sort out the mess behind my garden as the land was half way up my back fence.  Years of rubbish being chucked over (not me) and trees growing meant anyone could step onto my roof so it had to be cleared. 




So phase one was to clear this and create a base.  I spoke to my neighbor and he agreed to help.  I went away for a week down to Folkestone and he got busy from his side.  It was a good couple of weeks of work and it involved taking down some dangerously growing trees.

I bought a gazebo to store all my shed stuff.  The shed sold very quickly on Facebook Marketplace. 

What we found once we got excavating is that my old boundary posts were buried.  A tree was growing within the boundaries so we think the previous owner brought the fence forward rather than deal with the tree.  This is the tree root:  There was soil right up to the back of my then boundary: 



I got busy my side and removed the conifer and the slabs:





We collected all the brick and slabs to create hardcore for the base:


Reclaiming my boundries:




This is a video of the base work up until the concrete pour:


This split pictures shows just two weeks apart.  The frame went up very quickly:











The windows and doors should be installed in the next few weeks.
I am now working on the garden:


I am currently now having issues with my neighbours which might be worthy of a blog post.  I wanted to build an extra meter up on my studio so I could create an attic for storage, but as one side is a bit funny and well not approachable, I decided to keep to allowed height without planning.   I am now regretting that. 





Tuesday, 24 November 2020

The Fear of Covid is worse than the Virus

 Last night on the news they were talking about how a vaccine will be available and how we can all breath a sigh of relief.  They mentioned that since the pandemic began over 1.5 million people in the UK got ill with Covid-19 with 55K deaths.  There are apparently 66 million people in the UK. I would guesstimate more like 10 million people caught it.  Regardless of the numbers, I don't want a vaccine thank you very much!  I would rather trust my immune system. Maybe if a few million died I would be more concerned. More than three times that amount die from cancer.

I believe I had it, I coughed for thee months from Jan - March this year,  then it was on the news.  I had been to a funeral in the November last year of a friends husband who died quickly of some respiratory thing, cant remember the label they gave it.  Also another friends mum died in the November very quickly with respiratory issues, and they said it was lung cancer.

Why do we always try to put a plaster on things?  Where is all the money spent on looking into HOW this came about and HOW we can stop the next virus outbreak.  Was it from these wet markets?  Should they be banned?  Was it from some scientific lab? Surely preventing the next outbreak would be money better spent. 

Doctors frigging terrify me.  They are paid to prescribe and its apparently all the people who have been on drugs for underlying issues that this virus is wiping out.  What does that tell us?  That we are a bunch of unhealthy idiots who listen to doctors and take their drugs without question.

If the truth was known, we create 95% of our ill health. There is science and proof to back this. So why isn't this being taught at schools?  Because the country makes money out of our fear and ill health.  You only have to put the news on this year and its all about fear, even adverts pray on spreading fear.  It disgusts me.  Having our civil liberties taken away from us as justification for safety is wrong to me.  I haven't been able to play badminton for a year, but I could go to the fucking pub and drink man made drug substances that will over time give me all the issues to make me high risk from Covid.  Crazy. Oh but I can order FAST food and eat junk so again get me on the high cholesterol drugs and put me at risk one day.  

I can't put the news on or listen to people talking about this virus anymore.  It reminds me of the time after voting in Brexit.  I voted to leave the EU,  but according to some friends I was ill formed.  Well I wasn't, nobody knows what the future holds, Covid proved that. I wanted out the EU and still do.  All the news on TV and radio spreads fear..  I am not paying for a TV licence again 

The pharmaceutical company's are reaping the rewards and will benefit from this mess as they always have. We will all be paying for this for years.  We only just finished paying for the last world war apparently. We are a bunch of unhealthy people being led by a system that doesn't really have our safety or care paramount. It's a system based on fear and mis-information. This is where the fear should be, not of some invisible virus that is surely impossible to contain.  The last one (sars) died down after a couple of year, perhaps we just built immunity to it.  

Having worked from home for 11 years, this was the year I planned to move out and work as an artist in residence at Coalport China Museum.  But 2 floods and Covid put a stop to that.  As I have outgrown my space I am turning this year into a positive and building a  new workshop.  Working from home is great for a few years, but for mental health it can be tricky. I found the only way to get the right balance is by being part of clubs or social groups, and having trips away. So this being taken away has been hard, but compared to others I am very lucky. I will survive.  Switching off from the TV and social helps.

People need to stop watching the news, stop believing everything they hear, stop listening to doctors or at least try to look for the cause first before popping pills. People need to stop blaming other people. We all created it.  We are one, all energy and part of everything that is. We are more powerful than we are being led to believe.  We are all part of the same global energy network which has infinite opportunity.  We all live on this little planet we call earth which we are slowing killing. We have one guarantee in life, we die.  Nothing to be afraid of.  The bits in-between are our choice. 

Roll on 2021.

Rant over.






Monday, 12 November 2018

Royal Caribbean Symphony Of The Seas Cruise Review

I have recently got back from a Mediterranean cruise on the Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship  Symphony Of The Seas.  It was brilliant, just awesome! Every aspect of the cruise was brilliant in my eyes however I am biased as I was only really going to see my artwork in situ.  But from a cruising virgin, and a fussy bugger, I found everything from the food, to the staff, facilities just top class.  Had I had younger children they would have been in their element.  I went with my youngest son Leon who's 19 and we just had a blast.  We got the drinks package and turned it into a booze cruise where we partied all night and some how managed to get up early for excursions (well we missed the first one).

I am so going on more cruises as I loved every aspect of it.  The Symphony of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world costing over a billion to build apparently.  It has the best Art on there of course.  Actually when the ship first set sail i read a review on trip advisor and it was terrible, its started like this:  "I sailed on the April 14 sailing on Symphony of the Seas and it was one of my worst vacation experiences. I’ll start with the positives: The ship is beautiful. The artwork is beautiful..."  It then ranted on for ages about poor food etc etc.   I found no problems with the ship at all.  But then I went excited to see my sculpture so was in a positive vibe and on cloud nine really.

So here are some pictures.  This is me and Leon on the plane after a 3 hour drive and two hour wait in Gatwick.




We landed in Barcelona and I wasn't expecting much but I was really pleasantly surprised. I have been to many parts of Spain but not Barcelona.  I loved the streets and architechure and would definitely like to go back and spend longer there.  We had one day in Barcelona with one nights sleep in Les Ramblas which was right in the heart of the City. 



There were loads of craft and antique stools which i enjoyed.  I went on a mission to find an old 1920s cigarette case for my eldest son (who is a tommy shelby lookalike). I did fine one in the right era but was I was too tight to buy it.  After some food (spoilt for choice) we decided to walk to the Zoo as it wasn't too far.






The next day we had a transfer to the port.  By this stage I was seriously getting excited.  This is the first full glimpse of the ship as we approached the port.



As we got closer the size of it was becoming more apparent





Not sure I believe those life boats will hold 8 thousand people! 







As soon as we got on board we headed to find our rooms. Our cases weren't there yet and all i could think about was heading to the Spa to see Heidi. (She is named Miss Hydrangea but I call her Heidi for short).  So once we had checked the room out we went off to find the spa.  I already saw on the lift map that the Spa was at the front of the ship on Deck 6.

We entered the ship on Deck 5 where there were lots of shops, pubs, the bionic bar, the Royal Theatre and some cool art:




These two sculptures were being made by Andrew Sinclair at the same time as my flower lady.  I actually helped make these.  My memories are not great as the smell of the resin really got to me in the last week I was there and these are the culprits.   But they looked the part and it was good to spot them.  Andrew made a number of sculptures for the ship so I was on a mission to find them all.





Finding our room was easy and on the door handle were our cards and some info.  This card you use for the door and everything,  all the buying on ship and getting on and off.  The room was compact but had everything we needed, glad to see a hair dryer in the draw.  Only complaint was no kettle and tea bags etc. I couldn't care less about coffee but I do like a tea first thing. 


Dropping some bags off we went off in search of Heidi,  just one deck up to go.  Straight away I walked around the corner and there she was!


I took a small sculpture as this was how Heidi was meant to come out like:





We played crazy golf a few times..



We loved the casino.  Lost a few quid in there but enjoyed every second.


I loved the fact that the room cleaners did this for me.  It made me giggle so much.  I like little touches like this.


Food art:


Pictures from Rome.










Me on the last night seeing Heidi again.  I went to see it most days and dragged people who I told and wanted a picture with me and it.






The cruise went to Marseille in France, Majorca and three Italy locations La Spezia, Rome and Naples.  I totally fell in love with Italy.  I am so going back on a shopping trip.  All the trousers actually fitted me, I was gob smacked!  Being nearly 6ft I struggle with getting trousers and clothes to fit.

Overall the cruise was just amazing.  I so need to run workshops on that ship.  I could of sold tons of flower people if I could have directed them to the shop.