Thursday, 4th November 2010
Just a short note for now, with more to follow, but the gist of it is this: people are amazingly helpful! After months of being messed around or ignored by big businesses, I tried reaching out for a bit of help from the general community and I've had some brilliant replies. If you're one of those people who took the time to get in touch, thank you, it really makes a difference.
Tuesday, 11th October 2010
I haven't given up. Not even close. It's just that the reality of dealing with the world at large is beginning to chip away at that initial enthusiasm. I still have every reason to believe that there are plenty of people out there who would jump at the chance of getting tens of thousands of pounds for a rooftop or an unused scrap of garden, and I'm more than happy to pay them. In the meantime, though, the estate agents completely ignoring me mid-conversation, or the businesses who don't even take the time to reply, or the developers who never get around to returning my calls as promised, are all becoming rather tiresome. I know these people are busy, but the lack of even basic courtesy seems inexplicable. A shred of politeness wouldn't be too much to ask, and if they can't even give me that then I have no reason to waste my time dealing with them any more than is absolutely necessary. It's a stark contrast to the huge amounts of help and effort that I've seen from so many of the individuals who have taken the time to get in touch through this site, and it's made me realise that there are inherent benefits in working straight from person-to-person.
In short, it's time to get a bit more creative. The usual channels aren't going to work here, so I'm going to have to be direct - no businesses, no middlemen, just a transaction between myself and one of the many people with the kind of space that I need, in the right location. They'll be a significant amount better off, I'll have a place to build, and hopefully everyone will be happy.
Leaving on a Jet Plane
Saturday, 4th September 2010
From time to time I've been accused of making things unnecessarily difficult for myself; in that vein, I've moved to the US for the next nine or ten months. It was always vaguely part of the plan, so it's not as though I just woke up one morning and hopped on a plane, but the fact remains that I'm probably going to be dealing with some significant parts of the build from across a few thousand miles of ocean. It remains to be seen how that'll turn out...
Most things are really done by phone or email anyway, I suppose, so it shouldn't actually have too great an impact. I have plenty of friends back in the UK who can act as points of contact and, in the worst case, London's only eight (expensive) hours away if it really comes down to it.
The actual move, and adjusting to a new university, really wore me out though, so I haven't managed to do anything productive in the last couple of weeks. I'm getting settled now, though, so I think it's time to get the project moving again!
Saturday, 14th August 2010
That last post was a less than cheerful way to have left the blog, so it seemed like high time for an update. Securing a piece of land remains the dominant task at the moment, but I'm now trying to tackle it from a slightly different angle; since a lot ground-level land is in use, I've been looking for areas of roof space instead. Supporting a few tonnes of metal is not entirely trivial, but it's also not a vast amount of pressure when it's spread out over the carriage footprint. It's a bit unorthodox, and there are some added engineering challenges, but the fact that it's possible at all is one of the many advantages that a small self-contained unit has over a traditional bricks-and-mortar build.
Buying space on a roof has the advantage that I'm offering to pay for something that was otherwise completely unused, and as I've already mentioned, I'm passionate about the design of my build complementing the surroundings. Decent sized flat roofs tend to be more the domain of commercial properties than residential, and that gives me one more major advantage: I can help to bring in a whole lot of brilliant publicity. Dropping a tube carriage on the roof is a pretty effective way to turn any old business property into a local landmark, not to mention the rather sizeable number of wonderful people like you who'll hear about it here. I'm following up with a few companies now, although it's still early days. In the end, though, I only need one person to say yes! p>
Once again, I'm appealing to my oh-so-knowledgable readers for help too: if you can think of any buildings that might fit the bill, or if you've actually got a roof around Camden/Islington/Hackney that you think might benefit from a rather interesting piece of additional architecture, let me know. I promise that I will buy you a very, very large number of beers next time you're in London if it pans out!
Was it Something I Said?
Friday, 30th July 2010
Waiting for companies to reply to my messages is not exactly a riveting task. I'm by no means expecting instant responses, but as the days tick over into weeks and my followup emails disappear into the aether I can't help but get a little frustrated. I'm talking to a whole lot of different groups so that I can try to get the build moving, and I know there's always the gauntlet of spam filters, call centres, secretaries, and possibly bears to deal with before the intended recipient has a chance to see what I had to say. Even so, the lack of even a five-second note to say "No, we can't help you" from the vast majority of the organisations who I'm trying to deal with is beginning to grate.
In the mean time I guess I'll just keep doodling ideas in my notebook and waiting. With any luck there will be a bit more news to report soon enough!
It's What's Inside That Counts
Friday, 23rd July 2010
The hunt for land continues, albeit slowly. I've got a few promising leads, so I'm still very optimistic, and the help and suggestions coming in are still a absolutely essential in keeping the project moving along.
In the mean time, the change of pace has given me a bit of a chance to think about how the interior is going to be put together. By design and by necessity it's going to be pretty eclectic, which means plenty of freedom to experiment. I'm planning to salvage as much of the existing interior as I can, not necessarily to use in place, but to remake into new furniture/artwork. With any luck I'll be able to work the hand rails into the design as they are, and maybe reupholster a couple of the seats still in place to use as a bit of work space, but beyond that it's pretty much all coming out. I'll try to get some sketches up soon showing what I'm thinking of doing with it, because I'm fairly excited about some of the possibilities.