THE LATER YEARS
William Walker Partnership (1999-2001)
An interesting experience to say the least! Not only did I have over a 1 hour commute each way but had to also take on board a new CAD Package, Arkey, very clever in it's own way with possibly a lot going for it.
With the office based just off Manningham Lane I became little concerned when I found out that the offices had been sold and the practice was moving into a rented office in Salts Mill, Saltaire, a fine building at first sight, but boy did it leak when it rained!
With my pay coming from a different bank account each month it did not take long to see the writing on the wall and leaving in the November to work back in York I soon found out that I had left just twenty days before William Walker Partnership was declared bankrupt - a sad day for all concerned, especially those who found themselves without a job that Christmas.
Nicholas Associates (2001-2003)
A small tight knit practice, totaling seven at the time, Nicholas Associates had Taylor's of Harrogate and Betty's Tea Rooms and Bakery as the mainstay of the business, which provided a great opportunity to get down to nitty gritty details.
With regular defensive investments in plant and decor Betty's Tea Room in Ilkley provided an interesting challenge to remove asbestos in the service areas, whilst maintaining normal trade in the Cafe. It made a change for me to work after tea into the early hours for almost a fortnight.
All of Betty's projects allowed the opportunity to design and detail top quality fixtures and fittings and knowing that they would eventually be built by tradesman and craftsmen who took the time to interpret and question the drawings and often advise better ways of achieving the end result was indeed a luxury. Never underestimate the knowledge of the man on the tools, the shop floor, or the man on site. In fact never underestimate the knowledge of anyone you might work with or alongside.
The great aspect of working at Nicholas Associates was the willingness of the practice to invest in the future by training. This was never better illustrated than when all five of the design and technical staff were told that a good part of the next week would be given over to being trained on ArchiCAD.
Although only there for a little under two years before I was head hunted by PGT & Co it was a privilege to work on high end domestic and commercial work which was a welcome offset to the more menial, but still quite interesting and rewarding, day to day projects which would vary from space planning for various Rail Organisations in York to the detailing of Offices and Taylor's Tea Industrial Units.
PGT & Co (2003-2005)
Peter Thompson and I used to have offices opposite each other in the Raylor Centre in the days when I ran my own business and hearing that I was closing my business in 1999 he said he would like to employ me, but at that time was unable to do so, as his work load was not sufficient.
Four years down the line and all that changed and I was appointed as Design Manager, overseeing, organising and mentoring four good young Technicians, at various levels of their studies, all who have since gone to "where the grass is greener", if not gone onto greater things.
The majority of Projects were Planning and Building Regulation Applications for a varied Client List, including the National Trust, Right Move and Samuel Smiths Brewery, at the time the only client I had come across without a web site and I am pleased to say that has now changed.
Residential and Domestic Projects were also shoehorned into the busy workload.
Once again the "head hunters" emerged and it was with great sadness that I chose to leave such a caring employer, to take the opportunity to develop Acorn Design at DSP Architects.
Peter and I worked privately together and remained good friends until his death in April 2018.
DSP Architects (2005-2008)
Three years at DSP Architects did not quite pan out as planned since Acorn Design did not become the "oak tree" that was hoped, as the recession took a deep hold and toll on the Licensed Trade, which was to have been the core of Acorn Design's work.
Nonetheless much interesting work came my way seeing through the £1m plus Zara Sports Centre in Bradford, as well as working as part of a team on a number of PFI Schools in Leeds and Bradford through Aedas Architects.
Of particular noteworthiness was DSP's involvement in helping to launch a roll out programme for what must become one of the biggest Supermarket Organisations in the world, Reliance, the brain child of the Ambani family, possibly the richest family in the world. This work came about through DSP's connections with a large London Interior Design Practice they had worked with on a number of occasions. This work subsequently stopped when the London Interior Design Practice split up, resulting in the loss of some 60 London based jobs which, along with the Credit Crunch, finally dribbled down to York, with myself being the first of 8 casualties between September and December 2008.
LIFE AFTER ARCHITECTURE (2008 - 2013)
Moben Kitchens (Nov '08 - May '09)
After three weeks without work and finding the job market to be fallow I took the bold decision to work for Moben Kitchens, as a Kitchen Sales Designer, on commission only - surely the original "Zero Hours" contract!
Needless to say, despite most of my Clients being impressed with my work, the Moben pricing policy became untenable for me and my accounts showed that after travel and other expenses I had only made £138.00 in a five month period.
Falham Properties (May '09 - Oct '09)
This eighteen week period involved a very intensive week in July cleaning student properties between tenancies and full-time general maintenance and decoration work.
During this time I lost three quarters of a stone - can't be bad and I got paid for it as well.
I subsequently undertook work each year during the intensive week in July until age took its toll in 2017 when I decided to hang up my "Marigolds".
David Appleyard Design Consultant (Oct '09 - Jan '10)
Undertaking Building Regulation and Tender Documentation work for a former Moben Client I realised that a "Digital Mouseman" only hibernates.
I have subsequently undertaken a number of similar, but smaller projects for former work colleagues.
A good reputation cannot keep a good man down.
City of York Council Recruitment Pool (Jan '10 - Dec '11)
Based at The EcoDepot appointments included were:-
Data Input in Waste Strategy Department using Exor Software (10 weeks).
Part-Time Receptionist, afternoons only (16 weeks).
Data input in Vehicle Workshops using TranMan Software (8 weeks).
EcoDepot Manager Cover (9 weeks) undertaking the day to day management of the EcoDepot.
Upon the completion of EcoDepot Manager Cover I was released by the Recruitment Pool, until the temporary contract cover for Part-Time Receptionist once again became available. This gave me the opportunity to undertake an eight week spell cleaning and decorating for Falham Properties in Leeds.
Ultimately I was reappointed as Part-Time Receptionist at the EcoDepot, this time mornings only, allowing me the opportunity to join Cansing, The City of York Council Choir, which at that time rehearsed at 1 o'clock on a Thursday. I still rehearse and sing with them today.
Council cut backs ultimately meant that both morning and afternoon Reception Posts became redundant.
Medical Treatment (Jan '12 - Apr '12)
A three month period of Medical Treatment and Convalescence for Prostate Cancer preceded my return to work.
Falham Properties (June '12 - Oct '12)
Another stint of proper physical work, it was a good job I took plenty of time out to convalesce.
QA Research (Oct '12 - Nov '12)
This work involved pre-planned Telephone Research covering many aspects of research for local Authorities, Health Organisations and The Marriage Guidance Council to name but a few. Again this was zero hours contract work, however this could be interwoven with my other jobs.
Waitrose (Oct '12 - Feb '13)
After initial training I undertook seasonal Sunday work driving for Waitrose for a ten week period over Christmas and the New Year, receiving a major surprise on my first day shadowing a regular driver when he revealed to me that Sunday work was time and a half, something which seemed to have been overlooked at my interview.
City of York Council Recruitment Pool (Oct '12 - Jun '13)
My appointment to work Full Time at Millthorpe School to help undertake an audit of school equipment was only for eight weeks. It was during this time that I augmented my Recruitment Pool Work by working as a Telephone Researcher for QA Research in the evenings and driving for Waitrose. In one particular week when I was called upon by Falham Properties to do some work I ended up doing four different jobs in the week!
I then took up the appointment of Floorwalker at the Benefits and Housing Office in Library Square, which led to floor walking in the new council offices at Station Rise. It was sometimes said I was the face of York City Council and it was through this job a chance meeting with a former work colleague found me working for The Planning Design Partnership.
BACK IN ARCHITECTURE
The Planning Design Partnership (Jun '13 - Aug '14)
Finding myself back in Architecture employed as a full time Architectural Technician, primarily involved with Planning Application and Building Regulation work and a limited amount of Tender Preparation for both domestic and commercial clients I found that "The Digital Mouseman" had come out of hibernation.
Always thinking that I would work till I dropped I surprised myself and probably everybody when I decided to stop work and spend more time with my wife, who had retired in April.
I was pleased to learn on leaving that I had been regarded as a "safe pair of hands" which some of my footballing colleagues of yesteryear might question, particularly as I stood between the posts!
WHAT OF THE FUTURE, WHO KNOWS?
TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SELF ISOLATION.