Fantastic bank holiday weekend

First of all, thank you so much to all the people who took the time to vote or comment on last week’s poll, and who commented on the Facebook link too. The poll should be closing some time today, so I’ll collate the results (and announce the decision) just as soon as I can. I hope you all enjoyed the little diversion – and maybe it gave you an idea for some of your own blogs too. :-)

I left the poll at the top for the week because I was very busy. We had a 4-day week last week and we have a 4-day week this week, and I had a lot of work to pack in. We made sure we made the most of the bank holiday, though, and we’re both back at work now steadily recovering.

Friday was Good Friday and off we tootled to the Pocklington Canal in Bielby for a nice walk. The weather was kind to us, it was an easy walk to help break in my new walking boots, and I’ve shared some of the photographs at the bottom of today’s post.

On Saturday we were supposed to be doing the garden – cutting the grass, raking the leaves, creating a couple of borders, etc – but we went for a drive instead and stumbled upon Wentworth Lakes in Greasbrough, Rotherham. This is a private fishery belonging to the old Wentworth/Fitzwilliam estate, but it also makes for pleasant walking and joins the Trans Pennine Trail. We didn’t take any pictures because we needed to be back, but we will go again, probably for a longer walk as the poet doubts he’ll buy a fishing pass there.

Saturday night the poet had a gig over in Doncaster, and he needed to get off early to help set up. I drove over a couple of hours later (we don’t like to leave the animals for hours and hours on their own), and we had a very nice evening. The band, Monkey Dust, played well, the sound was good, the crowd were friendly.

We didn’t go out anywhere on Sunday because there was another afternoon gig over at one of the best venues I’ve ever been to – Upton Rugby Club (ARLFC) near Pontefract. It wasn’t due to start until 4pm but the band needed to be there by 2pm, so it cut the day in half a bit. They’re a fantastic crowd at that club, though, and we all really enjoyed it. Even the gig buddy and her hubby joined us, who had planned to leave after the first set but stayed until the end anyway.

Back home for a swift tea, shower and change, and then it was off to see my old friends Infinity, who were down from the North East, play in Barnsley. We’d missed the first song or two, but the rest of the first set was great. So we were really surprised to learn that the lead singer had fallen swiftly very poorly and had spent the whole of the interval with his head in a bucket. Ian (the poet) had been drinking since 2pm and was quite tired after two gigs of his own, so when the guitarist said they might need him, we both thought he was joking … but he wasn’t.

They had 3 choices: pull the rest of the gig; muddle through between them without a lead singer; or jam with their friend, a fellow “chanter”, from the audience. They did a couple on their own and then chose the latter. And while the poet was very nervous (he hardly knows any of their songs), he got up and joined them anyway, and they managed to do more than an hour for the second set.

The club gave them a great reception, Barnsley East Dene is such a lovely club anyway, and we tootled back to West Yorkshire while the band tried to head back to the North – but I understand there was a nasty accident, a head-on collision, on the motorway, and they were stuck in the van, and with a very sick singer, for many hours more. They had a rubbish night, but hopefully we eased things a little for them, and we hope Trevor feels better very soon (he was still feeling quite rough yesterday, apparently, poor thing).

On Monday we were both very tired and we decided on a shorter walk. We went to Sprotbrough in Doncaster for lunch, and then walked around Sprotbrough Flash. When we got back to the car park, we had an ice cream each. Again, we don’t have pictures this time, but we do intend to go back.

So that was our weekend – and this is already more than 850 words. So time for me to crack on with some work while you enjoy some pictures (more later in the week):

The start of our walk. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The start of our walk. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The Pocklingon Canal. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The Pocklingon Canal. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Mute swan on nest. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Mute swan on nest. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Bridge over the Pocklington Canal. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Bridge over the Pocklington Canal. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Diane sitting on restored lock. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Diane sitting on restored lock. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Ian looking thoughtful. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Ian looking thoughtful. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

More on Wednesday.

Poll time

Indulge me, this is for a new idea …

Say, for argument’s sake, that your main character, an author, finds out that someone s/he was good to has not only been slagging him/her and his/hers off for the previous year or more but they’ve also been spreading a pack of lies.

Then s/he finds out that while this person has also been riding his/her high horse, passing judgment and gaining everyone’s sympathy that, actually, they’ve been doing some despicable and unforgivable things of their own, including some things that your character (and probably your reader) would never do, some things that are a total betrayal of trust, and other things that would shock they’re so disgusting.

Your protagonist has so far kept this information to him/herself and is wondering what, if anything, to do with it.

What would you do? I’ve even provided a space for replies. :-)

Thank you for your time.

The current WIP …

current wipForgive me if I seem a little … absent just now. I’ve been a tad busy and still it continues – thankfully.

The picture on the left shows the current WIP. The bottle of Tipp-Ex is for perspective.

There are 6 different books here. Three are for editing; three are author or proofreader revisions. On top of this I also have 2 more books in an online format. Both are author revisions.

That’s 8 books. Eight, full-length books. And lovely-already-boss has more to send.

I’m not complaining, I’m really not. And definitely, the more the merrier. Bring it on. I just wanted people to see why I might be a little … missing.

I love my job. :-D

Everything in the garden’s rosy

This week I had several people around to value my little house and I was over the moon to discover that it’s actually worth slightly more now than it was a few years ago. It was also interesting to see how overpriced 3 other houses are in my street, all either gone up for sale in March or “re-valued” in March (probably as a result of the other 2 going up far too high – in my opinion).

The next piece of good news was that my redemption figure is not as high on my current mortgage as I thought it was, and there’s no penalty fee for early settlement. This is a proper double-whammy. I don’t think I’ve ever had to redeem a mortgage without some kind of financial penalty imposed.

The next house up from mine (which just happens to be next door) is up for approximately £5,000 more than anyone thinks it’s worth (apx $8,245). The one across the street and another up the road a bit are £10,000 more than anyone thinks they’re worth (apx $16,490). Apart from, obviously, the people selling them. As we’re happy to go in at what the house is actually worth, if we decide to sell, we can use these 3 overpriced houses to our advantage.

Whether we rent or sell the house is still open for discussion over the weekend, but regardless of either, any money raised will be used to clear existing debt and also go towards our Big Adventure next year. Either way, things are looking a lot rosier than they were just a month ago.

This is just the icing on the cake at the moment, as everything else is going so well and so positively. The Cosmos has certainly come up with the goods here.

I’m really very busy at the moment, which is really very good, but it means I don’t have very long to stay. And this weekend is Mother’s Day in the UK, so we’ll be having a busy time then too. We also have our big shop to do and a small dog to big walk.

It’s the wrong time of year for roses, so here’s a picture of some heather taken at Langest Reservoir last summer – he’s really very proud of it. :-)

Heather on Langsett. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Heather on Langsett. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Have a great weekend.

Another lovely day in Abbey Road

After a very full and adventurous weekend and still feeling the after effects of quite a bad cold, I could have quite happily stayed in bed today. But I took one look at Abbey Road, saw how glorious it was in here again, and promptly sat down at my desk – early again for the second working day running.

We did some shopping Friday night but had an early night and then had a couple of busy days out. Saturday night we went to a gig with the gig buddies, and yesterday we were up with the larks … well, by 9am (it was Sunday …), out by 10am, buying the dog a new ball and a new lead, and walking in quite blustery sunshine for a few hours. We were both aching by the end of it so it must have been a good workout for us. There aren’t many pictures this time, so before I go today I’ll leave you with some more taken off the camera before we went to Keswick.

We were back by 2pm and still had a lot of the weekend left, so we really must try and do this again, rather than start the day at noon …

I sort of have a bit of a busy week this week. I have a Do Diddle Day on Wednesday, but – against Do Diddle Day rules – I’ve arranged to meet estate agents over at the other house. We’ve already had a rental quote from one, and we may have a potential tenant already (found privately), but it’ll be interesting to know how much the house is worth if we decide we’d like to sell it. And the poet has 2 site visits this week at least, one of them a long, long, long way away.

So I have a lot to cram in to the remaining days. Here’s this week’s to do list:

  • surf job boards daily x 5
  • write 3 x blog posts
  • doctor’s appointment
  • make optician’s appointment
  • diary work
  • enter competitions daily x 5
  • write walks report
  • submit walks report to 6 x local newspapers
  • electronic edits on non-fiction #1
  • manual edit on new fiction
  • Do Diddle Day
  • meet with estate agents x 3
  • complete proofread of non-fiction #2
  • invoices (hurrah!)
  • WRITE something
  • start non-fiction #3
  • trip to Doncaster
  • trip to Birmingham

The dog’s digestive system seems a bit awry at the moment, so we’re keeping a close eye on him and have reverted him back to the careful diet he had to go on when he was a puppy, after he had an acute case of worms immediately followed by septic gastroenteritis. I’ve found him a nice pillow to sleep on under the desk while I work, and he’s currently fast asleep.

We still have boxes and piles to go through and paperwork to reduce down before introducing everything back into Abbey Road. So we’ll try and do a little of that each evening.

And that, my friends, is today’s blog slot almost complete. Here are those pictures I promised, taken at Cusworth Hall near Doncaster last October:

Diane and Rufus at Cusworth Hall. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Diane and Rufus at Cusworth Hall. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Ian and Rufus at Cusworth Hall. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Ian and Rufus at Cusworth Hall. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Tufted Duck. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Tufted Duck. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

Canada Geese. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Canada Geese. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

Enjoy!

Everyone should have a dedicated work area

It’s such a beautiful day here today I’m at my desk a whole hour earlier and having to close the blinds against the sunshine. Since the “office” was added to “Abbey Road” I’ve been at my desk every single day. I’ve had some transitional admin work to do with the other house, but generally I’ve been here working. Every. Single. Day. And I’ve been very surprised when I’ve cleared a load of backlog to see it’s still only the middle of the morning.

Everyone should have a dedicated work area if they can. I’m certain that’s what’s doing it, and having such a lovely environment to work in too helps.

Here is how this week has panned out (list alert!):

  • surf job boards daily x 5 
  • pitch for 15 new jobs 
  • write 3 x blog posts 
  • diary work x 2 
  • enter competitions daily x 5 √××
  • write walks report 
  • submit walks report to 6 x local newspapers 
  • complete manual edits on non-fiction #1 
  • pay outstanding bills x 4 
  • set up new direct debits x 4 
  • complete electronic edits on non-fiction #1
  • start manual edit on new fiction
  • set up new annual budget for 2 new bank accounts (in and out) 
  • arrange estate agent market evaluations x 3 
  • recommence work on non-fiction #2
  • invoices (hurrah!)

Phew! But just look at all of those lovely ticks. I still have some missing, though, so I’d best get on.

Before I go, here are some pictures we found on the camera before clearing it for the Keswick trip:

Wintersett at Rye Hill. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Wintersett at Rye Hill. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Self portrait. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Self portrait. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

View from the hide at Wintersett. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

View from the hide at Wintersett. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Nice ... (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Nice … (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Enjoy!

We went to Keswick

For my birthday weekend, I didn’t want to be at home, and so we went to Keswick for a few days. We stayed with the lovely Carol and her friend Lynda, who were there for the Words by the Water festival. I ordered sunshine, and we got it. My actual birthday day was a bit gloomy, weatherwise, but it was a birthday I wasn’t particularly happy about. But it stayed dry and we went out and we window-shopped.

On the Saturday we got there fairly lateish, and were immediately taken on a massive walk around Derwent Water. Rufus barked a lot and we chatted a lot, and we took a few pictures.

Wherever I go I always find a boat. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Wherever I go I always find a boat. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Carol Warham)

(Picture: Carol Warham)

2014 mar day 1 9

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Wordsworth meets Ruskin. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Wordsworth chats with Ruskin. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

On Saturday evening we went for a beautiful Italian meal with Carol and Lynda.

Lynda and Carol. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Lynda and Carol. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

On Sunday we ambled around Ambleside, window-shopped and visited a stone circle. It was dark and gloomy by the time we got there, though, so the pictures didn’t work very well. On Sunday evening we went for another meal, just the two of us, for some good pub grub.

Monday morning we were up bright and early, for us, and we headed off again to buy the birthday present I’d seen the day before from Ambleside (but the shop had been closed). We also bought some old-fashioned sweets, and a packed lunch from Greggs.

Then we headed out to Haweswater, via Ullswater, the latter of which is my favourite commercial lake in the Lake District.

Ullswater. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Ullswater. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

2014 mar day 3 10

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

I’d ordered a golden eagle, and so we went on our way to Haweswater.

On the way there, between Celleron and Askham, the poet thought he saw a buzzard. But it was too big to be a buzzard, and so we stopped the car (in the middle of the road) and got out to take a closer look with the binoculars. It really was too big to be a buzzard and was, in actual fact, the golden eagle. And … even better than that, there was another one.

The “proper officals” haven’t yet sighted these marvelous birds, and so they don’t officially exist in the Lake District any  more. But if you bob along anyway, you just might be lucky and have the same “hallucination” we did. There’s actually been golden eagles at Haweswater since the 1960s and the first time I was there the officials swore blind they weren’t around … until a walker disturbed them. I’ve now seen one or both on every single visit.

Here are some pictures demonstrating just how beautiful and unspoiled Haweswater is.

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

(Picture: Diane Parkin)

Can you see the moon? (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Can you see the moon? (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Lord Rufus. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Lord Rufus. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Self portrait. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Self portrait. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

My favourite landscape. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

My favourite landscape. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We had a lovely time and will be going again for a little longer. We arrived home well after teatime and chilled with the cats.

Enjoy the pictures.