Ode to Autumn


Picture: Ian Wordsworth

The weather has been beautiful this week, very autumnal. We’ve woken to mists that have been burned off by the sun during the day. The ground is damp underfoot. And the hedgerows are bursting with “mellow fruitfulness”.   I can almost smell bonfire night already.

We went shopping yesterday evening, and between us arriving at the supermarket (apx 7pm) and emerging with our goods (apx 8pm), another mist (and the night) had come down and settled in pockets.

It’s still very warm in our sun trap of a garden during the day, but the temperature has really started to drop at night.

Winter’s almost here. I do love our seasons. They’re what help make our land so green and pleasant.

It’s been another busy week with a day lost on Monday. I’ve been trying to clear 2 jobs, a heavy edit and a new edit. I should get at least one done by the end of today, said she hopefully … It’s also been the start of a new month and that brings with it new month admin – updating diaries, spreadsheets, workloads, finances, etc.

Yesterday I did next week’s diary. And for the first time ever, “writing work” has moved UP a time slot. To before the blog post, even. I have been striving so long for this to happen. It still has one notch to go – I tend to do the daily competitions as a bit of a warm-up while my eyes unstick from the night. But I’ll see how it goes where it is now, for now. On Mondays, I still have “gig list admin” to do first, as people are usually waiting for a post before sending us their gigs for the week. But for the rest of the week, it goes something like this:

  • Housework
  • Daily competitions
  • Writing work
  • etc …

Mind you, if we don’t win something soon, I can see daily competitions being missed off again for a while. (The first housework slot is actually getting the house up for the day, and off to work where applicable.)

The writing work slot is broken down further, and this month that includes the following:

  • writing work
    • Catch the Rainbow
    • NaNo prep
    • short writing
    • (leave blank for any extras)

At the moment I have 2 hours each day dedicated to writing work. Next week I also have 1 x 2-hour slot and 2 x 1-hour slots dedicated to study work. This is writing too. It’s my fiction writing course, and when it’s finished, that’ll be 4 extra hours each week for something.

For NaNoWriMo next month I’ve already decided to keep this structure going and run NaNo alongside my usual writing commitments. It might be that daily competitions and study work get the month off. What I don’t want to do is write nothing because (a) my NaNo has stalled, or (b) my regular writing has stalled. Even if one fails, I still want the other to carry on.

October is prep month for NaNo, which is why it gets a sub-slot within the writing work slot this month. At the moment I’m wondering which project to go with:

  • YA
  • novella
  • romance … (unlikely)
  • steampunk
  • murder/mystery
  • a mix of 2 or more of the above

Something will come to me, I’ve already asked the Cosmos.

Meanwhile, we have another very busy weekend coming up. I’m sure the poet said he wants to go picking sloes this evening. We had our first frost last night so we might not have to freeze them now. If the light goes as quickly as it did last night, that doesn’t give us much time. But at least the sloes are only along our lane. We don’t have any stiles to go scrambling over.

We still have apple pies and apple & elderberry crumble to make.

Tomorrow we have a bank appointment, though judging from the last conversation we had that might be getting cancelled, and then we’re off to a football match. Doncaster Rovers v Barnsley. Leeds United are also playing Birmingham City, but we decided to go with the cheaper option. There will be fewer tears that way too – from the poet! ;-)

And on Sunday we’re off to Birmingham. We went to the poet’s parents’ last night, and it’s my parents’ on Sunday.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the poem.

Ode To Autumn – John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

With thanks to All Poetry.


Diary of a freelance writer, 30 September 2015


Where does this go? What do you find? (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I managed to come in on my regular Wednesday this week. That must bode well.

How did your week go? Did you try those 10-minute exercises? Or the extra homework on Friday? Much of my week has been hidden beneath a mountain of other work again, but I think I’ve kickstarted myself again.

Last Thursday I resumed the heavy edit I’d abandoned for the heavy proofread. I started the electronic edits, but it really is proving quite tedious and tiring.

My day was also disrupted by (a) a running overflow, and (b) waiting in for and then entertaining the plumber. The only writing work I managed was the diary of a freelance writer. Oh, and a few notes.

I managed a little writing work on Friday, general stuff, nothing huge. I continued with a little more of the heavy edit and I raised one of the 2 invoices (hurrah!).

There was some thinking time too on Friday, and a bit of a Eureka! moment.

Last month, when I started my think/query/write/submit process, I got fixated on thinking April 2016 pieces and then querying them too. And when I didn’t receive a full set of replies, I started to consider chasing them. However, it hit me than that I only needed to be thinking April. Had the routine already been in place, I would also be querying March, writing February and submitting January. It was too early to be querying April too.

So, this month, that means that while I would normally be thinking May, querying April, writing March and submitting February, what I really should be doing, as it’s only the start, is thinking May and querying April. Had I already done the other work, then I’d be writing and submitting too.

Still with me? Cool.

Basically it means I can stop beating myself up about the April stuff. I can query 3 new magazines this month, with 3 new ideas, and stick to just thinking about May.

Due to a 2-gig weekend, much of the rest of the time was dedicated to domestic stuff rather than extra writing work. On Saturday I managed more notes, more “5 ideas for 7 days”. But generally, we were busy doing other things.

On Monday I hoped to be back in the saddle, but after writing the blog for the day, the rest of the day just went downhill. I wasted good writing time waiting in for a delivery that never arrived. I wasted more good writing time writing emails, Facebook posts, Tweets and making phone calls. And I wasted good editing time going out to buy the goods that never arrived from somewhere else instead.

I managed a second blog, although it was quite the rant. But it did push the word count up a little for the day.

I chased the plumber. He should be arranging a day to come and do the work, which will mean more disruption.

Tuesday was better. Much better. I joined in a current WiP meme on Facebook that got me back in touch with CATCH THE RAINBOW. I wrote a further “5 ideas for 7 days” plus an extra 5 too for good measure (so I have a choice, and so I have some throwaways). And I wrote 2 brand new scenes for CATCH THE RAINBOW.

I also checked the current requirements for one of my favourite short story markets, and as they’re working on January/February at the moment, I looked for a few vague February-related topics I might be able to weave a story around.

I completed module 9 of my fiction writing course and am now ready to tackle the next assignment. I had to study modules 5 – 9 for this assignment, but I see from the next assignment that I have to go back and study modules 4 – 9 again.

And then I continued with the heavy edit. I need to get that one shifted and invoiced so I can start the next one. It’s boring me now and that’s never good.

Your homework for this week, should you wish to join in:

  1. Look at the photograph above. Imagine yourself following that path. Where does it take you? What do you find? Who is down there? Write a short story based on your findings.
  2. Start preparing for your think/query/write/submit tasks this coming month. They’re going to be (in order) May/April/March/February.

Incompetence and lies (rant alert)

On Thursday, I placed an order with Garden Bird Supplies, also known as Garden Bird & Wildlife Co, also known as the Garden & Home Trading Company Limited trading as Garden Bird Supplies. You can find them here. Here are their delivery guidelines.


It very clearly says that if you place your order before 2pm, goods in stock will be dispatched the same day for delivery. Of course, they cover this up with bluster about it may take the courier 48 – 72 hours. But what it doesn’t say is that it could take up to 2 hours before your order is actually passed on and that cancels out the 2pm pledge, and what it also doesn’t say is that they only deliver Monday to Friday. Does it? (checks again) No.

On Friday, I received an email from UK Mail advising me that my parcel would be delivered today. I thought it was spam as I wasn’t waiting for anything from UK Mail. Then I thought perhaps it was Garden Bird & Wildlife Co. Oh, okay, I thought. They must be busy. I’ll give them until today.

Meanwhile, we passed up several opportunities to buy our garden birds any food as (a) I had already paid for it (yes, they managed to take the money before 2pm on Thursday), and (b) we “knew” it would be here today.

This morning, I received an email telling me that my order would be delivered between 11:20am and 12:20pm. When that time slot passed, I checked the tracking number to find that my delivery had been made at 12:05pm. Apparently to a blue door next to a green door. All of our doors, and our neighbours’ doors are brown. There are no other houses in the vicinity.

I called UK Mail immediately and they said they would ask the driver to go back and retrieve the parcel and try to deliver it again … Apart from that already being a problem if the people he delivered it to aren’t in, I’ve since had an email from them saying they’ve not been able to contact the driver and will have to speak instead to his head office … I thought I’d already called them but I was clearly mistaken.

So then I thought I should let Garden Bird Supplies (or whatever they’re calling themselves) know about this. I sent them an email. They ignored it. I sent them a Tweet. They ignored that too. I posted on their Facebook page. They ignored that too. I sent them a message from the contact page on their website. They ignored that too. And then I called them. And they cut me off.

Aren’t they doing well?

I called them again, and by this time my blood was really starting to bubble. So the first thing I asked them was why my parcel couldn’t be delivered on Friday.

The conversation went something like this:

“Because the order wasn’t processed until 2:45pm.”
“But my order was placed before 2pm, like it says on the website.”
“But it wasn’t processed until 2:45pm.”
“Yes, but I have confirmation that my order was placed at 13:51 and 11 seconds. Look.”


“But it wasn’t processed until 2:45pm. We can’t fulfil an order until it’s received in processing.”
“But the website doesn’t say that. It says if you order before 2pm, goods in stock will be dispatched the same day.”
“But it wasn’t processed until 2:45pm.”
“Okaaay, so why wasn’t it delivered on Saturday?”
“We only deliver Monday to Friday.”
“But it doesn’t say that on your website …”
“No, it doesn’t. You’re right. Anyway, I’ve just checked the order and it’s been delivered.”
“Erm, no it hasn’t …”
“Oh. Can you tell me, do you have a blue door and a green door at your property?”
“No we don’t. They’re all brown.”
“What about your neighbours?”
“Their doors are all brown too.”
“What about other houses in the vicinity?”
“There are no other houses in the vicinity.”
“Oh. Then I’ll have to get onto them.”
“I’ve already done that. They don’t know where it is.”
“Oh, so what would you like me to do today for you?”
“I’d like you to start by refunding me my money so that I can go out and buy my garden birds some food.”
“I’ll have to check with the courier first …”
“No. You don’t understand. I’ve already done that. They don’t know where it is. This parcel should have been here on Friday. My garden birds have no food. I want you to refund me my money NOW so I can go and buy them some food.”
“Um, okay, I’ll go and do that now.”
“Thank you.”

I also just recently finally had an email reply from the second email I sent, saying they’d refunded the money.

It’s now 14:57. I just checked with my bank account. The money hasn’t been refunded yet.

I used to order from this company a long time ago and I was very happy with their service. A few months ago, I started a new account with them, placed my first order, and it was delivered before 10am the very next day. The driver didn’t get lost. The parcel didn’t go to the wrong address. I didn’t have to wait 4 days for a next-day delivery that never arrived.

What a difference just one day can make. They have gone so far down in my estimation I never intend to use them again. And all of those recommendations I made previously? I’m now making them the opposite way.

In future I’ll stick to ordering directly from the RSPB and pay their delivery. I’ll let you know if I have more success.

And for now, I’ll just feel guilty watching my garden birds look for food that isn’t there until I can get out and buy them some.

***end of rant ***


Free food


Blackberries and elderberries – free food. (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

We had a very tiring weekend with 2 gigs on the trot, but we were determined to do something for us as well, and so on Saturday we went shopping for jam jars, chutney jars, sloe gin bottles, jelly bags, jelly bag frames and labels.

We also bought a trug, extra ingredients for tomato and apple chutney, some art supplies, and some pet and bird food.

When we got back, we had a rest – shopping is soooo tiring – then the poet grabbed the trug and I grabbed the dog, and off we went for a walk down our lane. One of the neighbours was just pulling in, so the poet very quickly swapped his very unmanly trug for the dog and said hello to normal neighbour in one of his very manly deepest voices!

We walked for a mile, up to Little Owl Stop (our nickname for it), and filled the trug with just over a kilogram of blackberries (apx 2lb) and about half a kilo (apx 1lb) of elderberries. When the trug started to get heavy, he took control of it again, being a proper manly gentleman and all that. (The little owl was out, unfortunately.)

It was too late to do anything with any of it when we got back as he had to get ready for gig #2. But on Sunday, after a well-earned lie-in, he asked me to help him make the jam. We ended up with 3 x 500g jars of blackberry jam and 1 x 500g jar of blackberry and elderberry jam – and it looks like proper jam too, and everything. :-D

After a quick break, he then helped me make the chutney. I don’t like chutney and I’ve never made it before, so I needed him to tell me if it looked right. He did most of the chopping while I did most of the cooking and stirring, and when that was ready we got 5 jars out of it. He said it tastes right, so I presume it is.

For those interested, the recipe we used for the jam is here, adjusted to suit the amount of berries we had – but made with ordinary granulated sugar and no pectin – and the one we used for the chutney is here – but we only used 1.5kg of tomatoes and 2 of the chillies. For the blackberry and elderberry jam we just used the amount of blackberries that were left and the same again of elderberries. That jam caught a bit before the end, and almost ruined the pan (Mr Muscle to the rescue …), but it tastes all right.

We’re very proud of our produce this weekend, but still have lots of cooking apples left. I wanted to make a crumble and some pies, but we ran out of time and energy. So I’ll do those this week. We’re going to try adding some of the elderberries to the crumble.

The hedgerows were bursting with sloes and I wanted to pick those too, but the poet had heard that you’re supposed to either leave them until after the first frost, or pick them and freeze them. As we don’t have any experience with sloes just yet, we decided to leave them. But a friend assured us they’d be fine (waves towards Brum) if we picked them now and froze them, so we may go and get those this coming weekend.

jam and chutney

Five jars of tomato and apple chutney, 3 jars of blackberry jam, 1 jar of blackberry and elderberry jam. (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

Today the poet is working in the midlands, so he’s dropping in to see my parents on his way back.

I’m awaiting a bird food delivery, I have a particularly heavy edit to carry on with and another one to start ASAP. So I’ll be off for now.

Enjoy the pictures. :-)


More writing homework


Police house, Moreton in Marsh (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Extra homework
The house pictured above is the old police station in Moreton in Marsh. When we visited, it had recently sold.

  1. Write a short story around the building when it was still used by the police. OR …
  2. Write a short story around the new owners – who are they, what do they do for a living, why would they want an ex-police station, will they live there, will they work there, will they set up a detective agency there, enter your own ideas here … OR …
  3. Research, query and write a photo-feature on historic police stations/police houses in your county/area/state, targeting your local county magazine or any of the heritage magazines. OR …
  4. Do all 3.

Let us know what you do and how you get along.

I was going to say that this past week had turned into another 4-day week – I’m starting to get used to those. But then I remembered that I worked on Sunday too, so while it should have been a 6-day week, it was actually a 5-day week.

It’s been a busy week (again!) with the poet away for 2 days in Scotland. I mean, for those 2 days I had to make my own meals and everything!

Before he went away, on Monday, he fetched home a carrier bag filled with cooking apples. There must be getting on for 10lb in there. I don’t know if he was expecting to return to apple pies and apple crumbles, but he didn’t. I’ve been wondering all week the best way to preserve said apples and I may actually do some cooking at the weekend.

While he was away, an overflow pipe started to run, which turned out to be the hot water expansion tank. On Tuesday I’d bled a stone cold radiator in the en suite bathroom. It was totally empty and took ages to refill. But now we think the hot water system may have been using that radiator as an expansion radiator. The plumber came yesterday (Tom the Gas), and he said the expansion tank has never been supported properly and the base it’s on is now bowing to the extreme that water’s sploshing over the outlet pipe.

It’s going to be a big job that will mean draining down the entire hot water system. And while I can hardly wait for the upheaval, it would have been worse had the tank come crashing down bringing half the house with it. And, fortunately, we don’t have to pay for it, although I have suggested stats for all of the radiators while he’s at it that we may have to contribute to.

I have a busy day ahead, tying up another heavy edit and getting that submitted, raising invoices (hurrah!) – note, that was plural (double hurrah!). And it’s a 2-gig weekend for the band, both in Doncaster. So not only does that mean gigor mortis, it also means 2 very late nights (2 – 3am finishes). I can’t see us squeezing much else in over the weekend, other than maybe a gentle drive to the shops, perhaps some baking (though I may cheat and get some ready-made pastry), and a visit to the poet’s parents perhaps. The poet’s working in the Midlands on Monday, so he’s going to drop into my parents on his way home – if I make apple pie, he may have to drop one in for me.

Have a great weekend.


Diary of a freelance writer, 24 September 2015

10 minutesSorry this is a day late this week. I had an inadvertent day off. You’ll notice a repeat picture too, more on that further down.

How did you get on with your homework last week? I got a bit busy again with a couple of heavy edits/proofreads, so didn’t do as much as I’d like on my own work.

On Wednesday I started a new book on writing short stories. It’s another Teach Yourself book that I saw while I was writing last week’s diary, and I thought I had it somewhere already … and there it was, unread, on my bookshelf in the study.

When I usually read these books, I tend to do the exercises as I go along, but then I run out of time or motivation, or something else comes up, and I abandon them. So I decided to read this short stories book all the way through, and then go back and do the exercises – just like it suggests in the opening. And I’m getting through it a lot quicker.

I also managed an hour of study, and completed module 8 of my fiction writing course. Just one more module to go and I can start the next assignment.

Thursday I instigated some credit control and chased a payment I was waiting for. My due date was 28 August, but as it was a new client, I thought I’d give them chance to set me up as a new account before complaining too loudly.

I read more of the book on writing short stories, and I also started to read the book on writing young adult fiction in much the same way, and I’m getting through both much quicker than normal, but still utilising things that I’m learning. For example, the young adult book suggested writing just 5 ideas for stories each day for 7 days, and I did start to do that on Thursday.

Errands day is back to Fridays again, and this time I had one errand in the morning, one in the middle of the day, and another at the end of the day. But the end of the day brought itself forward to the middle of the day and I had to abandon my original middle of the day errand – I do usually lump them all together, honest.

In between errands I wrote another 5 ideas for short stories, and I read more of my 2 writing books.

Hmm.  I don’t actually seem to be doing much writing – but these days were all filled with a heavy proofread.

On Saturday, we had personal errands to run and the poet had a gig Saturday evening. But I still wrote out 5 ideas.

On Sunday he was fishing in a match, and I had hoped to get a lot more work done then. I managed lots more reading, and there are lots of things percolating away in the background now. I even started to think about NaNoWriMo, and there’s another whole month before that starts but I may use October as planning and prep time.

I didn’t do any ideas on Sunday. I need to carry on with that soon. I’ll have a 10-minute blast later … (see below)

On Monday I had another heavy edit to carry on with, and a follow-up new patient check at the doctors.  I also chased that overdue payment again, and finally got to speak with someone. Another overdue account was finally settled, but it was much, much smaller than this one. It was also much, much more overdue – about 6 weeks overdue. Tut tut.

The errand that got postponed on Friday was delivering the heavy proofreading job I’d just finished. I had hoped to drop it in another time, but by the end of Tuesday, I decided it would be easier to just post it special delivery. They should have had it back by 1pm the following day.

I read a bit more, but I also carried on with that other heavy edit. I need to be more disciplined with my own work again.

The overdue payment I’ve been chasing finally hit my bank account today. That’s good. It meant I didn’t have to set the business manager onto them! ;-) It was a biggie, though, and I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. So when it finally arrived, I had a lot to go out and buy. That’s why I had an inadvertent day off yesterday. I didn’t expect it to take ALL DAY. But it pretty much did. It felt good, though.

Ten minute blasts
WRITE A NOVEL IN TEN MINUTES A DAY is a book I promised myself as soon as the next person paid me. So once that first payment came in on Monday, that’s what I did. It’s a good book (so far), but not so much about “write a novel in ten minutes a day”, more “write a novel in ten-minute bursts, at least once a day if you can”.

Now then, I’ve always been an advocate of 10-minute writing sprints, or 10-minute proofreading sprints, or 10-minute editing sprints. I used to use the kitchen timer, but then I downloaded the clockwork tomato app for my phone, which you can tailor to suit your preferences. (The i-phone will no doubt have an equivalent.) But I’ve never used it to do 10-minute housework sprints.

The author, Katharine Grubb, claims that she can empty and refill a dishwasher in just 10 minutes, or she can put a washload on or make a bed.

So this morning, I timed some of my own household chores. In my first 10 minutes, I was able to empty the dishwasher and put everything away, but because I filled it and started it last thing last night, there wasn’t much to put in there just yet. So I looked around for something else to fill my 10 minutes. I also put a washload on, filled the washing up bowl with a couple of things that can’t go in the dishwasher, cleared up the paraphernalia left behind by the poet whenever he gets up to go to work, distributed 3 loo rolls to the downstairs toilet, and made my breakfast – okay, cereal and fruit juice, but even so …

Then, when I’d had my breakfast, I had another 10 minutes. This time I distributed the remaining 6 loo rolls between the other 2 loos, upstairs, made the bed, fed 3 pets, topped up the bird feeders, and I got dressed.

I usually have half an hour in the morning and half an hour at the end of the day to do housework (the end of the day is good for fetching washing back in or bringing back the dustbins). But if I can sneak in just 6 x 10-minute sessions to my normal working day, that might give me a whole extra hour slot in which to schedule some work. And if I can apply it to work and to Facebook/Email time too, I may see an increase in production.

As ever, I’ll keep you informed.

Here is your homework for this week:

  1. Does anyone owe you any money? Chase them for it now. Start with an email and be prepared to follow it with a phone call if you get no joy. Know that you can threaten bad payers with the small claims court, and that you can legally charge both interest and admin fees on late payments.
  2. Have you tried writing – or anything – in 10-minute bursts? I call it a 10-minute writing sprint. Using the timer on your phone, or a kitchen timer, or download an app, do it now. Write free for just 10 minutes and see what happens.
  3. What else can you do in 10 minutes? Time yourself doing chores or job-related work and see how much you can achieve in just 10 minutes.
  4. Oh yeah, and do a bit more writing than I managed this past week …

Don’t forget to let us know how you get on.


“Gigor Mortis”


Monkey Dust at the Horse and Groom in Doncaster (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

I don’t know which of our friends was the first to coin the phrase “gigor mortis” in our world, but if I did I’d like to credit him/her here (and you probably know who you are). I’ve tried Googling it, but it keeps defaulting to rigor mortis, or it gives me something in German, or takes me to an empty page. But anyway, basically it sums up how the poet – and many like him – feel after playing a gig.

Sore. All over.

This weekend was no different, but it was compounded by him then getting “fisho mortis”, which is something very similar but this time as a result of sitting on the banks of a fishery in rapidly decreasing temperatures without moving or shifting position.

I know how he feels, but they call mine “arthritis”. And it is made worse after standing up (or sitting uncomfortably) at a gig for several hours, or sitting on the chilly banks of a fishery. I got to sit down quite comfortably at Saturday’s private party, though, and he was fishing a match yesterday so I stayed home. But he was suffering doubly last night, poor thing, so I doped him up and sent him to bed, where he spent much of the night cocooned within the folds of a continental quilt (that’s a duvet to everyone else).

[EDIT] I have been reliably informed that the person who first used the expression in our circle of friends was Mike “Smikus” Stringer of Motus.

We did have a busy weekend again, despite secretly hoping to be doing diddly squat on Saturday (a do diddle day). We still didn’t plan anything for during the day, but when we got up we decided it was about time we went into the branch of our mutual building society to do three lots of admin that we’d been told we couldn’t do online or on the phone. “Just drop into a branch and they’ll do it there.”

Ha! They couldn’t do anything.

I wanted to change the name on my account and had to take our marriage certificate into a branch. But she couldn’t do it there, she had to send it off to head office. The poet wanted to change some details on his bank account. But they couldn’t do that for him, he had to make an appointment. And we wanted to open a joint account, as we both have individual accounts with them already. But they couldn’t do that for us either, we had to do it by phone …

I’ll pause for a moment while you go back and re-read the penultimate and last sentences of the paragraph three above this one …

It was at that point that I said, very loudly (as I apparently do when in public and wanting to make a point without actually directly addressing anyone … moi?): “Nat West said they could do this for us straight away. I think we should just go there …” To which the poet replied (also loudly): “You’re right. You’d think us both having accounts here already, and with all the ID we need with us, and them telling us to drop into branch, they’d just be able to do it. What a joke.”

And, miraculously, the lady interrupted to say: “Well, if it’s a joint account you want, [we did tell her that] you can do that yourselves just over here …”

We couldn’t. We still had to make a phone call. But at least by the time we came out we’d done at least one of the things we’d gone in to do. We had a shiny new joint account … which is where the new tent fund is going. For starters.

I wish we’d known we were going to be in Barnsley, though, as the third of my 3 errands on Friday was postponed due to the other one being brought forward and me being stuck miles away. The outstanding errand was to drop in the heavy proofread to the publisher, but we didn’t have it with us. I can see me taking that to the post office this week after all.

After the bank we had a wander round the town centre, visited the food festival that was on there, and bought some giant pears from the market. Then it was off to the tackle shop to get his bait for Sunday’s pole fishing match.

The afternoon was spent with him doing prep work, cutting the grass, and tweaking a painting, and me doing some reading, making a few notes for some short writing work, and a few hours on one of the many jobs I already have in.

Then it was off to the party in two cars, me 90 minutes after him, for the wedding of the daughter of a friend of ours. The band don’t often like doing weddings because the audience hasn’t chosen to see them or their particular music. But they went down really well with a rammed dance-floor all night. Monkey Dust would like to take that audience with them everywhere they go.

On Sunday, he was up early and drawing his peg for 9am, which was about the time I was getting up. And again, I caught up on more reading, more writing work, and more client work. He won second in his section and we had a takeaway for tea – mostly because the gigor mortis had already set in and the fisho mortis was starting, and he didn’t feel like cooking. (I would have put a ready-made pie in the oven, but he didn’t want to put me out … ;-) )

And so to today and this week. I still have lots of editing work to be getting on with, but with NaNoWriMo around the corner, I also have something percolating for that and may be ready to start prep work either this week or next. It’s all my work this morning, though, and all client work this afternoon, which is what I’ve been striving for. Then this evening I have to go back for the second part of my new patient check at our new GP, and tomorrow I’m dropping the poet off at the railway station at the crack of dawn as he’s off to Scotland for 2 days.

What are you up to this week?