“We still don’t have any new pictures for the blog,” I said.
“We must have loads of them,” he replied.
“Not of winter.”
“We have, we’ve got lots. From last year.”
“We’ve probably used them all.”
“No you haven’t. Have a look. Choose one from last year.”
So I went to have a look at last year’s pictures … and there aren’t any. This time last year we were moving house. We didn’t get a lot of time to go out and take pictures. Apart from “new house” pictures. And I know I’ve already shared all of those – some of them more than once.
So I went back another year, to 2013, to November. And there was one folder. Just the one. From Cusworth Hall in Doncaster. You’ve probably already seen this one, but as it’s a November shot … well, enjoy. :-)
And we might not be going out tomorrow either. We were going to go for a short walk, to start us off again building up to bigger and longer walks eventually. But on Wednesday night I did something that trapped a nerve in my neck. I didn’t feel any twinge or pain. I didn’t make any sharp or sudden movements. My neck just gradually started to get stiff. And when I woke up Thursday morning, I could hardly move.
I was going to nip down to Birmingham to see my parents yesterday. But I couldn’t even get my nightie over my head let alone drive 200 miles. So I took 2 “horse tranquillisers” (prescription co-codomol) and went back to bed. Where I slept the sleep of the dead for 4 hours. And when I woke up, the pain and the stiffness were still there.
That’s when the poet started to feed me “big pink ones” (very large ibuprofen). They do upset my stomach, and they upset his stomach too. But reading the leaflet yesterday he discovered that we’re only supposed to take one of these at a time, and he takes 2. I forced one dose down and the stiffness did indeed start to wane. The pain was still there, but at least I could move again.
Last night I took 2 more horse tranquillisers before bed and I’ve been taking big pink ones today (with food). But if I can’t even drive, or raise my arm over my head, or turn my head beyond the line of my shoulders (less on the right than on the left), then he doesn’t think we should go for a walk. Even a small one.
We’re going out tonight, and he’s driving. He has a gig tomorrow, and he’s probably driving again. Then we’re definitely going to Birmingham on Sunday and he won’t let me drive that far in case it aggravates my neck even if it is feeling better by then.
So you lot are going to have to wait another 2 weeks before there might be any more new pictures.
Saying that, I have still managed my NaNoWriMo all week and the finish line is on the horizon. Well, if I stand on tip toe, I can see it from here – it’s Monday. Then on Tuesday, I start work proper again.
I’ve also managed some work on the republication for January of Night Crawler: a Marcie Craig mystery. The interior is ready. The artwork is chosen for the cover. It just needs sharpening and tweaking and the text placing. Then I can order the first proof copy.
Today I’ve done some more pro-bono work too. We have a meeting next Wednesday evening, and the 2 chosen charities are both sending representatives to talk to us, so I’ve been liaising with them.
I still have today’s NaNo to do. I’ve been doing it of an evening, but we will be out this evening so I need to do it this afternoon. And tomorrow we have shopping to do too (as well as my NaNo) as Sunday is already full and I really wasn’t up to doing it last night.
I hope I feel up to a short walk tomorrow, but I will take it easy if I need to. I’d sooner lose just one weekend of driving and walking than have to put up with this for as many weeks (or months!) as some of our friends have recently experienced.
Have a great weekend. :-)
So there was me thinking we had a quiet weekend coming up … How silly of me.
Friday night we had our first assignment for the gig list, and it was the poet’s first photography assignment too. Walter Trout was playing at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth, along with a support band and his own son as special guest, and we enjoyed all of the performances.
Sadly, though, we thought the light show was very poor compared to many other times in the past that we’ve both been there. Most of the performers had their faces in darkness for much of the time, and we struggled to get some decent pictures without dazzling or distracting everyone with flash.
We also thought the venue might benefit from some TLC. It’s looking a tad tired at the moment, with paint peeling all over and evidence of roof leaks in the otherwise still ornate ceiling. We also don’t know why we have to go around the back to get in now. What’s wrong with the front door? The back entrance is up a sloped and cobbled hill, which gets quite slippery when wet. And on Friday it was cold and wet too.
It’s still a good gig, though, and we’ll be back in December to see Roy Wood.
On Saturday we were back in Wormy’s kitchen with him boiling ham and making 6 jars of tomato ketchup and me making 2 of our 4 Christmas cakes. I did my NaNoWriMo, and on Saturday evening Monkey Dust had another gig over in Doncaster.
On Sunday, he put half a pork shoulder in the slow cooker and the other half went in the freezer. We were going to have a proper Sunday dinner, but we got up late (after the gig the night before) and we visited his parents, and we nipped to the shops. But we were eating cheese and biscuits at 4pm so were too full for a proper tea later. I think we’re having that one today instead. I did my NaNo again, and that was the weekend over with, again.
This morning I’ve been busy sifting through the photographs from Friday night (we try not to do work stuff at the weekend, having enough to do with the research/review trips and any gigs the band has), selecting about 26 (from around 100) for the Facebook page, cropping quite a few, and choosing just one for the review. Then I wrote and posted the review. It’s only short but it’s a start, and you can see it here if you’re interested.
I had some pro-bono work to do too, as the second of the charities we’re supporting has now been in touch.
I also did a little admin for the gig list, and more admin for the band. And before I knew it, the poet was home for an early dinner at just gone noon, which gives me a slightly longer than usual afternoon now he’s gone back to work.
This afternoon I still have today’s NaNo to do and a book to hard-copy edit. I also have the diary to do for this week, which I didn’t get around to last week. And I haven’t done the daily competitions today yet either.
I’d best get a shake on.
Even when I worked for a living, you know – had a “proper job” – Thursdays were always really, really bad. I was tired. I didn’t feel like getting up, let alone going to work. And when I was able to choose my part-time hours, Thursdays, along with Mondays, were the first to go.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed that not a lot has changed. I still don’t feel very … bright-eyed or bushy-tailed on Thursdays. Last Thursday my NaNo word-count for the day was 189, and yesterday the words were a real wrench.
So then I wondered, perhaps I should just write-off Thursdays as not-very-productive, and do something else on those days, something easy. I could make Thursday my errand day, or I could make it my admin day. So long as I do something, I don’t mind if it’s not as productive as the rest of the week because I do generally make it up anyway.
Next week, then, I’m going to give it a go. I’m going to move admin and any errands from Friday to Thursday and see if I manage not to beat myself up if I do it that way around. Or I could make Thursdays the pro-bono day of the week. Whatever, for the rest of November, at least, I still have to write. For NaNo.
Do you have days where the words come more easily? I know different people have different times of the day that they like to work. But does it apply to days of the week too? Mondays I’m very, very productive, writing-wise. Then it all seems to go downhill from there …
An online buddy of mine has two blogs that she regularly “earns” from. Sometimes this is real, actual cash. Sometimes it’s products to review. One of her blogs is a fitness blog, the other is a cooking blog, so the products she receives to review are all pertinent to those two topics. And she gets giveaways too.
Aside from monetising my blog (which I can’t do on this one anyway, as it’s a free one and you’re not allowed), I wasn’t sure how I too could do this.
But yesterday evening I had one of those light-bulb/brain-murmur things.
We can do it with the gig list – and I think we can monetise it too, and add widgets that point to goods from which I could earn a commission.
Over the past month we’ve received invitations to concerts and even a new album to review, pre-release. We turned down several of those invitations, mostly because we’re already so busy. But the album was sent as a download attachment and we could also manage the concert that went with it.
So our names are down and tonight the poet gets his first ever official photography assignment – which also means he gets to go behind the barriers in front of the mosh pit. I’ve never been comfortable doing that, but he is quite happy on a stage anyway, so it will probably suit him a lot better. And on Monday, a review and at least one picture will be up on the gig list, and all of the pictures will be on the Facebook page.
I’m currently having a few problems with the gig list, though. Yesterday evening I bought the old domain name back that I lost when someone in China or Japan jumped on it because it was getting so many hits. I could have bought it back then, but they wanted almost £100 for it, so I told them to forget it. They didn’t even use it for anything, cheeky sods. And I’d put money on their name not being Diane either, let alone them having a gig list.
But I bought the domain via Wix, and Wix has to be the most complicated of products I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Easy enough to set up a website in the first place using their templates, but as soon as you want to do anything with them … you need to allocate several days. AND they use frames, which are horrible on mobile phones – and I don’t care what Wix say, they’re awful and there’s no getting around it.
Last night, for a brief moment, the new domain pointed at the gig list and all was hunky dory. But as soon as we tried to look at it on our mobile phones we got “this website is currently unavailable”. And I’ve been struggling ever since to get it to work. It looks as though today is going to be a gig list admin day …
I also want to change the template of the gig list. I do like the current one, but I also like to brighten things up every so often and if we’re going to get it earning its keep, it needs to look the part too. But so far I haven’t found anything that I like.
Finally, the gig list itself needs a complete overhaul. The links in the sidebar have been there for yonks and many of the links might not even work any more. So I have to set time aside to check each of the links and delete any that are broken.
And then I might also monetise it.
Meanwhile, is there a Wix Doctor in the house who can help?
NaNoWriMo is still going well for me. Yesterday the words were tough, but I still managed 1,699 words. I still have just over 600 to catch up from last Thursday, but even that figure is coming down. Yesterday I cleared the 30,000-mark, which also brought my to-do down to just under 19,000.
On a regular month my word-count target is around the 20,000-mark and this month, not only have I already done 31,000, but what’s left is under my usual target.
I’m learning a lot from NaNo this year. For a start, it’s the furthest I’ve ever come in all the years I’ve done it. And secondly, I’m really, really enjoying using Scrivener. I’ve always flirted with writing software but never actually taken the plunge. But I doubt I’ll ever work without it again, it’s been so much fun.
The big lesson learned, however, is to stop being pernickerty when writing the first draft. So long as I have a basic cast of characters and the basic plot laid down, I’ve discovered that I can really go for it, even if the end product is tosh. After all, what’s editing for?
If you’ve ever done NaNo, what lessons, if any, did you learn?
Today’s picture is from last Friday’s gig, which we really enjoyed. This weekend we may find some time to go and get some more pictures. There will be photographs from tonight, obviously, but those will be mostly kept for the gig list. Monkey Dust have a gig tomorrow night. But apart from that, we have nothing else planned for the weekend.
Perhaps this week we’ll manage that walk and be able to get some new pictures to illustrate the blog.
Have a great weekend.
I’m keeping on top of my NaNoWriMo, which is the most important thing this month, although I had one short day that I’m still catching up on.
I did decide to just call it a short day too, rather than try and make it up the next day. I think if I’d done the latter, I might have given up.
This is how my Scrivener is looking for Part One. The index cards have been changed from “to do” to “first draft”.
On Wednesday I did some much-needed admin work that had been neglected for the whole of November so far. This was mostly my monthly spreadsheet that shows what work I have in and what work I’ve done, how many words written, how much money earned, how many jobs pitched for, etc.
The spreadsheet has been working really well since I started it a few months ago, but each of the components were on their own individual page. Now I have one of those big, massive spreadsheets that has lots of tables on the first page.
I managed to write 1,697 words for NaNoWriMo and I wrote a further 456 words on another project.
Thursday was my short day. I’d started the day late, due to various reasons, and was behind on all the day’s work. And I’d just settled in to write my daily NaNo (already very late) when it was time to go and collect the poet’s car.
On the way back we also did the shopping and by the time we’d put that away and had tea it was too late to do any more work. So I only managed 189 words on Thursday, but at least we had the car back. :-)
On Friday I was back in the saddle and wrote a further 1,676 words. But because they were quite a wrench, that’s when I decided to leave Thursday’s count as it was and just live with it.
I printed off the next hard-copy editing job for a client.
We didn’t have any research trips at the weekend, although we did want to go somewhere on Sunday afternoon if we had chance. Saturday was a cooking day for the poet and I managed 1.679 words for NaNo. He had a gig Saturday night, but when we got there, everyone decided to cancel it and we all went home.
On Sunday we went to see my parents and do some jobs and errands for them, and – as I say – we were going to go somewhere on the way back. But the weather was horrible and it was already starting to get dark when we left, so we came straight home. When we got home I wrote 1,730 words and felt very smug for doing that.
By Monday, with NaNoWriMo settling into a bit of a rhythm, I found my mind straying to other freelance writing work, and I started to do my think/query/write/submit thing … well, I got as far as printing off the topical dates I’d normally need in November and slipped them into my notebook, but it’s the thought that counts, yes? ;-) I also found myself tidying the desk and office a little too, which is often a good sign.
I managed to write 1,706 words for NaNo today, and I didn’t leave them until the evening either. True, I didn’t do them in the booked 11am – 1pm time slot, but I still did them during the normal working day. Last week I’d spent a couple of evenings catching up at 9pm – 11pm, and that wasn’t doing my health much good. So on Monday I tried to pull it back to within the normal working day. I also managed to write 954 words on another project too.
On Tuesday, the job-pitch-itch descended and I tidied up the one remaining job board I still use and chased a couple of payments. Then I did a bit of a search on the job board and pitched for 8 new editing or proofreading jobs. I also wrote 1,792 words for NaNo.
My own homework this week is as follows:
a) continue with NaNoWriMo
b) start the new edit
c) think/query/write/submit for November (Jun/May/Apr/Mar 2016)
What’s your homework this week?
I still don’t have any new pictures to share, so here’s a sample of Wormy’s kitchen from Saturday. A bit blurred, but you get the idea.
I’ve not been on since last Wednesday because, quite simply, I never got around to it. And by the time I remembered on Friday, I’d already switched everything off.
My NaNo is doing okay, but I had a bit of a day off last Thursday and only managed 189 words. I was going to try and catch up the next day, but time ran away with me again and I just decided to call the 189 that day’s work and hope I make it up over the rest of the month.
Yesterday was the halfway point. I should be at 25,000 words, but I’m just under 900 away from that, or, if you see the little man, 2% down. So I’m going to keep plugging away and hope I get there.
For the record, this is the furthest I’ve ever got on any NaNo challenge, so I’m happy with that.
Thursday evening was busy as we were finally able to go and get the poet’s 8-month-old car, which was being held hostage while Ford decided whether or not to do the clutch (which caught fire) under warranty. In the end they paid half of the invoice, but reiterated that they never, ever, ever pay for clutch repairs under warranty.
When we collected the car, the chap in the office went through all of the paperwork, advising us to keep it as it also forms our warranty on the parts … totally forgetting, obviously, that the parts were for a new clutch and that Ford never, ever, ever pay for clutch repairs under warranty …
We also had to fight to get someone at Ford in our corner on this, to save the poet making all of the phone calls and doing all of the chasing. He was also going for 5-day periods with just “sorry, we have no news and I can’t look at it until a week next Wednesday because I’m not in/on holiday/can’t be bothered”.
So I took to Twitter and Facebook, and within minutes we had a competent customer relations representative on our case who did then make all of the necessary phone calls for us and keep us informed on a daily basis. I made a point of thanking him for his help too, as we’re all very quick to complain about something, but less quick to thank someone.
However, this whole experience has made us rethink our next new car, which is for me. Our major spend last year was moving house. Our major spend this year was getting married, having a nice honeymoon, and renewing the poet’s car. Our major spend next year is for another nice holiday and another new car. And we were going to go to Ford to get a fiesta.
Now we’re also looking at VW polo or golf (rabbit), Vauxhall corsa or astra, and even the Kias. Ford might well have shot themselves in the foot over this, because we also use word of mouth and social media very loudly. And we know a lot of people between us.
To add insult to injury, the car was also booked in to have 2 things repaired under warranty (that we know are covered) and for its first service. None of this work was done, yet they had the car for nearly 4 weeks and the instructions were very clearly written in red ink on the service sheet. So now it has to go back again, and I’ve a mind to take in an invoice for my own lost time spent on this. At this rate my own mechanic (who’s Ford-recognised) will get the poet’s car to service as well as mine and the dealership can go whistle.
We did the shopping on Thursday evening to free-up some of the weekend, and we went out Friday night to see a new band to us, which we really enjoyed. It was also nice to see friends we’ve not seen for ages. There are pictures from Friday night, but I need to get them off the camera.
Saturday morning was a lazy time, but while I did my day’s NaNo, the poet got busy in the kitchen. He pickled some cucumber and 2 kinds of onion, he boiled a ham joint, he made a brown loaf, and he made pastry so did a quiche lorraine and some jam turnovers.
On Saturday evening we headed off to a gig but when we got there the staff didn’t know anything about it. They checked with the booker (who’d booked it with the poet), and he admitted he’d forgotten to tell them but yes, the band was booked. Well, with no publicity and no staff to man the bar, between the venue and the band they decided to cancel. And in the few minutes they were there, someone tried to break into the band wagon, so they were glad to head off home again.
On Sunday morning the poet started a pork casserole in the slow cooker and off we went to Birmingham to see my parents, where we did a few things there for my dad, and the poet took him shopping. We were going to stop off for a walk on the way home, but with the atrocious weather at the weekend, it was already too dark. So we came straight home.
Today’s day is a bit upside down as I wanted to do a blog today. So I still have today’s NaNo to do and a new hard-copy edit to start for a client.
And that’s pretty much how the whole week needs to be too. What’s on your schedule this week?