>Social history to add flavour

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Last night I dipped into How to Write Your First Novel by Sophie King. I wasn’t going to sit and read it again, I was just … dipping. And I read one line in which she says it’s perfectly fine to send your heroine to a laundrette*. Now, of course, I know that. But just reading it inspired me to write a whole chapter of Catch the Rainbow.

Social history
These days, washers/dryers are considered “essential” white goods by many individuals. In the 1970s, however, we were lucky if we had one of the new-fangled automatic washing machines let alone a fancy-pants tumble dryer. Only the rich could afford something like that, although many households did possess at least a twin tub washing machine and maybe a spin dryer.

When I was growing up a trip to the local laundrette in the winter was a weekly family adventure, and a chore that had to be endured. So I sent my protagonist and her sister to their local laundrette where they also had some quality sisterly time. Talking about a tumble dryer started me on about Green Shield stamps, Embassy cigarette coupons, and Co-op stamps, all of which were a familiar way to save and buy things in the 1970s.

We don’t have many laundrettes today, despite what Eastenders does for laundrettes the country over. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in Barnsley since I’ve been here, and all the ones in Birmingham that I knew have been converted to either dry cleaners (another “posh” in the 70s) or ironing services.

The wonderful world of Wii
I’ve been getting on the Wii this week. I toyed with selling it, but decided to dust it off and use it instead. And I’ve managed at least a 30 minute workout every day.

Yesterday, for the first time, I exchanged my slippers for a pair of trainers, and my scores started to soar. The trainers give me a lot more support around the ankles and my balance is improving too.

On Wednesday I “unlocked” the boxercise activity, something I ignored before because it required the nunchuk and I thought that would be an unnecessary faff. But I’m really enjoying it, even if my arms are killing me today.

I think I’m going to work my way through the current Wii Fit disk, and maybe the original Wii Sports disk that I have too, then when I’m finding it easier, I’ll upgrade. I don’t know yet whether to graduate onto Wii Fit Plus or whether to get one of the personal trainer games. But I have plenty of time to think about that.

Living hand to mouth
I am sick to death of having money worries when there’s money out there with my name on. Big money. One of the reasons I stopped freelancing for a while was because I couldn’t survive with the irregular payments. So I got a day job and picked and chose which freelance jobs I did.

I have to say at this point that in most cases the editorial department has absolutely nothing to do with the finance department, although they do have some influence. Often the editorial department has no idea how the finance department works other than when their wages or expenses are due. But the finance department must know what a due date on an invoice is.

My due date was 30 June. Because I had some idea of the setup, I expected payment today, it being the first Friday after the due date. But it hasn’t arrived.

This is such a problem for me this time. Without this money I can’t pay for my holiday, I can’t get my gutter repaired before it does any damage to the structure of the house, and if my car has another problem that needs immediate attention I’m scuppered. Let’s hope the cats don’t fall ill either. And, of course, I’ll go seriously overdrawn. A due date is a due date and if they already know they can’t meet it for whatever reason it’s usual, polite and professional to let you know.

I hope something can be sorted and maybe, with today being only the 2nd of the month, it will be there next Friday instead. But if it’s any longer I’ll be forced to issue late payment charges and admin fees and maybe consider whether to work for this company again – which is a shame because I LOVE the work, I just can’t afford to work for nothing. I wish I could, but I can’t.

The day job
This morning has already been quite busy with the planning for the next magazine, lots of emails to send, and a few admin issues that needed to be ironed out. I’ve sorted out some words and some pictures, and I’ve allocated and witheld space where applicable.

I’ve had no visitors today, other than the man to refit the panel over the wall where the cables have been fed through. It’s been blowing a gale in my office for several weeks, despite the glorious weather, and I couldn’t work out why. Today, with the panel back on, I’ve had to open the door for fresh air.

Other jobs I need to get on with include the contributors’ guidelines, magazine database access for 2 new people, and website copy work.

The Christmas annual
I got the pdfs today for the Christmas annual I’ve been working on. They manged to fill all the pages and it’s gone off to the client for approval. I absolutely love, love, love the way it looks and really hope this one continues through to production.

The weekend
And so to the weekend. The band I was going to see tonight had to cancel, so I thought again about going to the club. However, the band that has stepped in is another bunch of mates of mine and they might appreciate the support (all one of me) when they’re so short notice and travelling long distance. So I may still go.

Tomorrow will be my usual chores day. I toyed with going to see Alice at the Crucible in Sheffield, but while there’s big money out there with my name on and not in my bank account, I can’t really justify going.

Sunday should be a walk, but I may get on the Wii again.

* laundrette or launderette – you say tomato, etc …

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6 thoughts on “>Social history to add flavour

  1. >Really sorry to read about your frustrations with getting paid. Unfortunately this so true for most self-employed & small businesses,especially where dealing with 'the big boys'. Hope it arrives very soon.Have a good weekend, the weather should still be good.We are living in the valley that rain forgot….not a drip for weeks now!

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  2. >I too can find some "big boys" to stand behind me. Fortunately, on this occasion, the law is on my side.We had a downpour last night, and another the night before.

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  3. >Ugh. I've had some problems with the checks from my freelance provider. They once had a check bounce TWICE. So on top of reissuing me that money, they had to pay my bank fees, too. What a pain.

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  4. >I don't know why people think think they have the right to get away with witholding our wages. I wonder how long they'd put up with it if it was done to them.

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  5. >Something that infuriated me when I worked for a publishing company was their disregard for payment dates to authors, etc. As far as they were concerned, they didn't even have to think about payments until 45 days after the contracted date. Most times, they'd wait 90 days unless the author's agent or lawyer contacted them. The head of Finance's attitude was that the authors should be grateful they were paid at all, and, if they weren't going to keep on top of the company, why cut the check? It was one of the many awful aspects of working there.The company for which I did annuals for 15 years used to pay when it shipped. Then, the contract was modified to say "Oct. 31" and, for a few years, it would arrive on that day. The last few years, I was lucky to get it by Thanksgiving.So I stopped working for them.This is why, moving forward, in my freelance contracts for non-fiction, I always have a 20% late fee included. Wish I could do that with fiction, too.

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  6. >It annoys me that an otherwise reputable company breaks the law in such a blatant manner. Not sure I'd get away with the 20% thing, but it's a good idea – I think the sum total needs to correspond with the purchase order (unless I negotiate it into the contract and the PO covers it …).

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