A GMT kinda gal

Friday I was out for much of the day in the end, and I disgraced myself by dripping runny egg all down my front whilst eating a bacon, egg and shroom sandwich outside B&Q as I contacted the decorator. Fortunately I keep some Wet Ones in the car and was able to clean myself down. I still felt very scruffy, though.

I chose my wallpaper, going for plain, paintable blown vinyl again as I didn’t see a single patterned paper I liked below £30 a roll (apx $48). The paint I had before has gone from being a regular vinyl emulsion (£19 per 2½ litres – $30) to being a “feature wall” special (£23 per 2½ litres – $37). But I like it that much and haven’t really had time to get bored of it yet, so I coughed up the difference.

Then I bobbed into town to drop off the material the solicitor needs, and on the way home I chose my carpet. At the last minute I decided to get my car washed while I was out, as it was growing green algae in places.

By the time I got home I was shattered and I had a chilled night in front of the telly.

On Saturday I was supposed to go to the NaNoWriMo South Yorkshire kick-off party, but I’d forgotten about it and with a run to Birmingham already planned for Sunday, I decided (when I remembered) that I needed the time at home. I did a pile of washing instead and baked 10 rustic brown bread rolls and a lime meringue pie.

My next DVD had come from LOVEFiLM, Lethal Weapon 3, so once I’d watched all the regular telly I tend to watch on a Saturday night, I finished the evening with a bit of Mel Gibson (and Danny Glover) and remembered to put the clocks back an hour.

Some time during Saturday evening I had a work request come in via email. I’ve had to put them off for a week or so, but I’m starting to wish I’d had the confidence to bid for work a lot sooner than I did. I also suspect my prices may be a little on the low side and I don’t want to undercut anyone, least of all me.

Sunday morning I popped some more laundry in and headed off to see my parents for the day – after I’d filled in nice lady neighbour on the latest developments with the other side. Traffic wasn’t great coming home. It was dark earlier and we had nasty drizzle, and it took me an extra 30 – 45 minutes.

This morning I was up with the larks. I really am a GMT kinda girl rather than a BST one (Greenwich Mean Time/British Summer Time), and it is easier to get up in the mornings, even though the days are shorter and darker now. And I had to be up to let the gas fitter in so that he can take the fire off the wall for the chimney sweep.

Rufus, bless him, when I got us all up looked at me as though I’d been kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a doppelganger  But it’s good practise for next Monday, when the decorator’s coming even earlier than the gas fitter.

Once the gas fitter’s gone I have my weekly walks report to do – even though I’m not able to join them on many walks they still let me know how many turned up for it or not – and the daily comps (I didn’t win anything at all last week …). Then I’m doing a couple of hours of prep work for NaNo (getting into the habit), and then I’m proof-reading for the rest of the day.

NaNoWriMo time will be slotted in to when I normally have study time. It’s only for one month and, hopefully, I should have the best part of a draft completed. I’ll also be working on CATCH THE RAINBOW.

I’ll have the dog to walk, then the chimney sweep will be here at 4pm. The gas fitter (who’s here now) says I have to ask them to do a smoke test because he thinks I may need a flue-liner … if I do, I may as well go the whole hog and get a new fire too, because I hate and detest the one I have. The gas fitter will drop in on his way home to put the fire back on the wall. He only lives in the next street – I walk past his house whenever I take Rufus for a walk in the farmers’ fields.

So, busy times ahead. I can’t let people coming to the house be the usual distraction, I just don’t have the time. I have work to do.


Chim chiminey, Chim chiminey …

… Chim chim cher-ee …

I had another soot fall this week. Not as bad as the last one, but another one all the same. I’m having the room decorated shortly and a new carpet fitted, so I don’t really want any more soot falls once that’s all been done. So Monday I have a gas fitter coming at stupid o’clock in the morning to take the fire off the wall, a chimney sweep coming at 4pm, and the gas fitter bobbing by again on his way home to put the fire back. It’s going to cost me £40 for the gas fitter (apx $65), and £35 for the chimney sweep ($57).

Today I have to go and buy my replacement wallpaper, and paint if applicable, and I have to choose my carpet and book in the carpet fitters. While I’m out, running errands, I’m also dropping in at a solicitor regarding Nuisance Neighbour. I also have to pay for my road tax and my car insurance.

This weekend is going to be Very Expensive. I’d best crack on with some work to help pay for it all.

I’ve not meant to only post three times this week, but Tuesday and Thursday I deliberately stayed off the computer to clear some work, although Thursday I ended up going out to get my weekly shopping. I had every intention of logging on once I’d done my work for the day, but it was so late by then it was, well, too late.

Today, then, is errands and tomorrow I’ll be working. On Sunday I’m visiting the humans. On Monday I’m up with the larks … 😮

I’d best go dust off the cheque book … (gulp). Have a great weekend.

Tail tuck

My back’s been giving me gip for a few weeks. Apparently I have osteoarthritis, but I’m not convinced. We don’t have it in the family, I’m far too young (FAR too young) and I’ve never done anything in the extreme to cause it. I suspect it’s either my bed or my settees, or both. They’re all very comfortable, but comfortable doesn’t always equal good, does it?

When I’m walking I can go for about five miles and then my left hip goes, then the opposite knee, then the left ankle. If I stand for too long, the lower back goes. If I stay in bed for too long, I can’t get out of it (although, granted, that may not be just the back …).

Last night I was doing some gentle Yoga, and something clicked. Not literally, but inside my head.

Before we do any kind of back bend, or at any level, we have to tuck under our tail bone. The gentle stretches then gradually ease into position and the hips and back feel great afterwards.

So this morning, before I shuffled to the edge of the bed on my back, which always, always kills these days, I tucked under my tail bone … and voila! No pain and I managed to get out of bed without hobbling like an elderly woman as soon a my feet hit the floor.

Maybe it’s time to move up to the next Yoga level, or maybe I should just practise it more in my daily life. I need to strengthen those muscles, get more active and pay more attention to what I’m eating. I’m sleeping for far too long and I’m putting on far too much weight again. (And they checked my blood already this year – I have it done every two years to test for diabetes, but while I’m there they also do a full count.)

NaNo is on the horizon, it starts next Thursday. So I’ve been doing a little planning. Not a lot, I don’t want to lose sight of the essence of NaNo, but I know I can’t work beyond a few days without some sort of outline. Yesterday I selected my comedy element/revenge character and I completed the first stage of the planning process.

Speaking of revenge characters … Yorkshire Water came back to me yesterday afternoon. Having satisfied themselves that there is no evidence of network abuse, they have closed the case. The chap managed to catch my next door neighbour home, but when he broke the news to him that he wouldn’t be pursuing it, the neighbour reacted “unhappily” and threatened to tear up the allegedly offending drainage network …

… go on, then – make our day.

Stupid man.

I have plenty of work in again. I filed a job yesterday morning and carried on with an editing job. I also have two non-fiction books in to proof-read, a novel to assess and a DVD script to write. During NaNo I’ll also be working on two novels of my own, but only one is for NaNo purposes. And I’m typing up interview transcripts for the first non-fiction book of my own and planning further interviews.

Last night I had home-cooked ready meals for tea – chicken casserole with dumplings and banana bread pudding with custard. It was gorgeous, tasty, wholesome, filling, low-fat and cheap. And satisfying.

I’ve not won any prizes this week so far, but a cheque has arrived in pre-payment for a job. When I start the job, I’ll bank the cheque.

It’s still dreary and drizzly here in Baggins Bottom, but with the winter closing in it’s nice inside my cosy little house.

Tim Minchin – Superstar

On Thursday morning I was woken by a phone call telling me I’d won two tickets to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield. I was delighted and immediately asked my sister if she wanted to come up for it.

Neither of us would have paid to see the show as we have less money than sense, but it was an opportunity to do something we normally couldn’t afford to do.

On Saturday two t-shirts arrived in the post, one each. So I wore mine to the gig and passed my sister’s to her in the car park. They’re nice t-shirts.

When we got to the Arena we discovered that we had Really Good seats, within feet of Lord Webber himself, and when we asked around we found we were in the £55 seats (apx $88). Then someone told us that the t-shirts were selling for £20 each ($32). This meant our total prize was worth £150 ($240).

Like, WOW.

And the show was absolutely brilliant. Tim Minchin, who I thought was a comedian, NAILED the role of Judas Iscariot, and I came away a total convert. I worried when I heard Chris Moyles was starring in my absolute favourite Herod scene, but he was fantastic, he looks so well now he’s lost so much weight, and I loved the male dancers at the front of the stage. The Herod scene still is, was and always will be my favourite scene.

The singing was excellent, the dancers were spot on, the musicians were perfect. The performance was … splendid. We loved it, and I loved Tim Minchin. And King Herod.

I won’t be doing any competitions today, I have too much work to do. But I’ll be back on the case tomorrow.

Someone once ridiculed me for entering the competitions, saying that she’d sooner have a life. Well, I’m having a life I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, and it only takes 10 – 20 minutes per day. I’ve won £1,000 (apx $1,600), tickets to see Dancing on Ice, tickets to see Marillion, tickets to see Birmingham City v Barnsley FC, tickets to the Creative Craft Show, tickets to see Jesus Christ Superstar, t-shirts, DVDs, goodie bags, perfume …

In other news, I didn’t make it to Eden Camp on Saturday. This is mainly because I didn’t do the shopping on Friday due to the decorator coming around, so I had to do that on Saturday. I didn’t have time to do all of my chores and drive 90-odd minutes each way and risk getting stuck in traffic, although I did find out I could take the dog. So I’ll plan to have a proper visit with the dog when I’m less busy.

Today, then, I’m proof-reading a technical document … and that’s it. This is one of the many jobs I won last week.

It’s a dark and dismal day here in the Back of Beyond. We had fog yesterday but today it’s drizzling. I’m sat downstairs in front of the fire until I have to take my work up to the icy upstairs. Then I’ll put the heating on.

(Official Jesus Christ Superstar 2012 logo.)


It’s all go

Yesterday I was woken by a phone call. I’d just won two tickets to see Jesus Christ Superstar in Sheffield on Sunday. Wahey! I immediately texted my sister, who was at our parents’, to see if she wanted to come. She was coming to see Marillion a few weeks ago when I won tickets for there, but she got stuck in traffic. So ever since she’s had first refusal on concert/show tickets.

Like me, my sister’s quite busy, but she was free Sunday evening. So not only do I get a good night out, I get to go out with my sister too. Result. 😀

Then the postman came with another proof-reading job. Then a friend emailed me to see if I wanted another editing job. Then I got an email telling me I’d been selected to carry out another proof-reading job I’d quoted for a week or so ago. And then today another proof-reading job landed on my mat. Whoop-whoop!

I already had an editing job in and a scriptwriting job, but now I have 3 proof-reading jobs in too and another job in negotiation. I’m going to be busy – which makes Diane a very happy bunny.

Once I stopped spinning I drove up to Leeds for the Creative Crafts show, for which I’d already won tickets. It only took me 30 minutes to get there and parking was easy. I spent a good couple of hours mooching, but I didn’t buy anything. Either I’m a very reformed spendaholic or they didn’t have anything for me to justifiably spend any money on.

The show was mostly for cardmaking, beading and ribboncraft, and I’m a needlecrafts bird. But it was nice to have a wander, and a chat with some of the stallholders, so exercising the old interviewing skills. And it didn’t cost me anything beyond petrol and parking. It was a nice afternoon out.

Today I’ve been sorting out my work in progress, and I created a few more WIP folders – including an extra one for the proof-reading jobs as all my others are full, plus a few others for admin jobs like filing, invoices, shredding, etc.

Later I have an appointment and I’ll do the shopping on the way home. Then the decorator’s coming to see when he can fit my lounge in so I can tell the carpet fitters and the insurers.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to be going to Eden Camp for the National Service book. At the moment I’m feeling a tad weary and, of course, I’m now very busy. But this book has to be prioritised as well, so I’ll see how things go and probably will nip along for at least the parade and to maybe do some networking. (They’re having a Palestine Vets day tomorrow and the parade is at 1pm.)

I also have to do all of the regular household chores. And walk the dog …

On Sunday it’s the first of the NaNoWriMo local days, a plotting day in Sheffield. But I definitely don’t want to go all the way to Sheffield for four hours in the afternoon, and then go all the way back again by 7:30pm to pick up my show tickets from the box office. For one, it’s not fair to leave the animals twice in one day for so long. For another, I’m already feeling weary. So NaNo loses this weekend – but it doesn’t start until November anyway.

I’ve just told them I’m not going and, for penance, I now have to find a venue in Barnsley for a weekend write-in. That’s fine, I have about 4 weeks to find one.

And then Sunday evening I’m off to see my first musical in yonks, and my sister.

Have a great weekend.

Next door neighbour strikes again!

So I was just updating the gig list when the door goes, and there’s Yorkshire Water. They’ve received a complaint via Environment Health about me allegedly putting dog faeces down the land drain.

Fortunately he was able to see that, as usual, my yard is spotless; as usual, I am disposing of any dog waste in the recommended manner AND SOME; and – as usual – stupid, spiteful, pervy next door neighbour has far too much time on his hands.

And just when I thought he’d gone quiet too.

The man from Yorkshire Water was, as usual, more than satisfied that there is absolutely no complaint to answer to, and he went away feeling extremely embarrassed by the whole thing. Well, it’s hardly his fault, is it?


Anyway … I’m also in the midst of the current editing job. We had quite a protracted 3-way email discussion yesterday regarding the title in a bid to change it before too much more money was spent on design and marketing. And we came up with a happy alternative quite quickly, as it happened. So, onwards …

And that’s it, really – for now.

I’m off to Leeds tomorrow and have decided to go in the car, so there won’t be a blog post.

Back on Friday.

Inadvertent Do Diddle Day

I had a bit of an unplanned day off yesterday. This was mostly due to working until 2am on two nights last week, then being out until 2am on a third night, and a 200-mile round trip on Sunday.

I had a great night on Friday. We were a bit worried about the traffic between Barnsley and Bradford, as just past Barnsley a lorry had hit a pedestrian (still haven’t worked out how) on the motorway and it was closed between junctions 37 and 38. By the time we hit the motorway, though, the carriageway was open again and traffic moving freely.

We got there in time to catch most of the first band’s set and all of the following two. Then, at the end of the night, one of the guitarists asked us to stay a short while longer as there was birthday cake. We didn’t need asking twice.

On Saturday, when I was doing my shopping, I was wandering around the supermarket yawning my head off. On Sunday I drove down to Birmingham to see my parents, and by the time I got back I was shattered.

I woke up Monday morning with all good intentions, but was glued to the bed. So I stayed there. I was so tired I slept for several more hours, finally getting up in the middle of the day.

I had 2 lovely cheques in the post (thank you, Cosmos), so nipped out to bank those, walked the dog on the way back, had a bacon and egg sandwich when I got in, and went back to bed! Where I slept for another 3 hours.


So this week’s 5-day week starts today and finishes on Saturday, only it’s a 6-day week really as I have something to go to on Sunday too.

Today, then, amongst other things, I’m editing the next historical fiction. And tomorrow. And Friday.

On Thursday I’m off to the Creative Crafts show in Leeds for which I won 2 tickets. This will therefore be a FREELANCING day where I’ll be networking. On Saturday I think I’m off to Eden Camp for a WE ALSO SERVED day (the National Service book). And Sunday is our first NANOWRIMO day – we’ll be plotting in Sheffield.

So, quite a busy week ahead. Maybe I needed yesterday to recharge.


I’ve been having a play with the blog but I had to rein myself in before I got too carried away, and so far I’ve just added the NaNoWriMo stuff to the sidebar. Had I not stopped myself, it would have a new layout and be in different colours by now – but I don’t have the TIME to do that at the moment.

That book I bragged about on Wednesday, Book in a Month, is brilliant. I love to work with worksheets but quite a lot of the books seem to take about 6 months or more just to complete the background material. This one, because it’s a book in 30 days one, is ace. Everything, even the worksheet planning, has to be done within that 30 days.

I’ve printed off the first week’s worksheets in colour, because my NaNo project is going to be FUN. I’m so impressed, however, that I’ve also run off a more serious full set, in b&w, for the current project, Catch the Rainbow. The Beast Within is in a funky binder too, but Rainbow is in a plain silver one.

I’m going to run them in tandem because one’s WORK and the other’s FUN – and than means 1,000 words a day on Rainbow and 1,670 words a day on Beast. (Am I mad?!) I’ve moved the word meters up the sidebar too so they feature more prominently (and I really must update that Rainbow one …).

Of course, while I work on these 2 novels, I’m also working on the first non-fiction once a week, We Also Served, but much of that is arranging, doing and transcribing interviews at first, and scanning in and cataloguing photographs.

AND I still have my editing and proof-reading “day job”.


It does mean the other stuff, the short stuff, is going to be on the back burner for at least NaNo-vember. If I find time and get the urge to do some, I will. But I won’t beat myself up if I don’t. I think I have enough to work on, thank you, plus all the admin that goes with it all.

Because I’ve been waiting for money for such a long time, I finally ordered replacement inks for both the all-in-one colour printer and the laser, but I was able to shop around and get brand new original products for both for less than £20 (apx $32). Pat on the back, that woman.

Running off the first week’s worksheets in colour last night just about finished off my cyan ink in the all-in-one, though, so I won’t be able to print the rest of the month until the ink arrives. I think there’s still loads of ink left in the laser, but I like to have a replacement in stock, just in case.

I’ve also been playing with book covers while I work on them, and for in the binders, and I’ve totally plagiarised the images from both album covers that the songs above come from. This is just for my use and just for the binders, I hasten to add, and I don’t think I should post them up here – although I *might* post them onto NaNo.

It’s been a busy week, again, working until 2am for 2 nights. Tonight I’m off to Bradford with a *small harem* of male friends for a Goth gig. Tomorrow will be chores and shopping. And Sunday I’m off to see my mom and dad. I’m toying with bringing my do diddle day forward to Monday, but the jury’s still out at the moment, depending on how I feel and how tired I am.

Have a great weekend.


I forgot to post again yesterday, because I was busy again.

I started the day with the usual daily competitions. I’ve started to do some paid surveys too – more worthwhile than playing games … Then it was a swift bob over to the jobs board and a few more bids calculated and put in. One was rejected as too low! (Too low?) So I doubled it … I wrote my weekly walks report and submitted it, and then I was proof-reading.

Rufus got a nice walk around one of our parks. He’s getting so much better on the long lead, he seems to know when it’s at its maximum extension and slows down before it yanks his collar and chokes him.

When I got home I finally made my 6-portion farmhouse chicken casserole with parsley dumplings (ate one, froze 5). I’d bought fresh parsley at the weekend for the macaroni cheese and I wanted to use some more of it before I throw it out. That’s 10 freshly cooked meals in the freezer now. If I make a spag bol or a shepherd’s pie at the weekend, or both, the freezer will probably be full. It’s already quite full, so I’ll have to see what I have room for.

I don’t know where this industriousness is coming from, but it’s filling my freezer. And on the writing front I’ve decided on my NaNoWriMo companion for this year. I’m determined to enjoy it too. If anyone else is doing NaNo and wants to buddy up, here’s my profile here.

The book on the left is my companion for October, and maybe for November too along with Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem! Already my story’s bubbling away in my subconscious. 🙂