Look, no hands!

The old lodge at Nostell Priory. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The old lodge at Nostell Priory. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

It’s been an interesting day so far.

The poet managed to leave both of his phones at home today, so I went out for a drive and dropped them in at work for him. It was nice to see him mid-morning, even if the gate gestapo did tell me off for parking illegally. I wasn’t even parked but I think I managed to charm him. 😉

I was able to test a hands-free kit he’s fixed up for me in the car, so I can take and make phone calls when I’m driving (so long as it’s safe to do so …). That worked.

It always delights me when things do what they’re supposed to do. It will be very useful being able to use the phone while I’m driving, especially when I’m on the way to my parents’ and stuck in traffic …

As I wasn’t far from Cannon Hall, I decided to take some work and have an hour there. The car park cost me £1, but I bought a magazine I’ve been looking for, for market study (Living North), and got that £1 knocked off the price.

And, of course, I managed that hour of work in very pleasant surroundings … along with a very nice bar of chocolate and a bottle of pop. And some jelly tot things …

When I got home I did a quick change-over with the washing machine, folded some bedding, put some crocks away, then I quickly updated the gig list for the weekend.

It was a joy to return to my desk now I have so much room. The screen is much easier to see and there’s plenty of space on the desk to do longhand and hard copy work. I don’t know how much editing and proofreading I’ll do at the desk, as I do like to change seating position and scenery, to alleviate arthritis and for variety.

I’ve been editing for much of the week and it continues today and probably tomorrow. I want to get some invoices out today so that they’re in the system and I need to clear as much work as I can to do that. It’s a do diddle day tomorrow, but I may have that on Sunday instead.

This afternoon I’m off to the dentist. I’m not looking forward to that. 😦

Today’s picture is another from our trip to Nostell Priory back in August.

Have a great weekend.

It’s all go

My new mahoosive monitor. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
My new mahoosive monitor. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

This working for a living lark is hard, isn’t it? I’m so tired, but at least I’m shifting stuff.

Yesterday was quite traumatic when my internet and phone both fell over. I had a jolly time arguing the toss with the supplier and they promised faithfully it would be up within 4 hours (i.e. by 4pm), but it actually took 7 hours. By this time I’d already done all the manual stuff I could do and so I hotfooted it over to the poet’s house and used his internet to do the online stuff.

Before heading over there we connected my old telly to the laptop in the hope we can cure this neck ache I’m getting. I placed the laptop riser and my lectern on books to raise them up to eye level and while that seemed to improve things, the neck was still aching. So now I have the telly connected and my “new monitor” is MASSIVE.

The internet fonts aren’t great at the moment, but the computer fonts are quite big and clear. I need to play with the resolution, though, as I’ve run out of desk to push the telly back on.

The picture’s an update of how the office looks now … and yes, that is cat fluff next to the letter trays … (bad housekeeper).

With the laptop pushed to the left-hand side now, I have plenty of desk space for longhand and hard copy work.

The trays on the right-hand edge of the picture are my work trays: top = to do; middle =  filing (groan); bottom = shredding.

In order to carry on using the telly as a television, we have to get an extended TV aerial cable. I’m hoping streamed videos work quite well.

Much of this morning has been spent rearranging the office, along with some household chores. I do have a historical fiction I want to crack on and edit today, but at some point I’m also starting off a meat and potato pie. I also need to update the gig list for this week.

My internet’s back on so I’d best get on with it.

Now taking bookings for November …

The lodge at Nostell Priory. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The lodge at Nostell Priory. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’ve had a busy few weeks but everything now seems to be sorting itself out. I’ve been full for the rest of October for some time but I wanted to make sure that everything was running smoothly. As it is, I’m now taking editing and proofreading bookings for November.

We had another great weekend of doing just weekend stuff, but it included a really good gig Saturday night at a venue that bodes well for a fantastic New Year’s Eve …

See, now, in the past 7 or 8 years I’ve hardly ever done anything for New Year’s Eve, and not really for a lot of years before that. But now I’m already booked, and have been for several weeks. And I’m looking forward to it. I’m usually sat there watching the telly waiting for someone to fetch me a lump of coal.

I’m even contemplating the festive baking schedule starting in November. This is something else I’ve not done in a long time. A very long time. Or I’ve thought about it and that’s all. This year I intend to do something about it.

Anyway, I digress.

The work is coming in thick and fast and this week I have 3 jobs to finish and invoice  (hurrah!). There’s one non-fiction to do the electronic edits on and send back to the author and off to the typesetter. There’s a new fiction to edit from scratch, send the edits back to the author and upload the book to the server. And then there’s another non-fiction to start and finish editing.

In between I also have the walks report to write (today), the blog (3 times this week), the gig list (on Wednesday), the job board to surf (daily), the diary to update (on Thursday), and invoices to raise (hurrah! – on Friday).

Thankfully I have a 5-day week and I may work on Saturday. It’s a Do Diddle Day, but that means I can do what I please and if working (and earning money) pleases me, I’ll do it. I may also do my NaNoWriMo planning, or I may do just that instead. I worked Saturday just gone and it really made a difference.

So that’s me sorted for the week. What are you doing?

I worked out part of what was causing the neck ache  working at the laptop … I’ve been sat on a cushion that’s raised me quite a lot higher than the laptop (on its riser). I’ve taken the cushion away, but as I may use it again I’ve raised the riser itself up on a pile of 3 books. Let’s see if that works.

Today’s picture is an arty shot taken at Nostell Priory near Wakefield.

Oh, and while I think about it, here’s my LinkedIn link – I finally found it.

Heron at Newmillerdam

Heron at Newmillerdam. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Heron at Newmillerdam. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I may have to do some overtime …

Wow, now there’s something I didn’t think I’d see just 2 weeks ago.  But yes, the hard work has paid off and my diary is now officially full. For at least 3 weeks again.

I need to start shifting the work now and get the invoices raised.

Thursday of this week was a wipe-out as we had another appointment in Birmingham with my parents. So I may try and sneak some work in tomorrow – and that’s something else I didn’t think I’d be doing any time soon. Working at the weekend again.

I now have a fiction in to edit, 3 non-fictions (with plenty more on the way), and a commissioned article to write. I also need to build in the job hunting to my daily schedule plus the other admin stuff like invoices, filing, shredding, decluttering, diary work, blogging, the walks report and the gig list.

In November I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo with The Beast Within (the second Marcie Craig mystery). I also want to prepare a marketing pack so I can start approaching firms for corporate work.

Who else is doing NaNo this year?

Today it’s invoices, the blog, job hunting and one of the non-fictions. Tomorrow it may be the same non-fiction or the fiction.

Don’t forget to hop along to have a look at me on LinkedIn. You need to click the button in the side bar as I can’t post a link at the moment.

Today’s picture was taken on a recent walk around a place called Newmillerdam near Wakefield, and was taken by the poet when we happened across a heron fishing – that’s the heron that was fishing, not us …

Nothing much planned for the weekend, other than just one gig on Saturday. But we shall see. Whatever you’re up to, have a goodun.

Security issues

I’ve been having a few security issues of late and I don’t know what’s causing them.

Not all of my emails are being delivered for a start, but that could be because it’s a webmail account and a lot of firewalls don’t like them much.

Yesterday, however, I received an official warning from Yahoo, because there had been some “unusual activity” on the account, and they had temporarily locked me out. I had to go in, via a proper pc, and log in again and then change my password.

For added security I’ve also changed my password on the blog, on my Facebook, on my Hotmail account, and anything else I have to log in to.

The only thing I’ve physically changed in the past few days is have a LinkedIn profile created. I’ve been getting a lot of mail as a result, and that might have something to do with it. I’m not sure how this new account will work, or if it will work, but I’m giving it a go. Pop on over and add me if you’re also on there. It’s letting me add links and just now I’m going to try and auto-post this blog posting too. If I get many more security issues I may close the account again, or suspend it, see if it’s that.

[EDIT: You need to click the button in the sidebar. I can’t get a link to work within the post …]

The work continues to come in and I continue to be busy. I’m checking the job boards every day, trying to keep on top of the diary, and I’ve also updated the gig list today. For the rest of the day I’m reading a book, with a green pen behind my ear.

Tomorrow I’m off down to Birmingham.

What weekends were made for

Diane and Lord Rufus on Langsett. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Diane and Lord Rufus on Langsett. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I never get sick of saying this, but what a great weekend – again.

Friday evening we stayed in and chilled in front of a football (soccer) match on telly. What made it even more special was that our team – England – actually won. I can’t remember the last time I watched a football game on telly and “my” team won. I’m usually banned from watching because I’m usually such a jinx.

Saturday was a lazy day. We walked the dog – um, to Tesco and back – and we did some shopping, then we made a home-made lasagne for tea. Well, the poet made it. He had a gig, which we headed over to, and we thought it was going to be quite a quiet one …

… until a drunk got up on stage to dance, fell over, taking the bass player’s microphone with him, then climbed up said bass player to get back on his feet … Bass player apparently didn’t drop a note …

… then a chap on crutches got up to dance to Sit Down by James …

… then a, erm, well-endowed lady started doing this erotic dancing, lifted her frock and then flashed her paps and her dental floss …

The poor (yeah, right) poet had to cover his eyes with one hand and carry on playing with the other. It was very funny. I wish we could have got a picture – of him covering his eyes rather than the well-endowed lady …

The best thing about Saturday was that I didn’t just squeeze into an old favourite pair of jeans, but they were comfortable enough for me to wear that night. And I could get both hands in both pockets too.  That made me very happy. And smug. I’ve not been able to get into these jeans for 2 years or more and even 2 weeks ago they were still only getting as far as halfway up my thighs.

I also tried on a very tight pair of WHITE jeans, that also fit but weren’t as comfortable. I thought those were a UK size 10, but both pairs are UK size 12 – one pair is rigid, the white pair is stretchy. I have another pair of white jeans I’d like to fit into next. Those are definitely a UK size 10 but are also rigid. But my next target is a favourite  pair of shorts … and then we’ll have to go somewhere I can wear them … somewhere warm.  😉

Sunday was another lazy day and the poet walked the dog … erm, to the Co-op and back.

We tried to set up my Sky via the modem so we could watch On Demand, but because I don’t have the full subscription, I can’t access the full range of products. I think this is a bit of a con because Sky do advertise that all you need is a modem and broadband and you can watch so much more. I could hardly watch anything more and would have to pay an additional £6 a month just to see boxed sets. As the poet already has all of that at his, we decided it wasn’t worth the extra and changed our minds.

I’ve managed to save £5 a month on my phone bill for 12 months this weekend, and I’ll be cancelling my LoveFilm membership and so saving a further £5 a month. I don’t then need to be paying out another £6 a month or those recent savings will be cancelled out.

Then we tried to set up my laptop so that I can have a bigger monitor (the telly upstairs), but I don’t have the right cables. I’m sure it’s the laptop that’s making my neck ache when I’m working, so that’s a job we need to do in the near future, I think.

At teatime we headed off to another gig that we had no preconceptions about (and the favourite jeans came out with us again), and we had a great time watching and dancing to a very good blues band. When we got home we “ligged” (as they say in Barnsley) on the settee in front of a film.

This really is what weekends were made for.

This week I’m down to 4 days again, with a trip to Birmingham on Thursday. I was going to crack on with a historical fiction edit, but I’ve decided to do a shorter book so I can invoice for it today. I’m on a 14 day settlement and invoices raised before today will meet most of my bills on the 28th of the month.

I need to create a sample edit with tracked changes in Word for potential clients who want to see an example of what I do. But I need to update myself with the latest Word as well so that I can work a little quicker instead of having to stop and look up the latest changes and/or functions all the time.

The poet is also revamping my job board profile and is, I think, setting me up with a Linkedin account. I don’t have time to do anything like that at the moment, while I’m frantically working and getting the work in, so as it’s what he does … Well, it’s a no-brainer. He’s doing a fantastic job, but I think he’s enjoying it too.

Right, well, I think that’s enough for one post – especially when I’m being monitored(!). I’d best crack on with that work.

Today’s picture was taken up on Langsett back in August.

The reservoir at Langsett

Langsett Reservoir. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Langsett Reservoir. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

I’m working hard, ticking things off and actually earning proper money. Last night I even allowed myself to daydream about spending some of it.

On Wednesday I chugged through all of my to do list. I edited some photo captions for a non-fiction and got those sent off to the typesetter and I finished author and proofreader revisions on the same and posted that back while walking the dog.

On Thursday I finished the electronic edit on another non-fiction and got the tracked changes document back to the author. That filled most of the day. I also pitched for 2 jobs and communicated with lovely already boss regarding ongoing work that could take me up to 2018.

Today I’m editing a new historical fiction. It’s also invoices day (hurrah!) and blog-posting day. I surfed the job boards but there was nothing suitable this morning.

For the past few days I’ve been suffering with backache and a stiff neck, and yesterday I had a psychological toothache to go with it. The toothache has gone today and so, I thought, had the aching body. But just being hunched over the laptop for an hour or so just now is bringing it on again and I can feel my neck weakening.

I guess I’ll have to do a new ergonomic assessment of my work environment but I think it’s being crunched over the laptop despite it being on a riser. I think I need a desktop pc with a screen at eye-level and at a 90-degree angle to a window, but I can’t really manage either at the moment.

I could probably do with a proper office chair as well, but the current chair is a really good support for my back. It is a dining chair, though, so probably not suited to desk work.

Still lots to think about but I think I’m mentally moving the office now – at least into a different room, if not into a different building …

Today’s picture is another from Langsett Reservoir and one of mine. I liked all of the different lines in this shot.

Nothing planned for this weekend beyond a couple of gigs to go to. I’m starting to get cabin fever, though, so I hope we get a drive out soon. Y’all have a goodun.  🙂

Heather on Langsett

Heather on Langsett. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Heather on Langsett. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The weekend was all about quiet, thinking and work. I was fairly occupied and wasn’t going to go out Saturday night, but when my friends asked me again to go with them, I decided I needed a break. It was nice to see them, and nice to get out.

On Monday I was very busy editing a book. I finished the manual edits and started the electronic edits, but by about 7pm I was ready to call it a day. I didn’t do much else as I wanted to crack on with this book.

Tuesday was spent down in Birmingham doing legal stuff with my family. However, when I got back there was a new job waiting for me from lovely already boss and I addressed a couple of work issues. But again I was done by about 7:30pm.

Today I have the electronic edits of that book to complete, some revisions to apply to a previous edit, that second edit to get into the post, the gig list to update and a dog to walk. I also bid for 13 jobs this morning, including one invitation to submit, and had been shortlisted for one, down to 2 from about 93 (first it was 9, then it was 5 …). Unfortunately I lost it to someone charging half as much as me. Lovely already boss has also asked me today how I’m fixed for more work.

I have plenty of work in now for at least the next 3 weeks with more promised. I need to get the invoices into the system, though, so that the money is coming in on a regular basis and I’m not swinging between feast and famine again. Time management is getting a lot of attention at the moment to ensure I keep a realistic diary and then stick to it. I’m turning work around a lot quicker and my time estimates are improving.

For the rest of this week I have another edit to start, preferably tomorrow morning. That will take me to Monday.

It’s nice being busy, it’s nice knowing I’m really earning a fair wage, and it’s nice to have a full diary. It’s horrible being broke, though, and I need to eradicate that word entirely from my vocabulary.

A few weeks before we went on holiday we went to Langsett Reservoir walking. This is one of the poet’s favourite shots of his own, if not his actual favourite. Enjoy.