Downhill from here …

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At Fleet’s Dam (picture: Diane Wordsworth)

I’m always very, very busy and productive on a Monday morning. I get loads and loads done … and then it’s all downhill from there. I’ll bet this week is no different, although it is a short week due to the bank holiday weekend coming up.

Wednesday and Thursday last week were fairly normal. I finished another editing job and got that sent back to the client and I got some gig list admin done too.

*** potential Downton Abbey SPOILER ALERT ***
Friday was a day off. Carol came to see our house for the first time – I think she liked it ūüėČ – and then we went to Cannon Hall in Barnsley, which is literally minutes from here, to see the Downton Abbey exhibition. Carol’s a big fan, having watched the entire series, whereas I lost interest when they killed Matthew Crawley … sorry if that’s a spoiler for anyone. I did recognise some of the costumes, though, from the first few series.

We had lunch in the caf√© there and were, quite frankly, disappointed. The place was very, very busy yet staff could clearly be seen both having their break (which is their right, but maybe not in public when the place is so busy) and taking up valuable dining space. It also took 3 of them at once to watch the card reader when it didn’t work … The food was lovely, but we’ve already decided to go to the garden centre caf√© in future.

On Saturday we went shopping for camping supplies for this weekend – blankets, egg boxes, extra single-burner stove, picnic table, frying pan, cutlery, salt n pepper pot, windbreak – and Saturday evening the poet had a gig over in Doncaster, again. He drove up early to help setup, but I caught the train at 8pm as 6:15pm was far too early to be leaving the dog.

I was at the station in the rain with 17 stags (who were all very well-behaved) only to find that our train was delayed. By 12 minutes. By the time we got to my change station, we were 20 minutes late and I missed my connection. I now wasn’t due in until 9:18pm and the gig was supposed to start at 9:15pm and I don’t know how to get there. So he sent their lovely roadie/lights man to fetch me and we got back halfway through their first song.

Following a late finish, we were up Sunday morning and off to Birmingham to see my parents and to fetch them some shopping on the way. We left glorious sunshine in Yorkshire and arrived to torrential rain in the West Midlands. Our plan was to visit Calke Abbey on the way back, but because it was so wet (and we¬†didn’t put walking boots in), we made do with eating our picnic in the car park looking at the view and vowing to go back another day as it’s less than 90 minutes away.

We didn’t get any new pictures, so I’ve shared one of the poet fishing at Fleet’s Dam a couple of weeks ago.

And so to today, and already I’ve had a very busy morning. I’ve got the poet up and off to work, fed the birds and the pets, filled and started the dishwasher, put a washload through and hung it out, I was at my desk for 9:30am, I’ve done more gig list admin and been a secretary for the band, and I’ve re-started the daily competitions. The daily competitions had made way for walking the dog, but the poet felt quite left out not coming for a daily walk with us, so we started to take him (me and Rufus took the poet) of an evening with us.

As I say, it’s probably all downhill from here …

For the rest of today I’ll probably have to fetch the washing back in, as the sky looks fairly ominous (although it has to come in before the end of the day anyway). I have 2 hours of writing time booked in, then I start a new edit for a regular client. I also need to raise 2 invoices for the same client (hurrah!).

Tomorrow I add an hour of job board admin and an hour of study work, but still have the 2 hours of writing time and 2 hours of client time. And it’s more of the same for the remaining 2 working days this week.

Catching up

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His Lordship (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

Last week I disappeared beneath a mountain¬†of proofreading. It was a big book for a new client and the deadline was today. So it needed to be ready by the end of Friday in order to catch Special Delivery Saturday morning and guaranteed delivery today. It meant I didn’t even turn on the computer Thursday or Friday, and the poet had to do all of the gig list admin at the tail end of last week. But I did it, and I got it to the post office on time. Now I just hope they’re happy with the work.

At the weekend we decided to go fishing, and I packed a nice writing bag. I’d done hardly any of my own writing during the week and wanted to remedy that.

But when we got to our chosen fishery (Worsbrough – pronounced wuzz-brough), it was all matched out and the only pegs left were on the very, very windy dam head. So we decided to go and look somewhere else … but the car was making the strangest of noises and everyone was turning to stare at us …

The poet had a look but couldn’t see anything, but he decided he wanted to get the car home. There was a garden party happening at the manor that we’d been invited to, and the lane was busy with cars and visitors. But we’d declined due to the fishing … and when he got on his hands and knees, he found the problem. A plastic drinking cup had wedged itself under the chassis and it took him a few efforts to get it out.

By now the weather had changed and we decided against trying again. So he didn’t get any fishing, the dog didn’t get a proper walk, and I didn’t do any writing.

The next day we were off again. He phoned 2 other fisheries, one in Retford and one in Doncaster, but they were both matched up too and if we didn’t get there in the next half-an-hour, we probably wouldn’t get a peg. That’s a shame because both fisheries are very dog friendly – so many of them aren’t. So off we pootled to Worsbrough again … only to find it fully matched again, and this time the whole reservoir was closed to pleasure anglers.

We headed off to find another reservoir, Wintersett, which is supposed to have disabled access, and so plenty of pegs where you can park your car behind you … only we couldn’t find a way in. We contacted Leeds & District Angling Association to find out how to get in, but no one answered any of the numbers we tried. So we asked at the Angler’s Rest, a visitor centre on another of the lakes there, and they said there was a gate at the end of a lane that we needed a key for.

We went in search of said gate to find that yes, indeed, we did need a key. But even if we had a key, we could’t get in because some selfish cow had parked her horse-box in front of the gate and gone off riding. (We’d seen her earlier as we tried to find a way in, and she was spending more time getting ready than her horse.)

So we aborted¬†another trip and headed back via town, when the poet remembered another lake he used to fish, Fleet’s Dam. When we arrived there was, once again, a match going on, but only down the one side. We were able to pitch camp on the opposite bank and spend several hours in this hidden gem in the centre of town (or tarn, as the locals call it). The poet was happy, he even caught some fish, and we’re certainly going again.

Rufus, however, got quite bored. I took him for a walk around the lake and took some photographs, but when we got back he wouldn’t settle unless he was on my lap, and we couldn’t have him barking when there was a match happening on the other side of the lake. So, as a result, I still didn’t get any writing done. But we did have a nice few hours in the fresh air.

It means I’m a bit behind on my word count challenge for August, but first job this morning was the diary (which I should have done last week but didn’t get chance), and I’ve scheduled in several writing sessions this week. I do have Friday off, it’s a jolly day for 4 of us, so a short week.

I also have amendments to an edit I did 2 weeks ago, so that can go to print, and more work to do for another new client. On Wednesday I start another new edit for a regular client.

What’re you up to this week?

Tired

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Primroses at Rievaulx (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

It was another heavy weekend.

Much of Friday was spent completing the electronic edits on one client book, sending that back to the author for checking, and invoicing the client (hurrah!). In between, I also managed my first 1-mile dog-walk from the doorstep and back.

Friday teatime was a mad dash. We finished some savoury mince the poet had cooked a couple of days earlier, with a baked potato each, and then it was off to Doncaster for a private party his band were playing at.

On Saturday we did a bit of fishing shopping (he wanted some new line for his reel) and we replaced one of the hosepipes I managed to break while filling the bird bath.¬†I’d pulled it, thinking the hosepipe was unreeled, but it wasn’t and the water¬†supply feed thingy snapped and it was cheaper to replace the whole thing than it was to replace the little gadget-thing that snapped. After my complaint to B&Q a few weeks ago, we were sent a gift card, so we used that to help pay for the new kit.

When we got back, and he’d done what he does with his reel line, Rufus and I showed him the walk we’d been on the previous day. We went a bit further, disturbed a roosting little owl, spotted a kestrel on a fence post, and generally explored just one of our many footpaths cross-country, and we clocked up just under 2 miles. Then it was another dash to have tea and get ready for another gig over in Doncaster. We finally turned in at 3am Sunday morning …

… but had to be up again as we were visiting both lots of parents. First we were back in Doncaster, to see the poet’s parents, then we headed to Birmingham to see my parents, via Morrison’s in Sheldon where we bought them some cakes. We got home at 7:30pm, had a takeaway, watched some telly, and had an early night.

And then it was another new week again. We were both still very tired this morning.

This morning’s pre-breakfast chores included filling and starting the dishwasher, and feeding the pets and the garden birds. I’ve done a little gig list admin (1st job ticked), this blog post will be my 2nd job ticked, then I’m definitely spending a couple of hours on writing work. I’m a bit behind on the wordcount this month so far, mostly due to editing deadlines, but I start another new client book this afternoon, when I’ve done today’s dog-walk.

It’s a full week at work this week, even my replacement hair appointment from 2 weeks ago is after hours. But we do have a totally empty weekend looming, apart from a birthday party we’ll probably show our faces at. I foresee someone keeping half an eye on the weather forecast …

I’ve run out of pictures again. I know there are some on the camera, but the weather was quite bad when those were taken and I’ve not had time to transfer them over to the pc and look at them full-sized. So I’ve nicked one from an earlier jaunt this year, and flipped and cropped it (so it fits nicely). We need a few more jaunts out.

Oh, oh, but one¬†exciting thing is, at the weekend we booked a short camping holiday for later this month. It coincides with the Evesham fishing festival, so we can fit a bit of that in with a bit of sightseeing. That’s a nice little break to look forward to as Evesham is beautiful and we enjoyed the short time we spent at the festival last year.

Another exciting thing is that we spent much of the driving time on Sunday discussing what to do with the garden over the winter. We’re planning a proper little kitchen garden with raised beds and crop rotation and fruit and vegetables and rhubarb patches and everything. But we’re keeping everything quite low-growing so we don’t spoil our gorgeous view. I’d love fruit trees, and I had a right old brain murmur on Friday when I remembered an old eighties novelty, the stepover fruit tree. We can still get those, so they’re being incorporated too.

Because, of course,¬†we’re not already busy enough … ūüėČ

 

Kaleidoscopic migraine

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Slaithwaite moonraking festival (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I experienced what I believe to be (having Googled it …) a kaleidoscopic migraine.

I’ve had migraines before. They usually start with my peripheral vision starting to recede into tunnel vision. And if I don’t get to lie down¬†in a darkened room before the tunnel vision becomes pin-pricks, I get a terrible headache accompanied by nausea.

I was in the middle of an electronic edit yesterday when my peripheral vision started to go, and I thought, ooh eck (cos that’s how they talk oop north). But I carried on because I wanted to finish the job …¬†until the kaleidoscope of lights and shapes started to hinder my vision so much I had to go and lie down in that darkened room anyway.

When the poet nipped home for lunch, he took one look at me and knew there was something wrong. I avoided cheese and chocolate, and went back to bed when he went back to work. And within half an hour, it was all over.

As I say, I’ve Googled it already (with apologies to those of you who hate to see that as a verb!), and I’m pretty certain it was just a migraine. Has anyone else experienced something like that?

I did manage another couple of hours on the electronic edit before taking the dog for a walk around the lake, and something from that walk must have stuck at the back of my mind. Because this morning I woke with the idea for a story almost fully formed, centred around a lake that’s tucked away and almost forgotten. I don’t know if it will be a short, 1,000-word story, or if I might be able to make it something meatier. But it’s the bones of a story and before breakfast it was in my notebook. I’ll leave that one there for now, to percolate.

This morning, also before breakfast, I already emptied the dishwasher and filled it back up again, put one wash through and sorted the next washload ready (I’m about to go and put the first on a spin before hanging it out and putting the second load through), fed the pets and emptied the kitchen bin. It’s a glorious day, but with my workload I only have time to hang two lots of washing out today, and fetch them back in again, of course.

But I didn’t get to my desk until 10am, and I still have lots to do. I have that electronic edit to finish and a hard-copy proofread to start, I want to do some more short story brainstorming work, I have invoices to raise (hurrah!), and a dog to walk. On top of that, we have to be out by 6:30pm this evening for a gig on the other side of Doncaster, so it’ll be a rush for tea too.

Tomorrow there’s another gig, in the centre of Doncaster this time, so we can’t go far tomorrow. If it’s as nice as today (and I have my shorts on today, it’s so nice), I’d like to get another two washloads on the line and maybe a short outing. Then on Sunday we’re visiting both lots of parents.

What’re you up to this weekend?

Gigging again

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Monkey Dust: (l – r) Dave drums, Alan bass, Mel lights, Ian (Wormy) vocals, Tom guitar (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

This weekend just gone saw the return of Monkey Dust to the gig circuit after, pretty much, the summer off,¬†apart from the Wheel of Light festival, which was a one-off. Here’s a picture I took of the lads at that festival. I think it’s one of very few with them all together.

Friday night we stayed in and watched the telly. On Saturday we drove over to Edale to attempt to climb Kinder Scout … but, oh, what a test of my current fitness (or not). We walked for about an hour and the hill was killing me – I really, really hate big hills.

It was raining on the mountain, which meant we were wearing waterproofs on an otherwise warm day. And that made it quite warm and sweaty going. We sheltered for something to eat, but the rain had brought out every single fly or ant on the planet. Even the dog was getting agitated by them, snapping at them, trying to catch them. And when I couldn’t face another climb up for as far as the eye could see, we turned around and went back down.

While I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t surprised. But I do need to increase my fitness. So we hope to try it again and again, and see how much further we get each time.

On our way there, my dad called to let me know my Yesterday Remembered story is in the August issue of Best of British. He’s a subscriber, so I think he got his a few days earlier than it appears on the shelves. He was dead chuffed because they chose to use a 1970s picture of him, Mom and my brother on a beach.

On the way back we toyed with going fishing again, but the fishing tackle shop was in the wrong direction and, to be honest, I just wanted to chill on the settee after attempting Kinder Scout. So we watched 3 films back-to-back.

Sunday was that first gig back, and as we had to be out by 1:30pm, that didn’t give us much chance to do anything else. I nipped to the shop, with the dog, to buy the makings of a picnic while the poet Hoovered the house from top to bottom. The gig started at 4pm, so we were home by 7:30pm, and tucking into a salmon tea by 8pm.

We’re fairly busy from now on, gig-wise. There are two gigs next weekend, then we have the following weekend off; there’s one gig the weekend after that, then we have the bank holiday weekend and the first weekend in September off; and then there’s only one weekend off between then and Christmas.

The diet is going well so far. I’ve lost 3¬ĺlb this time already (on top of another 2lb I’d already got off before changing our diet to low GI), and a few inches from various parts of the body. The poet said last night he didn’t even feel as though we were on a diet. (He lost over half a stone – 7lb – before we went on honeymoon, and has kept that off, and lost¬†a couple more pounds too.)

On Friday evening, after an aborted trip to the hairdresser (I went for a drive, parked up in the sunshine – on the M1 – cancelled the appointment, turned around and came back), an unsolicited email arrived asking if I’d like a big proofreading job. I checked their details as soon as I got home, and replied almost straight away – yes please! So that means I now have in one job from lovely-already-boss, two more for lovely-new-boss, and this one for lovely-potential-boss. If I can keep those three contracts going, I’ll never need to trawl for editing or proofreading work again.

It does mean another busy week ahead, but I’ve set my word count challenge for August at 18,000 words. That equates to 18 working days in August, but may turn into 19 days (and 19,000 words) if we don’t end up going camping for the bank holiday weekend. We’d like to take in some of the Evesham fishing festival again this year and, if we camp, we can visit other places too, including my parents, and we can take the dog.

What are you up to this week?