NaNo ready … (*** list alert ***)

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareSo, much of the past few weeks has been NaNo prep work.

Yesterday, I added a few extra guidelines to my plot and now I think I have enough to be going on with. I’ve left later chapters/scenes/days’ work a little vague but I’m hoping that, as the story progresses, some of those parts may write themselves. I also tweaked the sidebar a little – did you notice?

The diary has been completed for the first week, and “NaNoWriMo” features at 11am every day for 2 hours. Every day.

I’m not setting an additional word-count target for other work as I really, really want to do this this time. Anything extra will, therefore, be a bonus. Had I included the usual 1,000 words per day, then my target for November would have been 71,000 words, which once I’d calculated had the complete opposite effect to motivation.

Here, then, is how next week looks:

Saturday

  • NaNoWriMo kick-off party Leeds (apologies and good wishes sent)
  • collect Dad from Brum
  • Monkey Dust fancy dress Halloween gig

Sunday

  • NaNoWriMo 2015 begins
  • 11am – 1pm: NaNoWriMo

Monday

  • 8:30am: housework
  • 9am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30am: gig list admin
  • 10am: daily competitions
  • 11am: NaNoWriMo
  • 1pm: DINNER
  • 2pm: blog
  • 3pm: client editing
  • 5pm: housework
  • 5:30pm TEA
  • 6pm: take Dad home

Tuesday

  • 8:30am: housework
  • 9am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30am: daily competitions
  • 10am: pro-bono work
  • 11am: NaNoWriMo
  • 1pm: DINNER
  • 2pm: study work (aka EXTRA writing time)
  • 3pm: client editing
  • 5pm: housework (inc take bins out)
  • 5:30pm TEA

Wednesday

  • 8:30am: housework
  • 9am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30am: daily competitions
  • 10am: blog (diary of a freelance writer)
    • + renew car insurance
  • 11am: NaNoWriMo
  • 1pm: DINNER
  • 2pm: study work (aka EXTRA writing time)
  • 3pm: client editing
  • 5pm: housework (inc bring bins in)
  • 5:30pm TEA

Thursday

  • 8:30am: housework
  • 9am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30am: daily competitions
  • 10am: diary work
  • 10:30am: gig list admin
  • 11am: NaNoWriMo
  • 1pm: DINNER
  • 2pm: pro-bono work
  • 3pm: client editing
  • 5pm: housework
  • 5:30pm TEA

Friday

  • 8am: Tom the Gas coming to drain down/overhaul hot water/central heating systems
  • 8:30am: housework
  • 9am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30am: daily competitions
  • 10am: blog
  • 11am: NaNoWriMo
  • 1pm: DINNER
  • 2pm: client editing
  • 4pm: invoices, admin, pc mtce
  • 5pm: housework
  • 5:30pm TEA

I know this looks a bit too structured for some, but for me it works, and it keeps me on the straight and narrow with less procrastination and lots of ticks. Often a specific job doesn’t take up the entire allocated time slot, so then I either chill by playing a game or surfing the internet, if it’s been a heavy job, or I start the next one early.

Sometimes a job takes longer than planned or something unexpected happens. For example, we’re on standby to go and collect the poet’s car any day, which will mean shifting things around. So the diary is always written in pencil as it looks much nicer with things rubbed out and replaced rather than lots of ink crossings-out and hatchings.

How does your working week look? Today I have one editing job to finish and another one to start. I’m also awaiting a delivery.

As you can see, we have another busy weekend planned, and we’re still only down to one car. It’s the gig buddy’s birthday this week (yesterday) and we’re hoping they’re coming to tomorrow’s gig. We’ll be picking them up on the way if there’s just the 2 of them and Dad will be pet-sitting so we don’t have to worry about dashing back.

It’s a busy month ahead for me. Good luck to everyone else reading this who’s also doing NaNoWriMo this year.

Nice weekend off

banana loafWell, after a stressful week we wanted the weekend off and we pretty much had it, getting the shopping out of the way first and just buying some bird and dog food from the pet shop. We’ve both been fighting colds so we didn’t feel much like doing anything else.

On Saturday the poet made his own Caesar dressing and we had that, with salmon and salad, for tea.

Monkey Dust had a gig in Sheffield Saturday night, at a new venue, and it took us a while to get there. When we did, the gaffer panicked about the speakers, but by the end of the night he was converted and asking them to play again next year.

On Sunday we did more baking. The poet put another lamb shank in the slow cooker, with mint and garlic this time. Then we made a granary loaf and 4 granary rolls in the oven (the rolls and a third of the loaf have already gone), a banana tea bread (from the low fat cookbook), and another granary loaf in the bread machine.

We popped out to visit the poet’s parents on Sunday too, and on the way we stopped off to replace the bread flours – strong white, strong brown, wholemeal – and get a new tin of dried yeast.

We also bought oatmeal for parkin. We couldn’t get oatmeal from Tesco, but apparently all of the other supermarkets sell it and they don’t, so we did the baking shopping at Morrisons. And we bought cream so the poet can have a go at making his own custard – we’d already picked up a vanilla pod from Tesco.

He came back from his parents’ with a pile of art supplies and I came back with a glass pie dish, a glass quiche dish and a jar of sugared blackberries. We’ll be putting all of those to good use very soon.

And that was the weekend. The picture is of the banana tea bread and the worktop saver is the one we bought a few weeks ago. It says: “Home is where the heart is.”

The hire car went back today – it should have gone back on Friday but they only came for it today – and they should be fixing the poet’s car today.

Holly’s back at the vet on Wednesday, but we finally let her out yesterday. We didn’t let her “escape”, we just left the back door open until she noticed it. She went out about 3 times for only a few minutes before coming back in, but then went out for an hour or so. When she got back we checked her scar, and all seems intact. So we’re not keeping her in any more.

It’s my last week of NaNo prep, I have a brand new edit in today, although I’ll be doing the ones already in first, and I’ve scheduled in a couple of sessions this week on the “pro bono” work, so it isn’t dominating my time but I still get to do something with it.

What are you up to this week?

Fraught week

P1020866aIt’s been a long and fraught week for us this week, considering we had a long weekend too.

First the poet snapped a section of his very expensive brand new fishing pole.

Then the clutch caught fire on the car – and they’re trying to say it’s user abuse rather than covered under warranty (the car’s 8 months old …).

Then the cat came home on Tuesday night with a massive hole in her side, had it cleaned and stitched on Wednesday, and now has a 2-inch long scar.

It’s all money money money. And if we add to that a broken plectrum and a Sky remote control no longer working (and no, it’s not the batteries), I’d say we’ve pretty much had our fair share now, thank you very much.

Holly, by the way, is actually fine. But she can’t go out yet and she’s climbing the walls – she’s very much an outdoor hunter but has lost weight since Wednesday morning, so she’s not happy. I just love this picture of her so thought it might make a nice illustration on today’s post. We have no idea what she’s done or how she did it, other than it isn’t from fighting or hunting. It looks like she’s fell against something that’s spiked her in the side. But at least it’s clean.

There hasn’t been a Diary of a Freelance Writer this week. That’s because of the long weekend and because I’ve been running backwards and forwards to the vets and to the garage, so I’ve not had a lot of writing time. The Diary will return next Wednesday, though, all being well, although Holly is back at the vet again Wednesday morning.

I’ve not done much NaNo prep work either, and that’s frustrating me. I hope to remedy that today.

It also looks as though I’m chasing another late payment too. As if I don’t already have enough to do, I really hate having to chase late payments as well.

I have been doing work on what I call the “pro bono” project. I usually give my time to some good cause or another, if it’s something close to my heart or something that interests me. I just have to limit them to one at a time.

This is memorial fundraising work in memory of a friend of Monkey Dust, the poet’s band, and I’m doing the publicity. So I’ve set up a new blog and a new Facebook page and have been sourcing, saving, uploading and crediting pictures that have been pouring in as well as the initial new setups.

I’ve done next week’s diary and allocated time to “pro bono work”, and now I need to step away from the notifications that seem to be happening all the time at the moment and crack on with some of my own work. Otherwise, I could be pecking away at it the whole time. And next week, I need to be finding time for that NaNo prep work too.

Apart from one gig in Sheffield on Saturday evening, we have the whole weekend off this week. We need to do some shopping (if we have any money left), but apart from that, perhaps we’ll do some more home DIY.

What are you up to this weekend?

Illustrated blog post

Today’s blog post is quite an illustrated one, so apologies to those with slow internet speeds.

We had a very busy and productive 4-day weekend, which started on Thursday evening with us getting the weekly shopping out of the way. On Friday, the poet went fishing, and I spent much of the day faffing with the blog – did you notice? Let me know what you think. My day started with housework, as usual but without the rush to get it done in time for work. I emptied and reloaded the dishwasher – twice – and I put just one washload through both the washing cycle and the tumble drying cycle.

I had intended not to go to my desk, but I wanted to see what the blog can and can’t do and what the website can and can’t do. And while they both have pros and cons, at the moment the blog is winning. There are features not available unless I pay for a premium membership, but the blog facility is by far more superior than the one that comes with the website. So when my website and domain come up for renewal next May, I may move everything over to WordPress.

The poet got back at about teatime, but we went out on a date night just as soon as he was presentable (and not smelling of fish). We started at an old favourite of ours, Pizza Express, and finished at the pictures. There were 3 films on our list, depending on what time we finished at the restaurant, Maze Runner: The Scorch Files; Legend; and Sicario. We came out in time to see the last one and were home by 11:30pm.

P1040179On Saturday morning we went out to get my dad a birthday present and to buy some vinegars and some spices we didn’t already have or that needed replenishing.

When we got back, we used up all of the sloes and more of the apples in a sloe & Bramley apple jelly. We used this recipe from the Cottage Smallholder, but had to adjust the recipe to match the weight of the sloes we had. It seemed to work, though, and we left the pulp dripping through a jelly bag overnight.

We also used some tomatoes and more of the apples to make a ripe tomato chutney, and the rest of the tomatoes to make a basic tomato ketchup. Again, we were restricted by the weight and tried to adjust the recipes to suit, which we got from Easy Jams, Chutneys and Preserves by Val and John Harrison.

The chutney worked really well, but we had to add cornflour to the ketchup as it wasn’t thickening. We’re going to try that recipe again, though, but with the right ingredients because it’s absolutely delicious. We won’t know what the chutney is like for a few weeks, but that’s quite a lot of chutney we have in the spare fridge now. And, of course, we still have apples left …

On Saturday evening, Monkey Dust played a gig in Doncaster. WordPress wouldn’t let me embed a video directly (this is one of the complaints I have with the blog at the moment), so I had to upload it to YouTube and embed it from there. I hope it works for you.

This is a fairly new one for them but a song they got comfortable with very quickly. I think they do a lovely job, even if the video is a bit wobbly (that’s me, as is the phone-freeze at the end of it all).

I drove back from the gig and thought there was something wrong with the poet’s car, so I mentioned it …

Sunday morning we were up early to finish the sloe & Bramley apple jelly. Because of the limits we had with the fruit content, we only managed just under 2 jars. It set perfectly and tastes gorgeous, and we’ll be having it with meat – hopefully at Christmas too. Then we were off to Birmingham, where we had a nice visit with my parents for my dad’s birthday – we even had birthday cake!

On the way back, the poet’s car started to act very strangely. Warning lights started to come on and he thought the clutch was slipping. So we said first thing tomorrow (aka Monday) he was going to book it in. As we slowed down at the next junction, which was literally just yards away, his clutch pedal disappeared. And, still in 6th gear, we limped off the motorway and pulled into a layby on an A-road just as the engine caught fire …

Fortunately I’m in the AA and was able to call them for breakdown rescue. Even more fortunately, he apparently is too. The car is only 8 months old and part of the dealer warranty includes AA breakdown membership. And yet more fortunately still, there was an AA man just finishing another rescue on the other side of the road! He couldn’t do a roadside repair, so instead dragged the car to a garage of our choice, dropping us off at Meadowhall on the way so I could collect my car (which I’d left there to go to Doncaster on the train on Saturday night).

We got home at about 7:30pm. Fortunately again (Fortune was certainly with us on Sunday), while we were out, the poet had left a lamb shank in the slow cooker. He was going to cook it on “high” but I’d convinced him to cook it on “low”, so by the time we got home, the meat was perfect, falling away from the bone. He’d infused it with mint and garlic, and – again – it tasted gorgeous, with baby new potatoes in butter, peas and sweetcorn, and a lamb gravy.

Monday was very much a lost day. We had to get the car keys to the garage where we’d abandoned the car, and we had to wait around until the car hire company (also via Ford’s AA warranty membership) arranged a temporary car for us. Once the hire car was sorted (for a 2pm delivery), off we went to the garage.

We had a chat with the service department, who were shocked that a car only 8 months old had lost its clutch in such a manner. They’re 99.9% sure that it’s covered by warranty, but you know how some of these dealers can be. It’s currently being looked at in the workshop and we’ll find out later today what’s going to happen to it. Once the clutch is fixed, if we book it in for its first year service (which we did), we get another year’s AA membership included.

At about 1:15pm, we received a phone call to say the hire car had arrived, and within 25 minutes we were home to take delivery.

P1040172This cut the day in half really, so we weren’t able to go out for the day as we’d hoped. Instead, we decided to do some much needed DIY around the house – only tweaks, but things that have needed doing for a while but been neglected.

The poet started by removing a coat rack that was on this wall in the living room, and replacing it with a mirror that came up with me to Yorkshire when I moved 11 years ago.

The curtains you can see in this picture (in the mirror too) were made by the gig buddy for my last house. She adapted them to fit this house. Her business is The Sewing Room. And she does loads and loads for us, including my wedding dress.

The table you can see is one we got in a swap with son #1 when he moved into his last house. We jokingly call it our “telephone paraphernalia table”, and it matches the television unit and the stereo unit, which we also swapped with son #1. (Not for him, with him!)

P1040175The coat rack was moved to the hall, which to us is the logical place for coats. The picture to the left shows it now, but before, that was just a white expanse of wall. This puzzled us very much, and now we’re half-waiting to see if there was some structural reason for this rather bizarre decision.

He also put in some new hooks for the dog’s leads and collar and for one of our walking sticks.

I went through this little lot before it looked like this and moved 4 pairs of shoes, 2 coats, a hat and 2 pairs of gloves to wardrobes and cupboards upstairs. I also managed to transport a pair of his shoes to the bin … I’ll have to check later to make sure he hasn’t retrieved them … (I did tell him, I even made him take them himself. It was very good therapy for him. 😉 )

Now our wellies are in the hall too, having previously taken up space in the kitchen. Can you guess which wellies belong to whom?

P1040173While he had his DIY head on, he also did a job on this bookshelf, reducing it by one shelf so that the wall-light shows over the top of it. I’d already gone through the books as they originally filled the extra shelf on here and spilled out into the surrounding area. Along with his shoes probably went over 100 books to the bin. Definitely a job I should have done 2 years ago.

This is sort of the poet’s corner … (do you see what I did there?). It’s where he was keeping all of his art supplies too (that’s the current work-in-progress on the easel). And, like the books, this also spilled onto the floor, onto the stereo and under the stairs. Now his current supplies are tucked tidily away in a drawer beneath the stereo.

The easel is a lightweight portable easel that packs down so it can come on holiday with us, or on days out. The stereo unit is another third of that furniture collection we swapped with son #1. The turntable was the poet’s; the mini-stereo was mine; the 7″ vinyl was all his. Now they’re joint.

P1040169While I had my tidying head on (we do need to take advantage of these brain murmurs when they happen), I also de-cluttered what I suppose is “my” corner, for this is where I sit when I’m working on hard copy downstairs, whether editing, reading or writing.

The poet put the floating shelves in several months ago, but he still needs to stain and secure those extra lengths of dowelling he added for extra safety for when there’s a certain toddler visiting us.

Some of the books that were on here also went into the bin, and all of the office clutter was moved upstairs to the office. (Incidentally, I would normally take books to a library or to a charity sale, but many of these would have been of no interest to anyone else and, had we bagged them, it’s likely they’d still be cluttering up the garage this time next year. So we made an executive decision this time to just dump them.)

This corner is stuffed full of trinkets and memories. The painting is the first one the poet did following our honeymoon. If you look closely at the new slide-show in the sidebar, there’s one of the 2 photographs that inspired this piece of work. On the top shelf is an enamelled jug that also came from our honeymoon, but from the Cyprus leg. There’s also a stone jar my mom bought for me from a pottery in Wales and another little stoneware pot.

On the next shelf down, from the left, is a totem pole I bought in Canada when I went to visit my brother and his family, a London clock that my parents bought me a few Christmases ago, a book about Snow Hill Station (lying on its side at the bottom of the pile) that an old writing friend of mine had published in between the station closing and reopening again (the friend was also one of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974), a part-works on Scotland I collected many years ago and have used quite a lot in short story work, and a colourful vase that came from the Algarve that we both thinks is quite cheerful.

The 2 hampers were Christmas presents from my sister last year. They’re proving very useful for storing things like birthday cards we’ve received. Then on the bottom shelf, you probably can’t see it very well, but there’s a black enamelled music box that used to belong to my grandma. Her stepson brought it back for her from his National Service in Malaysia – and it still works.

P1040180The final job I did yesterday, while the poet hauled out the incinerator and started a fire in the garden, was another quick and easy job that’s wanted doing for AGES – new batteries in 3 clocks.

The silver clock was just a cheap one I got from Tesco and it sits in my office. The blue glass clock came from Venice. The white wall clock is one another friend made for me one Christmas. They’ve all been with me for a very long time, and I really can’t do without knowing what the time is, for some reason.

Even in this picture is the edge of another memory. The photograph on the wall is one the poet took on our first holiday together. I’d taken him to Wordsworth’s house (for obvious reasons?) in Grasmere, and this picture is one of the garden gate leading to the cottage.

So, in the end, we had a very busy day, and – as usual – a very busy weekend. Our reward was a pizza each from Domino’s.

How was your weekend?

Long weekend ahead

P1040101
Bullrushes, Fleet’s Dam (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

Today is a busy day as we both break up for a long weekend. That means we won’t be around to do anything vaguely work-related – or gig list-related. We’re taking some time off.

It also means my monthly word-count target of 22,000 words will come down to 20,000 words, and I’m already over halfway there. I plan on writing around 1,000 words per working day, and as this long weekend starts tomorrow and runs right through to the end of Monday, that’s 2 days down.

In November, I won’t be having any time off. I’ll be working very hard on both my usual writing work, and a brand new project for NaNoWriMo. My usual target for November would be 21,000 words, but with NaNo, I have to add another 50,000 to that.

So that’s 71,000 words. 😮 GULP! That’s a whole novel! Well, nearly.

In December we have another long weekend booked, right at the start of the month. I think I may be ready for that. We’re having one day at Lincoln Christmas market and another day Christmas shopping. So I hope everyone who owes me money by then has paid. Of course, we also have a whole fortnight off in December too, the Christmas break, which I always love. I think I may be ready for that one too.

So, this weekend, what’re we up to? Well, tomorrow, the poet may be going fishing. I was going to go with him, but looking at the weather, and with a bit of a cold tugging at my sleeve, I may stay home instead. I have a lot of reading to catch up on and plenty of writing work to keep me busy. I just won’t be at my desk. Thanks to that wonderful new Scrivener gadget of mine, I can work on NaNo prep on the notebook/switch downstairs now if I want to. Or I could take it fishing. Did I mention that it also tracks your progress in any one session and counts words written?

We may manage a nice day out somewhere, or a walk. Or we may finish off those cooking apples. On Saturday the poet has a gig to play in Doncaster and on Sunday we’re off to see my dad for his birthday. If the poet doesn’t go fishing tomorrow, he may go on Monday. Or he may just do diddley-squat. Just like me.

What would you do? Whatever, have a goodun. 🙂

Wormy’s kitchen

baking screenshot
Baking day (pictures: Diane Wordsworth)

I’ve had a bit of a slow start to the week this morning.

The poet’s gone to the Midlands for the day, and within seconds of him leaving, I saw there had been a fatal accident on the M1 and thought it was very likely that the motorway was closed. Sure enough, after I warned him, he confirmed that the motorway was indeed closed, right where he usually gets off. So not only was it closed, but there would also be lots of traffic. Big traffic. And the poet really is the worst navigator in the world.

After sorting out an alternative route for him, and talking him through it (he was on hands free), I finally made it to my desk where I also had a late breakfast. He’s under very strict instructions to (a) let me know the moment he arrives safely, and/or (b) call me the second he takes a wrong turn. So now I’m on standby until he gets there. He doesn’t have his sat-nav on as it’s usually a routine run for him, and he’ll need to pull off to get it all out and set up. It’s quicker and easier, and safer, for him to just call me.

To cap things, we had a power-cut here about half-an-hour ago too. But that gave me chance to empty the dishwasher and fill it up again – and, believe me, after the weekend we’ve had, the kitchen was like a bomb site. There’s at least another dishwasher load waiting to go in.

We did have a very busy weekend too.

Friday was mostly chill time. And he was trying to recover from a cold so he could perform Saturday night. Saturday morning we had a mad tidy-up session, only for our guests to cancel later that afternoon. But at least we got back to a clean and tidy house. Saturday afternoon we were shopping. And Saturday evening his band were playing in Wakefield, at a new venue.

On Sunday, we got up early because we were determined to do something with those cooking apples before they turned, and he had 2 lots of meat he wanted to slow-cook too – a brisket of beef, in the slow cooker, and a ham joint, which he boiled slowly. Unfortunately the elderberries had already gone too far, so those went into the bin. But the apples were still fine.

To take advantage of the apples as quickly as possible, we did buy some ready-rolled pastry. But an apple pie, some jam tarts, and 4 apple turnovers later we decided that while it does the job, it’s not as nice as my pastry. The jam tarts were made with his home-made blackberry jam, and the apple turnovers were because he’d just seen rhubarb turnovers on Sunday Brunch. I also made a crumble mix (he asked for a double crumble mix) and we made an apple crumble too. (This was where the elderberries were going.)

Then we nipped out to buy more empty jam jars and preserve jars, so we can make the apple jelly, perhaps some apple & sloe jelly, and maybe some more chutney or tomato ketchup later in the week, and we ended up having a bit of a spending spree.

The kitchen scales were starting to wear, with the dish already broken and us noticing one of the feet had fallen off yesterday. So we got some new kitchen scales that can measure dry and wet ingredients. The electric hand mixer I was given as a present back in 1984 was starting to smell of burning, and the whisks were falling out. So we bought a new electric hand mixer, but with a bigger engine, more speeds, a turbo boost and 2 sets of whisks. All of the feet have fallen off the glass worktop saver, which is see-through, and it keeps skittering across the worktop and was in danger of crashing to the floor. So we bought a new glass worktop saver with a print on it so we can see it. And the poet keeps leaving his toast lying around while it cools. So we bought him a new toast rack. (It’s the little things in life …)

We did remember the jars, and bought 6 jam jars and 2 preserve jars. Ee, it were like Christmas.

For tea he cooked a proper Sunday dinner, with 3 veg and Yorkshire puddings, but we were so stuffed after that little lot, we didn’t have any of the puddings. We have those to look forward to this week.

It’s a 4-day week this week for me, and next week, as the poet has booked a long weekend off work. He might be going fishing on one of the days, though, and it depends on where he goes and what the weather’s like whether or not I go with him. If I don’t go with him, I may work a normal day anyway. But we’ll definitely have at least one of the days off together.

I’d best crack on with some work, as even the diary’s all out of synch now. How was your weekend?

(By the way, the poet recently called. He’d not even reached Derby yet, such was the volume of traffic. There’s another motorway closure further down, the M42, so by the time he gets to Tipton, he may as well turn around and come back. Although he is also dropping in on my parents if he can.)

Feeling a bit lazy

Nice ... (Picture: Diane Parkin)
My boys … (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

After working almost solidly on 3 particularly heavy or urgent edits over the past 2 – 3 weeks, today I’m feeling a little bit idle. And I can’t get going. So I’m doing things out of order. Naughty me. But it’s okay, it’s allowed. Nothing is written in stone and the diary is always in pencil.

Perhaps working on 3 novels or novel ideas at the same time is also taking it out of me. Perhaps I just need a day to regenerate. Or perhaps I need a good 14 hours sleep. Whatever, I’m having an easy day of it.

After my whinge on Monday about the washing, the laundry pixie showed up and spent 4 days catching up on the backlog for me. He did a great job, but on the day he actually emptied the laundry basket, he was slightly dismayed to see it had already started to fill up again. Ah well, it gave me the chance to shift this week’s heavy edit a little quicker and was very much appreciated.

The diary has been packed solid all week, but there are also lots and lots of ticks and absolutely no crosses. Today is no different. I printed off a new edit yesterday, and will settle downstairs later to start that. I should be doing writing work at the moment, but I’ve moved the blog up, so I can go downstairs with a notepad too if I want to get away from the desk environment.

What I have done so far today is raise a nice, juicy new invoice (hurrah!) and chased 2 overdue payments (boo!). I’m also running through a few author’s corrections on the heavy edit I finished on Wednesday so I can send that to the publisher.

We’ve not had much chance to go walking just recently, other than down the lane to pick fruit. Perhaps that’s contributing to the sluggishness today. But this weekend won’t be any different. I think we’ll be chilling tonight, then tomorrow we have appointments to attend to and #1 son + bird to pick up and a gig in Wakefield for the band. They’re staying until at least Sunday dinner, as I believe they’re fetching that with them for the poet to cook, and then we’ll be taking them home again. Perhaps next time they come they can bring their walking boots and we can all go out together.

The picture above is one of my favourites. It was taken almost 2 years ago exactly on one of our favourite local walks, but I don’t think we’ve been back since.

Have a great weekend.

Clockwork tomato

Catch the Rainbow

Today I’ve been finding the clockwork tomato very useful, due to being overwhelmed by the amount of washing we have lying around at the moment.

Honestly, it came to the point that we had to stand on the washing to get it all to fit in the laundry basket, but the washing machine was full, the clothes horse was full, the tumble dryer was full, and the washing baskets were full. I really had nowhere to put anything. Other than, of course, away …

Enough’s enough, though, and this morning, out came the clockwork tomato for as many 10-minute bursts as I can fit in.

First chore this morning was the dishwasher – emptying it from the wash program it was on overnight, and starting to fill it with today’s crocks and glasses. Then it was breakfast, and then I did some gig list admin. I finished that work early, though, so set the timer and blitzed the clean washing for 10 minutes. Then I had 10 minutes faffing on Facebook. Then it was back to the list of chores.

The next thing on the list was daily competitions. But I’d worked on Saturday, either side of a football game in Doncaster (and finishing at 9pm Saturday night!), and part of my warm-up was daily competitions. I don’t usually do them at the weekend as I’m not usually at the desktop. But doing them on Saturday meant less time catching up this morning. So when I finished that early, off I went to do another 10 minutes on the washing.

For the first time ever, the next job on the list was “writing work”, with the subheadings “NaNo Prep”, “Catch the Rainbow”, and a gap I filled in with “5 ideas in 7 days (7)”. This is the last of my 5 ideas in 7 days and it means I now have 35 ideas all written down – and I selected one of them for my NaNo prep. I also chose the genre for my NaNo, and I wrote over 1,600 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW. This morning! Before any other work! I’m very, very happy with that. Especially as it’s taken the word meter over the 20,000-word mark. 😀 (Diane pats herself on the back.)

I had 20 minutes left at the end of my writing time, and I toyed with setting the timer and having another bash at the washing. But I decided to bring the blog posting forward from 2pm this afternoon instead. If I finish this before the poet gets home for his dinner, I’ll have another 10 minutes on the washing and be able to start something else when he goes back to work.

But, whatever, it means I’m more than a whole hour ahead of schedule.

I do have a big editing job I want to finish, or at least make a massive dent in. So that will take up much of the afternoon. I finished one of the heavy edits on Saturday and got it sent off to the client, which was why I was working until 9pm.

I had to break off work to go to the football game. We’d been given complimentary tickets to see Doncaster Rovers play Barnsley, and so we made a nice afternoon of it, even eating in the corporate box. And on Sunday we went to Birmingham to visit my parents. While there, I sat with Mom while the poet took Dad to get his winter pansies. The pots should look nice next time we’re there.

We didn’t have time to make any apple pies or apple & elderberry crumbles, but we did go sloe-picking Friday evening before the light went. Even Domino the cat came with us, she hates to miss out on anything. He’s taken some of those sloes to work as the lady in the canteen asked him to fetch her some if we picked enough. The cooking apples, however, are still in their bag on the worktop … Maybe this evening.

The cuckoo clock downstairs has just sounded 1 o’clock, so I won’t have time to put any more washing away before lunch. I will, however, have plenty of breaks in this afternoon’s heavy edit and see how much more I can get done.

Have you tried the 10-minute sprints and bursts yet? I can highly recommend them.