Another new week

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Bullfinch at RSPB Old Moor (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

On Friday our last fruit and veg boxes (for now) arrived, and we were determined to use it all up before it perished. We didn’t get much chance to do that Friday because we were going fishing after collecting my car and didn’t get back until gone 9pm. We both had a good session: he caught 65 fish (yes, really – he didn’t “keep-net” any but he did count them); and I wrote 1,094 words of the short story I started last time, ending up with a 1,972-word story.

On Saturday we were supposed to be going to a local music festival but decided to stay home. I read quite a bit and the poet did some good fishing prep work he’d been putting off and putting off but that really needed to be done at some point. Son #2 has decided to take up fishing again, now he’s home from London, and he’s after spare gear from his dad and his grandad.

Before we went out the poet prepared a Lancashire hotpot in the slow cooker, using meat from the supermarket, potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms from the veg box, and fresh chives and rosemary from our own garden! I think the “from our own garden” bit was by far the best bit, and, of course, the tastiest! We finished off the strawberry flan, which was made with partially set jelly in the end and worked very nicely, but failed to find a replacement flan sponge for the one I ruined anywhere.

Sunday was a trip to Birmingham to see my parents. We made very good time and had a nice couple of hours with them. On the way home we dropped off a birthday card at his parents’ house and had an hour with them too. I asked the mother-in-law if she had a sponge flan dish I could borrow, and she did – but she told me to keep it, although she wouldn’t mind her glass pie dish back we’d had for several months by now! 😀

When we got home, while the poet made a cheese, mushroom and courgette omelette (mushrooms and courgette from the veg box …), I made my first ever sponge flan. I also made 4 small jellies and kept ¼ pint for the glaze. I still had strawberry yoghurt with mine, but the poet doesn’t really like yoghurt so he’s pushing the boat out still with single cream. What a scrumptious tea!

And so another week ends and a new one begins and, once again, it’s a fairly busy one. I have the usual writing work scheduled in, the usual job-surfing work, the usual editing work, but I’m also doing the tax return this week. Then, at the end of the week, we’re off to Harrogate for two events (one Friday evening, one Saturday), for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. And, on Sunday, the poet’s band is playing at a charity music festival.

What are you up to this week?

NaNo hiatus

My NaNo for 2014 has stalled, but only temporarily.

I usually write longhand, and several drafts before committing to first typed draft, but this year, as an experiment, I’ve been drafting straight onto the laptop. This can be difficult when driving and a tad rude while visiting.

On Saturday we drove down to Birmingham and got stuck in some bad traffic, mostly due to squally showers slowing everyone down, but also due to roadworks. While we were in Birmingham, we visited my dad and then we popped to the hospital to visit my mom. Then we had to turn around at 4pm and leave and head back home.

No sooner had we arrived home and grabbed something very quickly to eat than we were turning around and going straight out. We had a birthday party in Leeds to get to.

The party was great but there was just no other time in the day to do any writing.

On Sunday we had our shopping to do and we also started to pack. Two weeks this coming Friday we move house, and we still haven’t unpacked fully from when I moved over here earlier in the year. So we’re moving 2 houses, still.

By the time we stopped yesterday, I was physically exhausted and could hardly keep my eyes open, and – unfortunately – my NaNo isn’t a job the poet can do for me if I can’t manage it.

So I lost 2 days and had every intention of starting again this morning … and then my computer packed up. I couldn’t get logged into it and all of my files are locked away in there. Because I didn’t do a backup last Friday (I really need to start doing this last job on a Friday again so I have the latest versions of everything backed up safely).

We manged to eventually break into the system and collect my files, but 2 of the other laptops we have in the house also failed to load properly, one only had a trial version of Office on anyway, and neither would connect to the internet.

I need the internet to collect work and to send it back. Fortunately, the work I wanted for this week was already saved to my laptop, but we had to get it off there, onto another and then printed. And I couldn’t get either of the other laptops to see the printer either, and I ended up coming back to my own laptop and doing some startup recovery maintenance to it.

Hurrah! I finally got it all up and running again, getting it to look at a previous date when everything worked fine. I think it’s a corrupt Word file that caused the problem, but time will tell.

It’s now gone 4pm and I have paid work with deadlines to catch up with, so NaNo will have to wait again until tomorrow …

… but tomorrow I have to take the poet to the station for his last run to Scotland for a while, and then I have a new mobile phone coming.

It’s going to be busy, but hopefully normal service will resume again tomorrow. Just in case I have a problem again, however, I’ve printed off all of my current outstanding work so at least I have something to work on by hand. I’ve also saved all of my current client and writing files to a memory stick so I can hop onto another (working) laptop if necessary, or go to the library and use one of theirs.

At least one of the laptops tried today is having its hard drive removed and is then going in the skip. The other one may also follow it if we can’t get it to connect to the internet.

What do you do when you run out of time?

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Busy month ahead

We had another very busy weekend with 3 birthdays, 2 guests and 1 meal out all celebrated Friday night. We also visited parents in Doncaster twice, went shopping twice, went to 1 gig, and visited parents in Solihull. (Dad says it’s not Birmingham, which it isn’t, so …)

It was quite the mad rush as we had to tidy the house a bit on Friday and sort out additional sleeping arrangements before even going to collect 2 of the poet’s kids. We saw the third while at his parents, and his grandaughter, and took one of them to the station on Saturday to meet his girlfriend. We had a very nice meal and I got to bring home giant cake, so I was very happy. They also put some gammon into a doggy bag for us to bring back for Rufus. He enjoyed that.

On Saturday, when we got the day to ourselves back (at about 3pm), we did a little more shopping, this time for the cats, and we had a chill night in front of the telly, which was lovely.

P1020451Sunday was a very early start for us as the poet was accompanying my dad to the national service memorial day celebrations at the national arboretum in Alrewas. Ian wanted to have a look around and take some pictures before the service, as it was his first time there. Then they took their places in the VIP seats right beside the national servicemen’s memorial.

We haven’t collected the pictures from his camera yet, but here’s one that I took when I was there in June 2011. The wreath says “We Also Served”.

I had a few hours with my mom, then we collected a Chinese on our way home and had another chill evening.

This morning, before going back to work, we moved the spare “bed” out of Abbey Road again, so that I could get to my desk and work.

Today I have electronic edits to finalise, then I hope to start a new proofreading job in the next few days and a new editing job. My old diary finishes today, so tomorrow I’ll be starting a shiny new one.

Tomorrow also sees the start of Camp NaNo (July 2014) – and I’m ready.

We have a very busy month ahead as we’re off on our holidays right in the middle of it. We have lots to do before then too.

Who remembers this little guy?

Well, he’s gonna be back over the next 31 days, so keep an eye out for him. 🙂

Mad weekend

We had a very busy weekend again, starting on Friday with me frantically trying to finish some work as we were out at a gig Friday night. I got the invoice sent off and into the system anyway, because I’d been pulled off the job I wanted to finish to have a look at something that apparently couldn’t wait a day longer. But I did that too.

Friday night was a great evening with the band, the poet, the sound, the crowd, everything on form. We saw friends we hadn’t seen in a while and, apparently, the pub was the busiest it’s been on a Friday night in a few weeks, so that was nice.

We didn’t get to bed until 3am, though, so had a very lazy start to Saturday. Then when we got up we had to do shopping, we ran a few errands, and we went to do the Doncaster visit. Saturday evening was another gig, a private party this time, so it finished a lot sooner.

On Sunday, after another relatively late start, we headed off to Birmingham and after a couple of hours with my parents we headed back via Kingsbury Water Park near Coleshill (pronounced Coze-‘ill), where we enjoyed another couple of hours in glorious sunshine. We had some proper time off too, and didn’t even take any photographs. Just enjoyed the walk, the scenery, the weather, the fresh air, and the steam exhibition that was going on.

Yesterday was mostly spent finishing that work I invoiced for on Friday and I wouldn’t allow myself to do anything else until that was done. It’s done now, and it’s back to other work today.

So far today I’ve done this blog, but I also want to do the diary and, before noon, write the walks report and get that submitted. Then I have a novel to look at (author’s revisions), a non fiction to proofread and another to start editing.

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Catch up

This week has mostly been about catching up after having to restore the factory settings on my pc the other week. Fortunately I’d done most of the hard copy work, but some of the recent electronic work had been lost in the system restore. All of that work has now been caught up on and I’m taking new work in again and pitching for jobs.

I’ve caught up with the walks report, which was several weeks’ worth, got that written and submitted to 6 local newspapers. I also had to sort out 2 photographs with captions/credits and I’m hoping the 2 newspapers who have asked for them will both use a different picture.

I managed to keep on top of the gig list, although I didn’t update that until yesterday. Gigs are now coming in for December so that will be my big job on there next week – uploading December.

Altogether I’ve pitched for 14 editing or proofreading jobs this week and 1 writing job. I’ll also have shifted 2 books by the end of today and let lovely already boss know I’m now up to date and ready for more books to edit.

The blog only got posted on Monday (and today), but that’s mainly because I didn’t have the laptop switched on. Much of Wednesday was spent completing forms I’ve already completed but that have been lost at the other end. I hope they don’t get lost again, it takes a lot of time and I don’t get paid for that.

Today, then, I’m finalising the electronic edits on those books and getting them sent back to the respective authors and off to typesetting.

We’re having a lazy evening tonight, entertaining tomorrow afternoon, we have a gig tomorrow night, and we’re off to Brum on Sunday to see the parents.

Have a great weekend.

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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.