We had quite the early start this morning as Tom the Gas was coming “between 8 and half-past” to drain down the hot water/heating system and do things with the hot water expansion tank and a rusty valve on a downstairs radiator. He arrived at about 8:31am, with Sam the Young in tow. Two for the price of one, eh?
So, first of all, Rufus and I were holed up in the kitchen having breakfast when they turned the water off (and I had to abort the dishwasher), and then we made a dash for the study when they turned the water back on again (and I had to go back downstairs and restart the dishwasher). Last I heard, Tom the Gas was telling Sam the Young to fetch the soldering bucket …
But all I’ve done thus far is the daily competitions. This current 10 – 11 period is blog post time. Then at 11am I do today’s NaNoWriMo. (Have you seen how well I’m doing in the sidebar?) Once that’s done, I’ll crack on and finish an electronic edit – I already completed and filed one yesterday, for which I’ve already been paid. (Hurrah!) And this afternoon I’ll have more invoices to raise. (Double hurrah!)
Today’s picture is one the poet took at last week’s Halloween fancy dress gig. As I’m now sharing pictures of me again (yes, that really is me), I think it’s time we went out and stocked up on new photography.
Tonight, I think we’re doing shopping. Tomorrow we go to collect the poet’s fishing pole from the pole doctor, we’ll probably nip in on his parents while we’re over there, and he has another gig in Doncaster tomorrow night.
Sunday seems to be a bit of a do diddle day at the moment. We STILL don’t have his car back, even though it was repaired a week ago last Monday! But if we don’t have to go and collect that (which would actually be tomorrow, I think, rather than Sunday), then we’re having the day off. Who knows what we might do? We have ingredients for parkin and for gingerbread men, and we’re also short of those photographs.
I don’t know which of our friends was the first to coin the phrase “gigor mortis” in our world, but if I did I’d like to credit him/her here (and you probably know who you are). I’ve tried Googling it, but it keeps defaulting to rigor mortis, or it gives me something in German, or takes me to an empty page. But anyway, basically it sums up how the poet – and many like him – feel after playing a gig.
Sore. All over.
This weekend was no different, but it was compounded by him then getting “fisho mortis”, which is something very similar but this time as a result of sitting on the banks of a fishery in rapidly decreasing temperatures without moving or shifting position.
I know how he feels, but they call mine “arthritis”. And it is made worse after standing up (or sitting uncomfortably) at a gig for several hours, or sitting on the chilly banks of a fishery. I got to sit down quite comfortably at Saturday’s private party, though, and he was fishing a match yesterday so I stayed home. But he was suffering doubly last night, poor thing, so I doped him up and sent him to bed, where he spent much of the night cocooned within the folds of a continental quilt (that’s a duvet to everyone else).
[EDIT] I have been reliably informed that the person who first used the expression in our circle of friends was Mike “Smikus” Stringer of Motus.
We did have a busy weekend again, despite secretly hoping to be doing diddly squat on Saturday (a do diddle day). We still didn’t plan anything for during the day, but when we got up we decided it was about time we went into the branch of our mutual building society to do three lots of admin that we’d been told we couldn’t do online or on the phone. “Just drop into a branch and they’ll do it there.”
Ha! They couldn’t do anything.
I wanted to change the name on my account and had to take our marriage certificate into a branch. But she couldn’t do it there, she had to send it off to head office. The poet wanted to change some details on his bank account. But they couldn’t do that for him, he had to make an appointment. And we wanted to open a joint account, as we both have individual accounts with them already. But they couldn’t do that for us either, we had to do it by phone …
I’ll pause for a moment while you go back and re-read the penultimate and last sentences of the paragraph three above this one …
It was at that point that I said, very loudly (as I apparently do when in public and wanting to make a point without actually directly addressing anyone … moi?): “Nat West said they could do this for us straight away. I think we should just go there …” To which the poet replied (also loudly): “You’re right. You’d think us both having accounts here already, and with all the ID we need with us, and them telling us to drop into branch, they’d just be able to do it. What a joke.”
And, miraculously, the lady interrupted to say: “Well, if it’s a joint account you want, [we did tell her that] you can do that yourselves just over here …”
We couldn’t. We still had to make a phone call. But at least by the time we came out we’d done at least one of the things we’d gone in to do. We had a shiny new joint account … which is where the new tent fund is going. For starters.
I wish we’d known we were going to be in Barnsley, though, as the third of my 3 errands on Friday was postponed due to the other one being brought forward and me being stuck miles away. The outstanding errand was to drop in the heavy proofread to the publisher, but we didn’t have it with us. I can see me taking that to the post office this week after all.
After the bank we had a wander round the town centre, visited the food festival that was on there, and bought some giant pears from the market. Then it was off to the tackle shop to get his bait for Sunday’s pole fishing match.
The afternoon was spent with him doing prep work, cutting the grass, and tweaking a painting, and me doing some reading, making a few notes for some short writing work, and a few hours on one of the many jobs I already have in.
Then it was off to the party in two cars, me 90 minutes after him, for the wedding of the daughter of a friend of ours. The band don’t often like doing weddings because the audience hasn’t chosen to see them or their particular music. But they went down really well with a rammed dance-floor all night. Monkey Dust would like to take that audience with them everywhere they go.
On Sunday, he was up early and drawing his peg for 9am, which was about the time I was getting up. And again, I caught up on more reading, more writing work, and more client work. He won second in his section and we had a takeaway for tea – mostly because the gigor mortis had already set in and the fisho mortis was starting, and he didn’t feel like cooking. (I would have put a ready-made pie in the oven, but he didn’t want to put me out … 😉 )
And so to today and this week. I still have lots of editing work to be getting on with, but with NaNoWriMo around the corner, I also have something percolating for that and may be ready to start prep work either this week or next. It’s all my work this morning, though, and all client work this afternoon, which is what I’ve been striving for. Then this evening I have to go back for the second part of my new patient check at our new GP, and tomorrow I’m dropping the poet off at the railway station at the crack of dawn as he’s off to Scotland for 2 days.
Back in the day, when I was prolific and all that, Fridays were errand days. Now I’m getting back into the swing of things, Fridays are errand days again. And today is no different.
I’ve already completed one errand this morning, a banking errand (hurrah!), and I have 2 more errands to do – one of which has been brought forward from later this afternoon, so I’m hoping it doesn’t disrupt the rest of the day too much.
It’s been a very busy week again, the first of my 5-day weeks (if you include today’s errand day, as I still have to do work around the errands) in a while. And next week is a 6-day week! That’s how much work I have in.
One of my jobs was pulled yesterday by the client – they changed their mind, which they’re entitled to do so long as I haven’t already started work. I hadn’t, and they did replace it with a different job. So that’s perfectly acceptable. I still have a good, full schedule of work, and I am struggling, again, to fit my own writing work in around it.
One of this afternoon’s errands is to deliver a heavy proofread I’ve been working on this week. I interrupted a heavy edit to do it, between hard copy edits and electronic edits, which also gave me a bit of a rest from the heavy edit. But it was still time consuming and brain draining, so I may see if I have a very easy, quick job I can complete before getting back to the heavy edit.
Of course, the invoices are nice and, usually, until the jobs are finished I can’t raise the invoices. But I’m awaiting payment for 3 jobs already, including one pre-payment (which I have before I start work), and the fresh air in the bank account is starting to be exhausted too. So I need someone to pay me, and pay me quick. But I need to raise an invoice for today’s heavy proofread, and I need to complete the heavy edit so I can raise that invoice as well.
Cash-flow can still be a very big problem.
I’ve not done much full writing work this week, but I have been doing a lot of reading and making plenty of notes, jotting down ideas and slants – more on that in the diary next Wednesday. Today I’ll do what I can between errands.
We don’t have anything planned for tomorrow, so it might be a bit of a do diddle day, although the poet will be prepping for a fishing match he’s joining on Sunday. We have a private party tomorrow night, where the poet’s band is playing. And while he’s at the fishing match on Sunday, I’ll be doing the first of my 6 days for next week.
On Friday I made very grand plans in order to get ahead with my work … but then everything went pear-shaped when I tried downloading a new file to work on from my job board.
Google insisted that Chrome needed to run the “remove software” tool in order for this file to download correctly, as I kept getting a “network failure” error message. So, trusting Chrome quite implicitly – for me – I did it. It took a while, which took a chunk out of a working slot, and when complete it prompted a reboot.
Oh, how I wish I’d just settled for the chunk taken from one working slot … When I did the reboot the pc got itself into a loop, saying it was looking for an operating system … Yup, the “software removal tool” had removed all of Windows.
Now, I’ve not done a system recovery disk, mostly because it always asks for a disk and I never had a disk big enough – apparently. Instead I opted for backing up critical data, which includes any system downloads.
However, the only option I had on Friday was a full factory reset … (groan!) Although it wasn’t so bad as we only got the computer in November and I am getting into the habit of backing up that thar critical data (heap big thanks to that man who drummed this into me).
So that took several hours out of my day, which in fact was pretty much the entire afternoon in the end. Fortunately, my last critical data backup was just over a week ago too, so any files I hadn’t saved to memory stick were still in emails or on the job board.
I reported the bug to the job board owner, as it’s the third time a file has been corrupted by them now. And, of course, they blamed my virus software. But I’m quite cute with viruses now (except for dodgy Chrome software removal tools, obviously, although that will never happen again), my virus/malware/spyware software is bang up to date, and I’m anal about deleting duplicate files and running scans. I also pointed out to them that this has only happened since they recently merged with another, far inferior (in my opinion) job board site.
Thanks to the mobile phone I was able to send an apologetic email to the client and ask him to send me another version of the file, which he did immediately. And I’ve just grabbed and saved that new file now, so it’s nice and safe (and clearly nothing to do with my virus software!).
So there’s a new job added to this week that I hoped would be cleared by the end of last week, but it’s only a small file, so shouldn’t take too much time.
Friday evening we did the shopping and nipped over to deliver greetings cards to all three kids. It was the twins’ birthday on Saturday and it’s son #1’s birthday tomorrow (same day as my brother!). Then we got a takeaway for tea and chilled in front of the telly.
We had a do-diddle-day on Saturday. We got up when we liked and did pretty much what we liked all day. It was a glorious day, which meant shorts on. And we spent the entire day in the garden, playing with the dog, wearing him out, the poet painted and finished a picture, and I read. We listened to a cricket roadshow on the radio, then we had a barbecue for tea (cheeseburgers, chicken/mushroom/pepper kebabs, sweet potato wedges) and watched another film on the telly.
Sunday was a busy day as my dad had asked the poet if he’d like to take him to Alrewas again this year. It was an extra visit to Brum, and they had a nice time while I stayed with my mom (we had a larf), but it meant a total of 6 hours of driving for the poet (I did offer to drive back …), so he was shattered by the time we got home again. And we had another evening in front of the telly.
This week, then, is another full and normal week for me. I’ve already put 2 washloads through and am about to hang the second out on the line, I’ve done gig list admin, and I’ve done the daily competitions – and I’m over an hour ahead! Then I have a full 2 hours of writing and a full 2 hours of editing. Tomorrow is more of the same, but with surfing for work having 2 hours allocated to it too.
I’d best go hang that washing out so I can crack on with the writing work. 🙂
To illustrate today’s blog, here are some pictures of our journey from Gretna Green to Glencoe. It took us about half a day, driving via Glasgow, along the banks of Loch Lomond – where we picnicked at the Falls of Falloch and had our picture taken by one of the national park rangers there – but we made very good time.
Our hotel was “okay”, drawing on its stunning location for its 4 stars rather than its own service. It was very clean and tidy, but the bed (or 2 pushed together) was a bit uncomfortable down the middle and we had a 5-mile hike to anywhere in the hotel – pool, restaurant, reception, etc – and the room was a bit chilly. But the location was faultless and the food was very good. (Postscript: Okay, so it may not have been quite 5 miles really …)
We stayed in the Isles of Glencoe Hotel in Ballachulish for 3 nights and I’ll write more about our few days there when I post those pictures. Meanwhile, back to the blog …
We’d promised ourselves at least one do-diddle-day over the weekend and that day turned out to be Saturday. We’d worked out that we hadn’t had a lie-in for about 4 weeks, because even on holiday we had to get up for breakfast. But we were still up by 10am, pottering around.
We nipped out to get some bits and bobs, and when we got back we walked up to the lake with the dog and had a chat with the one and only angler there that day.
On Saturday evening we headed off to find a cinema we’ve never been to before, Cineworld at Sheffield, and decided we’d definitely be back. Parking was difficult, but there were plenty of restaurants to choose from, and we ended up in our old favourite, Pizza Express, because our film was starting at 8:20pm and we know we can always rely on them to get us in and out in time whenever we go.
We went to see Big Game, starring Samuel L Jackson, and had to go there because it wasn’t on at any of our other regular cinemas. We were very impressed with the amount of seating room we had, and the cleanliness of the place and general good service.
Sunday morning we were up and off to Birmingham to see my parents, to take them our souvenirs for them from Cyprus, and to do the same on the way home for the poet’s parents in Doncaster.
This also gave us the chance to show them all both the wedding pictures and the holiday pictures, as I took the tablet/notebook switch.
Yesterday was a bank holiday for us, and so we went “window shopping” for new settees (as the old ones are nearly 10 years old now and not doing our backs any favours), a new bed (as I think we both need a proper divan now to support our aching, ageing bones) and a trailer tent (because we want to hitch up and take off at a moment’s notice and I can’t really sleep on the floor in the dome tent for longer than 1 day).
I say “window shopping”, but we ended up buying 2 out of 3, and they should be delivered in 7 – 10 days. That’s the bed and the settees. We couldn’t find a single showroom in the area for trailer tents so may go off to Manchester next weekend to have a look there instead.
On Saturday my lovely new 2015 – 2016 academic year diary arrived, and when we got home I spent a few hours filling that in with birthdays, bank holidays and Monkey Dust gigs we already have in.
And so to today, when we’re both back at work. It’s a short week and I have a lot to pack in. I’m starting a new edit, which has a deadline date of 3 June, and I’m cracking on with the writing. So keep an eye on those progress meters in the sidbar.
Three weeks ago today the poet and I tied the knot in Gretna Green, in Scotland.
We decided to go to Scotland because we already wanted to honeymoon there and we didn’t want our friends or families to feel obliged to come to yet another wedding – this is my 3rd wedding and his 2nd.
Two of our friends, however, wouldn’t let us get married either on our own or without them. And so they travelled with us and helped make our special day so much more special. (Sharon made the dress too, by the way.) We had a lovely ceremony, performed by a registrar who hailed from Barnsley too. So it was a nice little local celebration anyway.
I’m not going to bang on and on about the wedding. I’m sure all of you know how they go. But here is a small selection of photographs to give you a feel while I carry on with the rest of today’s blog post.
It’s been a stupidly busy week not helped at all by the torrential rain that greeted us when we got back. I have piles and piles and piles of washing still to do, from both the 2 holidays but also what we left before we went and what we’ve used since we got back.
The tumble dryer has been in action, but the washing line has only been filled once this week, and still the laundry basket overflows.
I’d allowed myself half a day to do the washing, but I should have allowed (a) much longer, and (b) more time just to change my name online. I’ve had to change all of my contact details as well as username where I can, and I’ve had to find out who to write to if they need to change username.
This includes WordPress (for this blog), Blogger (for the gig list), Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo (for the email address) …
It includes notifying everyone and hoping the email hasn’t gone into their spam. It includes 3 job boards I’m registered on. And it includes a lot of the daily competition auto-complete information. It’s taken the best part of 3 days, and still it’s not all done.
What it doesn’t include so far is my banking details – which is the important thing – my driving licence, and my passport. But I can’t do those until the marriage certificate arrives. So I still have tons and tons to do on the name change front. And a marriage certificate to chase …
Also this week I’ve launched the new website. I’d already done the bulk of this work in downtime earlier in the year. But being a superstitious kinda gal, I didn’t want to officially launch it until after the official name change.
The website is still very much a work-in-progress and some of you have already started to give me feedback – all of which I will attend to, digest, and apply if desired. Thanks for all of the messages so far.
One new thing I have created this week is a Facebook page.
My old Facebook profile is now a joint one as the poet decided he didn’t want a FB presence any more. But as he still needs to administer the gig list (both the website/blog and the Facebook page) and his Monkey Dust page, he’s going in on mine.
The new page, which I’ve resisted creating for so long but now seems the natural thing to do, can be found here. I don’t know what it will include as yet, but presume it will be all the writerly/editing/workish stuff I already share on the profile, but which I’ll be doing less of now it’s a joint profile. Again, it will no doubt evolve.
So that’s all the admin stuff …
… what about the writing side of things?
Well, I’ve been stupidly busy there too, furiously brainstorming a million and one article ideas following our recent travels. I’ve filled in pages and pages of my notebook and selected 5 – so far – to maybe concentrate on for now.
I’ve always been a natural feature writer, and while I’m desperately trying to get back into fiction (long and short), I may as well exercise the writing muscle anyway. So I’ve been very busy with that as well.
And, of course, the brain has been percolating quietly away on the fiction side of things too. Next week I start work again on CATCH THE RAINBOW.
My lovely husband just came home and treated me to lunch “out” (aka sandwich and cake from Gregg’s), and before he got here the postman brought … (ta-daa) our marriage certificate.
This was particularly useful because we needed it as we were registering at our local doctor’s. He’d already tried to register several months ago online and had also returned a questionnaire to them. But it somehow got lost in transit and he needed to register in person.
So that’s where he took me during his lunch break. That’s what I like to see – a man who knows how to treat his wife! 🙂
Of course, now the certificate has arrived, my workload has just jumped up again. But I think I’ve had enough this week. I’ll start again next week.
Today, then – or what’s left of it – I had planned to start a new edit that arrived on the very same day that I started back at work. Unfortunately, it sat in my in box for 2 days before I spotted it. Fortunately, they knew we were going away and hadn’t offered it anywhere else yet.
I also have at least one more to do for lovely already boss, with another 2 potential jobs hopefully on their way. I already completed proofreader and author revisions on another yesterday, and we delivered it by hand yesterday evening on the way back from band practice.
We’re having at least one do-diddle-day over this coming bank holiday weekend, we’re visiting the parents in both Birmingham and in Doncaster, and we might go to the pictures. Other than that, we’re having the weekend off.
For the first time in what feels like forever, this week may be the first “normal” week in a long while – although I still use the term loosely.
The weekend was good. We managed a whole day off.
Friday I was collecting the poet from the station. His train was about 10 minutes late, so that wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately the last leg of his trip had been a bit … uncomfortable, as there was a big concert in Sheffield (Slipknot) and there were a lot of people travelling from Leeds. He’d only caught the first train in Kirkcaldy by the skin of his teeth, but the rest of the journey was, apparently, quite smooth going. He needed some chill time after the Leeds – Barnsley leg though.
So Friday evening we did nothing.
Saturday was busy. We had to go to Chavsville to collect his routine prescriptions, then we went to a lovely little farm shop we know to buy a picnic and gifts. We had to put petrol in before dropping in on his mother to wish her a happy birthday. And then it was off to Birmingham – we arrived in Birmingham at about 3pm. We were supposed to be viewing some furniture while we were down there, but that had already been sold, so that gave us a bit more time with my parents. The dog was very, very disobedient and had to go back in the car for about 10 minutes before we left.
On the way back we were doing well for time, but about 30 minutes from home it started to snow. It wasn’t sticking, until we reached the last village before ours, and there it looked quite thick. Hoping to get home before the blizzard, we were surprised to see, as soon as we emerged from a tree-lined part of the main road, that the snow had actually turned to rain. And then nothing. We had a hard frost Saturday night, but lovely sunshine all day Sunday.
So Saturday evening we did nothing.
On Sunday we had a bit of a do diddle day again with the poet learning how to use his new camera. I put quite a lot of washing through and we went for a walk, with the dog, through the fields, down to the local Co-op to get a few provisions in. Then, for the first time since we got here, I made a trifle. It’s been a long time since I made a trifle or, indeed, apart from the Christmas cake (which was actually made at the last house and brought with us), since I made anything.
And on Sunday evening we did nothing.
I say this week should be normal because it’s the first week in a long time that we don’t have to go anywhere – apart from the poet who has to go to work.
This morning he had to drive to Hyde in Manchester. We didn’t even have a frost here, but only 5 minutes up the road, before he hit our closest town, he was in 2 – 3 inches of snow. This suggests that, as with Brigadoon (where I lived before), we have our own micro-climate here – and that’s within the micro-climate Barnsley already has. Even now it’s not even cold, but it is a little overcast.
There’s a carpenter here at the moment. He was due this afternoon, but as he was also due last Wednesday afternoon and again on Friday morning and only just appeared, I’ll simply thank my lucky stars.
But, apart from that … it’s a normal week. We’re not even due to go anywhere at the weekend
Today, then, I have electronic edits to do. I also have the next book to print off, and some writing to write – I just haven’t decided what yet.
I’m a tad distracted, though, as this morning already we’ve had a nuthatch on the bird table and there are currently 6 jackdaws strutting around right beneath my window. One has his head feathers all fluffed up so is either being territorial … or he’s flirting with the ladies. And, of course, there’s a carpenter here.
The poet took a lovely picture of the nuthatch at the weekend. When he’s done what he wants with it I’ll share it here too. Meanwhile, you’ll just have to make do with notebooks. Again.
We’ve only been back at work for a week, but already that Friday feeling was quick to swoop in this morning. It’s been a fair week, though.
I’ve done quite a lot of new writing, which includes an outline for a new non-fiction book as well as 5 new articles started and one finished and submitted.
I’ve also been plodding through an editing job, and a new one came in yesterday too from who will now be known as the Spanish client. They gave me a lot of repeat work last year and I’m delighted they came back to me again this year.
And I caught up with the job board I use and pitched for 7 jobs, one of them invited.
Almost immediately the poet had to go off to Germany, via Switzerland, for a couple of days, so that ate into the week a bit. And I’ve been having routine appointments – I have another today. He was gone from Tuesday to Thursday, so taxi duties from Yours Truly were involved as well.
So he’s come up with a list of things to do at the weekend, and they mostly consist of … nothing. We had a bit of a busy Christmas, then we were back at work, and then he was off travelling. We don’t seem to have stood still, nor do we feel as though we had any holiday, even though we were both off for 2 weeks.
It’ll be a bit of a Do Diddle Weekend – does anyone remember Do Diddle Days? Not had one of those for a while. So we’ll play it by ear, see what we feel like when we get up, if we want to get up. We might do some pottering, we might hang curtains, we might do baking, we might go walking, we might go to the pictures. Or we might not.
Have a great weekend, whatever you’re doing with yours.
After a very full and adventurous weekend and still feeling the after effects of quite a bad cold, I could have quite happily stayed in bed today. But I took one look at Abbey Road, saw how glorious it was in here again, and promptly sat down at my desk – early again for the second working day running.
We did some shopping Friday night but had an early night and then had a couple of busy days out. Saturday night we went to a gig with the gig buddies, and yesterday we were up with the larks … well, by 9am (it was Sunday …), out by 10am, buying the dog a new ball and a new lead, and walking in quite blustery sunshine for a few hours. We were both aching by the end of it so it must have been a good workout for us. There aren’t many pictures this time, so before I go today I’ll leave you with some more taken off the camera before we went to Keswick.
We were back by 2pm and still had a lot of the weekend left, so we really must try and do this again, rather than start the day at noon …
I sort of have a bit of a busy week this week. I have a Do Diddle Day on Wednesday, but – against Do Diddle Day rules – I’ve arranged to meet estate agents over at the other house. We’ve already had a rental quote from one, and we may have a potential tenant already (found privately), but it’ll be interesting to know how much the house is worth if we decide we’d like to sell it. And the poet has 2 site visits this week at least, one of them a long, long, long way away.
So I have a lot to cram in to the remaining days. Here’s this week’s to do list:
surf job boards daily x 5
write 3 x blog posts
make optician’s appointment
enter competitions daily x 5
write walks report
submit walks report to 6 x local newspapers
electronic edits on non-fiction #1
manual edit on new fiction
Do Diddle Day
meet with estate agents x 3
complete proofread of non-fiction #2
start non-fiction #3
trip to Doncaster
trip to Birmingham
The dog’s digestive system seems a bit awry at the moment, so we’re keeping a close eye on him and have reverted him back to the careful diet he had to go on when he was a puppy, after he had an acute case of worms immediately followed by septic gastroenteritis. I’ve found him a nice pillow to sleep on under the desk while I work, and he’s currently fast asleep.
We still have boxes and piles to go through and paperwork to reduce down before introducing everything back into Abbey Road. So we’ll try and do a little of that each evening.
And that, my friends, is today’s blog slot almost complete. Here are those pictures I promised, taken at Cusworth Hall near Doncaster last October: