New reading fodder

Last week I had an urge to read a “proper” book. I have lots of books on my Kindle and I’ve been reading 2 on there and one “proper” non-fiction (aside from all the books I read for editing or proofreading). But sometimes, when my eyes are tired of looking at a screen, or if the light is too bright for the Kindle, or if there’s no power supply, I crave a “proper” book.

And all of my “proper” books are in boxes in the garage …

On Friday night we thought about going to see some friends in their band, but by the time we were ready to get ready to go, the band would have already started. So we had a lazy evening in front of the telly instead.

(Bear with me on the books …)

On Saturday we were going to go fishing, but the weather forecast wasn’t very good, so we went to see my parents in Birmingham instead.

On the way home we dropped in at Hatton Country World in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside. We only went to have a mooch in the antique and bric-a-brac shops but it’s somewhere I often used to go for a visit and the poet has heard such a lot about it, I decided to take him. On the way I also showed him some of the lovely private houses that can be found in that part of the midlands.

(I haven’t forgotten the books …)

On the way back from there, we dropped in to see the poet’s parents in Doncaster. And when we got home, we had another lazy evening in front of the telly.

On Sunday, the poet had an afternoon gig, so that cut the day in half really. We went to do some shopping, then dropped him off and I joined him an hour or so later. The gig buddy and her bloke came out too, and we stayed to see the first set of another band that played afterwards, who are also friends of ours. And by the time we got back we were ready for another lazy evening in front of the telly.

Monday was a bank holiday here in the UK, and the day we’d decided to do that fishing. So while the poet sorted out his tackle, I had a mooch in one of the boxes of books.

(See!)

I sorted out a writing guide from my lovely friend Lynne Hackles and a novel, An April Shroud, from the late, great Reginald Hill. I also packed the Kindle, a pencil tin and a notebook.

However, on Sunday, the poet had pulled his back quite badly either humping gear or climbing on to the stage clumsily. He was in quite a lot of pain and the promised sunshine was fast turning to cool rain. Undeterred, we tootled off to the fishery anyway, but when they gave him his “peg”, it was on a part of the complex that dogs aren’t allowed. So Rufus would have to stay in the car.

With all things considered, the poet decided to cancel the fish and we went for a picnic instead. So my lovely bag of books didn’t get used this time, but it’s ready for the next time. Then when we got home, after I decided to empty at least one box of books into the bookcase, we had another lazy evening in front of the telly …

LOST_RIVERTuesday we were back at work and I kept forgetting about the Doncaster literary festival. So when I remembered, I had to call the poet to see if we could go to the opening event last night. He’d forgotten too, but we decided that we would go as we’d had so many evenings in front of the telly just recently.

And we’re very glad we went.

The speaker (and event ambassador) was Stephen Booth, someone I’ve “known” and chatted with on Twitter and Facebook for some time, and whose books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed over the years. He gave a very interesting talk and found time at the end to finally say a proper hello, have a very quick chat, and sign a couple of books for us – Black Dog for the poet and Lost River for me.

So now we both have reading fodder and I’ve broken the back of unpacking the boxes of books … yeah, right …

What reading fodder do you have at the moment?

Steady week

It’s been a good and steady week with me clearing the decks of lots of outstanding works.

On Monday I shifted a non-fiction back to the author, and to the publisher for typesetting. On Tuesday I cracked on with author revisions on a novel and returned that back to the publisher on Wednesday, and also on Wednesday I pitched for 12 editing or proofreading jobs.

Thursday was a busy day. I finally caught up with the diary, scheduling work in for this week and for next, and putting all the regular stuff in there between now and the end of June, when the diary runs out and my new one starts.

I entertained builders, who were climbing around the inside of the eaves to the house looking for a persistent leak that’s probably coming through the flashing around the dormer window. And I started looking into tenancy agreements and legal landlord requirements so that I’m not doing anything shifty with the house rental.

Last night, while the poet went to band practice, I went to see my tenant to make sure everything was okay and to give her an official copy of the tenancy agreement that we both signed.

Today I hope to finish another non-fiction, get it back to the author, and to the publisher for typesetting, and invoiced. I also have a hair appointment and will probably grab something from the supermarket on the way home to have with tea.

We have nothing planned for this evening. We have nothing planned for tomorrow, although we may go fishing.

On Sunday the poet has an afternoon gig, so that will tie us up for the rest of the day … (The last time he had a Sunday afternoon gig we went to see some friends in another band Sunday evening and he ended up getting up for the second set when their singer fell ill …)

On Monday it’s another bank holiday here in England and I think we’re off to Birmingham again to see my parents. I hope we’ll also be able to go and see the poet’s parents too, in Doncaster. (Or, depending on the weather, we may do Brum and fishing the other way around.)

On the way back from Brum, if it’s nice, we may drop into Kingsbury Water Park again, or we may try Calke Abbey, which is also on the way home.

I’d also suggested Drayton Manor Park and Zoo, which we also pass, because it always used to allow dogs. However, on checking their website just now, it seems this is no longer the case. So well done, Drayton Manor. Here are two visitors who may never come again. (I’d understand if they never allowed dogs, but when I used to take my own …)

Next week it’s the Doncaster Literary Festival. I hope we can get along to some of the events.

What are you up to this weekend?

Dedicated to my diary (and a list)

I love my diary.

I like to be able to open a book and know what I’m doing or where I’m supposed to be without having to search for the phone or boot up the laptop. Last year’s diary had a lovely touchy-feely cover on it, but this year’s is a more functional, bog standard from Tesco. Last year’s didn’t have enough spaces inside for stuff, but it was nicely touchy-feely.

I like an academic diary too, one that starts in July rather than January. This is partly to buck the trend and to be filling in a lovely new diary when everyone else’s are already scribbled in. But I think it also stems back to when I was a teacher and every year started in the summer with enrolment.

Last night I started to fill in the new academic diary (2014/2015). But it took a lot longer than usual because now it’s not just my weekends and holidays that go in first; the poet’s go in there too. And his work trips. And his gigs.

Usually the session is done in one go, but last night I only managed weekends and holidays and next year’s Big Adventure (which was the first thing to go in there), and it took me All Night.

Because I’m very anal about my diary, I also had to complete this coming week of work, so that I know what I’m doing today for a start (I wasn’t writing a blog … which is one reason the diary’s written in pencil, as it isn’t cast in stone). But also because while I still have a lot of work in I need to keep sight of of when that work runs out. I need to be looking for more work now, or reminding clients that they haven’t sent me any for a while if there’s a gap looming in the near future.

I also had to add in the Doncaster Literary Festival, something that launched last year for the first time, I believe, but something we’d both like to go to this year, especially after I saw it posted on Facebook last night. It’s at the end of May.

I still have the birthdays and anniversaries to put into the new diary, and then the poet’s gigs, our visits to Birmingham and Doncaster, his fishing trips, my Leeds write-ins … then we’ll see what’s available for actual work …

We were scheduled to go back to the Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate at “the start” of this year (i.e. July), but we decided to book another holiday to Dent instead for that week.

So this is why my diary plays such a big part in my working (and personal) life. I love to fill it in because it means I have work – and a life. And here’s this week’s to do list as a result:

  • write blog post x 3
  • daily competitions x 4
  • surf job boards daily x 4
  • pay for Big Adventure
  • diary work (started)
  • write walks report
  • submit walks report to 7 x local newspapers
  • manual edits on non-fiction #1
  • electronic edits on non-fiction #1
  • send non-fiction #1 back to author
  • send non-fiction #1 for typesetting
  • author reviews on non-fiction #2
  • proofreader reviews on non-fiction #2
  • return non-fiction #2 for 2nd proofs run
  • manual edits on non-fiction #3 (will become #1 next week)
  • invoicing (hurrah!)
  • Monkey Dust gigs x 2
  • Leeds write-in (possibly …)
  • Trip to Birmingham
  • Trip to Doncaster

This is why I’m more than capable of sitting on a riverbank, doing nothing and gazing at the water. For hours. When I get the chance.

One I prepared earlier - this is last year's diary for the same period I'm starting just now.
One I prepared earlier – this is last year’s diary for the same period I’m starting just now.