Back on track

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Packhorse bridge over the River Rye. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed trying to keep on top of various things. But I think I’m back on track again now. I don’t know how this metamorphosis happened, other than sitting down and giving it some thought without trying to do a million other things at the same time.

This week I’ve completed the electronic edit on one book, sent it back to the author, completed revisions back from him, and sent it to print. (Hurrah!) This means an invoice in today’s run. (Double hurrah!) I’ve also completed the manual edit on the new book sent this week from the Spanish client and will do the electronic edit on that today – and that means another invoice in today’s run. (Triple hurrah!) I think completing these 2 short books has given me something mechanical to do while the subconscious mulls over everything else.

The first full-length writing project I’m going to work on is CATCH THE RAINBOW, which is a sort of historical/Marcie Craig hybrid. I’ve lost everything I’d done on that to date, electronically, and need to get another full version (so far) completed and backed up. Fortunately I do have much of it printed out, but I can’t decide if I want a hand-written full copy or risk getting it all only on the computer again, but back it up at the end of each day’s work. I quite like sometimes sitting at the desk and sometimes sitting downstairs on a comfy settee, which is another reason why I mix computer work with hard copy work.

As the weather is getting warmer, and because we live in such a beautiful spot, I’m chomping to be working (writing, reading, editing – not gardening) in the garden again. But I do need shade in which to do that. I can proofread on my paperwhite Kindle in sunlight if I want to see how something looks on screen, and I can handwrite into a notebook or pad. But I need good shade and a comfy seat.

Today, it’s only April and already I’m in shorts, vest-T and sandals. The office/studio (Abbey Road) is already one of the warmest rooms in the house, so I don’t know how I’ll manage when summer actually arrives. It’s much, much cooler in the living room (on that comfy settee), but working in there needs me to change into a warmer tee and yoga pants or summer trousers. If only we could squeeze a reading chair into Abbey Road, eh? I could wander round half-dressed all the time then. 😉

Today, then, I have that electronic edit to complete and those invoices to raise. I also have “pc maintenance” scheduled in, which is really backing up critical data and checking the health of the computer. I want to do some rewriting/retyping of the novel too, and/or maybe make a few more notes. I’ve started to write in “scenes” rather than chapters, which is a concept I’ve never tried before but seems to be working.

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Another image from our walk around Rievaulx at the weekend. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We don’t have anything planned for the weekend, which is nice, but I do think we’ll do plenty still. There’s a farmers’ market in Wentworth on Sunday, so we may go there and, if we do, we may do the short walk that was abandoned last time. We might go to the pictures. We might do something in the garden or something in the house.

BUT … we’re not planning anything. Whatever you’re doing, have a goodun. 🙂

From the farmers’ market this week

P1030990On Friday, at noon, our fruit and veg boxes arrived. In our veg box we had: potatoes; beetroot; carrots; leeks; broccoli; tomatoes; mushrooms (in place of celery due to food allergy); courgettes. And in our fruit box we had: apples; pears; grapefruit; seedless grapes; bananas.

We tend to supplement potatoes and bananas, but the rest of it tends to last until the next box gets here. We do need a crock pot for spud, carrots and other root and tuber vegetables. But, generally, we’re using everything they send us and we have a variety of meals.

As it was the second Sunday of the month, we also nipped along to the farmers’ market at Wentworth. Here again we tend to see what’s in season or on offer, and use that as a basis for our meals and other shopping.

P1030994 This Sunday we bought: water buffalo sausages; water buffalo burgers; a giant Swiss roll; half a dozen pullet eggs; 2 ready made pies; a selection of colourful mushrooms.

I usually just buy closed or open cup mushrooms, button mushrooms and, occasionally, portabello or field mushrooms. So I had no idea what to do with this little lot. They did look pretty in their tray, though.

P1030997 The mushroom lady suggested a giant mushroom omelette, and that’s what I thought we were going to have for tea. But the poet changed his mind, having already promised me rosti potatoes one of the days. So he lightly fried the mushrooms instead.

We tend to use leeks instead of onions, and I suggested he do this for the rostis, which  he did. And I also had to go into the garage to see if I could find the steel pastry cutters, which I did.

P1040001I’ve never had potato rostis before, but from the way he described them, they sounded just like hash brownies. He made us 2 each and they were gorgeous. We’re definitely having those again.

Six bison bangers were baked in the oven to go with the rostis and the shrooms (he had 4, I had 2), and the entire meal was delicious.

We had the giant Swiss roll for pudding … well, not all of it. It usually lasts us a few days at least.

We’ve also been celebrating my birthday this weekend. On Friday evening we went to see Kingsman: The Secret Service and went to Pizza Express for our tea. We love Pizza Express. They’re always very busy, yet the staff are very, very well-trained, always seeing if we’re okay, always checking there’s nothing we need, always quick,always friendly and polite.

We got stuck in traffic going so were a little late, yet Pizza Express got us seated and served almost immediately. We both had their chicken Ceasar salad as it’s scrumptious, but we didn’t have time for pudding. Instead we had popcorn and chocolate in the cinema. We enjoyed the film too. 🙂

Saturday was spent in Birmingham and in Doncaster visiting the parents. We didn’t go out Saturday night as we were glad to be home. And Sunday we were supposed to be going for a walk after the market, but we got distracted instead by the craft village where they have a huge antiques hall. So we had about an hour rummaging around in there.

It doesn’t end there. This evening, after work, we’re off to Mexborough for a Chinese meal, and this coming Saturday we have a football game to go to. We’ve had quite a celebratory fortnight for both of our birthdays. 🙂

This week I have the “big edit” to shift electronically. I did send an email to the client to see if he wanted me to send it to the designer over the weekend, but as he didn’t reply I thought there can’t be the same rush there was. So I’ll take my time and get that gone – today, hopefully.

Last week I left gaps in the diary for editing work, and I’ll fill those in as I go along. I did, however, write in the writing work, study time and a few slots on the gig list. So I’m still, as ever, nicely busy.

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We have shelves

P1030989We’ve had a fairly productive week this week.

On Monday, after work, we nipped out to collect a routine prescription, making a mental note to register with the doctors closer to us. On the way back we went and bought the new shelves for an alcove in the living room.

On Tuesday, the poet had his annual review at work and officially received the news he’s been hearing on the grapevine and via others for about a fortnight. His role will be changing, which will mean much less travel (hurrah!), and he has roughly a 3-month handover.

He spent most of Tuesday evening fitting the new shelves, and claimed to be “happy as a pig in muck”. He does like his DIY, and I love that too. The shelves are floating shelves and, I think, look rather good and very “in keeping”.

On Wednesday we riffled through more boxes in the garage to (a) collect the rest of the books, and (b) decide what was going on the shelves. Aside from the hampers, which were Christmas presents, I think everything on the new shelves came from my old loft, and some of it hasn’t seen the light of day for nearly 10 years, such as my Alan Titchmarsh How to be a Gardener books 1 and 2, and my Discover Scotland complete partworks.

The lamp on there is currently wrong, but as soon as we see the right one, it will be replaced. And we need some bookends. But I think it all looks very nice.

That magazine rack also came out of my old loft, but was soon filled to bursting. The tall, grey pot in the top right-hand corner is one my mom bought me in Wales one year, a very long time ago (apx 1991), and the small black lacquer musical box on the bottom shelf (in front of the totem pole from Canada – 1999) was one my mom’s step-brother fetched her mother (my grandma) back from his national service in Malaya.

We only have the area beneath the stairs to sort out in the living room now, and then that’s done.

Also on Wednesday we did a mid-week weigh-in after starting our sort-of-diet on Sunday, just to see if it was having any effect. We won’t be weighing ourselves more than once a week usually, and the poet hardly ever weighs himself anyway. But we wanted to make sure we were on the right track with the not-eating-between-meals and making healthier choices. I’d lost a pound and he’d lost three! (Yay!) So we’re carrying on.

In other news this week, I’ve almost finished the “big edit”, I identified 2 more stories that were ready to be typed up, and one of those has been typed up and is currently cooling, awaiting a polish before it goes off on its merry way. I had a hair appointment yesterday afternoon, brought forward from today, so I knocked off work early and went shopping first.

When I opened the boot to load in the shopping, I was shocked to see the boot already full with 2 guitars and a foot-pedal-board, all in cases. This very valuable cargo had only been in there since last Saturday! I can’t believe we forgot to unload them and pack them away.

Then I was torn between taking them home or continuing on to my appointment. I decided to continue on with the idea that if I couldn’t park outside the salon where I could see the car, the guitars would have to come in with me, and I’d just have to risk all of the shopping being on display on the back seat. Fortunately, there was a space outside the hairdresser’s, and so we could all keep an eye on it. They came out as soon as I got home, though.

What a wake-up call.

Anyway, today I want to finish the “big edit” and get that sent off for printing. It doesn’t need any author feedback as all I’ve done is stylise it and fix any continuity issues. It’s due out later this month, so we’re cutting it fine with that one.  I’m also waiting in for our fortnightly fruit and veg box delivery, which should be here around noon.

This evening, we’re off for the first of my birthday treats – to see Kingsman: The Secret Service and have something to eat at Pizza Express. Tomorrow, we’re off to Birmingham to see my parents, and then stopping off at Doncaster on the way back to see his parents. We were thinking of going to a gig on Saturday night, but we think we may have enough on this weekend and, anyway, we’re not sure we fancy all of the company there.

On Sunday, my next birthday treat is to visit the farmers’ market at Wentworth, with, hopefully, a day out somewhere nice to follow. On Monday, my actual birthday, he’s taking me out for a Chinese. And next weekend, we have tickets to see Leeds v Nottingham Forest, which will be my first foray into Elland Road. We were going to go there for his birthday last weekend, but he had a gig Saturday night and we didn’t want to leave the dog on his own twice in one day, so we went to Derwent Reservoir instead.

Don’t forget, then, because it’s my birthday on Monday, we’re having a draw for someone to receive a free book. If you haven’t left a comment yet, there’s still time … Thanks to everyone who’s joined in so far.

Have a great weekend.

In our veg box this week

fruit boxOn Friday we had our first fruit n veg box delivery. All the produce in these boxes is organic, fresh, in season, and local where able. Our delivery was waiting for us on our doorstep when we got up. I think that’s excellent service. (We’d told them we live on a farm so the doorstep would be perfectly safe if we were out. It was nice of them not to wake us.)

In the fruit box we had bananas, kiwi fruit, a pineapple, oranges and apples. So far we’ve managed a banana each and 2 apples. It’s all slightly under-ripe, so none of it will go off before we have chance to use it. (Apart from the apples, which are British and therefore out of storage.)

veg boxIn the veg box we had potatoes, carrots, parsnips, swede, savoy cabbage, chard, avocados and portabello mushrooms. We’re saving the roots, tubers and avocados, as they’ll keep. But we used the chard in a quiche at the weekend and in a stir-fry. Quite a few of our Facebook friends helped out with suggestions for the chard. Some of the cabbage went into the stir-fry too, as well as 2 of the mushrooms.

On the whole we were very impressed with both the contents and the service, and when we worked out how much the produce would have cost us in the supermarket, when you also take delivery into consideration (and lack of food miles, etc), we think we were actually quids in. Our next boxes come a week on Friday.

Saturday was a busy day for us. We headed down to Birmingham fairly early on because the poet had to be back for the band’s first gig of the year in Doncaster. And he had to be there for 6:30pm. So we did a couple of things for Mom and Dad, headed back, had a quick tea, and off he went. I followed 90 minutes later on the train. After setting up, he came to collect me from the station at the other end. It was a private party so there was food on – pie, chips and mushy peas! Very working-men’s-club. I was very disappointed that the cake wasn’t cut – and there were 2 birthday cakes so they could have spared a slice. But it was a nice gig, and we picked my car up from the station on our way past.

Sunday morning we were up very early … well, “very early” for us on a Sunday morning following a 2am finish the night before. Wentworth Garden Centre was hosting its regular monthly farmers’ market and we wanted to subsidise the fruit and veg boxes with meat and cheese, etc. This particular market is there the second Sunday of every month. I’ve been before, a few times, and I know if you don’t get there early they run out of stuff.

It was the poet’s first visit and we went armed with a single shopping bag. We got there for 10:30am and already a lot of the samples were all gone. There were about a dozen stands – honey, eggs, cheese, meat, water buffalo, venison, fish, chocolate, bread, cake, jewellery, soap. Some of them had travelled from as far away as Halifax and Harrogate; others had only come from Barnsley.

I was pleased to see the chocolatier still vending there. Melanie’s is a family run business from Cudworth in Barnsley. I’ve chatted to the owner, to her husband, and to one of their fathers before now, and they always have something interesting to say, such as chocolate shouldn’t be kept in the fridge as it loses its sheen. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the bulk of the stock was chocolate hearts with messages iced onto them. But we were happy with a slab of dark chocolate for him and a slab of white chocolate for me – I usually get chocolate buttons so the slab will make a nice change.

Another former favourite of mine is the water buffalo. Buffalo is lower in fat than beef and, to me, tastier than ostrich but not as rich as venison. They had steaks and sausages for sale and various burgers, but we plumped for regular bison burgers. From the regular meat stall we bought a Barnsley chop for him (it’s a double-sided chop) and a lamb chop for me. We also bought chicken fillets, one of which went into yesterday’s stir-fry with the chard, mushrooms and cabbage.

Recently we watched Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast on telly, and we learned about pullet eggs. These are the first eggs a new laying chicken lays, and they’re often wasted or shipped to make powdered egg because they’re smaller than the medium and large eggs favoured by supermarkets. “They won’t have any here,” said the poet. “Oh yes we will,” replied one of the farmers. And, sure enough, they had loads. So we bought a half-dozen for the grand total of 50p!

We bought freshly baked sliced bread and a giant Swiss roll cake, rapeseed cooking oil with garlic (as rapeseed is grown prolifically by British farmers), and a concentrated hoisin sauce – the latter, again, for our stir-fry. We also bought cheese – from Coverdale and from Wensleydale. Good old Yorkshire produce.

When our shopping bag was full, we headed back to the car. We will probably return, but we think there may be other farmers’ markets on our own side of the M1 that we’d also like to try. It was less than 20 minutes drive away, though, so no reason why we shouldn’t go back.

It was nice to have a stroll around the stalls on a frosty, sunny morning. The fresh air did us so much good that when we got home we took the dog for a quick walk around Wormy’s Lake to see what the fishing might be like yet. (It isn’t, it’s still frozen.) And when we got home we baked 2 quiches (mushroom and chard, and quiche lorraine).

This week, then, it’s more or less back to normal, apart from a dental appointment for the poet this afternoon. I have a book to edit and 2 books to check author revisions against. But I also have a novel to start copy-typing – and a backup to do every Friday! Today I’m typing a draft of a short story too, so I’m still busy.

How was your weekend?