And then there were curtains

20150202_105527I had one request at the weekend, and it was for curtains in Abbey Road. My wish being his every command, ta-daa! We have curtains. You can’t see them very well in this picture because, well, Holly seems to be stealing all of the limelight. But they’re there and they came all the way from my last house in Solihull before moving to Yorkshire 11 years ago. The gig buddy adapted them to fit here as well as another matching pair in our spare bedroom. They’re cream and they’re embossed, and we even have some spare curtain left over.

There was a slight delay in putting these up because the pole had fallen down and we needed a slightly longer one anyway. They’ve been waiting to go up for weeks, and we also put one up on the landing that matches the living room curtains. That one needed the pole refixing too, but it’s also awkward in that it needed ladders to get to it.

And I got my curtains despite the poet not feeling very bright at all. We thought he had manflu, but it’s clear now that it’s an abscess under one of his teeth. We had to take my car to be serviced this morning and on the way back we nipped to the dentist to book him an emergency appointment. As luck would have it, one appointment had failed to turn up, so the poet saw the dentist straight away. He has antibiotics now and has to go back next week, probably to have another extraction. That’s 2 in almost as many months. He’s a braver soul than me.

On Thursday I’d ordered a squirrel-proof nut feeder for the garden, a 4-perch seed feeder and some nuts. This was my first order with the Garden Bird & Wildlife Company and I didn’t pay for delivery. Friday afternoon, my delivery arrived – excellent service – and by teatime the birds were happily munching away without fear of having all their nuts stolen.

On Friday I took advantage of Amazon’s current 3-for-£10 offer and bought the next 3 Game of Thrones books. Because my order now came to £10, I was also able to ask for free standard delivery. So I lumped in another book I wanted to buy that only came to £9.35, on which I was loathe to pay delivery when I was only pennies away from the £10 free delivery thing. And those books all arrived yesterday afternoon – and a Sunday to boot. Excellent service once again.

Also last week, I registered us for our first organic veg box delivery scheme and a few people warned us that the company I’d chosen can be inflexible on the box contents. The poet loves to cook and loves to be challenged, and I like to – where possible – use food when it’s in season. This is because it’s in abundance when it’s in season, it’s usually cheaper, and I believe that food has the necessary nutrients the body needs at the right time of the year. So we weren’t going to be very pernickerty. However, he does have a celery allergy, so I fired off an email to see if we could have celery replaced whenever it’s due in the box. This morning they emailed back to say this was fine and the celery would be replaced with “complimentary item” on our itemised list. Apart from that, we’re more than happy to trial whatever they send us whenever they send it. We’re having a medium veg box and a fruit box.

We were supposed to be going to Birmingham and Doncaster on Saturday, but both of those trips were postponed to next weekend. On Saturday we did nip out to get some anti-inflammatories and a few provisions, but the weekend was spent pretty much indoors. To keep himself busy he swapped over the double light switch at the bottom of the stairs because the wrong switches were connected to the wrong lights (he has had electrical training).

On Saturday night he made us a chicken carbonara for tea, and we had enough to freeze 2 individual portions too. Yesterday I put a malted wheat loaf into the bread machine and he made beefburgers and meatballs. We had the beefburgers for tea with cheese and bread, but the meatballs went in the freezer for another time. But that’s as adventurous as we got.

Today, then, after a late start, I have draft 2 of a short story to write, I want to do a bit more to the ideas book, and then I start the next WW1 edit. We have to go back for my car at about 4:30pm, so that will cut the day short too so, for now, here’s another shot of Abbey Road …

office 01The picture on the right was taken a few weeks ago, just after the noticeboards went up. This is what’s at my back when I work. The big noticeboard is for work-related stuff, the smaller board is a memory board for both of us, and the 2 pictures have followed me from work – the top one from the National Grid and the bottom one from Corus/Tata.

Social media cold turkey?

On Wednesday we saw this article in The Guardian about Game of Thrones author George RR Martin in which he explains how he can write so much so quickly. Basically, his computer isn’t connected to the internet and he uses an old DOS (disk operatiing system) version of WordStar, which also doesn’t suggest spelling or grammar alternatives to him while he types.

Brief aside
First of all, who remembers WordStar?

I remember WordStar well. It was the first word processing package I ever trained on or took exams in while I was working for the Industrial Society in Birmingham, back in the day. I was Admin Officer for their IT department and had only ever used an electronic typewriter up until that point, or the very archaic data-processing system they used to have at Birmingham City Council (Engineers Department).

Yes, I had proper jobs long before I gave up the rat race. 😀

Back to the point
So, in this article, this author reckons that without the distraction of the internet and all that entails, he can quite happily bash away at his keyboard to his heart’s content.

And, well, the evidence is there to support this.

A challenge?
Now, I’ve long said that if I just hammered away at an old typewriter, or even scribble in a notepad, I’d get a hell of a lot more done without the distractions of the internet. I even have an old portable typewriter, although granted it’s still in the loft at the other house … I think.

However, every time I try it with just my notepad and pen, the mobile phone still distracts me.

But, would I be able to go cold turkey? And would the poet?

Not as easy as that
Unfortunately, I have a lot of work via the internet. I get work via emails. I get work via social media. I sell books via the internet. I surf job boards online.

Aside from that, Facebook was a great lifeline for me when I first left my husband and kept me in touch with lots of friends, family, colleagues, all over the globe. I still use it to keep in touch with the people who were there for me; I still use it to wish people a happy birthday; I still use it to try and support others.

Also, let’s not forget that blogging comes under social media/internet activity, and Baggins Bottom is a blog. The gig list is also a blog, and the gig list has a Facebook page too. So does the poet’s band. YouTube is the same. As is Twitter. And LinkedIn. And SoundCloud. And GoodReads. Plus ALL of those I never, ever use or even look at.

Cold turkey
And so the poet and I are kind of agreeing that we may go cold turkey for a while. Probably just a day at first, see how we get on. Maybe just Facebook or Twitter or YouTube. And hopefully the gig list and the blog and the pages won’t suffer as a result. Or my work.

But, saying that, the poet said he’d not been on at all this morning, while I was sending an email to lovely-already-boss via the mobile phone. However, he does get FB notifications to his phone (I don’t), and he’d apparently received a Twitter message … and read it …

It can be done, though. Theoretically. We both have laptops without internet connections. And batteries are supposed to last longer when they’re just used as laptops. Or, I might just haul out the old portable typewriter. And mobile phones can have applications turned off and auto-notify deactivated, etc.

So, if we do disappear, that’s probably why. And we won’t be gone for long. Just to see if we can do it. And, if we can, perhaps we’ll both also make progress with our respective writing projects.

The blog and the gig list will still be there and updated. I’ll still surf the job boards and send and receive work by email. We just won’t have FB or Twitter or YouTube or LinkedIn or anything else constantly running in the background.

Or I won’t. Could you?

Have a great weekend.

Typewriter Keys