Tag Archives: Harrogate

Festival weekend

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Two faces of the poet – Wormy (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

I know I say this a lot, but we really did have a very busy weekend – and there’s another one on its way this coming weekend too.

On Thursday evening we nipped over to see the poet’s dad as it was his 80th birthday. He’d said he didn’t want anything, so we bought him a fuchsia for the garden. He’d not had it 5 minutes before he was deciding where to put it, so we think we made a good choice.

On Friday evening, at teatime, we had a mad dash over to Harrogate for the 2015 Crime Writing Festival. We were attending an event called “Yorkshire Pride” and thought a panel would be discussing crime novels in and about Yorkshire or by Yorkshire folk.

We didn’t expect to meet Peter Robinson (creator of DCI Banks) or Lee Child (creator of Jack Reacher). We thought they’d just be discussing their work. But they were there and afterwards I was able to have a book signed by Peter Robinson and the poet accosted Lee Child outside and got him to sign another. (Mr Child was supposed to be signing books the following day as he had another event he needed to be at.)

After the event we had a wander around town and decided to have tea in an American-style steakhouse. That was very nice.

Saturday morning we were back in Harrogate and struggling to park, but arrived just in time for the annual “New Blood”, chaired, as ever, by Val McDermid, who signed another book for us. (We’re turning into Val McDermid groupies!)

Because we’d left the dog on his own while we were in Harrogate, we had to hurry back. So we grabbed a sandwich and headed off. The poet wanted to go fishing that evening, but when we got home he discovered that the annual Fish-o-Mania was live on telly and he was having trouble tearing himself away. So we decided to watch that – or he watched it and I caught up on some reading.

Sunday morning we were up-and-at-’em again because the poet’s band, Monkey Dust, were playing at the Wheel of Light charity festival. This was supposed to be at another venue, but less than 2 weeks before the event, the venue pulled out, which was a bit of a disaster. However, while the organiser was on the phone cancelling the bands, Castleford Panthers ARLFC sent a text to say they’d hold it.

Unfortunately the organisers didn’t get as much time as they’d like to promote it (although Diane’s Gig List did their bit to help!), and it wasn’t as attended as it could be. They were also a bit disappointed, to say the least, when they discovered the original venue that pulled out had staged another event instead – on the same day. But the bands had a good time, lots of fun was had, and more friendships forged. Pictures (by Ian and Diane Wordsworth) can be found here on Facebook.

Castleford Panthers have offered to hold the event again next year, so the organisers are going to make more of a day of it and have already started to ask bands.

So that was our weekend. Oh yes, and Rufus came with us yesterday too …

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Two faces of the poet – Ian (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

Today sees the start of quite a busy period for me. Do you remember that Cosmic ordering I did the other week? Well, don’t anyone try to tell me it doesn’t work.

Last week I did a small job for a new client and already she is offering me repeat work. I also won a regular gig off another new client. And an existing client sent me 4 new jobs on Friday – and paid for the first one in advance. This on top of the work I already have in. I won’t be trawling for new work again any time soon.

I also have writing work to do, as ever, but not so much admin work this week. I have Thursday off, though. The poet is working in Tipton that day so I’m visiting the parents. We couldn’t see them this coming weekend as we have another 3-day festival to go to in Sheffield.

How was your weekend?

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?

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.

Great weekend

So after the hassle of the past week or so I finally got some time off and was able to enjoy the weekend.

On Saturday morning at around 10am-ish, we headed off to Harrogate for the 2013 Crime Writing Festival. We were meeting Carol there, who was clutching our tickets in her little hand. We made it in good time, with just 10 minutes to go before our event, the New Blood panel discussion chaired by Val McDermid.

The beautiful Old Swan Hotel (where Agatha Christie is believed to have stayed when she disappeared for a few days) was packed again, but the weather was glorious although cooler than of late, so it was pleasant to sit on the lawn after our event with a picnic and a Pimms – my first ever Pimms. (I’m being spoiled rotten at the moment.) Carol and I were also treated to a new book each and it was my fourth time seeing Val McDermid. She told me I’d start to get bored of hearing all the same old jokes if I carried on at that rate, but she always makes me laugh and she always, always has good advice well worth heeding.

After our picnic we parted ways with Carol and nipped into the Mercer Gallery to view the current free exhibition of art. It was all very civilised and we had another lovely day.

A quick pit stop at home, then it was off to see one of my favourite bands with three of my friends. We all had a great time there too. I’m having a fantastic private life at the moment.

On Sunday I had a chat with my dad and with my mom, which is always nice, and then I worked … or I started to work. I’d really like someone to remind me to do my expenses on a monthly basis this year, please. I keep pushing them to one side and then it’s a mammoth task that takes the best part of a day when it would probably take just half-an-hour a time if I just kept on top of it.

I think I’m going to schedule in a new diary item: once a month – expenses.

I also pitched for 3 jobs and was invited to pitch for another. I had one job confirmed, and then another single job made into 2 jobs will hopefully be confirmed imminently. I still need to pitch those 2 writing jobs; this is why I need to keep on top of routine jobs like expenses so I have time to do everything I need to do when I need to do it.

Today, then, that double job will hopefully land on the desk, but I have a book to edit if it gets delayed and the walks report to write. Then it’s going to be busy, busy, busy as I’m a day down this week due to a Do Diddle Day, when I also hope to drive down to Birmingham to see another fave band play, with some of my Brummie friends.

UK call centres (mini rant alert)

So, after spending the best part of a week arguing the toss with a government department and finally getting a result on Wednesday, Thursday saw me hurtling into a similar ding dong with my telephone and internet provider. I really am at the end of my patience, though – what little of it there is – and once I realised I was speaking to another ignoramus  I hung up.

Today I received my customer satisfaction questionnaire … oh, did I enjoy filling that one in this week. Every reply was 1 (totally dissatisfied) and my reason was the script-reading buffoon at the other end.

And so I have made a momentous decision. When my telecom contract comes to an end (end of January), I’m moving to a company that employs British staff on British soil for British customers.

Really, I’m all for helping employment in other countries, but not when they’re total rubbish and less when we have such huge unemployment in our own country. We should get our own house in order before aiding other countries, and, despite being quite the socialist, this is the way I’ll be leaning in future.

I’m sick to death of dealing with incompetents.

My patience is also worn thin because I’ve been struggling with the formatting of a novel I’ve been editing. I’ve already done it once, but it wasn’t translating well to the FTP server thingy, so I’ve had to look at it again and I can’t see what the author has done. I should have saved a version in .rtf, but then I would have had to do a lot more basic formatting too, and they don’t pay me enough for that as well.

Today will mostly be that editing/formatting job. I’ve pitched for another 10 jobs since Wednesday and I’ve done my diary for next week. I still need to get 2 writing pitches out, so I’ll be working for some of this weekend.

I’m off to Harrogate tomorrow with a couple of friends for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival. We had a corking day last year, and the weather looks set to be hot, hot, hot again.

Tomorrow evening I take friends to a gig so they can talk to the band about something.

It might be too warm to drive the dog down to Birmingham (no air-conditioning in the car), so Sunday will probably be a writing day instead. I need to shift some work.

I have lots of writing work to do. I have the novel to be cracking on with, I have those 2 new pitches I need to get out, and I need to get the freelance writing WiP moving again. I have a daily allocation for freelance writing in my diary now and I really should use it. I also have interviews to transcribe for the non-fiction book.

I have a new editing job to start too with, hopefully, another on the way – we thrashed out the details yesterday evening and now I’m just awaiting confirmation.

And I have my tax return to schedule in and an additional application form to complete.

Looks like we’re set for another nice weekend. The rain-dance isn’t working. I’ll have to switch to just talking to the Universe. But y’all enjoy it. 🙂

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