Day out: Leeds Christmas Market

Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I love Christmas and, once Bonfire Night is out of the way, I quite like to go to Christmas Markets.

I don’t care how big or how small they are, I just like to go and mingle, look at the pretty lights and interesting stalls, and occasionally sample the wares.

Sometimes we even buy something. And this time, apart from a hot dog, some chocolate marshmallow on sticks and some mulled wine, we also bought hats. And a gingerbread heart.

Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Last Saturday we went to Leeds for their Christmas Market. We got there for about 4:30pm, so it was just dark enough to take pictures of the lights.

And there were lights everywhere – on the lampposts, around the stalls, even for sale on the stalls.

Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Several stalls were selling Christmas decorations. Some of these were baubles and tree ornaments, some were tea- and night-lights, and some were just traditional wooden toys and ornaments.

The Nutcracker is my favourite ballet, so it was nice to see some wooden nutcrackers there too. But we didn’t buy any.

It was already very busy, and we knew we were headed in the right direction as we fought through the crowds coming back from the market. (We’d taken the train in and parked the car at Barnsley Station.)

Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

When we first arrived, it was still empty enough to relax, stroll around, take pictures. But by the time we’d had something to eat and done a couple of circuits – it wasn’t one of the biggest Christmas Markets – it was starting to get too crowded for stupid even.

One of the reasons for the trip was so that the poet could try out the new lens for his camera. He’s not snapped lights at night before, really. Or not since he’s been learning to be a “proppa snappa”. So these were his first.

He’s getting quite good at the bokeh, though – even if he does say so himself! This is where the foreground – or any part of the subject – is in focus but the background blurs. For those who want the scientific explanation, I think you can find it here.

Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

The hot dog he bought was a bit big for just one of us, although I’m sure he would have managed it all had I wanted a whole one too.

But he put ketchup all over it, and then mustard on his (big) half. It was very nice, and just spicy enough.

Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

Aside from the chocolate marshmallow on a stick (each), we also bought some fudge, some vanilla fudge for my dad (for being a big brave soldier and going to the hospital last week), and some clotted cream fudge with jelly babies for me (so that Dad didn’t have to share his).

We took the gingerbread heart home to have with a cup of tea later in the week.

Before we left he had one last practice with his camera, taking moving shots of the carousel and the other roundabouts. There isn’t room for all of the pictures here, though, so I saved a static of the carousel for the bottom.

We had such a good time, and the weather was very kind, so we’re thinking about going to another Christmas Market later in (what’s left of) the year. There’s one at York this weekend and there’s one at Sheffield at the end of the month. They’re all probably the same market, but it’s nice to see them in a different place, and Leeds, York and Sheffield are all close enough that the dog isn’t left on his own for too long at home.

And now he has a brand new camera as well (courtesy of his recently late father), he’ll want to be trying that out soon too. Plus, he has another new lens coming on Monday, so that will be another excursion.

Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

NaNo hiatus

My NaNo for 2014 has stalled, but only temporarily.

I usually write longhand, and several drafts before committing to first typed draft, but this year, as an experiment, I’ve been drafting straight onto the laptop. This can be difficult when driving and a tad rude while visiting.

On Saturday we drove down to Birmingham and got stuck in some bad traffic, mostly due to squally showers slowing everyone down, but also due to roadworks. While we were in Birmingham, we visited my dad and then we popped to the hospital to visit my mom. Then we had to turn around at 4pm and leave and head back home.

No sooner had we arrived home and grabbed something very quickly to eat than we were turning around and going straight out. We had a birthday party in Leeds to get to.

The party was great but there was just no other time in the day to do any writing.

On Sunday we had our shopping to do and we also started to pack. Two weeks this coming Friday we move house, and we still haven’t unpacked fully from when I moved over here earlier in the year. So we’re moving 2 houses, still.

By the time we stopped yesterday, I was physically exhausted and could hardly keep my eyes open, and – unfortunately – my NaNo isn’t a job the poet can do for me if I can’t manage it.

So I lost 2 days and had every intention of starting again this morning … and then my computer packed up. I couldn’t get logged into it and all of my files are locked away in there. Because I didn’t do a backup last Friday (I really need to start doing this last job on a Friday again so I have the latest versions of everything backed up safely).

We manged to eventually break into the system and collect my files, but 2 of the other laptops we have in the house also failed to load properly, one only had a trial version of Office on anyway, and neither would connect to the internet.

I need the internet to collect work and to send it back. Fortunately, the work I wanted for this week was already saved to my laptop, but we had to get it off there, onto another and then printed. And I couldn’t get either of the other laptops to see the printer either, and I ended up coming back to my own laptop and doing some startup recovery maintenance to it.

Hurrah! I finally got it all up and running again, getting it to look at a previous date when everything worked fine. I think it’s a corrupt Word file that caused the problem, but time will tell.

It’s now gone 4pm and I have paid work with deadlines to catch up with, so NaNo will have to wait again until tomorrow …

… but tomorrow I have to take the poet to the station for his last run to Scotland for a while, and then I have a new mobile phone coming.

It’s going to be busy, but hopefully normal service will resume again tomorrow. Just in case I have a problem again, however, I’ve printed off all of my current outstanding work so at least I have something to work on by hand. I’ve also saved all of my current client and writing files to a memory stick so I can hop onto another (working) laptop if necessary, or go to the library and use one of theirs.

At least one of the laptops tried today is having its hard drive removed and is then going in the skip. The other one may also follow it if we can’t get it to connect to the internet.

What do you do when you run out of time?

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Busy day tomorrow

As I have quite a busy day coming up tomorrow, I’ve decided to do some of tomorrow’s chores and jobs today, including this blog post.

First thing in the morning I have to take the dog back to the vet. He seems to have had a nail-bed infection and all of his tablets, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic, run out today. The toe itself looks a lot better than it did, although at first it didn’t look like anything and I didn’t know why he was limping. The infection flared up a couple of days after I initially took him to the vet and we had to make sure it wasn’t a grass seed that had burrowed under his skin.

The next job tomorrow is another of those admin jobs – tax my car. If I can do it online, I will. But now the laws have changed regarding displaying a valid tax disc, it’s all going to be all different on there now, and I may end up having to go to the post office to do it.

I’ll be picking the poet up at teatime, which means my working day finishes at 3:45pm instead of 5 – 5:30pm. When we move house the railway stations we can choose from should be much closer and when I have to play taxi-driver again, it won’t take such a huge chunk out of either end of my working day.

It’s our friends’ 1st wedding anniversary on Saturday, so we’ll be delivering a greetings card. And, if the poet’s train isn’t delayed, there’s a gig we fancy going to Friday night at our most local working man’s club before it’s no longer our most local any more.

In between all of that, I also have work to do.

Today I have electronic edits to do before sending the edited Word file back to the author for him to answer queries and questions. And I have diary work to do.

Yesterday I was asked if I could do another big editing job, but that hasn’t come in yet. So the next job on the list is another Great War book, another biggie. Today or tomorrow I’ll be printing off the next editing job so it can go into my editing folder.

On Saturday I want to go to the 1st Leeds write-in for NaNoWriMo 2014, but they’ve changed the times from 1pm – 3pm (core) to 2pm – 4pm. The later start means a longer lie in, but it also means a later finish, which for me means I’ll be coming into the home railway station at 5:20pm. So the jury’s still out on that one for now, even though I’ve so far said that I’m going.

Saturday evening I quite fancy a bonfire and fireworks display. We missed Bonfire Night last year so I was promised one this year, and we have 2 to choose from. The first one is Saturday night, a paid one, but in our new closest town (after 28 November). The other one is on Bonfire Night itself, next Wednesday, and it’s free, and in our current closest town. BUT … the poet’s off to Scotland again on Monday and it depends what time he gets back Wednesday evening. I think I need to “cash in” the promise on Saturday in case he doesn’t make it for next Wednesday. 😉

Sunday, for the most part, will be chill time or packing time. NaNo will have also started, so I’ll also need to write 1,667 words for that.

What are you up to over the next few days?

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One I made earlier, in 2008, at the “current local town” bonfire and fireworks display. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

New research fodder

Phew! What a weekend!

Friday night we had a gig over in Doncaster, so that’s always a rush. It was a good, atmospheric gig, but a little late finishing by the time everything was packed to go. The guitarist was on a flyer because he had to be at a triathlon time trial by 7am – or something equally silly – so they were a man down.

Saturday morning, first thing, we heard that the guitarist had qualified for Team GB, coming 30th out of 11,000 (or something like that), but definitely 3rd in his age group. I asked him what happened to the other 2 places and he said he’d get them next year. Hearty congratulations go to our Tom, though. Well done, matey.

I headed off to the write-in in Leeds where we were 7. I came up with 2 research questions for Catch the Rainbow, and I wrote 1,341 words. I had a lift to and from the station, but when we got back it was another dash to get ready for another gig, but this one was more local.

Saturday evening we watched the boxing in the pub, and then Monkey Dust finished off the night with a cracking set. We seem to have nailed the gremlins that were plaguing them for a while and the sound was really good.

On Sunday, the poet went fishing, which gave me the whole day to do whatever I wanted.

I got up at 11am and started by doing washing! I put a load away and put another load through. I swept the patio and threw a vacuum cleaner around the downstairs. I took the dog for a walk, and I dropped into Tesco to buy some new research fodder and a shorthand notebook – the notebook had to be polypropylene and it had to be fluorescent shocking pink.

I managed all but the fluorescent part.

20140602_114630The research fodder was magazines to update my files on which are looking for what kind of fillers and short stories these days. I have a shiny new notebook, that I’ve actually had for a while. But I’ve decided it’s going to be my new WiP notebook.

I’ll start by listing all the fillers the magazines are looking for, along with contact and payment details. And then I’ll do my WiP chart – Plan; Write draft #1; Write draft #2; Write (type) draft #3; Edit & Submit.

The idea is to have several short projects on the go all the time to ensure a regular flow of work to do as well as out there earning its keep.

The poet didn’t fish very well, but he had a nice day despite picking up some kind of pollen allergy. He’s suffering really badly today, too. So, once I wrote a further 1,056 words, we had a nice, cosy evening in front of the telly to wind down.

Today I have that WiP work to start and a non-fiction to start editing. I also already have washing on the line and more in waiting to go out.

Have a very happy Monday. 🙂

More reading fodder

So yesterday I was all set to surf the job boards, bid for some work, edit a book. But as usual, it didn’t get very far.

The book I couldn’t edit yet because I was awaiting a reply from an email sent last Friday. That email finally arrived overnight last night, but today is already full so I’ll have to reschedule that one for Monday.

I got as far as my record of jobs bid for and could hardly believe my eyes at one I’d lost. Not because I’d lost it – that’s their prerogative and their loss. No, I was astonished because this was a 9-week job, of solid editing work, and the person who’d won the job had bid just $153. That’s £91. For 9 weeks work. And the job site fee had to come out of that too. And exchange commission if the contractor wasn’t in America.

That is ridiculous, and I hope they both – the client and the contractor – are ashamed of themselves.

How can anyone expect a quality job for just 10 quid a week? (Minus fees and commission.)

So, moving swiftly on, and totally disgusted, I closed the site down, closed the internet down, closed the computer down, and went to the literary festival in Doncaster for solace.

The person I was specifically going to see was Michael Fowler, a Twitter buddy of mine who is also the father of the lovely young police officer who looked after me during my Pervy Nextdoor Man episodes. He also writes crime fiction and has done, successfully, since 2010. Co-presenting the event was Moth competition winner Rebecca Muddiman. The two of them read from their work and then led an informal chat. It was very interesting and I came away with a book each – Heart of the Demon and Stolen respectively.

So that’s 4 new books on the bookshelves when we haven’t really sorted out what’s in boxes in the garage. But hey, who cares? It’s what we do, right?

Today, then, I will be bidding for work again. I’d like to do some writing. I’ll be reading something or other. And then I’m going shopping. We have a gig this evening in Doncaster, I’m probably going to Leeds tomorrow for the write-in, we have a gig tomorrow night, and the poet’s off fishing (hopefully) on Sunday. So I may get chance to do some more of my own writing then too.

Over on Facebook I shared this picture:


And it’s started some discussion on how tidy the books are in the picture. I arrange my books (when they’re not in boxes in the garage) in alphabetical order by author and then chronological order by book. How do you arrange yours?

Have a great weekend.

So much has happened

It’s been an AGE since I posted anything. This is mostly because on the days I usually post (Mon, Wed, Fri) I’ve either been out or doing something away from the pc. This is unacceptable and needs to change. I apologise for being so tardy.

So, what’s happened since 21 Feb …?

Well, we’ve had a few gigs. We’ve been to a few gigs. We’ve been for a few meals. We’ve taken the dog for a few walks. The poet had a new grand child – his first, a girl. He also had a birthday. He had his first fishing trip of the new year. I managed to take some rare photographs of him with his parents, all 3 of his kids and the new addition – some nice 3- and 4-generation pics. We spent a couple of days in Birmingham. The poet’s 2 lads and their friends made it to what is still a local gig for the rest of his band, making it a very special week for him. And we’ve been viewing (and discounting) properties in which to live.

Oh yes, and I picked up loads (LOADS) of work. I currently have 3 non-fictions in to edit and a novel, as well as author and proofreader revisions on 2 more. I’m in the middle of one and have also been surfing for new work. I won a couple of extras last week, as well as 2 writing sales, so I’m happy that things are headed in the right direction.

This weekend is another busy one for us as we’re off to Keswick for a couple of days for my birthday. We’re staying with the lovely Carol and her friend, who are in the area for the Words by the Water festival next week. We’re both currently full of cold at the moment, though, and are hoping we take as little of it as possible with us when we go. We’ll be back on Monday.

I was hoping to rejoin the Leeds write-ins during March, but so far we’ve been doing other things. Perhaps I’ll make it for CampNaNo in April instead.

Whatever you’re up to, have a great weekend. Back next week, hopefully with pictures, perhaps like this one …

Heron at Newmillerdam. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Heron at Newmillerdam. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

And so it begins – finally

I skipped a day this week, I missed Wednesday. That’s because apart from being really, really busy this week, I was also out running errands. Just LOOK at this week’s to-do list, though. (Link here.) There’s just one whole job that’s being carried over to next week (historical non fiction #3, which will become #2 next week) and one half a job (historical non fiction #2, which will become #1). But apart from that … didn’t she do well! I also sold a filler this week …

It’s been a wonderful week anyway, as people finally (finally!) started to pay me. And with several jobs finishing this week too, I’ve probably earned a whole month’s wages this week alone. It’s a pity it’s the wages I should have earned 3 months ago, but it’s still a start. And with the amount of work (and further wages) I have coming in the next few weeks, I can finally relax and do some of my own work as well for a change.

Yesterday I had 2 separate errands to run, and I almost decided against the 2nd one. But it was a run to the pet superstore to get his lordship a new ball. I’d already been out for one beautiful drive in the sunshine, and while on the road I managed to “write” the best part of an article in my head that I’d promised someone by the end of the day.

So as I’d earned a month’s wages already, as I’d already filed quite a few jobs, and as the drive might allow me to finish “writing” the article in my head, I decided to go for it, the dog would get his new ball, and he’d also come for a ride with me too. He ended up with TWO balls and a rubber bone, so he did very well out of it. And when I got back, the article was “finished” and I was able to dash it off in minutes, give it a quick proof, and send it on its merry way.

Today, then, I’ve printed off historical non fiction #2 (which will become #1 next week) and I’ll start to edit that. I’ll also do the invoices (hurrah! – there are LOADS of them). I have to book a hair appointment (I had to cancel the last 2), and I’ll take the dog for a walk. I think we may be shopping this evening, but the poet also has 2 guitars to restring (oops – both Ds, apparently) as he has another gig tomorrow night. OR we may do the shopping tomorrow. We’re also off for a big walk, probably on Sunday.

For March I’m looking ahead to taking part in the Leeds write-ins again, hopefully on alternate Saturdays when the poet isn’t fishing. I’m also booking in a daily slot to write 1,000 words a day and we think it needs to be a novel. I picked up 4 new writing books this week (2 were free, 2 were very cheap) and I intend to do some reading too.

I feel like I deserve one of these this week …

gold star

Have a great weekend.

A fair week

Just look at my to do list from Wednesday. (Link here.) I’ve done quite well this week, apart from that pesky daily wordcount. But I have started it and I do itch to do it.

I even have a few things to add to the list:

  • negotiated unsolicited request to edit a non-fiction book 
  • negotiated unsolicited request for possible regular writing gig, i.e. 2 – 5 articles per month 
  • responded to call for submissions for new writing ebook 

The non-fiction book’s definitely on, we just have to wait for it to arrive at the office. I sent my CV off and some cuttings for the regular writing job, and hopefully she’ll like what she sees. I’m currently negotiating the second writing job. Please keep everything crossed for me.

I did quite well in the end on the previous client’s book. I’m still looking for pictures, and I’m brushing up on my formatting skills, but I’m awaiting some feedback before continuing.

I’ve been fairly busy on the job hunting front, but while I have 16 jobs on my watch list, I’ve not bid for any yet. I’ll do that today. I’ll also tackle the personal writing work today.

Tomorrow I may be on my own for the day, or I may be off to Leeds for the first (for me) write-in of the year. Then Sunday, or the ‘other’ day will be R&R.

Have a great weekend. What are you planning on doing?

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Crazy weekend


This is one of my favourite pictures of Tinker and Holly. I often wonder where Tinker went that day she walked away and never come back. But I have my suspicions. I stumbled across this picture this morning and decided to share it for those who remember when she disappeared. She was a lovely cat.

We had a terrific weekend, crazy but lovely.

On Friday we had a fantastic gig in Doncaster. The band played really well and there was a great atmosphere. It was a very late night, though, as they didn’t finish packing down until 2am. But it was a goodun.

On Saturday I made it to the Leeds write-in to join in with this November’s NaNoWriMo. I met a few new people and it was nice to see some old faces. And I got a few words written too. While I was NaNo-ing, the poet and Rufus were having a wonderful time walking and watching telly and chomping chews … the latter being the dog rather than the man … Saturday evening we were visiting and shopping, and finally arrived home at 9pm.

I went to Leeds on the train from a different railway station. The ticket is cheaper, by about £2, and the journey is slightly slower, with just one train an hour, but the station is closer to the house and I was able to cadge a lift. When we got there we were surprised to see the once-vacant and derelict railway buildings back in use. I did a bit of research and discovered that a café has been allowed to lease the buildings and I thought that was a great idea. All unmanned stations should consider doing that.

On Sunday, the poet went fishing – and came third, well done, sweetheart 🙂  – and I had a really lazy day catching up on sleep (I did quite a lot of overtime last week) and recorded television. Then on Sunday evening we went out to see a new band for both of us, but made it home again by 9pm.

Today I’ve started the week afresh and tried to do everything scheduled in the diary. On Friday I started to surf the job boards again, rewrote my blurb and pitched for 14 jobs. Today I pitched for a further 6 jobs, and I’ve already written the walks report, which was lagging behind due to me being without computer or internet.

I have 2 books to edit, both non-fictions, and I’m in correspondence with the author of the historical fiction I filed last week.

I have a full working week this week so intend to get a lot shifted. I’d best get on …