More writing homework

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Police house, Moreton in Marsh (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Extra homework
The house pictured above is the old police station in Moreton in Marsh. When we visited, it had recently sold.

  1. Write a short story around the building when it was still used by the police. OR …
  2. Write a short story around the new owners – who are they, what do they do for a living, why would they want an ex-police station, will they live there, will they work there, will they set up a detective agency there, enter your own ideas here … OR …
  3. Research, query and write a photo-feature on historic police stations/police houses in your county/area/state, targeting your local county magazine or any of the heritage magazines. OR …
  4. Do all 3.

Let us know what you do and how you get along.

I was going to say that this past week had turned into another 4-day week – I’m starting to get used to those. But then I remembered that I worked on Sunday too, so while it should have been a 6-day week, it was actually a 5-day week.

It’s been a busy week (again!) with the poet away for 2 days in Scotland. I mean, for those 2 days I had to make my own meals and everything!

Before he went away, on Monday, he fetched home a carrier bag filled with cooking apples. There must be getting on for 10lb in there. I don’t know if he was expecting to return to apple pies and apple crumbles, but he didn’t. I’ve been wondering all week the best way to preserve said apples and I may actually do some cooking at the weekend.

While he was away, an overflow pipe started to run, which turned out to be the hot water expansion tank. On Tuesday I’d bled a stone cold radiator in the en suite bathroom. It was totally empty and took ages to refill. But now we think the hot water system may have been using that radiator as an expansion radiator. The plumber came yesterday (Tom the Gas), and he said the expansion tank has never been supported properly and the base it’s on is now bowing to the extreme that water’s sploshing over the outlet pipe.

It’s going to be a big job that will mean draining down the entire hot water system. And while I can hardly wait for the upheaval, it would have been worse had the tank come crashing down bringing half the house with it. And, fortunately, we don’t have to pay for it, although I have suggested stats for all of the radiators while he’s at it that we may have to contribute to.

I have a busy day ahead, tying up another heavy edit and getting that submitted, raising invoices (hurrah!) – note, that was plural (double hurrah!). And it’s a 2-gig weekend for the band, both in Doncaster. So not only does that mean gigor mortis, it also means 2 very late nights (2 – 3am finishes). I can’t see us squeezing much else in over the weekend, other than maybe a gentle drive to the shops, perhaps some baking (though I may cheat and get some ready-made pastry), and a visit to the poet’s parents perhaps. The poet’s working in the Midlands on Monday, so he’s going to drop into my parents on his way home – if I make apple pie, he may have to drop one in for me.

Have a great weekend.

Heavy edits

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Memorial, Moreton in Marsh (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Apart from being in the midst of another very heavy edit, yesterday I also disappeared beneath a fug of faff and almost let the entire day run away.

It all started when I tried to tidy my pictures on Facebook, and I was going so fast that FB suddenly stopped letting me update the captions, saying my “behaviour” was intolerable. (Or words to that effect.)

Well, FB, enjoy them while you have them. Because when you start to dictate to me what I can write and what I can do with MY OWN PICTURES, I start to back them up elsewhere and they start to disappear from your platform.

Anyway, once I got over my little tantrum, I left the computer (and FB) on the office desk and moved downstairs to finish the heavy manual edit. I should be doing the electronic edit on that next, but I need a rest from it so will do a quick proofread for the same client instead, and get that back to them either tonight or tomorrow night, overnight.

Last week got a bit busy as I had another 4-day week (it’s 5 days this week, I hope I can cope). All of Thursday was pretty much written off with appointments, but I did manage more editing in between at least. I just didn’t manage anything else.

At the weekend we had a Monkey Dust gig Saturday night, and we visited both lots of parents – one on Saturday, and one on Sunday. I also had a baking day, making a cherry fruit cake and some cherry buns (we needed to use up the cherries), and I made a strawberry trifle. And on Sunday the poet left a pork casserole in the slow cooker while we were out.

I have at least 2 books I need to clear and get back to the client this week (the 2 already mentioned), but we have a meeting Wednesday evening too for the one piece of “pro-bono” work I’ve taken on. I don’t do work for free very often, but I do like to help out a good cause where I can and this one’s to do with some friends of the band, and it is a charity thing. The band will be doing something too.

Friday is back to being an errand day this week. I usually still work in the morning, but try to arrange any appointments for late afternoon onwards. This week I had to make one appointment in the morning, at 10:30am, and I already had one late afternoon, at 4:30pm. Hopefully there’s still a big enough gap in there for me to crack on with some work.

Extra homework
Today’s picture is another one from our long weekend in Evesham over the bank holiday. We had a day showing the poet some of the Cotswold villages, and this one is Moreton in Marsh. Have a look at it and see if you can come up with a story – either around the memorial or about the people who live (or do they work?) in the little house immediately behind. With Remembrance Sunday less than 2 months away, some speculation – or good, honest research – around the memorial might make something interesting. But so might whoever you decide to populate the house with.

Don’t forget to report back. 😉

We left the tent behind

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Pig along the Arden Way, near Coughton Court (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We dashed off on Friday for a long weekend as it was a bank holiday and, because I broke up on Thursday, I didn’t get chance to post anything before we went.

Friday was spent packing, then driving down to Evesham via my parents (for a flying visit and to break the journey).  By tea time we were pitched and the poet was frying tea and scrambling eggs.

On Saturday I took him for an orientation drive around the Cotswold villages of Chipping Camden, Moreton in Marsh, Stow on the Wold, Chipping Norton and Bourton on the Water. We stopped off at Moreton in Marsh to take pictures, and we would have stopped at Bourton too, but the place was rammed. It was a glorious day and you couldn’t see the grass for people sitting on it. I wanted to show him the River Windrush and the ornamental bridges over it, and we did get to see that. But we decided not to stay and drove on back to Evesham for the tail end of the first day of the fishing festival there. He would have cooked tea again, but we decided on a takeaway instead.

On Sunday the promised rain came. I took us to Coughton Court, as we’re members of the National Trust, who manage it on behalf of the family who still live there. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed in either the house or the gardens (the house, we understand; the gardens, not so sure), but there’s a 2-mile walk in the surrounding area, which is beautiful.

What the guide doesn’t tell you is that if you have a dog, then you have to walk an additional half-a-mile and then navigate a ford before you can get back to the car park, because the end of the walk crosses a teeny, tiny corner of those gardens. As it happens, the poet enjoyed a paddle across the ford, while I took Rufus over a nearby footbridge. On the other side he was greeted by several car drivers who were worried the ford might be too deep and hadn’t wanted to risk it. He was very naughty and told them that it was easy, but his first name was, after all, Jesus …

After Coughton Court we were going to visit Hanbury Hall near Droitwich Spa. But because it was raining and because the tent was already starting to show signs of expiring (we ripped one of the doors and one of the zips had broken by now, both of which the poet cleverly repaired with Gaffa Tape), we’d already pretty much decided we needed a bigger tent and went instead to Webbs of Wychbold, where Cotswold Outdoor & Leisure have a shop, to look at the tent display … only there wasn’t one. Webbs is HUGE now, and the poor tent display wasn’t there, other than relegated to a few weeks during exhibition time.

However, we were redirected to Winfields, which used to be Barretts of Feckenham, and they did have a great tent display. They also had some of these newish blow-up tents … and the poet fell instantly and deeply in love. Specifically, with this one. (Actually, he preferred another, but as I prefer this one …) Rather than make any impulsive decisions, we decided to go away, sleep on it and consider it some more … and still decided we wanted the Brean 4 Air. Imagine our joy when we discovered there’s a Winfields in Leeds too. I wonder what we’ll be doing on this upcoming rare weekend off …

Back at the tent, he cooked us another slap-up feast, and we started to pack things away. We knew there was more rain forecast and didn’t want to be doing it all in the morning … what we didn’t expect was the deluge of rain to end up inside the tent by the following morning. Because the tent was too small, our air-bed was up against one of the inner tent walls, and this pushed it onto the flysheet … mattress, sleeping bag, blanket and pillows all along that wall were soaked through. In the “porch” area, our backs brushed the roof and our heads bumped everywhere else, and more water literally rained in. The groundsheet was a lake. The food bag was drenched and most of the food in it (i.e. not in tins) had to be thrown away.

So it was a quick breakfast, everything out of the tent and into the car, and the tent taken down and left behind in one of the bins. We were back at my parents by mid-day and back home by 3:30pm. But we’d had a lovely break and came away knowing that we definitely want to camp a lot more. The poet would also like to see more of the Cotswolds, so we’ll try to go back to the same campsite.

Back to work today and I have a 4-day week this week, I had a 4-day week last week, I had a 4-day week the week before, and I had hoped that next week might be a 5-day week. However, due to my age, the hospital has invited me for the first of my new regular screenings next Thursday, and our doctor’s surgery has invited me to book a new-patient appointment, so I’m going to see if they’ll do that on the same day. That way I’ll only lose one full day next week instead of 2 part-days. Part-days are no use whatsoever as I don’t get much else done in the rest of the time. So I need them to fit me in then too.

As it’s September, my new writing year has started. Actually, it started last week with some prep work, but the actual physical new regime starts today. This morning, too, another new book came in from lovely-already-boss (isn’t he wonderful?). That gives me 6 books now to edit, one of which I start today.

I’ve already done my chores, caught up on the daily competitions, and I’ve uploaded, edited and selected pictures from both the weekend and our aborted walk up Kinder at the beginning of August. That should give us plenty of pictures to choose from to illustrate the blog over the coming weeks.

Tomorrow is my first DIARY OF A FREELANCE WRITER, which will include last week’s prep work and this week’s planning and organisational work. I hope to see you then. 🙂