Our new back yard …

On Wednesday we received the news that we’re able to move into our new home at the end of November. This means that, all of a sudden, we’re a helluva lot busier than we already have been of late, and we’re going to have a lot to pay out. This, of course, means that we need to preserve and collect as much dosh as we can whilst also packing boxes and bags and leaving this house as clean and tidy as the poet found it.

This will be the second time I’ve moved house in under 12 months. I’m not planning on moving again for a while. But at least it’s one thing ticked off the list of things to do.

Yesterday evening we had a viewer at the other house, and we have another tomorrow evening. If we get an offer over there, it means things are really starting to move or, as the poet says, the planets are aligning. But there’s a whole loft over there still that needs emptying. All of my old self-employment finance records are up there for a start, but a lot of it can be burned. I can’t leave it there, though.

This coming weekend we have relatively free time. It’s my dad’s birthday tomorrow, but as we had him last weekend and took him to Pickering, we won’t be going down. The poet initially had a gig booked anyway. That was subsequently cancelled, but swiftly replaced by a wedding I wanted to go to but couldn’t because he was working.

The poet’s #1 son was coming yesterday to collect some spare furniture for his new house, but his van driver let him down again. We’ve had to tell him now that by the end of November, the furniture needs to be gone as we won’t have access to the garage its all in any more.

We’ve had another fairly busy week. I shifted 3 jobs and most of a 4th for one client, so that meant working into the evening on a couple of occasions. The poet was still in Scotland – he only has 2 weeks left, and those are only part-weeks – but he’s not been very well at all with his asthma.

So we’re going to have some chill time this weekend, the wedding, some packing/clearing time and a visit to his parents in Doncaster.

I’ll leave you with a hint of the view we’ll be enjoying from our new home in just a few weeks. Enjoy.

awful

I forgot it was Easter …

… and I forgot it was a 4-day week last week, the second of 2 on the trot. We have a 5-day week this week, then it’s back to a 4-day week next week again, only my week will be a 2-day week.

So I promised more pictures by Wednesday, thinking it was Monday when I posted. But it was Tuesday and the rest of the week just ran away with me.

We spent a few hours in the garden and pitched a tent to see how weather-tight it was.

tent As it turned out, it wasn’t very weather-tight at all. So I took it down this morning, after doing the “dog-poo-patrol” (sorry …), and before hanging out some washing, and shoved most of it in the dustbin.

I’ve kept the tent pegs – you can never have too many tent pegs … Because we bought a new one at the weekend, another we can just chuck in the boot of the car when we feel like it and shoot off for a couple of nights.

My kind of camping. 🙂

We need to get that one pitched too so we know how to pitch it in case it’s dark when we get to wherever we’re going. But in the future we may get a bigger tent, possibly a trailer tent.

We’re hoping to go away this coming weekend, but I now have a tenant for the other house. Actually, I had 2 people fighting over it in the end, but I decided to go with someone I know because her mum lives next door (other side to Perve). And she’ll give me time to sort out the paperwork.

So we have a lot of packing to do and a removal man to arrange. By Saturday … Hopefully we can still be away by Saturday teatime.

I still have a lot of work to do – a very lot. Here’s a taster (list alert!):

  • electronic edits on non-fiction #1
  • author revisions on historical fiction
  • write weekly walks report
  • submit weekly walks report to 6 x local newspapers
  • manual edits on non-fiction #2
  • author & proofreader revisions on non-fiction #3
  • electronic edits on non-fiction #2
  • formal book proposal to write for (my own) non-fiction books 1, 2 and 3
  • sample chapter to write for (my own) non-fiction book 3
  • book optician appointment
  • attend optician appointment
  • house to empty
  • house to clean
  • tent to pitch/take down

And I only have 4 days … or 3½ now … so here are more of last week’s pictures:

Lambs. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Lambs. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
This is how overgrown the canal is. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
This is how overgrown the canal is. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Lord Rufus. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Lord Rufus. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The restored lock. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The restored lock. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The swing bridge. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The swing bridge. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Diane and Ian. (Picture: Diane Parkin - self portrait)
Diane and Ian. (Picture: Diane Parkin – self portrait)

Enjoy!

Everything in the garden’s rosy

This week I had several people around to value my little house and I was over the moon to discover that it’s actually worth slightly more now than it was a few years ago. It was also interesting to see how overpriced 3 other houses are in my street, all either gone up for sale in March or “re-valued” in March (probably as a result of the other 2 going up far too high – in my opinion).

The next piece of good news was that my redemption figure is not as high on my current mortgage as I thought it was, and there’s no penalty fee for early settlement. This is a proper double-whammy. I don’t think I’ve ever had to redeem a mortgage without some kind of financial penalty imposed.

The next house up from mine (which just happens to be next door) is up for approximately £5,000 more than anyone thinks it’s worth (apx $8,245). The one across the street and another up the road a bit are £10,000 more than anyone thinks they’re worth (apx $16,490). Apart from, obviously, the people selling them. As we’re happy to go in at what the house is actually worth, if we decide to sell, we can use these 3 overpriced houses to our advantage.

Whether we rent or sell the house is still open for discussion over the weekend, but regardless of either, any money raised will be used to clear existing debt and also go towards our Big Adventure next year. Either way, things are looking a lot rosier than they were just a month ago.

This is just the icing on the cake at the moment, as everything else is going so well and so positively. The Cosmos has certainly come up with the goods here.

I’m really very busy at the moment, which is really very good, but it means I don’t have very long to stay. And this weekend is Mother’s Day in the UK, so we’ll be having a busy time then too. We also have our big shop to do and a small dog to big walk.

It’s the wrong time of year for roses, so here’s a picture of some heather taken at Langest Reservoir last summer – he’s really very proud of it. 🙂

Heather on Langsett. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Heather on Langsett. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Have a great weekend.

Everyone should have a dedicated work area

It’s such a beautiful day here today I’m at my desk a whole hour earlier and having to close the blinds against the sunshine. Since the “office” was added to “Abbey Road” I’ve been at my desk every single day. I’ve had some transitional admin work to do with the other house, but generally I’ve been here working. Every. Single. Day. And I’ve been very surprised when I’ve cleared a load of backlog to see it’s still only the middle of the morning.

Everyone should have a dedicated work area if they can. I’m certain that’s what’s doing it, and having such a lovely environment to work in too helps.

Here is how this week has panned out (list alert!):

  • surf job boards daily x 5 
  • pitch for 15 new jobs 
  • write 3 x blog posts 
  • diary work x 2 
  • enter competitions daily x 5 √××
  • write walks report 
  • submit walks report to 6 x local newspapers 
  • complete manual edits on non-fiction #1 
  • pay outstanding bills x 4 
  • set up new direct debits x 4 
  • complete electronic edits on non-fiction #1
  • start manual edit on new fiction
  • set up new annual budget for 2 new bank accounts (in and out) 
  • arrange estate agent market evaluations x 3 
  • recommence work on non-fiction #2
  • invoices (hurrah!)

Phew! But just look at all of those lovely ticks. I still have some missing, though, so I’d best get on.

Before I go, here are some pictures we found on the camera before clearing it for the Keswick trip:

Wintersett at Rye Hill. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Wintersett at Rye Hill. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Self portrait. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Self portrait. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
View from the hide at Wintersett. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
View from the hide at Wintersett. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Nice ... (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Nice … (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Enjoy!

Welcome to Abbey Road …

P1030527Blimey, it’s not long after 9am and here I am writing a blog post already. This is mostly because I could hardly wait to get into my office this morning, which is mostly because the office is finally here.

We had a very busy Saturday, first emptying what the poet has always called the studio, and then giving it a good dust and a Hoover. (Note: He did the Hoovering …) Then we went over to the other house to empty drawers and cupboards and dismantle the entire office.

It’s a job I always dread because it’s made up of modules built from solid wood with beech veneers. It’s very heavy, and some items are very awkward. We had a narrow, steep flight of stairs to carry it all down at one end, and then another flight of stairs to carry it all up at the other end.

P1030531BUT he was like a pig in muck once he got his tools out (all one of it – a Phillips screwdriver was all he needed and he’d fetched his entire toolkit), and before long we had both cars loaded with bits of office and were headed back over the common.

It was nice to have an empty room to work with and quicker than it came down the office went back up again, and by early evening we’d moved all of the studio back in too.

P1030536We both still have loads of stuff to go through, piles of paperwork, things that need to be “filed” (in more ways than one). But the main thing is that I’m no longer camping out on the kitchen table and we can both work in the room together.

In the picture to the left you can see a chest of drawers in the bottom left-hand corner. This is filled with art supplies and photography equipment. Just above it, on the desk, is a canvas on an easel waiting to be painted on. Yes, the poet’s an artist as well. The rest of the picture is office furniture and equipment, and the current editing WIP is in a folder to the right of the laptop, which is on a riser. To the right of the desk you can just see one of the poet’s 7 guitars.

P1030537In the picture to the right you can see the poet’s studio and 2 more of his guitars. Another 2 are in cases ready to go to the next gig … or maybe not unpacked yet from the last gig … He has 2 laptops here, soon to be 3, and several mixing desks/stations, and he has 2 keyboards.

The keyboard on the bottom is ace. The keys light up and if you hit them in the right order you can play a tune, complete with chords. That’s my kind of keyboard.

P1030535Finally, for now, I’ve included a picture of the view from my desk. I’ve wanted a window for so long and now we have one each. There’s a single red rose to the left of the windowsill, bought for me by the poet Friday night, and my old office clock in the middle.

The room is a smashing size and shape, but we’re not sure what to call it. It gets referred to as the studio, the office, the music room, the creative room. The poor thing needs an identity, so maybe we’ll just call it Abbey Road.

I’d love to write more but I have work to do – a diary to update, books to edit, stories to write. So I’ll leave you with these pictures for now. Enjoy.

w/c 27 Jan: to do list (and “mumbo-jumbo” alert …)

Eight years ago today I left the marital home “with just the clothes on my back and the cat under my arm”, and spent the night in a hotel. The next day I was allowed to move into a house I’d already started the rental process on (“just in case”). Six months later I bought that house, and I loved it to death.

It was such a sweet, comforting house that seemed to put its arms around you and give you a cuddle. It still does.

But a week ago last Saturday I closed that house and moved into the poet’s. We’d been living in two houses for several months and the disruption for the animals was causing me some heartache. I was also unable to settle to any work as I never seemed to be in one place long enough.

The poet’s house is bigger than mine, so it made sense, although we will be looking for somewhere we’ve both chosen in the coming months. It has a garden too, whereas mine has just a yard.

Meanwhile, the animals have settled and so has my work – and we’re saving so much money on petrol, heating bills and just buying one lot of shopping, etc, too. At the weekend we even did some baking together – the poet made bread while I made fruit buns, and I whipped up a green jelly too.

And we’re working on a freezer challenge (what-can-we-eat-from-the-freezer-for-a-week?) so that we can move his fridge/freezer into the garage (for his fishing tackle) and mine can come over (it won its own mine’s-better-than-yours battle).

It’s been an emotional and slightly traumatic week, but it’s working. And by the end of last week, work started to pour in again – which really supports the case for the law of attraction.

I know I’ve also said it before, many times, but cosmic ordering really, truly rocks. I “placed my order” with the universe a couple of weeks ago and then forgot about it. And while I may have been a little greedy (I’ve not asked for anything for a long time …), it is all starting to come in.

Anyway, “mumbo-jumbo” out of the way, whether you believe in it or not, life’s pretty good at the moment, and it seems to get better every day. Time to start tackling a few unpleasantries in life again, perhaps …

Here, then, is this week’s to do list (those of a nervous disposition may wish to turn away now …):

  • surf job boards daily x 5 
  • daily competitions x 5 
  • write and submit walks report to 6 local newspapers
  • write blog x 3 
  • walk dog daily x 5 ×√
  • write 1,000 words per day x 5 ×
  • final check through non-fiction history book before …
  • … send non-fiction history book to print
  • tackle new debt management plan daily x 5 (unpleasantry #1)
  • daily banking x 5 
  • edit new non-fiction history book before …
  • … send new non-fiction history book back to author via publisher
  • upload gig list for February
  • explore gig list Facebook page
  • diary work
  • proofread new YA book before …
  • … send new YA book back to author
  • invoices (hurrah!)
  • trip to Birmingham

What’s on your to do list this week?

Holly, still gorgeous 8 years on, finally emerging in our new home.
Holly, still gorgeous 8 years on, finally emerging in our new home.

All coming together

It’s been another fair week.

I’m still in the midst of a client’s non-fiction book, but a regular client’s previously promised non-fiction finally arrived on Wednesday, and I also won a new job on Wednesday where my quote included a deposit, for the first time ever.

I felt a bit strange asking for the deposit, but I used to get a deposit when I first edited books freelance, and that was back in the 1990s. Since I’ve been doing it this time out, I’ve not asked for a single deposit. Until Wednesday. And I won the job. I’m very happy about that, particularly as this first deposit is due for payment today ahead of work starting next week.

Since then, all jobs over £120 (apx $200) have included a deposit and a balance, and all jobs over £300 (apx $500) have been bid for in 3 equal instalments.

I currently have 3 books in for editing or proofreading, then, which brings the money in but also allows me time to pursue some writing.

There has been an additional distraction this week in that my mobile phone didn’t work very well at the new house. It’s been hit and miss for as long as I’ve been coming here, but my provider assured me the fault was temporary. However, it obviously wasn’t temporary and the provider finally admitted that their service wasn’t great in this area and there are no imminent plans for an upgrade.

The clue being in the name (“mobile” phone), I was able to negotiate a signal boost box (for this address and for one time only) that’s normally worth £110 + VAT (apx $180 + tax) for FREE. I like FREE things. They promised that the box would arrive between 15:29 and 16:29 hrs the following day (it arrived at 15:49!), and within an hour of setting it up, my mobile phone worked perfectly.

Today the internet’s a bit hit and miss, but at least I can still make phone calls or send text messages. I have the laptop for the internet, but I think it’s the poet’s provider today that’s having a slight glitch.

Fancy them normally charging £110 (+ VAT), though, to make their mobile phones work. I think that’s a bit naughty when we’re already paying for a service and usually locked in for 2 years at a time.

Anyway, all is well now. I have phone, I have internet, I have work, I have money on its way. This is all very good.

At the weekend we’re fetching a few more things over, like my baking goods and those of my possessions that have so far won the mine’s-better-than-yours battle. I also need to fetch things like outdoor coats over and walking-wear. When we can afford it, we’ll hire a van to fetch the bigger stuff over.

What’re you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, have a goodun. 🙂

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