Packed diary? Weekend again!

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Cusworth Hall, Doncaster – November 2013 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

“We still don’t have any new pictures for the blog,” I said.

“We must have loads of them,” he replied.

“Not of winter.”

“We have, we’ve got lots. From last year.”

“We’ve probably used them all.”

“No you haven’t. Have a look. Choose one from last year.”

So I went to have a look at last year’s pictures … and there aren’t any. This time last year we were moving house. We didn’t get a lot of time to go out and take pictures. Apart from “new house” pictures. And I know I’ve already shared all of those – some of them more than once.

So I went back another year, to 2013, to November. And there was one folder. Just the one. From Cusworth Hall in Doncaster. You’ve probably already seen this one, but as it’s a November shot … well, enjoy. ūüôā

And we might not be going out tomorrow either. We were going to go for a short walk, to start us off again building up to bigger and longer walks eventually. But on Wednesday night I did something that trapped a nerve in my neck. I didn’t feel any twinge or pain. I didn’t make any sharp or sudden movements. My neck just gradually started to get stiff. And when I woke up Thursday morning, I could hardly move.

I was going to nip down to Birmingham to see my parents yesterday. But I couldn’t even get my nightie over my head let alone drive 200 miles. So I took 2 “horse tranquillisers” (prescription co-codomol) and went back to bed. Where I slept the sleep of the dead for 4 hours. And when I woke up, the pain and the stiffness were still there.

That’s when the poet started to feed me “big pink ones” (very large ibuprofen). They do upset my stomach, and they upset his stomach too. But reading the leaflet yesterday he discovered that we’re only supposed to take one of these at a time, and he takes 2. I forced one dose down and the stiffness did indeed start to wane. The pain was still there, but at least I could move again.

Last night I took 2 more horse tranquillisers before bed and I’ve been taking big pink ones today (with food). But if I can’t even drive, or raise my arm over my head, or turn my head beyond the line of my shoulders (less on the right than on the left), then he doesn’t think we should go for a walk. Even a small one.

We’re going out tonight, and he’s driving. He has a gig tomorrow, and he’s probably driving again. Then we’re definitely going to Birmingham on Sunday and he won’t let me drive that far in case it aggravates my neck even if it is feeling better by then.

So you lot are going to have to wait another 2 weeks before there might be any more new pictures.

Saying that, I have still managed my NaNoWriMo all week and the finish line is on the horizon. Well, if I stand on tip toe, I can see it from here – it’s Monday. Then on Tuesday, I start work proper again.

I’ve also managed some work on the republication for January of Night Crawler: a Marcie Craig mystery. The interior is ready. The artwork is chosen for the cover. It just needs sharpening and tweaking and the text placing. Then I can order the first proof copy.

Today I’ve done some more pro-bono work too. We have a meeting next Wednesday evening, and the 2 chosen charities are both sending representatives to talk to us, so I’ve been liaising with them.

I still have today’s NaNo to do. I’ve been doing it of an evening, but we will be out this evening so I need to do it this afternoon. And tomorrow we have shopping to do too (as well as my NaNo) as Sunday is already full and I really wasn’t up to doing it last night.

I hope I feel up to a short walk tomorrow, but I will take it easy if I need to. I’d sooner lose just one weekend of driving and walking than have to put up with this for as many weeks (or months!) as¬†some of our friends have recently experienced.

Have a great weekend. ūüôā

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A quiet weekend?

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Walter Trout, Picturedrome, Holmfirth (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

So there was me thinking we had a quiet weekend coming up … How silly of me.

Friday night we had our first assignment for the gig list, and it was the poet’s first photography assignment too. Walter Trout was playing at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth, along with a support band and his own son as special guest, and we enjoyed all of the performances.

Sadly, though, we thought the light show was very poor compared to many other times in the past that we’ve both been there. Most of the performers had their faces in darkness for much of the time, and we struggled to get some decent pictures without dazzling or distracting everyone with flash.

We also thought the venue might benefit from some TLC. It’s looking a tad tired at the moment, with paint peeling all over and evidence of roof leaks in the otherwise still ornate ceiling. We also don’t know why we have to go around the back to get in now. What’s wrong with the front door? The back entrance is up a sloped and cobbled hill, which gets quite slippery when wet. And on Friday it was cold and wet too.

It’s still a good gig, though, and we’ll be back in December to see Roy Wood.

~~~

On Saturday we were back in Wormy’s kitchen with him boiling ham and making 6 jars of tomato ketchup and me making 2 of our 4 Christmas cakes. I did my NaNoWriMo, and on Saturday evening Monkey Dust had another gig over in Doncaster.

On Sunday, he put half a pork shoulder in the slow cooker and the other half went in the freezer. We were going to have a proper Sunday dinner, but we got up late (after the gig the night before) and we visited his parents, and we nipped to the shops. But we were eating cheese and biscuits at 4pm so were too full for a proper tea later. I think we’re having that one today instead. I did my NaNo again, and that was the weekend over with, again.

~~~

This morning I’ve been busy sifting through the photographs from Friday night (we try not to do work stuff at the weekend, having enough to do with the research/review trips and any gigs the band has), selecting about 26 (from around 100) for the Facebook page, cropping quite a few, and choosing just one for the review. Then I wrote and posted the review. It’s only short but it’s a start, and you can see it here if you’re interested.

I had some pro-bono work to do too, as the second of the charities we’re supporting has now been in touch.

I also did a little admin for the gig list, and more admin for the band. And before I knew it, the poet was home for an early dinner at just gone noon, which gives me a slightly longer than usual afternoon now he’s gone back to work.

~~~

This afternoon I still have today’s NaNo to do and a book to hard-copy edit. I also have the diary to do for this week, which I didn’t get around to last week. And I haven’t done the daily competitions today yet either.

I’d best get a shake on.

Still no new pictures …

rufus 003a… so here’s one I made¬†earlier to warm you on this blustery day.

We ended up having another very busy weekend, but we did take Friday evening off to chill in the end, and did as many of our errands as we could on Saturday.

We did the shopping. We returned the spare fancy dress outfit I bought last week in case the other one didn’t fit. We returned something to Meadowhall that was the wrong size. We collected the poet’s fishing pole from the pole doctor. We visited the poet’s parents. We went to a Monkey Dust gig in Doncaster.

On Sunday we had somewhere to be in the morning, but when we got home I made a parkin cake (only my second ever) and the poet made Hollandaise sauce so we could have eggs Benedict Рmade with home-boiled ham and chives from the garden.

He also left a brisket of beef in the slow cooker so we had that for tea with roast potatoes, veg and Yorkshire puddings.

And that was our weekend gone again. Pooff! Just like that.

Ah yes, but I still managed to do my daily NaNoWriMo, so I was quite chuffed with myself for that. I just need to update my little man in the sidebar now.

This week has been sort of busy too, although yesterday was actually a bit of a non-starter as I was shattered when we got up and hardly felt like doing anything – which is why the blog has been done today. I did do some editing, though, and I did do some more NaNoWriMo.

Today has mostly been the pro-bono job. I’ve contacted the charities concerned and I’ve updated the blog a little, and added a new post – so that’s TWO blog posts I’ve actually written today, although the other one is just a shorty. If you’re interested, you can visit the blog here and the Facebook page here.

Next up is more editing, and then I’ll do my NaNoWriMo again. I know NaNo was booked in for 11am, but I’m sort of percolating ideas and content while I’m working on other stuff so that the words flow more easily when I do sit down to do it.

And that’s it for today – busy, busy, busy! ūüôā

NaNo ready … (*** list alert ***)

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareSo, much of the past few weeks has been NaNo prep work.

Yesterday, I added a few extra guidelines to my plot and now I think I have enough to be going on with. I’ve left later chapters/scenes/days’ work a little vague but I’m hoping that, as the story progresses, some of those parts may write themselves. I also tweaked the sidebar a little – did you notice?

The diary has been completed for the first week, and “NaNoWriMo” features at 11am every day for 2 hours. Every day.

I’m not setting an additional word-count target for other work as I really, really want to do this this time. Anything extra will, therefore, be a bonus. Had I included the usual 1,000 words per day, then my target for November would have been 71,000 words, which once I’d calculated had the complete opposite effect to motivation.

Here, then, is how next week looks:

Saturday

  • NaNoWriMo kick-off party Leeds (apologies and good wishes sent)
  • collect Dad from Brum
  • Monkey Dust fancy dress Halloween gig

Sunday

  • NaNoWriMo 2015 begins
  • 11am – 1pm: NaNoWriMo

Monday

  • 8:30am: housework
  • 9am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30am: gig list admin
  • 10am: daily competitions
  • 11am: NaNoWriMo
  • 1pm: DINNER
  • 2pm: blog
  • 3pm: client editing
  • 5pm: housework
  • 5:30pm TEA
  • 6pm: take Dad home

Tuesday

  • 8:30am: housework
  • 9am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30am:¬†daily competitions
  • 10am: pro-bono work
  • 11am: NaNoWriMo
  • 1pm: DINNER
  • 2pm:¬†study work (aka EXTRA writing time)
  • 3pm: client editing
  • 5pm: housework (inc take bins out)
  • 5:30pm TEA

Wednesday

  • 8:30am: housework
  • 9am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30am:¬†daily competitions
  • 10am: blog (diary of a freelance writer)
    • + renew car insurance
  • 11am: NaNoWriMo
  • 1pm: DINNER
  • 2pm:¬†study work (aka EXTRA writing time)
  • 3pm: client editing
  • 5pm: housework (inc bring bins in)
  • 5:30pm TEA

Thursday

  • 8:30am: housework
  • 9am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30am:¬†daily competitions
  • 10am:¬†diary work
  • 10:30am: gig list admin
  • 11am: NaNoWriMo
  • 1pm: DINNER
  • 2pm:¬†pro-bono work
  • 3pm: client editing
  • 5pm: housework
  • 5:30pm TEA

Friday

  • 8am: Tom the Gas coming to drain down/overhaul hot water/central heating systems
  • 8:30am: housework
  • 9am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30am:¬†daily competitions
  • 10am: blog
  • 11am: NaNoWriMo
  • 1pm: DINNER
  • 2pm:¬†client editing
  • 4pm: invoices, admin, pc mtce
  • 5pm: housework
  • 5:30pm TEA

I know this looks a bit too structured for some, but for me it works, and it keeps me on the straight and narrow with less procrastination and lots of ticks. Often a specific job doesn’t take up the entire allocated time slot, so then I either chill by playing a game or surfing the internet, if it’s been a heavy job, or I start the next one early.

Sometimes a job takes longer than planned or something unexpected happens. For example, we’re on standby to go and collect the poet’s car any day, which will mean shifting things around. So the diary is always written in pencil as it looks much nicer with things rubbed out and replaced rather than lots of ink crossings-out and hatchings.

How does your working week look?¬†Today I have one editing job to finish and another one to start. I’m also awaiting a delivery.

As you can see, we have another busy weekend planned, and we’re still only down to one car. It’s the gig buddy’s birthday this week (yesterday) and we’re hoping they’re¬†coming to tomorrow’s gig. We’ll be picking them up on the way if there’s just the 2 of them and Dad will be pet-sitting so we don’t have to worry about dashing back.

It’s a busy month ahead for me. Good luck to everyone else reading this who’s also doing NaNoWriMo this year.

Fraught week

P1020866aIt’s been a long and fraught week for us this week, considering we had a long weekend too.

First the poet snapped a section of his very expensive brand new fishing pole.

Then the clutch caught fire on the car – and they’re trying to say it’s user abuse rather than covered under warranty (the car’s 8 months old …).

Then the cat came home on Tuesday night with a massive hole in her side, had it cleaned and stitched on Wednesday, and now has a 2-inch long scar.

It’s all money money money. And if we add to that a broken plectrum and a Sky remote control no longer working (and no, it’s not the batteries), I’d say we’ve pretty much had our fair share now, thank you very much.

Holly, by the way, is actually fine. But she can’t go out yet and she’s climbing the walls – she’s very much an outdoor hunter but¬†has lost weight since Wednesday morning, so she’s not happy. I just love this picture of her so thought it might make a nice illustration on today’s post. We have no idea what she’s done or how she did it, other than it isn’t from fighting or hunting. It looks like she’s fell against something that’s spiked her in the side. But at least it’s clean.

There hasn’t been a Diary of a Freelance Writer this week. That’s because of the long weekend and because I’ve been running backwards and forwards to the vets and to the garage, so I’ve not had a lot of writing time. The Diary will return next Wednesday, though, all being well, although Holly is back at the vet again Wednesday morning.

I’ve not done much NaNo prep work either, and that’s frustrating me. I hope to remedy that today.

It also looks as though I’m chasing another late payment too. As if I don’t already have enough to do, I really hate having to chase late payments as well.

I have been doing work on what I call the “pro bono” project. I usually give my time to some good cause or another, if it’s something close to my heart or something that interests me. I just have to limit them to one at a time.

This is memorial fundraising work in memory of a friend of Monkey Dust, the poet’s band, and I’m doing the publicity. So I’ve set up a new blog and a new Facebook page and have been sourcing, saving, uploading and crediting pictures that have been pouring in as well as the initial new setups.

I’ve done next week’s diary and allocated time to “pro bono work”, and now I need to step away from the notifications that seem to be happening all the time at the moment and crack on with some of my own work. Otherwise, I could be pecking away at it the whole time. And next week, I need to be finding time for¬†that NaNo prep work too.

Apart from one gig in Sheffield on Saturday evening, we have the whole weekend off this week. We need to do some shopping (if we have any money left), but apart from that, perhaps we’ll do some more home DIY.

What are you up to this 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 Рone 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. ūüėČ