Monday 14 July 2014 – Morecambe Bay

We both had a much better night with all of the animals settling down and the poet feeling a little better with the drugs kicking in – all over-the-counter. Breakfast today was just 2 courses – cereal followed by toast – with fruit juice for me and tea for both of us.

Sunday may have been spent in Cumbria, and we may not have left Yorkshire for our actual holiday home, but today, on Monday, the poet said he felt like a trip to the seaside (or “coast” as they say up here), and as Morecambe is the closest, we spent today over the other border – and in enemy territory – in Lancashire.

We had a lovely ride over along the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales, down to Kirkby Lonsdale. We stopped off to take some photographs and decided it might be nice to come here for a walk and a picnic beside the bubbling river – weather permitting – later in the week. We watched a shepherd herd his sheep from one side of the dale to another, and were quite surprised when a road hog in a Land Rover overtook us as we waited for the sheep and he almost ran some of the sheep off the road. We thought perhaps he lived there and was a local who knew the road and, quite possibly, the sheep and the farmer. We were still surprised, though, and would have been slammed if we’d done it.

From Kirkby Lonsdale we turned south-west and headed to Morecambe Bay, an area of special scientific interest due to the number of seabirds that migrate there every year. I love Morecambe Bay. I’ve had a holiday there and I went back and interviewed the Sandwalker of Morecambe Bay for an article I sold several times. It was nice to visit with the poet, who thought the sea, which was in, looked like “very thin mud”. Well, he is a Yorkshireman.

We both had our pictures taken with the very famous statue of comedy legend Eric Morecambe, and so did the dog. The weather stayed dry for our walk along the esplanade, and we were able to take more pictures and enjoy a fish and chip lunch – although we both had sausages instead of fish – with pop and followed by freshly fried and sugared doughnuts. We bought a jar of assorted rock and a bag of chocolate-coated honeycomb pieces before making our way back to the cottage via the same route, almost, in rain that was actually very low cloud.

We learned that the river in Lancaster is called the Lune, which is the old name for Lancashire. My Yorkshireman was very happy with that. (With apologies to all of my Lancashire buddies …) That meant the old, and therefore real, name for Lancaster would be Lunecaster and the old, and therefore real, name for Lancashire would be Lunecashire, which meant it was a county of Lune-ies … Yes, he was very happy. That made his day.

It was a bit chilly, so first job as soon as we got back was to build the fire – or the poet did. And then he made us some pasta in a cheese sauce with salad for our tea. He really is very well-trained.

Both cats seemed happy today to wander around at will. Domino had already tried to go outside, which is something she doesn’t even try to do at home. Holly had looked out of every single window, without trying to escape – so far. And Rufus … well, Rufus just acted as though he lived there and wanted to play ball. The. Whole. Time.

After tea we settled down in front of the fire and alternately watched the rain fall through the window and the screen pixelate on the telly.

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Eric and Ian having a chat. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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Diane and Eric – and Rufus. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Day 03 023
The various peaks if they could be seen from Morecambe Bay. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Day 03 013
Wormy (and Rufus) pointing to his own crag. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Day 03 015
Morecambe Bay. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Day 03 017
Morecambe Bay. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Day 03 020
Engraving at the memorial rose garden in memory of the Chinese cockle pickers who died. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
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The memorial rose garden in memory of the Chinese cockle pickers who died. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Enjoy!

Back on track

One of those article pitches I wanted to send? I sent it yesterday. She just commissioned it. I’m very happy about that – I need to scratch that freelance itch. 🙂

I’m hoping I’m back on track now. I spent some considerable time planning the diary for the next couple of weeks and a lot of time pitching for work. Two editing jobs have already come in from there, one for this week and one for a week in August, and one of those will lead to at least one other job. I also have another book to edit this week and I have loose ends to tie up on a previous novel.

On Monday I was very smug because I completed my expenditure for 2012 – 2013 and I submitted my tax return. I also pitched for 2 editing jobs, and I got my walks report written and off to 6 local newspapers. On Tuesday I pitched for another 3 editing jobs and spent much of the day finalising terms on those already mentioned.

I’ve filled in all the necessary bureaucratic forms I need to at the moment, which will free up time. I still have one phone call to make and one batch of information to send off, and then that’s me done with other people’s guff for the timebeing.

And then I can concentrate on my own work and the work I already have in.

I’m a day short this week due to a Do Diddle Day on Friday. For those new to Baggins Bottom, this is a day off every month where the diary stays empty. Nothing is planned, nothing is booked. I just get up in the morning – if I feel like it – and do whatever the hell I please. This could be absolutely nothing or it could be catching up on DVDs. It could be reading, or writing, or thinking. It can be a trip to the seaside or to the country. Or it could be work if I want. It can be an unscheduled trip to see the parents or it can be a day shopping. The thing is, you don’t plan …

… only this time there is a bit of a plan, and this was mostly due to timing than anything else. This Friday evening I’m off to Birmingham to support one of my favourite Yorkshire bands and to see some of my Brummie friends. I’ll also pop in to see Mom and Dad, make sure they’re all right. And it’s a belated birthday treat for one of said Brummie friends. I’m coming back afterwards, but because it’s a Do Diddle Day, I’ll probably have a long lie-in to compensate for the late night.

Rufus is also off for a big adventure. The poet’s coming to collect him and they’re going to have some quality time together. 😀 If the dog settles, he’s staying out all night; if he doesn’t, he’s coming back home. I’m not sure which of them is more excited!

27 julyOn Saturday we’re off to the Coalfields festival in Barnsley. There are a couple of bands on I’d like to see, but this festival happens every year and it’s the first time I’ll have made it. We won’t be there all day, but it’ll be nice to show our faces.

Then on Sunday … nothing. I have absolutely nothing planned for Sunday. Perhaps a run to the seaside or the country, perhaps the rest of my Do Diddle Day. But Sunday, this week, is an actual real day of rest. For now.

See you on the other side of the weekend.

Thanking the stars

On Monday night it took me nearly 3 hours just to open the post. Straight away I was able to get rid of 3 piles. 1. straight in the rubbish; 2. straight in the recycle bin; 3. shredded and then into the recycle bin. The shredded pile took the remainder of the 3rd hour and filled 4 shredder bins or 1 dustbin liner.

I was able to dispatch a 4th pile pretty much straight away too, into an envelope and off to someone else, while pile no 5 went straight into the filing folder. That left pile no 6 for “reading later”, and pile no 7 for “dealing with NOW”. That was the urgent stuff I was looking for.

I’ve never had so many piles …

It was quite traumatic, I must admit. But it was nice to get my 2 mailing trays back (in and out) and the now-vanished pile of post was good Feng Shui.

I really, really need to get into the habit of touching the post just once – whether that means shredding or binning or recycling it straight away or, heaven forbid, actually dealing with it immediately.

Of course, the filing pile is now a different story. I’m going to have to do daily 5-minute bursts to try and get that shifted. I’m almost certain I have another pile of filing shoved away in a cupboard somewhere too.

I finally sank into a bath at 10:45pm, but at least it was another job jobbed and it did feel good to have the clear desk and all that rubbish gone.

On Tuesday, when the post came in, I touched it once … and shredded, recycled and binned straight away. That felt good too.

Tuesday was a glorious day and as I’d finished the proofreading job I was scheduled to finish, written and filed the walks report, met an obligation in town, and delivered one of those urgent forms I needed to fill in NOW, I decided I fancied and deserved a nice run to the seaside. Rufus had a great time there, we had fish and chips, a lovely walk along the beach, and we headed home at a reasonable time.

But halfway along the motorway the car cut out and I managed to limp onto the hard shoulder. We waited for over an hour for the AA to come out but he could only do a recovery, and he was close to his driving hours too, so we also had to give him a 45 minute break. He got us home for about 1am.

On Monday I was talking to the Universe; today I’m thanking stars. But I have a lot to be thankful for – for being in the AA, for the motorway being relatively empty, for not losing control of the car, for the dog not escaping across the carriageway, for not being alone, for nothing crashing into us on the hard shoulder, and for getting home safely. It could have been so much worse.

We had to abandon the car outside someone’s house, but my lovely mechanic has been out this morning to collect it, identified the problem, and will look at it as soon as he can. Meanwhile, and if it’s too expensive, I’m grounded again. But we’re all safe.

I couldn’t hand-deliver the job I finished yesterday, so that will be going via the post office later on this afternoon.

Today a new job landed on my desk – I touched it once, put it straight into my work folder and disposed of the packaging. Now I have to decide whether to crack on with that one, and therefore invoice it quickly, or carry on with the plan and write up the first chapter of my non-fiction.

I’m a bit tired, so I’m doing pc and internet admin stuff for now. I’ll see how I feel later on today and decide then.

Friday – the planets … 😉

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It starts here … well, yesterday …

blog thumbnailSo the end of last week once again disappeared beneath a pile of work, but at least the work is there, and at least I’m getting it done. I’m just not able to bob online as much as I’d like.

Friday evening, though, I finished one proper big job, was paid for another one, and I won another. And that, with my own work, has filled me up for March with what I already have in. Good stuff.

On Saturday I went shopping and took the dog with me to the pet shop to get weighed as I’ve started the flea programme now for all the pets. The cats just need to be “adult” or “kitten”, but they need to know how heavy the dogs are. And mine’s a fat little sausage at 11.2kg. (He’s not really fat. I’ve seen sausage dogs that are really overweight and Rufus is still, and will be for a while yet, very fit.)

After working solidly all week again I didn’t feel up to going out Saturday night and just chilled in front of the telly instead.

Then on Sunday I packed the dog into the car and we went to the seaside. I had a picnic in the car, overlooking the sea front, and Rufus could hardly believe how many dogs were just wandering past. I made him stay in the car until he got fed up of barking at them. He needs to get used to other dogs and know he doesn’t have to chase them all. On our beach walk (about an hour) I kept him on the long lead and, in the main, he was very well behaved, not tugging on the lead at all and coming back to me rather than pull away from me when I called him.

Maybe we’re finally getting there. I mean, he is nearly two … lots of other dogs are trained by now, but he does love to chase other dogs. (Sigh.)

Today I started work on a new project, a proof-reading job. And I walked the dog in our fields for the first time this year as they’ve dried out now – I almost lost both wellies last time I went on that walk and thought I’d be stranded. I let the dog off his lead, but kept hiding from him so he had to keep looking for me. He was so good I think he got sick of all the dog treats.

The birthday week started yesterday with our trip to the seaside. I’m out Wednesday evening. On Friday I’m being taken for a birthday meal. And Saturday is the football game, a night out with my Brummie pals and a visit to see the parents.