Clockwork tomato

Catch the Rainbow

Today I’ve been finding the clockwork tomato very useful, due to being overwhelmed by the amount of washing we have lying around at the moment.

Honestly, it came to the point that we had to stand on the washing to get it all to fit in the laundry basket, but the washing machine was full, the clothes horse was full, the tumble dryer was full, and the washing baskets were full. I really had nowhere to put anything. Other than, of course, away …

Enough’s enough, though, and this morning, out came the clockwork tomato for as many 10-minute bursts as I can fit in.

First chore this morning was the dishwasher – emptying it from the wash program it was on overnight, and starting to fill it with today’s crocks and glasses. Then it was breakfast, and then I did some gig list admin. I finished that work early, though, so set the timer and blitzed the clean washing for 10 minutes. Then I had 10 minutes faffing on Facebook. Then it was back to the list of chores.

The next thing on the list was daily competitions. But I’d worked on Saturday, either side of a football game in Doncaster (and finishing at 9pm Saturday night!), and part of my warm-up was daily competitions. I don’t usually do them at the weekend as I’m not usually at the desktop. But doing them on Saturday meant less time catching up this morning. So when I finished that early, off I went to do another 10 minutes on the washing.

For the first time ever, the next job on the list was “writing work”, with the subheadings “NaNo Prep”, “Catch the Rainbow”, and a gap I filled in with “5 ideas in 7 days (7)”. This is the last of my 5 ideas in 7 days and it means I now have 35 ideas all written down – and I selected one of them for my NaNo prep. I also chose the genre for my NaNo, and I wrote over 1,600 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW. This morning! Before any other work! I’m very, very happy with that. Especially as it’s taken the word meter over the 20,000-word mark. 😀 (Diane pats herself on the back.)

I had 20 minutes left at the end of my writing time, and I toyed with setting the timer and having another bash at the washing. But I decided to bring the blog posting forward from 2pm this afternoon instead. If I finish this before the poet gets home for his dinner, I’ll have another 10 minutes on the washing and be able to start something else when he goes back to work.

But, whatever, it means I’m more than a whole hour ahead of schedule.

I do have a big editing job I want to finish, or at least make a massive dent in. So that will take up much of the afternoon. I finished one of the heavy edits on Saturday and got it sent off to the client, which was why I was working until 9pm.

I had to break off work to go to the football game. We’d been given complimentary tickets to see Doncaster Rovers play Barnsley, and so we made a nice afternoon of it, even eating in the corporate box. And on Sunday we went to Birmingham to visit my parents. While there, I sat with Mom while the poet took Dad to get his winter pansies. The pots should look nice next time we’re there.

We didn’t have time to make any apple pies or apple & elderberry crumbles, but we did go sloe-picking Friday evening before the light went. Even Domino the cat came with us, she hates to miss out on anything. He’s taken some of those sloes to work as the lady in the canteen asked him to fetch her some if we picked enough. The cooking apples, however, are still in their bag on the worktop … Maybe this evening.

The cuckoo clock downstairs has just sounded 1 o’clock, so I won’t have time to put any more washing away before lunch. I will, however, have plenty of breaks in this afternoon’s heavy edit and see how much more I can get done.

Have you tried the 10-minute sprints and bursts yet? I can highly recommend them.

Ode to Autumn

Picture: Ian Wordsworth

The weather has been beautiful this week, very autumnal. We’ve woken to mists that have been burned off by the sun during the day. The ground is damp underfoot. And the hedgerows are bursting with “mellow fruitfulness”.   I can almost smell bonfire night already.

We went shopping yesterday evening, and between us arriving at the supermarket (apx 7pm) and emerging with our goods (apx 8pm), another mist (and the night) had come down and settled in pockets.

It’s still very warm in our sun trap of a garden during the day, but the temperature has really started to drop at night.

Winter’s almost here. I do love our seasons. They’re what help make our land so green and pleasant.

It’s been another busy week with a day lost on Monday. I’ve been trying to clear 2 jobs, a heavy edit and a new edit. I should get at least one done by the end of today, said she hopefully … It’s also been the start of a new month and that brings with it new month admin – updating diaries, spreadsheets, workloads, finances, etc.

Yesterday I did next week’s diary. And for the first time ever, “writing work” has moved UP a time slot. To before the blog post, even. I have been striving so long for this to happen. It still has one notch to go – I tend to do the daily competitions as a bit of a warm-up while my eyes unstick from the night. But I’ll see how it goes where it is now, for now. On Mondays, I still have “gig list admin” to do first, as people are usually waiting for a post before sending us their gigs for the week. But for the rest of the week, it goes something like this:

  • Housework
  • Daily competitions
  • Writing work
  • etc …

Mind you, if we don’t win something soon, I can see daily competitions being missed off again for a while. (The first housework slot is actually getting the house up for the day, and off to work where applicable.)

The writing work slot is broken down further, and this month that includes the following:

  • writing work
    • Catch the Rainbow
    • NaNo prep
    • short writing
    • (leave blank for any extras)

At the moment I have 2 hours each day dedicated to writing work. Next week I also have 1 x 2-hour slot and 2 x 1-hour slots dedicated to study work. This is writing too. It’s my fiction writing course, and when it’s finished, that’ll be 4 extra hours each week for something.

For NaNoWriMo next month I’ve already decided to keep this structure going and run NaNo alongside my usual writing commitments. It might be that daily competitions and study work get the month off. What I don’t want to do is write nothing because (a) my NaNo has stalled, or (b) my regular writing has stalled. Even if one fails, I still want the other to carry on.

October is prep month for NaNo, which is why it gets a sub-slot within the writing work slot this month. At the moment I’m wondering which project to go with:

  • YA
  • novella
  • romance … (unlikely)
  • steampunk
  • murder/mystery
  • a mix of 2 or more of the above

Something will come to me, I’ve already asked the Cosmos.

Meanwhile, we have another very busy weekend coming up. I’m sure the poet said he wants to go picking sloes this evening. We had our first frost last night so we might not have to freeze them now. If the light goes as quickly as it did last night, that doesn’t give us much time. But at least the sloes are only along our lane. We don’t have any stiles to go scrambling over.

We still have apple pies and apple & elderberry crumble to make.

Tomorrow we have a bank appointment, though judging from the last conversation we had that might be getting cancelled, and then we’re off to a football match. Doncaster Rovers v Barnsley. Leeds United are also playing Birmingham City, but we decided to go with the cheaper option. There will be fewer tears that way too – from the poet! 😉

And on Sunday we’re off to Birmingham. We went to the poet’s parents’ last night, and it’s my parents’ on Sunday.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the poem.

Ode To Autumn – John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

With thanks to All Poetry.