Tis done

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With Rufus on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Today’s picture is for illustration.

Finally, after several very long weeks, we are done. We have moved everything from one house to the other and handed back the keys for the old house. For the first time in more than a month, we don’t have to go out this evening to take or collect stuff. It is done, it is over.

Saying that, I’m convinced we’ve left some cooking pans in the bottom of a cupboard – at least 3 roasting dishes and some loaf tin liners. But hey, if we have, and if we need them, we’ll just have to buy some more. If we have and we don’t miss them, then it’s less clutter. And if we haven’t, then that’s great.

It was a very, very busy weekend, though.

On Friday the first job we had was to drop my car off for its MOT. Then we collected a self-drive van so that we could take stuff from the garden and from the garage to the new house, and any other stuff that wouldn’t fit in one of the cars very well. We made 2 full trips in all before going back to collect my car. (It failed, but only a little bit.)

The following morning, Saturday, we filled the van for a run to the tip … but when we got to the tip they wouldn’t let us on. Long-wheel-base vehicles aren’t permitted, apparently. I thought they were, but you had to pay a tenner.

The van had to be back by 10am, so we went back to the van hire place, explained the situation, and the owner very kindly let us empty the van into the car so we could try again at the tip. We made 2 trips back to the tip in the end. And in the afternoon we did the weekly shopping and went back to the new house for tea/the evening.

On Sunday, at 9am, we headed off to Birmingham to take my dad to Alrewas for the National Service Memorial Day at the National Memorial Arboretum. The weather was a bit breezy but it stayed kind to us. And Dad had a nice time. Pictures will follow. When we got home, we had a pork dinner, having left a pork joint in the slow cooker.

Monday morning we had to go back to the old house to hand the keys over. But it was great to come back and not have to go anywhere for the rest of the day. It was a nice day, though, so the poet busied himself tidying the stable and the shed, doing a bit of petrol-strimming, and painting a fence. He also baked a loaf of bread – in the oven, not the bread machine.

I also did some bits and bobs. I’d had a hospital appointment, which I cancelled in the end. It wasn’t important and we needed some time out. I tried baking some sugar-free blueberry muffins, but the mix was too dry and they went in the bin. Instead I fell back on an old standard – individual buns or fairy cakes, making them with milk chocolate chunks.

This morning, the poet went back to work, and so did I. But we’re quite excited about not having to go anywhere this evening when he comes home. I may take the dog for a walk to post a letter – the nearest letter box is quite a walk away – but apart from that I think we’ll be emptying boxes. Deep joy.

Packed weekend

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Sloes (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We had another jam-packed weekend, and we didn’t even go out anywhere. Or not at night, at any rate.

Saturday began with a drive to the tackle shop for a practice fish on Sunday. I thought the match was next weekend, but it’s the weekend after, which is fortunate as we’re busy this coming weekend.

Then we drove up to Winfields near Selby to have a look at the tent we thought we’d chosen, and there was another there that we prefer, which is dearer but bigger. They have a bigger store in Hull and another, their flagship, in Haslingden. So we want to have another run out one of the days to look at accessories too. When we can afford the tent, we’ll buy one.

We’ve really become taken with the inflatable tents, so I think we’re more likely to stick with one of those now, rather than aim for a trailer tent. They’re as big as the old frame tents used to be, but much more lightweight and easier to carry. I do need a bed off the floor, but we might just go for a double-height double-width airbed (campbeds are the most uncomfortable beds in the entire world, so there’s no way I’ll be attracted to buy one of those again – ever).

After that we headed cross country to the Yorkshire Dales/Pennines for the first of a series of research trips and visits. We had a lovely afternoon in Haworth. Here we took lots of pictures, soaked up the atmosphere, and snacked on sandwiches and cake.

It was late by the time we got home and the poet needed some light to prepare his rigs for the following day.

Sunday morning we were up and off with the car packed to visit the poet’s parents in Doncaster and then head off to the fishery. He had a good afternoon experimenting with various techniques and baits and is more confident about the match.

When we got home, a pork casserole was waiting for us in the slow cooker, and we also made a pudding/cake of apricot cut and come again cake and some chocolate chip cookies … well, I started to make them but he finished them. He loves to have a go at anything like that.

This week is another 4-day week and I have lots to pack in. I have one book to edit and another to proofread, both for just the one client. I also have last week’s invoice to raise – I finished and submitted last week’s biggie, but didn’t have time to raise the invoice.  I have 2 hours of study time booked in this week and I intend to use it. I have 10 hours of writing time booked in too, and I intend to use that as well.

We have lots of pictures from the weekend again, but I’m still using those from Evesham and Kinder. Today’s picture was taken on our walk around Coughton Court last weekend.

Lovely cuckoo “watch”

ATT_1427703943756_20150330_092031Well, it was only a couple of weeks in the end. But here I am, back again. Did you miss me?

I’ve been very busy getting used to the new work schedule. Adding a slot in the morning and again in the late afternoon for “housework” has been a huge help. Now I do things like put washing through, unload the dishwasher, put clothes or crocks away, etc, only during those slots and ignore the chores for the rest of the day. And it means I’ve been doing a lot more work in between.

I’m not convinced about the slow cooker we’ve just started to use, as I thought they were initially designed to save time. However, looking through the instruction manual, it does say the crock pot needs switching on for 20 minutes before adding any food, which suggests you have to do all the food prep before going to (or starting) work. This would be no use to us whatsoever as the mornings are already very full getting the poet up and off to work, feeding us all, and doing the chores already scheduled.

Yesterday, however, we gave it a go but prepared the ingredients and left them in the pot overnight. I’m worried this will amount to a marinade and might take some of the other taste away. It’s switched on now, though, with an extra half an hour to compensate for no pre-heating and we’ll find out at teatime if it’s workable that way or not. If not, it’s going on ebay …

Hints and tips gratefully received. 🙂

The other thing I’ve been doing is preparing 2 new books for publication. One is TALES FROM BAGGINS BOTTOM BEST BITS BOOK TWO, which is due out on Wednesday … and still needs work for the Smashwords version to be accepted; the other is TWEE TALES TOO. Yes, I’ve finally collated enough material for a second volume of short stories. This one is due out on 1 May while we’ll actually, ahem, be otherwise engaged. I still have work to do on both, but the Kindle version of BBBBB2 is okay. The paperback may follow a week or so later.

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As you can see I’ve started to put book titles in capital letters. This is mostly because if I copy and paste any of the blog into another Baggins Bottom book it should save me a lot of time reformatting for Smashwords. It really doesn’t like too many bold or italic fonts.

I’ve also been working on my own fiction. There are a few short stories out there now, doing the rounds, earning their keep, and I’ve settled down to more work on CATCH THE RAINBOW and THE BEAST WITHIN, and made notes for THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME – a new Marcie Craig. Today I’m starting my GARDENING FROM SCRATCH diary too. At the weekend we bought 3 lovely new exercise books as I like to start work in those.

While I’ve been missing, I’ve registered on 2 new job boards too, and revived one I let go a few years ago. That means I now surf 4 job boards at least twice a week, but also have quite a few invitations to respond to in between.

I’ve cleared 2 jobs for lovely already client and sent those back to him, and I’m about to finish a 3rd before starting a 4th. So I’ve not really been idle. What have you been up to?

20150330_095959The poet spent his last few days over in Germany last week, we hope, and when he came home, via Switzerland, he was clutching this rather splendid cuckoo clock – or, as his German friends call it, a cuckoo “watch”.

Here he is saying hello. Do you like him? 🙂