Gone fishin’

It was bank holiday weekend here in the UK just gone, and – as ever – ours was quite full and busy.

On Friday the poet had been dragged into a meeting at work, so didn’t get back as early as we’d hoped. We were up early the next day, so didn’t go out and had an early night.

On Saturday morning we headed off, earlyish, to Solihull to see my parents. We had an hour with them, and then drove on to Evesham, where they were having their annual fishing festival. We had to go cross-country because the M42 was rammed, with holiday traffic. But fortunately, as I’m a local lass, we found it in the end, and I was able to show off some of Warwickshire and Worcestershire’s beautiful villages on the way.

We had a few hours there, watching the river anglers battle the elements and the pike (the pike kept pinching their fish). It poured with rain and the wind blew a bit of a gale. But we were able to shelter beneath the heavy canopy of some trees and eat hotdogs and doughnuts.

Rufus found a whole sausage under a table, and he had a good walk down the riverbank and back, and was quite well-behaved, considering the number of other dogs there.

The beautiful River Avon. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The river looks lovely even in the rain. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
“Will Raison, fish a bung at this stage.” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
“Wayne Swinscoe, river legend.” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
“Lee Kerry, willing the tip to fly round.” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
“Mark Downs, where’s the fish? This river used to be proper bostin.” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
“Fatha, aka Denis White, river god, on his way to a section win.” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
“Des Shipp, on his way to victory, a class act on any venue.” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Ferry, ‘cross the Avon … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Back in the day, the poet would never had entertained the idea of Evesham and back in a day, it being the other side of the world. But since he’s been coming to Birmingham we me once a fortnight, the other side of the world suddenly doesn’t seem as far. So we headed back, on the motorway this time as the traffic had dissipated, bought fish and chips on the way, and had tea with Mom and Dad.

We got back later than we usually do, and the following day we were off again. This time to fish locally-ish – down in Retford, Nottinghamshire. We went to Hallcroft because they’re dog-friendly. They even provide a big bowl of water for the dogs. And after a slow start, he finally got some bites…

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These pictures are a bit grainy as they were taken on the mobile phone. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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The first catch of the day was apparently a beauty. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
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(Picture: Diane Parkin)
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And this one had apparently never been caught before … (Picture: Diane Parkin)

I’d taken my writing boot camp with me and, once the dog settled, managed to do some work. I have lots of plans and ideas in place now. Now it’s time to start writing.

On the way back we dropped in to see his parents, in Doncaster. And when we got home we watched The Wind that Shakes the Barley. A cracking, thought-provoking film.

On Monday we had a lazy start, but still had some running around to do, which we did in my car to keep the battery charged… for what it was worth… see later. And Monday night’s viewing was that wonderful classic, where the Germans all speak in perfectly clipped English, The Eagle Has Landed, one of my all time favourite books/films.

This morning I had to run the poet to the station again, as he’s off to Scotland again. My exhaust had been blowing since Friday, but he didn’t think it sounded any different. We got halfway to Doncaster when the exhaust fell off… Oh dear. So he had to call a taxi while I called the AA.

They said the AA man would be with me at 9:05am, but he made it at 8:36am (what a very, very nice man…). The poet missed one train and caught the next, and I was back home by 9:30am, after having another flat battery. The car’s now booked in to have the exhaust looked at, the battery examined, a new bonnet prop catch, the airbag light continually being on, and the rear windscreen washer not working… I hope I win a new car soon. (sigh).

So, that’s my weekend and my day so far. I still have lots to do, like author/proofreader revisions on several non-fictions. I have the writing boot camp work to go back to, as well as new work on that. I have jobs to search and pitch for. And I have a walks report to write and submit. I’m also quite delighted to see that I can revert back to the old WordPress editor if I want to. They must have had several complaints about the new interface.

What are you up to this week?

Pesky car

It’s been another busy week, we’re still only halfway through (the working week), and there’s still loads to to.

I’ve been doing the electronic edits on the historical novel I finished the manual edit for last week, I’ve been writing and planning The Beast Within, and I’ve had more drama with the car and the dog.

Yesterday my day was broken in half by an appointment and I didn’t finish work until about 6:30pm. The dog hadn’t been walked and I needed to get petrol, so I headed out to kill two birds …

… I didn’t make it out of the village. My car cut out again, but fortunately I’d gone far enough to be able to call the AA. They got to me at about 7:30pm but, thankfully, were able to perform a roadside rescue this time and get me back on my way.

Phew! I thought it was going to be another expensive job, but it was something he was able to fix and the fix should hold for several weeks – two fixes, actually. One was an accident trip switch that had become dislodged, bounced against something in the engine, and cut the power. At least we now know it’s there and that it works …

The most traumatic part was when Rufus, who I’d taken out of the car because it was still too warm to leave him in there, escaped from my clutches and dashed across the main road after another dog, right into the path of an oncoming Transit van. Fortunately the van driver had time to gauge whether or not it was safe to slam his brakes on, and he slammed his brakes on.

I was upset, the van driver was upset, a young lad from the village who was keeping me company was upset, and the couple whose dog Rufus had dashed across the road for were upset. I was talking to someone on the phone at the time, screamed down his earhole and dropped the phone – so he was upset as well. Rufus was laffing his head off!

And he really is in my very bad books now. He’s old enough to be doing as he’s told and not dashing across main roads, so I’m being particularly strict with him at the moment because he really, really should be behaving himself by now.

But I have a problem in that when I’m trying to discipline my dog, onlookers start to fuss him, making “ahhhh” noises and saying he’s not doing anything wrong, when clearly he is. This is undermining my discipline of the dog and not helping at all, and it does make me quite cross. I’d understand it if I was taking a big stick to him, but I’m just telling him off (he knows “bad boy” and he knows “naughty!”). Please let me discipline my dog!

Afterwards I went and got my petrol, but he didn’t get a walk. Instead I bought a KFC for my (very late) tea and treated myself to an ice cream as well – they gave me a fork to eat it with …

Today I had another meeting that cut my day in half, and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. But it turned out to be very useful as I appear to be entitled to working tax credits, so as soon as I got home I set the ball rolling for that too.

On the way home I dropped in to see my car mechanic to make sure that the fixes the AA man did will hold until I’m due in next. They know my car there and assured me it would be fine, but I do need to take it back at the end of August.

I’ve done the gig list but I still have to take the dog for a walk. It’s cooler today and I’ll take him shortly. Tonight we’re off to see a friend of mine talk about her latest book.

Tomorrow I may get around to doing some work again …

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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