Nice weekend off

banana loafWell, after a stressful week we wanted the weekend off and we pretty much had it, getting the shopping out of the way first and just buying some bird and dog food from the pet shop. We’ve both been fighting colds so we didn’t feel much like doing anything else.

On Saturday the poet made his own Caesar dressing and we had that, with salmon and salad, for tea.

Monkey Dust had a gig in Sheffield Saturday night, at a new venue, and it took us a while to get there. When we did, the gaffer panicked about the speakers, but by the end of the night he was converted and asking them to play again next year.

On Sunday we did more baking. The poet put another lamb shank in the slow cooker, with mint and garlic this time. Then we made a granary loaf and 4 granary rolls in the oven (the rolls and a third of the loaf have already gone), a banana tea bread (from the low fat cookbook), and another granary loaf in the bread machine.

We popped out to visit the poet’s parents on Sunday too, and on the way we stopped off to replace the bread flours – strong white, strong brown, wholemeal – and get a new tin of dried yeast.

We also bought oatmeal for parkin. We couldn’t get oatmeal from Tesco, but apparently all of the other supermarkets sell it and they don’t, so we did the baking shopping at Morrisons. And we bought cream so the poet can have a go at making his own custard – we’d already picked up a vanilla pod from Tesco.

He came back from his parents’ with a pile of art supplies and I came back with a glass pie dish, a glass quiche dish and a jar of sugared blackberries. We’ll be putting all of those to good use very soon.

And that was the weekend. The picture is of the banana tea bread and the worktop saver is the one we bought a few weeks ago. It says: “Home is where the heart is.”

The hire car went back today – it should have gone back on Friday but they only came for it today – and they should be fixing the poet’s car today.

Holly’s back at the vet on Wednesday, but we finally let her out yesterday. We didn’t let her “escape”, we just left the back door open until she noticed it. She went out about 3 times for only a few minutes before coming back in, but then went out for an hour or so. When she got back we checked her scar, and all seems intact. So we’re not keeping her in any more.

It’s my last week of NaNo prep, I have a brand new edit in today, although I’ll be doing the ones already in first, and I’ve scheduled in a couple of sessions this week on the “pro bono” work, so it isn’t dominating my time but I still get to do something with it.

What are you up to this week?

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?

Busy day tomorrow

As I have quite a busy day coming up tomorrow, I’ve decided to do some of tomorrow’s chores and jobs today, including this blog post.

First thing in the morning I have to take the dog back to the vet. He seems to have had a nail-bed infection and all of his tablets, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic, run out today. The toe itself looks a lot better than it did, although at first it didn’t look like anything and I didn’t know why he was limping. The infection flared up a couple of days after I initially took him to the vet and we had to make sure it wasn’t a grass seed that had burrowed under his skin.

The next job tomorrow is another of those admin jobs – tax my car. If I can do it online, I will. But now the laws have changed regarding displaying a valid tax disc, it’s all going to be all different on there now, and I may end up having to go to the post office to do it.

I’ll be picking the poet up at teatime, which means my working day finishes at 3:45pm instead of 5 – 5:30pm. When we move house the railway stations we can choose from should be much closer and when I have to play taxi-driver again, it won’t take such a huge chunk out of either end of my working day.

It’s our friends’ 1st wedding anniversary on Saturday, so we’ll be delivering a greetings card. And, if the poet’s train isn’t delayed, there’s a gig we fancy going to Friday night at our most local working man’s club before it’s no longer our most local any more.

In between all of that, I also have work to do.

Today I have electronic edits to do before sending the edited Word file back to the author for him to answer queries and questions. And I have diary work to do.

Yesterday I was asked if I could do another big editing job, but that hasn’t come in yet. So the next job on the list is another Great War book, another biggie. Today or tomorrow I’ll be printing off the next editing job so it can go into my editing folder.

On Saturday I want to go to the 1st Leeds write-in for NaNoWriMo 2014, but they’ve changed the times from 1pm – 3pm (core) to 2pm – 4pm. The later start means a longer lie in, but it also means a later finish, which for me means I’ll be coming into the home railway station at 5:20pm. So the jury’s still out on that one for now, even though I’ve so far said that I’m going.

Saturday evening I quite fancy a bonfire and fireworks display. We missed Bonfire Night last year so I was promised one this year, and we have 2 to choose from. The first one is Saturday night, a paid one, but in our new closest town (after 28 November). The other one is on Bonfire Night itself, next Wednesday, and it’s free, and in our current closest town. BUT … the poet’s off to Scotland again on Monday and it depends what time he gets back Wednesday evening. I think I need to “cash in” the promise on Saturday in case he doesn’t make it for next Wednesday. 😉

Sunday, for the most part, will be chill time or packing time. NaNo will have also started, so I’ll also need to write 1,667 words for that.

What are you up to over the next few days?

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One I made earlier, in 2008, at the “current local town” bonfire and fireworks display. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Pulling our horns in?

We received an offer on the house Tuesday evening which, after some negotiation, we finally accepted. We’re moving at the end of November too, so that means we have a lot to pay out in just under 6 weeks’ time. This means we need to pull in our financial horns …

… only last week we needed a new tyre on one of the cars, then the dog needed to go to the vet with a bad paw that seems to have turned into an infected nail bed, so he had to go to the vet again, then the poet broke one of his teeth, which probably means an extraction, and the band wagon needs essential maintenance to keep it on the road, which means band money won’t go very far this weekend either. There’s also road tax due on the other car, and a motor insurance premium to renew.

So much for pulling in our horns!

It’s going to be very tight, but hopefully I’ll clear enough work that falls due for payment before Day One of the new home, which will give the poet’s proper wage a bit of a boost. We have 2 proper pay days before we move, but there’s also Christmas to consider.

Selling the house and moving also, naturally, requires packing. This house needs packing up and the other house has a loft that still needs emptying. And the house we’re moving to is slightly smaller than the one we’re in, which also has its own complications. We may be doing some furniture swapping with one of the kids …

This week I cleared a lot of editing work that’s already been paid for. I also finished one book at the end of last week, and sent the invoice, and I’ve almost finished another that should be back with the client at the beginning of next week.

I have 2 articles with publications. One has been accepted, and will be paid for once it’s been published. The other they keep telling me they hope to include and will get back to me when they can. (Both were sent on spec, but both are simply that kind of submission that I just happened to be quite confident about.)

So, over the next 2 – 3 weeks I have the “little” book I’ve already started to edit plus another “little” one and then a “big” one. We’re also hoping another “big” comes in next week, giving me 2 of each. A week tomorrow, NaNoWriMo starts too, but I’m really going to have to do that after I’ve done the paid work. One day – one day – my writing will come first.

I think we’re staying in tonight, to conserve energy as much as cash as we’re off to Birmingham quite early in the morning. We have to be back by teatime as the poet has a gig tomorrow evening. On Sunday morning, the lady buying the other house is coming to have another look, and then Sunday teatime, the poet has another gig. He’s working down here on Monday (he has his second dental appointment then) and Tuesday, and going back to Scotland Wednesday morning. The dog is due back at the vet next Friday morning, and the poet will be back Friday teatime.

Maybe we’ll get next weekend off … Have a goodun.

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Looking forward to being able to walk around this whenever we want … (Picture: Diane Parkin)