3 weeks ago

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

Three weeks ago today the poet and I tied the knot in Gretna Green, in Scotland.

We decided to go to Scotland because we already wanted to honeymoon there and we didn’t want our friends or families to feel obliged to come to yet another wedding – this is my 3rd wedding and his 2nd.

Two of our friends, however, wouldn’t let us get married either on our own or without them. And so they travelled with us and helped make our special day so much more special. (Sharon made the dress too, by the way.) We had a lovely ceremony, performed by a registrar who hailed from Barnsley too. So it was a nice little local celebration anyway.

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The Chapel at the Mill Forge. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’m not going to bang on and on about the wedding. I’m sure all of you know how they go. But here is a small selection of photographs to give you a feel while I carry on with the rest of today’s blog post.

It’s been a stupidly busy week not helped at all by the torrential rain that greeted us when we got back. I have piles and piles and piles of washing still to do, from both the 2 holidays but also what we left before we went and what we’ve used since we got back.

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Hand pump. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The tumble dryer has been in action, but the washing line has only been filled once this week, and still the laundry basket overflows.

I’d allowed myself half a day to do the washing, but I should have allowed (a) much longer, and (b) more time just to change my name online. I’ve had to change all of my contact details as well as username where I can, and I’ve had to find out who to write to if they need to change username.

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Waterwheel. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

This includes WordPress (for this blog), Blogger (for the gig list), Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo (for the email address) …

It includes notifying everyone and hoping the email hasn’t gone into their spam. It includes 3 job boards I’m registered on. And it includes a lot of the daily competition auto-complete information. It’s taken the best part of 3 days, and still it’s not all done.

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Man of steel. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

What it doesn’t include so far is my banking details – which is the important thing – my driving licence, and my passport. But I can’t do those until the marriage certificate arrives. So I still have tons and tons to do on the name change front. And a marriage certificate to chase …

Also this week I’ve launched the new website. I’d already done the bulk of this work in downtime earlier in the year. But being a superstitious kinda gal, I didn’t want to officially launch it until after the official name change.

The website is still very much a work-in-progress and some of you have already started to give me feedback – all of which I will attend to, digest, and apply if desired. Thanks for all of the messages so far.

One new thing I have created this week is a Facebook page.

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Diane and Ian signing the register. (Picture: Billy Rodgers)

My old Facebook profile is now a joint one as the poet decided he didn’t want a FB presence any more. But as he still needs to administer the gig list (both the website/blog and the Facebook page) and his Monkey Dust page, he’s going in on mine.

The new page, which I’ve resisted creating for so long but now seems the natural thing to do, can be found here. I don’t know what it will include as yet, but presume it will be all the writerly/editing/workish stuff I already share on the profile, but which I’ll be doing less of now it’s a joint profile. Again, it will no doubt evolve.

So that’s all the admin stuff …

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Our lovely friends, Billy and Sharon, who wouldn’t let us get married on our own. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

… what about the writing side of things?

Well, I’ve been stupidly busy there too, furiously brainstorming a million and one article ideas following our recent travels. I’ve filled in pages and pages of my notebook and selected 5 – so far – to maybe concentrate on for now.

I’ve always been a natural feature writer, and while I’m desperately trying to get back into fiction (long and short), I may as well exercise the writing muscle anyway. So I’ve been very busy with that as well.

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(Picture: Ian Wordsworth – he has a remote control)

And, of course, the brain has been percolating quietly away on the fiction side of things too. Next week I start work again on CATCH THE RAINBOW.

[PAUSE]

My lovely husband just came home and treated me to lunch “out” (aka sandwich and cake from Gregg’s), and before he got here the postman brought … (ta-daa) our marriage certificate.

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Picture: Billy Rodgers (although you can see his remote in this pic)

This was particularly useful because we needed it as we were registering at our local doctor’s. He’d already tried to register several months ago online and had also returned a questionnaire to them. But it somehow got lost in transit and he needed to register in person.

So that’s where he took me during his lunch break. That’s what I like to see – a man who knows how to treat his wife! 🙂

Of course, now the certificate has arrived, my workload has just jumped up again. But I think I’ve had enough this week. I’ll start again next week.

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I love this picture from the end of the evening. They’d both made speeches and everything, and I think Ian looks really relaxed. (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

Today, then – or what’s left of it – I had planned to start a new edit that arrived on the very same day that I started back at work. Unfortunately, it sat in my in box for 2 days before I spotted it. Fortunately, they knew we were going away and hadn’t offered it anywhere else yet.

I also have at least one more to do for lovely already boss, with another 2 potential jobs hopefully on their way. I already completed proofreader and author revisions on another yesterday, and we delivered it by hand yesterday evening on the way back from band practice.

We’re having at least one do-diddle-day over this coming bank holiday weekend, we’re visiting the parents in both Birmingham and in Doncaster, and we might go to the pictures. Other than that, we’re having the weekend off.

Enjoy the pictures. 🙂

Lots of news today

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Picture: Billy Rodgers

Such a lot has happened in the past few weeks, I hardly know where to start.

We got back at just before 2am Sunday night/Monday morning after a 4-hour  non-stop drive from Glasgow airport in pouring rain. The poet was straight back to work for 8:45am on Monday, and while I’d given myself the morning off to empty cases and do the washing, that clearly wasn’t enough and we’ve been in a bit of a tired whirl ever since.

So, from the beginning …

On 30 April my dad and my sister arrived to look after the animals and for Dad to have a bit of a break. The poet was at work until 5pm and I’d spent the day changing beds, washing crocks, packing suitcases, etc. By 5:30pm we were on our way to Gretna Green for our wedding the following day.

At some point along the A66 we wondered how our friends Billy and Sharon were doing. From the moment we told them we were getting married they’d said we weren’t getting married without them, and while we wanted a small, private ceremony, we were happy to have 2 friendly faces with us and the poet gave them a job each – best man and maid of honour, and also our witnesses. At almost the same moment we had a phone call from Billy. They were only in the car in front!

We all arrived just in time to have dinner in the restaurant, and we arranged to meet at breakfast the following morning too, which the poet and I managed with about 5 minutes to spare. At about 10am we all went off on an orientation drive of the area and were back by 3pm because the flowers were due at 3:30pm.

Ian and Billy went off at 5pm to be collected from the bar at 5:15pm, and we were to be collected at bang on 5:30pm. They came to see how we were doing at 5:20pm, and as we were ready and there wasn’t a ceremony before ours, they were able to fit us in a little early. And one of the nicest things of all was that our registrar’s home town was Barnsley, the same village as Sharon and Billy, in fact. So that made for a nice atmosphere.

Ten minutes later we were married.

We weren’t married in the usual centre of Gretna Green but a smaller hamlet just outside. But we all agreed that the ceremony was lovely and the accommodation and food was great.

On Saturday morning, we waved Sharon and Billy goodbye, and Gretna Green, and while they went home, we headed further north for the first leg of our honeymoon. We had 3 nights in Glencoe, 3 nights on the Isle of Mull, and 2 nights in Oban before driving down to Glasgow at 5am the following Sunday morning and catching our flight to Cyprus by the skin of our teeth. (The parking people had sent us directions from Yorkshire, not knowing we were coming from the north west of Scotland, and the M8 doesn’t have a J28a coming that way, so we got a bit lost.) Then we spent a lovely, sun-filled week in the Protaras area of the island, squeezing 3 day-long excursions in as well.

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Detail from the bouquet. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There will be more about the places we visited, and lots of pictures, over the coming days. But, for now, I need to crack on with some work.

Yesterday, instead of my half a day I managed to spend the entire day sorting out washing into piles – we had 2 lots of cases from 2 completely different types of holiday – and I only did 2 washloads that could also be tumble-dried. Late afternoon I had to nip out to get some food, and that put paid to doing any work in the afternoon after all.

This morning has been spent mostly changing my name on as much of my online presence as I can think of. And I still need to do the official stuff, like banks, yet. I’ve also done 2 more washloads, but unable to hang any of it out.

So a busy few days ahead still, catching up on work and washing – if the rain lets me.

Busy weekend

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Stile near Scholes (PIcture: Diane Parkin)

We had another very busy weekend, which included a walk in the end. But as I’ve been quite busy this morning too, I’ve not been able to upload the pictures. So here’s one I made earlier from a walk I did on my own but which we’ll be doing together as soon as we can.

The weekend was such a blur, in fact, I’m struggling to remember what we did … we didn’t do anything Friday evening because we knew we’d have a busy day Saturday and I’d already been driven half mad by incompetent bureaucrats.

Saturday we were up early and off to Birmingham because it was my mom’s birthday. We managed to sort a few jobs out for my dad while we were there and he even got to have five minutes when he took the dog for a walk to the letterbox … or the dog took him.

On the way home we got to the gig buddy’s shop by bang on 4pm so she could do another dress fitting. The good news is, the inch-and-a-half she had to take in the week before she had to let out again, because I’d already lost some weight since last time. And I’m under strict instructions not to lose any more … erm …

On Sunday, I had lost some more weight, and I’d lost some more inches. So somebody is going to be displeased with me when she comes for a “final” fitting tomorrow evening. 😀

Sunday morning we went over to PC World in Barnsley to get a new notebook to take on holiday with us. And we found one we liked that’s actually a tablet/switch, which is perfect for portability. There won’t be any crap on there, just stuff we both would like to access, if we can, while we’re away. We also bought a new memory stick for backups and a spare memory card for the camera, as we won’t be able to edit or store the pictures we take.

Unfortunately, the one we liked was out of stock, so we went over to PC World at Doncaster, and they had a much better one, that was slightly cheaper too. So we bought that and a small bag.

We wanted to go and see son #1 in his new house, but we were already late and we needed him to guide us in. So we went from Doncaster to the poet’s parents and offered to take them over as well. Unfortunately, we couldn’t raise son #2 on the phone for directions or the address, and we needed to be away. So we’re going to have to visit another time. He sounded very disappointed when we finally made contact again, but we don’t mind making another trip over there when we can.

It was already 2:30pm and we wanted to do a 4¼-mile walk, to maintain the fitness we’re gradually building up. But I lost track of the road signs when we reached a particularly busy village and we ended up at the start of our walk at 4pm. That was too late to do the full walk, so we cut the last half-a-mile off, and we got home at about 8pm.

We do have lots of pictures again, but I’ve been busy this morning tidying up files and pictures on the desktop computer so I can do a proper backup of critical data.

I’m busy this afternoon too, as I have to go into town to hand-deliver the poet’s proxy-vote application for the general election. After discovering the council had “lost” both of our postal application forms (very strange that, losing both of them …), I’d fired off a bit of a scathing complaint … and they miraculously “found” my postal vote application … but only realised half-way through the phone conversation that they should have miraculously found another one as well.

So, while I’m in tarn (as the locals call it), I’m doing that, paying some cheques into banks (hurrah!), and doing some more holiday shopping.

There are likely to be 5 blogs this week, then – including today’s, the weekend’s walk, this week’s diary of a scaredy cat, plans for the next 2 weeks, and a publication blog on Friday (if it auto-publishes okay). So I’ll leave this one here. 🙂

NaNoWriMo 2014 Day Three

We had a lovely relaxing weekend, for a change … well, apart from the poet pulling his back while packing to come home Friday morning. That wasn’t very relaxing, but he just wanted to get home.

The traffic was very bad in Doncaster when I went to pick him up, so because of that he chose to drive home as he knows the streets quite well and could make snap decisions depending on the traffic ahead. Sitting in the car seat gave him his first relief with the back pain, so that was useful.

We had a quick tea, got ready and went out to see a band we haven’t seen before at our soon-to-be ex-most-local working man’s club. The band was quite good, but sitting on the hard chairs wasn’t, so we came home not long after the second set had started.

On Saturday we had a lazy start but did manage the shopping. We also had some terrific news. Those competitions I insist on doing every day? I won Take a Break’s Big Relax cash competition. The money will pay for much of the wedding, and as soon as it comes in we’re getting the wedding rings.

On Saturday evening we headed over to our soon-to-be new neighbourhood to join the local Round Table’s fundraising bonfire and fireworks display. It was too busy for us to get anything to eat, but we got there just in time to see them light the bonfire and we enjoyed all of the fireworks display.

The pictures aren’t great (apart from the first one), but they give a feel of the evening.

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I love this picture of Ian.
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We got there just in time to watch them light the bonfire.
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Ian watching the fire.
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Fireworks.
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Fireworks.
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Fireworks.

I love Bonfire Night and we should have gone to an organised event last year, but we couldn’t afford it. We were determined to go to at least one event this year and, if he gets back on time on Wednesday, we may manage another.

On Sunday we didn’t do a thing. Well, we did, actually, but we were so chilled and relaxed about it that the batteries really were recharged. While the poet pushed a vacuum cleaner around (I don’t do vacuum cleaners …) I went through the food cupboard and chucked out all the out of date stuff. I’m determined not to take any old or opened foodstuffs to the new house with us as we’re not sure how much kitchen storage we have there.

After he pushed Henry around, the poet also made bread. Then we had an hour in Abbey Road – him in the recording studio and me doing NaNo.

This morning I dropped him off at the station again and when I got back I did my daily competitions (!) and then I turned some author revisions around so another book can go off to print.

Over the weekend I won 3 new jobs as well as the big one that I heard about last week. All of those jobs are now in and I’m going to do the smallest of those this afternoon. I’ve already done today’s NaNoWriMo and am feeling quite chuffed with myself.

I now have a very busy week ahead with all of this new work on top of the existing work. I’d best crack on.

Lots going on

We have an awful lot going on at the moment here in Baggins Bottom, and we seem to be chasing our own tails trying to keep up with everything. But we’re managing, and we know that all of the hard work will pay off in the end.

For example, we’re planning a wedding, and not in this country. We’re also planning the honeymoon – also not in this country. We’re selling a house, or renting if it it doesn’t shift. We’re looking for a new place to live of our own. We’re trying to encourage my parents to move somewhere more suitable, house-hunting for them, and we’re visiting them too – in Birmingham – and the poet’s parents, in Doncaster. My dad is coming for a visit for a few days while my sister stays with our mom. We’re taking him on a birthday celebration weekend, so we’re sorting that too. And Monkey Dust has been busy with gigs just recently as well.

And, of course, the poet is still working in Scotland. I’m still dropping him off and picking him up at/from the station. He’s still spending more time than he’d like away from home doing a job that wasn’t really his career choice and hoping it’s coming to an end in the next few weeks, when he’ll be working locally again. We’re also keeping the gig list going throughout all of this, which can be hard work too.

Neither of us is particularly very well at the moment either. We both have a bit of a throat, but he’s full of cold too. So that’s not helping at all.

BUT, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re so going to enjoy it when it finally gets here.

Aside from all of this, and keeping a 3-storey house running, I also have work too. And I need to be shifting that quickly so that we can pay for all of the stuff mentioned above.

I think we deserve a very nice holiday at the end of it all, but I need to crack on. It’s already dinner time (lunch time) and I don’t seem to have done anything at all, and I have 2 books in to edit and quite a few author/proofreader revisions on books already edited.

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A mare of a week

I have had a mare of a week. Best laid plans and all of that have all been taken over by work, bureaucracy, technology.

Last Friday I should have started NaNoWriMo but instead I got embroiled in workload and ran out of time. We also had a lovely wedding to go to and that took up much of the day.

On Saturday I should have gone to the first NaNo write-in for November 2013 in Leeds, but I totally forgot about it. NaNoWriMo 2013, therefore, still has yet to start for me, mostly because I’ve been trying to do one job that should only take a few days and has actually taken all week.

On Tuesday, an eco-exhibition took out most of the day, but it gave me a chance to practice a little networking, and I got to see the poet during a school day. 😉

I’ve been on the phone to every single nincompoop on the planet who have been asking for forms I’ve already sent or asking me to do things I’ve already done or insisting I pay things I’ve already paid.

And finally, the cherry on the cake was when my internet fell over – again.

I was on the phone to my supplier faster than a fast thing having a right go at them – again. And after several hours, 2 phone calls, being cut off once, and arguing with the script-reading idiot at the other end that no, I really didn’t have the button they were insisting I press, it turned out it wasn’t them!

Oh dear.

Still, at least it gave me the chance to set up my new broadband router …

It turned out my laptop had totally lost its internet connection ability. I couldn’t work out what was wrong, and when I tried to do a system restore, a massive malware thing popped up, blocked it, and stopped me doing any further system restores.

There was nothing for it, I had to do a factory reset … (gulp!)

Cue several hours of backing up critical data – I don’t have a memory stick big enough to do a full backup, but so long as my data is there I don’t care about that – and then the major, major trauma of doing the full factory reset.

It was scary, but I made it through … and now I have a nice, shiny clean laptop again … with hardly anything on it.

I installed a new virus checker and the first thing it clanged bells over was a bagel worm instantly zapped.

Once all of that was done, I started to re-install Office and various browsers (I use Chrome but like Explorer for backup) and today my Chrome fell over and I had to re-install that!

I also had to get onto various clients to let them know that while the work has been done, or is being done, I couldn’t email anything to anyone and I couldn’t work remotely with one of them. They were very understanding and said it was okay to invoice anyway, hard copy (hurrah!), and to let them know as soon as I’m back up and running.

Well, I’m back up and running now and I’m very, very busy.

Aside from all of the above, plus the gig list that I’ve already done, I still have the following to catch up on:

  • a historical novel to complete the electronic edits on, send to the author, and upload to the FTP
  • one non-fiction to cross-check the index and add a few missing details to (dedication page, couple of picture captions)
  • author revisions on another non-fiction, then get that sent for typesetting
  • two more non-fictions to print off and start editing
  • an article to write and pictures to source
  • NaNoWriMo x 8 days to catch up on …
  • job boards to surf and jobs to bid for

I’d best crack on …

It’s Armistice Day on Sunday. Enjoy the poppies. This is a picture I’ve had on my hard drive for a very long time and I have no idea where it came from. If you recognise it, please let me know so I can contact the copyright owner. Thank you.

flanders poppy