It’s been a while …

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

Yes, it’s been a while. The last time I posted was 22 August … the following day wasn’t a great one in our world. We’ve had a lot going on since then too, along with more shocks (more information can be found on Words Worth Writing, so I shan’t bore anyone over here with the details again), but hopefully, once again, perhaps things will finally settle for us now.

We’ve not really been out. We’ve not really done much in the kitchen. We’ve not really had chance to do anything substantial to the garden.

A few loaves of bread have been made, along with a few pots of jam. We have more foraging to do. Our garden is resplendent with apples, plums, rhubarb, but we want to go and get some blackberries, some sloe berries and some elderberries from our old lane. There are more jams to be made, and chutneys, and ketchups, and sauces … It is, after all, that time of year.

I’ve been very busy re-publishing books. (Again, more information can be found over on the writing blog.) I’ve picked up a couple of old writing courses to complete, on top of the fiction writing course I’m already studying. I have more books to write, along with a few short stories. And I have several client books to edit too.

So I am very, very busy. And if I disappear again, you’ll know why.

I was going to give Baggins Bottom a bit of a sabbatical, but I realised that as soon as I do that, I’ll suddenly have lots to write about again. Therefore, please forgive and excuse any randomness or unreliability meanwhile. Ta. 🙂

Words Worth Writing: First guest

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Worsbrough Dam (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Another picture purely for illustrative purposes.

First of all, before reading any further, please hop along to Words Worth Writing to see my first author interview over there. If you could make my guest feel welcome, ask her a question or two, that would be much appreciated.

Go on, I’ll wait. 🙂

Have you been? Did you say hello? Good. And thank you.

So, this week a writing week beckons, and perhaps even a jolly. I’ve worked so hard already this year I’ve earned a week of my own work, and it begins with the author interview over on the other blog. (Did you go there yet?)

We didn’t manage a walk at the weekend, so there won’t be a walk blog this week. We did do some cooking, though, so watch out for a Wormy’s kitchen post or two. We did a lot of visiting too.

During this coming week, then, I’ll be writing and socialising. There will be more over on Words Worth Writing about the writing on Wednesday.

Have you been over there yet?

Errands day

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Crowded street, beautiful view, Haworth (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Back in the day, when I was prolific and all that, Fridays were errand days. Now I’m getting back into the swing of things, Fridays are errand days again. And today is no different.

I’ve already completed one errand this morning, a banking errand (hurrah!), and I have 2 more errands to do – one of which has been brought forward from later this afternoon, so I’m hoping it doesn’t disrupt the rest of the day too much.

It’s been a very busy week again, the first of my 5-day weeks (if you include today’s errand day, as I still have to do work around the errands) in a while. And next week is a 6-day week! That’s how much work I have in.

One of my jobs was pulled yesterday by the client – they changed their mind, which they’re entitled to do so long as I haven’t already started work. I hadn’t, and they did replace it with a different job. So that’s perfectly acceptable. I still have a good, full schedule of work, and I am struggling, again, to fit my own writing work in around it.

One of this afternoon’s errands is to deliver a heavy proofread I’ve been working on this week. I interrupted a heavy edit to do it, between hard copy edits and electronic edits, which also gave me a bit of a rest from the heavy edit. But it was still time consuming and brain draining, so I may see if I have a very easy, quick job I can complete before getting back to the heavy edit.

Of course, the invoices are nice and, usually, until the jobs are finished I can’t raise the invoices. But I’m awaiting payment for 3 jobs already, including one pre-payment (which I have before I start work), and the fresh air in the bank account is starting to be exhausted too. So I need someone to pay me, and pay me quick. But I need to raise an invoice for today’s heavy proofread, and I need to complete the heavy edit so I can raise that invoice as well.

Cash-flow can still be a very big problem.

I’ve not done much full writing work this week, but I have been doing a lot of reading and making plenty of notes, jotting down ideas and slants – more on that in the diary next Wednesday. Today I’ll do what I can between errands.

We don’t have anything planned for tomorrow, so it might be a bit of a do diddle day, although the poet will be prepping for a fishing match he’s joining on Sunday. We have a private party tomorrow night, where the poet’s band is playing. And while he’s at the fishing match on Sunday, I’ll be doing the first of my 6 days for next week.

What are you up to this weekend?

Holiday “snaps”

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The view from our balcony (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The final leg of our honeymoon started at 5am on a Sunday morning when we got up to head off to Glasgow Airport for our flight to Cyprus. We were only going for a week.

The poet had been craving sunshine – proper sunshine – and so when we got the chance we decided to take advantage of having pet sitters and off we popped.

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The view from our balcony (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We had an all inclusive hotel, which I’m really not used to, but it was nice for our honeymoon.

I’ve never been to Cyprus but lots of friends have raved about how beautiful it is. And it is – plus, there’s still a very heavy British influence there on things like the road signs and traffic lights. I was expecting it to be a bit more Greek, but it’s actually quite cosmopolitan. We had glorious weather on all but one day.

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Ian in the pool (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

So here are some “snapshots” of our first and last days there. The more touristy pictures will follow in the next few posts.

I’m suddenly very busy again. Not only did I already have one job waiting for me when we got back off holiday, but another arrived on my first day back at work.

Two days later another arrived.

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Protaras, our closest big town (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

And I think there may be another 2 editing or proofreading jobs in the pipeline too, but one of them needs me to get a pdf editor. I’m not sure I want a free one as I need one that will do the job properly and not drop out or expire when I least expect it.

Aside from the editing work, I’ve also come back from both Scotland and Cyprus with loads and loads of ideas for articles and fillers.

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Doing his Daniel Craig impression ♥ (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

I’ve been frantically making notes and doing some market research and, once the current edit is done (due in tomorrow), I’ll probably look at getting some pitches out. I’d like to send at least a pitch a day, or maybe 5 per week. (I did say there were loads of ideas.)

Last week too was spent redrafting the outline for CATCH THE RAINBOW. I’m trying to write scene-by-scene this time, rather than chapter-by-chapter and I’m hoping that helps me to flit from one era or viewpoint to another. I now have 75 scenes, including a prologue and plus an afterword. So I’m chomping at the bit to be getting on with that as well.

Then I have 2 books in for proofreading that I’ve already edited. I usually leave those until the proofreader/author revisions come in. But I’d like to build in proper proofreading time  to my schedule if I can, so I know they’ve picked up everything that I would.

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Diane doesn’t really do sunbathing … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

And the promise of more to come … It’s very nice to be so busy. On the job boards I get so many invitations to pitch now that I don’t even trawl the wanted pages any more. So yes, lots to do on the writing and editing side of things.

There’s stuff I need to do around the house too, and I’ve only just today hit the bottom of the laundry basket following our holiday. It’s only taken 2 weeks …

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Watersports on Protaras beach (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

I want to bake more as well, though, making full use of the fresh ingredients we’re getting once a fortnight. I think the poet is using pak choi for tea this evening … I have no idea what that is or what to do with it. But hopefully he does.

The poet has one more band practice this week before other band members start their summer holidays. The next gig is in August, so it will be nice to have the summer off.

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Arty shot (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We have plans to go to a few summer festivals over the break and not having to be back on a Saturday in time for a gig will mean we don’t have to dash around.

And I think that’s it for today. I have work due in tomorrow and another job starting tomorrow, so I really need to be getting on with that now. The heating has packed up too, so I’m also hanging around waiting for the gas man.

Enjoy the pictures. 🙂

Our woodpecker

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We have a pair of woodpeckers in the garden now. Here’s Mister Woody. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Yesterday I had a snow day. I do love the snow, and I do have work to do. But one of the reasons me working from home works is because I take off days that other workers might take off. This is why I don’t work weekends or bank holidays – I may as well go back to work if I’m not going to take those. And yesterday, because lots of other people were having a snow day, I had one too. I also have fag (cigarette) breaks, by the way, even though I’ve never smoked. Hey, it works. 🙂

I did start the day fairly early yesterday as we needed a few supplies and we thought the weather was going to get much worse. But already the roads were bad, so I didn’t venture very far, just to our local Co-op, which is actually within walking distance but I knew I had heavy bottles to buy too (milk, juice, pop). So at 9:15 I was washed, dressed, breakfasted, and I loaded the dog into the car (he loves to come for a ride). I was back home 20 minutes later and we were stocked up. I also bought mixed fruit and vanilla essence so we can bake some cakes, cookies and puddings.

We baked cakes on Wednesday when the poet got home from work. He put some bread on while I started some apple and cinnamon muffins. He likes to do the mixing and stuff, though, so all I had to do was tell him how much of everything he needed and let him take over when he was ready. He does, however, draw a line at spooning out, so I did that. (Sigh!) It’s such a hard life …

But back to yesterday, I couldn’t get going at work, so instead did a load of housework-ish. This consisted of putting 2 large loads of clean washing away, putting 2 more loads through, and emptying and reloading the dishwasher twice. Well, the dishwasher is still a chore, it still needs to be unloaded and loaded and the crocks put away.

For the first time yesterday I spotted our female greater spotted woodpecker. I wondered what it was at first as it was missing the red nape you can see in the above picture. But I’ve checked and she’s definitely a female. This is so cool.

This morning the poet headed off to Manchester again, but they’ve called him and told him to turn around and go back (hands-free, of course, on his phone). Apparently they’ve had a big snow dump over on that side o’ t’hill and, from what I can gather from Facebook, it hit further south overnight too. The roads between there and here are closed so he’s on his way back to the office.

I had a very good writing day on Wednesday. I wrote an outline for 1 new short story, and the 1st drafts of another 2 new short stories. Today I’d like to skip draft 2 and go straight to the typed draft of one of these 1st draft stories as it’s written itself quite well. If I can get it polished by tomorrow night (I know I don’t work at the weekend, but if it’s just a quick skim-through of something short I don’t mind), it’s on its way to favourite short story market for my January submission. The other short story needs more work, but that one might go off for my February submission. (Who can guess which market this is? 🙂 )

I thought I had the gig list to update this week, but apparently it was done a few days ago. I just need to copy and paste the details over onto Facebook so that punters and musicians know where they’re going this weekend. I’d also like to have a look through some other 1st and 2nd draft short stories to see if anything else is almost ready to go out. Oh yes, and I have an invoice to raise (hurrah!). So, all in all, a fairly busy day today.

Tomorrow I think we’re off to Birmingham, weather permitting, and coming back via Doncaster, to visit parents. Tomorrow evening, weather permitting, we’re off to Holmfirth to see some friends of mine in their band. Our names will be on the door, so we’ll also take the camera and hopefully write them a good review on Monday.

I don’t think we have anything planned for Sunday, but I need to bagsy that we put the new curtains up in Abbey Road. We’ve not had chance to do that yet as the curtain pole has fallen down and needs refixing or replacing. The sun’s starting to slant in through the window, though, and cause reflection on part of the computer screen. So I need that doing next if we can. We’ll also do some baking, I think.

What are you up to this weekend?

Facelift

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Blue tit. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Every year the blog gets a bit of a facelift, and the eagle-eyed may notice that it’s happened again. I hope you like it, but do welcome feedback. Please let me know what you think about the new layout, what you like about it and what you dislike about it. Ta muchly. 🙂

My normal week has been very, well, normal. And I’ve actually managed to get a good bit done. My editing output has slowed down a little, but my own writing has increased. This is going in the right direction, yes?

On Monday we did have a carpenter come to plane and rehang 6 doors, but he arrived early and was gone before dinnertime. The poet also had to drive over to Manchester and was quite surprised at the difference in weather on the “other side of hill”. On Tuesday I did have to go back and have one of my blood tests done again as they’d apparently lost it at the lab. But these are regular blood tests and they’ve not called me back yet … On Wednesday we had a terrific dump of snow, which was great for me, but the poet had to abandon another trip across the Pennines and go into the local office. There had also been an accident so he was very, very late. Yesterday he was back there again, and he’s gone again today. But apart from all of that, it’s been a relatively normal week.

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Blue tit. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’ve had a very productive week workwise.

On Monday I worked on Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 2 and I collated several lots of writers’ guidelines for potential pitching/submitting. On Tuesday I started to write a new book and managed almost 2,000 words and pretty much the book’s structure. On Wednesday I wrote another 1,400+ words for the new book and I electronically edited 30 pages of the current client job. On Thursday the blog had its facelift, and I also managed another 500 words (nearly) on the new book and another 15 pages on the client job. I’ve surfed the job boards as well this week, but nothing took my fancy.

Today, then, I want to finish the electronic edits and get that book sent back to the author for query responses. I’d also like to write a bit more of the book and see how close I can get to 5,000 words. At 4:15pm I have a hair appointment, so that means I finish work today at 3:30pm.

On Wednesday I received the news that we’re completing on the other house sale next Friday. That means this weekend we have to clear the garage of stuff we know is destined for either the tip or the charity shops and empty the loft over there and fetch anything back that we’re keeping. Apart from that I don’t think we have any other plans for this weekend, so we’ll, once again, suck it and see how we feel.

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Cheeky chops. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The poet may want to have a play with his new toy. Do you like it? It’s a dSLR camera and these wonderful blue tit shots were the first he ever took when his new zoom lens arrived.

He’s a little disappointed that they’re a bit blurred, but he’s already learned how to combat that and more examples will follow. They’re so lovely, though, I thought some of you may like to see them.

Have a great weekend.

That Friday feeling

We’ve only been back at work for a week, but already that Friday feeling was quick to swoop in this morning. It’s been a fair week, though.

I’ve done quite a lot of new writing, which includes an outline for a new non-fiction book as well as 5 new articles started and one finished and submitted.

I’ve also been plodding through an editing job, and a new one came in yesterday too from who will now be known as the Spanish client. They gave me a lot of repeat work last year and I’m delighted they came back to me again this year.

And I caught up with the job board I use and pitched for 7 jobs, one of them invited.

Almost immediately the poet had to go off to Germany, via Switzerland, for a couple of days, so that ate into the week a bit. And I’ve been having routine appointments – I have another today. He was gone from Tuesday to Thursday, so taxi duties from Yours Truly were involved as well.

So he’s come up with a list of things to do at the weekend, and they mostly consist of … nothing. We had a bit of a busy Christmas, then we were back at work, and then he was off travelling. We don’t seem to have stood still, nor do we feel as though we had any holiday, even though we were both off for 2 weeks.

It’ll be a bit of a Do Diddle Weekend – does anyone remember Do Diddle Days? Not had one of those for a while. So we’ll play it by ear, see what we feel like when we get up, if we want to get up. We might do some pottering, we might hang curtains, we might do baking, we might go walking, we might go to the pictures. Or we might not.

Have a great weekend, whatever you’re doing with yours.

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