Monday 2 September 2019

I was supposed to drop by a week ago last Friday for an update, especially as we were taking the bank holiday week off. But I was so busy, by the time I remembered, it was already past our bedtime. And then, well … and then I had a week off.

I left you with news of a visit to Birmingham regarding the Richard Cadbury book. I had a great day. It was lovely to meet his great-granddaughter. We had a good chat, she let me take away some of her own private book collection, and she’d arranged for me to borrow some books from the library at Woodbrooke College. I had to join the library and register as a user, but I came away with two oversized volumes that have to be back within four weeks.

The weather and the traffic were both kind, and I even made it back home before the poet had to go to band practice.

I now have a crate of research material as well as the books I already had on my own bookshelf.

Friday was spent finishing an editing job for a client. But it was a long job and another that I finished at something like 10:30pm Friday night. I also had a proofreading job to finish for another client, but that was a big job and I ended up doing dribs and drabs over the holiday when I could.

On the Saturday, the first day of our “holiday”, the poet went fishing so that I had a free day to carry on working. He made three attempts.

First of all he forgot an essential part of his kit. So after unpacking the car, he had to pack it all up again, come home, collect the kit (I think it was a side-tray).

He went back, unpacked the car again, set up on the canal bank, and was just about to cast for his first fish when the bailiff came and told him there was a match there that day and he had to move … (He had checked this before going, but apparently a small note had been attached to one of the gates …)

He packed up again, nipped home for something else, then went off again to another fishing spot. This time he was able to set up, catch some fish (including a big one, which the bailiff photographed), have a nice relaxing time in the too-hot sunshine before putting them all back and coming home again.

By the time he got home, I’d only managed a few hours of work as I also had washing to put through, hang out and bring in, a dishwasher to empty and fill up up again (and put away the clean crocks), bins to empty and pets to attend to.

On Sunday afternoon, Monkey Dust (the poet’s band) were playing a special in Skegness, so we geared up for a day at the seaside … but it took us almost three hours to get there, an hour of which just to cross Skegness. The traffic was horrendous. The stage was set up to catch the hot sun, and following a day already spent in the sunshine, the poet had a bad asthma attack mid-performance. But he recovered and we had a nice meal with our friends who had also come all that way to see the band.

We didn’t manage to see the sea. 🙁

We had a barbecue on Monday, and Monday and Tuesday were more proofreading for me, between other household stuff, and then on Wednesday we were off to that there big London where we had an appointment at the library at Friends House.

The dog had a day with the poet’s mum so that we could enjoy the day without worrying.

Once again, we had to register with the library so that we could take pictures, and I think we came away with around eighty, some of which were for research purposes only but the others are hopefully useable in the book.

Once again we had a lovely day, the weather was kind again, and we had a meal at one of our favourites, Pizza Express.

On Thursday, I finally finished the proofreading job and we dropped it in at the client’s. Then we could finally enjoy what was left of the bank holiday.

Between then and now I started to fret about a new diary. I love to work with a diary. Seeing work to do is a great motivation, especially when others are already paying for it. Ticking them off is an even bigger motivation. I also like to see at a glance how I’ve been doing and whether or not I can or want to fit more work in.

For years and years I’ve used an academic diary – one that starts in September. For the past couple of years I’ve moved to a traditional diary. but as September approached, I wanted to be filling in my new diary. I wanted to start a new regime today.

But no one seems to be selling academic diaries anymore, or not the physical brick-and-mortar stores at least, despite all the back-to-school stuff in all the shops at the moment. And so I bit the bullet and tried to find an electronic diary that I could see from all devices, including the Kindle.

Eventually, after many, many hours of faffing, I settled on Google Calendar and Google Tasks (you’ll need to Google them yourselves, as they keep taking me to my login screen – sorry). Despite me trying to resist the monopoly of Google, the poet convinced me that the calendar is a much better tool now than it used to be.

Calendar and Tasks are integrated on the desktop but separate on the phone. I had to uninstall the calendar from both the phone and the Kindle before going onto the desktop site to start things off. Then I had to reinstall it all to the phone and on the Kindle. I have yet to load it onto the notebook/switch. But it’s all ready to go now, including Monkey Dust gigs in the same place as everything else.

I have two months to write the Richard Cadbury book. I have a pocket novel on the go. I have a sequel to Night Crawler on the go. And I have a prequel that was temporarily shelved. There’s also a steampunk that needs polishing and a couple of writers’ guides that need finalising and publishing.

This is why I’ve enrolled on a 14-day course with Writers HQ to kick-start my writing habit. It starts today and it’s FREE. If all goes well, I may even take their next-step course too.

I also need to earn my keep, pay my way. But because of this current workload, I’ve had to advise my clients that I won’t be quite so “available” until at least the Richard Cadbury book has been submitted. They’re all great with that and are working around me. But I also had an unsolicited approach via the contact form on here following a recommendation from the Spanish client I used to do a lot of work for. I sent an interim reply while we were on holiday, but I need to respond properly.

My current clients are in Yorkshire, Hong Kong, Greece and Australia, and it was nice to know that the Spanish client hasn’t forgotten me.

With all of this going on, I really, really wanted to be at my desk by 10am … and I made it, although the cuckoo clock in the living room just told me I’ve been here an hour now. I have a lot to do, including the following:

  • walk dog
  • collect routine prescription
  • Goldthorpe Writers
  • quick editing job for Hong Kong
  • new month word-count/workload spreadsheet

Tomorrow I start work proper on the Richard Cadbury book.