Tier 3 lockdown

Hatfield Moor. (© Ian Wordsworth, 2020)

Here is another image from our walk around Hatfield Moor last week.

I love that blue glow on the water. It makes it look like some kind of grotto, or as though something magical may emerge at any moment.

As South Yorkshire enters tier 3 lockdown on Saturday, we may be taking a few more walks.

We are allowed to go out for “outside exercise” in groups of up to 30 people, apparently.

This is how our local Ramblers Association group has continued with some of its recent walks.

As we are only 2, and we are from the same household, it doesn’t matter. We can still go out walking and we can go out for as long as we like. We just can’t mix indoors or in private gardens with other households.

Outside exercise is NOT restricted to just one hour!

When lockdown first began, back in March, some people were of the impression that we could only go out for an hour. I’d just like to point out that nowhere was it written that we could only go out for a single hour. And I did search for it.

Apparently, Michael Gove was asked, off the cuff, how long people should go out for, and he replied, off the cuff, that he supposed an hour was reasonable. I think the Sun newspaper then reported that we were only allowed to go out for an hour – and if it was in the Sun, then I suppose it must have been true. (Not.)

In any case, there is no such time limit in place this time (either!). And so, if necessary, we will go out and walk for a whole day if we want to. It’s unlikely, but it’s allowed.

Part-time working

When furlough was in place, also back in March, the poet was grounded. We had some glorious weather and he had a lot of time on his hands. Unfortunately, it was business as usual for me, and although a couple of clients fell by the wayside, I was still quite busy.

That meant that while he was having time off, I was too busy to join him. 

As with most people who were furloughed, his annual leave accumulated at work, and now he has to take it. He’s having a series of long weekends between now and the end of November, and then he breaks up for the rest of the year on 16 December.

So that I don’t get left behind again, I’m also having time off with him. Unless he’s match fishing.

If he’s pleasure fishing (yes, they really do call it that), I’ll probably go with him and sit in the car and read, and take the dog for a walk. But if he’s at a match, I’ll stay home and maybe do some writing, and maybe take the dog for a walk …

But otherwise, it means that I’m on short weeks between now and the end of November too.


Of course, NaNoWriMo starts on 1 November (or 2 November for me), and I’ve had to do more jiggery-pokery than I usually do to allocate time and calculate daily word-counts, etc.

I was already doing just a 20-day or 4-week NaNo, which works out at 2,500 words per day. But now it means I have a 17-day NaNo, which works out at 2,942 words a day. So I’m going to aim at 3,000 words per day when I’m working, and if I’m writing when the poet’s match fishing, those words will be a bonus.

know that I can do this now, if I have a solid road map to work from. I’ve been working on the ghostwriting gig during the afternoons only, and still I’ve managed between 2,500 and 3,000 words per session. 

So that means that the last few working days of October will be spent coming up with a good and solid plan.

There are 2 contenders this year: 

  • The Beast Within: a Marcie Craig mystery (book 2)
  • The Fool

The Beast Within needs to finish at around 75,000 – 80,000 words, while The Fool needs to be around 40,000 words if I decide to send it off as a pocket novel, or 50,000 words if I just make it a cosy mystery novella. 

Writing 50,000 words for either will mean, (a) I’ll have covered a lot of ground for the Marcie Craig story, and (b) I’ll have plenty of words to edit down if I decide to send The Fool out as a pocket novel. 

Over the coming days, as I work through my planning process, I’ll see which one comes up with the most substance. 


On Friday, I did indeed manage to submit the first instalment of my ghostwriting project. It came out at 20,030 words, when I needed 20,000 words. 

It did mean that I finished Chapter 10 before the end, and so that’s where the next instalment has had to begin. 

I got the go ahead to continue on Saturday morning, and payment was also authorised. So that is all good.

This second instalment has to be in by the end of next Friday, 30 October. But this coming weekend is the first of our long weekends, and that means I won’t be working Friday to Monday, although 8 working days did give me a daily target of 2,500 words, which I know I can manage …

However, with the best laid plans, and all that (see below), I’m now down to just 6 working days or 7 if the poet goes fishing. I need to work on Saturday in order to keep the daily target below 3,000 words. But I’m taking Friday, Sunday and Monday off.

Houdini dog

Monday of this week was spent planning and scheduling to the end of the year, and calculating the daily word-counts. I also proof-read the magazine I edit for the Hong Kong client.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I ended up spending the majority of the day doing household chores and supervising the dog when he was outside. He’s a burrowing dog, a badger-hunter by nature, and he’s been getting under the hedges and fences on either side of the garden.

Yesterday, despite various measures, he managed to escape twice. I spent a good chunk of time blocking off at least one of his escape routes, only for him to find another. And he even tried digging where I’d blocked it off. Digging also comes naturally to him.

And I spent another good chunk of time listening to the new neighbour, in whose garden the dog had escaped to. Their daughter rescued a dog originally destined for the Chinese food market, and the dog has just come out of quarantine. He spends some time at our new neighbour’s house.

The rescue dog wasn’t there yesterday, but Rufus can smell him and he knows he’s there for at least some of the time. And that’s why he wants to get into the neighbour’s garden.

I don’t have the time to go running around after an escapee, though. So it will be supervised trips to the garden only until the boundary is well and truly secure.

Word meter as at 9am today

Ghostwriting Gig #1


20,030/63,000 words. 32% done!

(Word meters from Language is a Virus.)

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