Friday 18 August 2023: Onward, Whitby

Whitby (© Ian Wordsworth)

Here’s the pre-holiday roundup I promised on Wednesday.


I didn’t do any work on Tuesday.

After a very rough night with the dog (and I was at home with him on my own this time), I stayed in bed until 11am. He was awake every single hour at first, fidgeting or wanting to go out. He settled in to every two hours at about 5am. Finally, at about 8:30am, he went to sleep and stayed there until 11am. I was absolutely shattered.

He doesn’t seem to have eaten anything dodgy this time, but he was really, really restless. Thankfully, he settled down and didn’t make any mess anywhere inside the house.

Once I’d had some breakfast, I spent much of the day washing and hanging it out. We had a rare fine day and I wanted to get as much as I could on the washing line so that it dried by the end of the day.

In between washloads, I shopped for things to take on holiday with us for the dog. I plumped on four items, three different products. The best thing I ordered was two small fleecy blankets that have a waterproof inner layer. These will be perfect for putting in the dog’s bed or on a chair. I ordered everything on next-day delivery.

I finally made a fruit crumble with some of the blackberries we picked at the weekend. I was going to make it on Monday night, but as it was 9pm when I finished, I really didn’t feel like it. And anyway, there was only me there to eat it. So I made it on Tuesday instead.

When I checked the order confirmations, I was confused to see that the order had been split and two items were coming on Wednesday, and two items were coming on Thursday… Erm, I paid for next day delivery, not delivery in two days. But I didn’t have the energy to query it. I was too tired.

I also scoured a load of cookbooks to buy too and dropped on a few of the BBC Good Food books as well as one from our Hairy Bikers. Now that we’re pursuing our ancestral eating regime, I want to find things like flapjacks and other tray bakes and small cakes to make instead of buying sugar-laden cereal bars or packets of sweets.

I already have lots of savoury recipes to replace the crisps and nuts, but we may look at making our own crisps (potato chips) too. The Hairy Bikers book was the only one I could find that had a classic custard recipe (they call it ‘proper custard’, and now so do I). They were all ebooks.

I did go and sit at my desk and I did go through the motions of working. I scrolled through social media, checked emails, did a quick blog round-up, and I wrote Tuesday’s blog post. But for much of the day I was just staring out at the garden.

So I packed up and went into the living room to read instead. I read through my new cookbooks and was a bit surprised to see that every recipe that included pastry, every single recipe, had bought, readymade pasty in the ingredients. Fortunately, I know how to make pastry and so does the poet. But are we really the only people left in the world who don’t think it comes from the fridge section at the supermarket?


On Wednesday morning I received two emails telling me when to expect the split delivery for Rufus. One was arriving between 12:30 and 2:30 on Wednesday; the other was arriving between 12:45 and 2:45 on Wednesday… I checked the order confirmation and one did say Thursday delivery. I was glad I hadn’t called them up on Tuesday ranting and raving now. Even so, were they both coming out in two separate deliveries?

The times fluctuated throughout the morning until suddenly, the doorbell went, and there was one Amazon Prime driver with two packages. And the packages contained ALL of my order. Well, they got the thumbs up again and, again, I thanked my lucky stars I hadn’t started off on that rant.

The poet had come home a day early from his business trip, so while I settled down to do my proofreading, he hung out Wednesday’s washloads in between work. He opened the parcels with the dog (they were both very excited). Rufus LOVED his new blankets, but we had to stop him from eating them… (Honestly, he’ll eat anything!)

The poet also fixed the stirrups on the back of the dog’s wheels. We can lift the dog’s legs up or leave them down, depending on the terrain, because he still does use them if he remembers. But the elastics on the stirrups had stretched and his feet, when ‘lifted’, were dragging along the floor. Hopefully the poet has fixed that for now.

I made us both a Greek salad for dinner, and I cracked on with my proofreading.

An email came in from the client, not with the missing materials, but with an urgent request to know when the main proofreading would be consolidated. I replied that I was waiting for the missing materials, and she asked me to go ahead without them and look at those in the next round. I told her I could but that I was going on holiday today and that I might be able to get it back to her before I left or I (more likely) wouldn’t.

She asked me to try and get it back to her by the end of Thursday.

Well, I said I’d do my best. But 527 pages? More than 206,000 words? Yes, I’d done a chunk, but even so, there was still a LOT left. And I had proofreader’s and author’s amendments to consolidate with mine and author’s EXTENSIVE additions to edit. (Additions. To the first pdf, the equivalent of first galleys.)

I worked until tea. The poet made us pan fried pork and mushrooms with green beans, and we had blackberry crumble and blackberry ice cream for pudding, both home made.


On Thursday as soon as I’d had a cup of tea, I made myself some breakfast, and another cup of tea, and went straight to my desk to carry on work, eating breakfast as I did so. By dinner time I knew I wouldn’t have it all done by the end of the day. Sure, if I worked through the night and if we weren’t going on holiday the next day, there might have been a chance, even if it would be a day ‘late’ by then.

I sent the client an email with an update to let her know, and promised her another update by the end of the day. With errands to do, though, and other pre-holiday chores, I said the next best thing would be to take it with us on holiday.

She thanked me for doing what I could to get it back to her…

I checked with the poet that he was okay with me taking work on holiday with us, and after a short discussion we decided that was better than leaving all of the errands and chores to him and working through the night. He said if he could fit a guitar in the car, then he could work on some song writing while I finished this massive proofreading job.

I’d intended on working through some short stories while we were away, so I suppose proofreading for a client isn’t much different to that. But I’m okay with taking it on holiday as I’d like the job off my desk now and would far rather come home to start a new job than carry on with this one. It’s getting far too old now.

I did sort out some short story work to take too, and a novella. I downloaded some magazines from Readly, brought some books to the top on my Kindle, and I packed a craft bag with some knitting and some cross stitch kits.


This morning we have some last minute errands to do before we go on holiday. We’re going to Whitby, which is only a couple of hours away, but we can’t get into our cottage until 4pm. So we thought we may as well leave any errands to today. We’ve been to Whitby loads of times on day trips, as it is so close. But this time we decided it would be quite nice to stay there for more than just a few hours.

We usually come home the night before our cottage has to be vacated. This is because we’ve always had the cat(s) too, and they don’t do tourism well. We like to get home as quickly as we can and as the cottages usually have to be empty by 10am, we tend to come back the night before. This time we may stay until Friday and we may explore elsewhere on the way back. The only worry will be a full car. (Contents very attractive to thieves.)

But we’ll see how it goes and whether or not we think the dog is still up to exploring. So we may be back next Thursday, or we may be back next Friday. And then we go straight into a bank holiday weekend.

We don’t have to worry about the house because we have a house-sitter. When we come back we may well be ready to start out next adventure…

See you on the other side!

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