Tuesday 9 January 2024: The office is done

Image by Alicja from Pixabay

The weekend
So, what did we get up to at the weekend?

We did quite a bit on Saturday. My delivery arrived on Friday of letter trays, jellies and expanding wallets, so those were assembled and/or put away and the box putting on a pile to take to the tip. And first thing on Saturday, the poet took delivery of a new turntable for the stereo as the old one, which is about 10 years old, sounded as though the belt had gone.

The stereo itself is at least 20 years old, so that lasted much longer than the turntable, which the poet treated himself to to go with the stereo he inherited when we got together. The new one is a much better one, and he spent some time playing with it setting it up. Then the box for that also went on the pile for the tip. His old printer was already on the pile too.

Once he’d finished playing and we’d had breakfast and got washed and dressed, we went to the tip via his mother’s. She thought her garage roof was leaking, but when he checked, it was solid and probably just condensation. Tip next, then the butcher’s, and then the supermarket. And on Saturday evening, once we’d put everything away and had tea, we chilled in front of the telly.

As soon as we’d finished breakfast on Sunday, the poet was in the kitchen making bread. He put a gammon joint in the slow cooker too, and he made a cherry cake. When the cake was done, he put a shank of lamb in the oven to slow cook (as the slow cooker – crock pot – was already in use). Then we moved back into the office to finish sorting the furniture out and to get rid of the last of the unwanted clutter.

The office hasn’t grown any bigger, but it certainly feels as though it has, so the Feng Shui must have worked. My desk is the one on the left, and his is the desk on the right.

The laser printer has moved to beneath the window, between the two of us, so we can both use it. In the bottom left corner you can just see the corner of the dog’s basket. Just under my monitor you can see an eyeball stress ball. We both got one of these when we went to one of the crime writing festivals at Harrogate.

This is the poet’s side of the room, the studio, and you can see his eyeball too. He also has a monkey his granddaughter bought him, (probably) for his birthday last year. The framed posters are both signed memorabilia from an Arctic Monkeys concert (or they may have been two concerts). He knows the guy who services their equipment and was able to get back stage passes.

The feathers in the pen pot next to the printer are from the peacocks we lived on the farm with. The view you can see through the window is the one we can both see, and it’s why we know when the garden birds are complaining that there’s no food. Sometimes they fly onto the window sill and peck at the glass.

My notice board finally went up and on it are our live performance tickets, some money-off vouchers I found during the declutter, my printed calendar for the month, and the special character keystrokes charts. Next to the notice board is one of my annual Christmas pressies from the poet: a dachshund calendar.

That 5-tier letter tray is the one that arrived on Friday. The big yellow expanding wallet at the bottom is an editing job still in progress. Remember the horrible one that completely took over? That’s it. The blue one is the one I just returned, and this printout will be replaced by the first proof pdf. The yellow jellies are current short stories. The green jelly is WHITEHORSE FARM. The red jelly is currently empty.

The shelf above the letter trays is my current WIP. On the bottom shelf are the dictionaries and Little Gem books I always use, the calendars of dates, and some empty notebooks. The top shelf is where the WHITEHORSE FARM notebooks are plus the brainstorming notebooks and various outline or first draft notebooks. I only currently have WHITEHORSE FARM and the short stories out. Everything else went into a box.

The big pile of stuff in the blue jelly in front of the bookcase (which is as high as me but we lifted it onto the cabinet so it didn’t block our entry into the room) is all of my Cadbury research material. It was going to go into archive, but Saga magazine are interviewing me about the book this week, so I kept it out for now in case I need to refer to something.

And those two pictures on the wall have followed me since the National Grid in the 1990s and Corus (British Steel) in the 2000s. I so wanted that blowout pic on the cover of the magazine I edited for Corus, but one of the bosses pulled rank and said no.

Finally, where the guitars are is where the bookcase was. We swapped them around and the poet lost one chest of drawers from here, which has found a home in the conservatory and now contains all of his art materials. His easel is also in the conservatory as it’s the brightest room in the house. You can probably imagine how the bookcase and the extra cabinet might have blocked our entry to the room.

Peeking out from the right-hand side is my murder board, which I now call my power board. This details all of my current work in progress and how far along the process any of it has made. When it reaches the end of the power board (PUBLISHING), the project is transferred to my power spreadsheet, which replicates the board, and the Post-it™ goes in the bin.

And that’s what we concentrated on over the weekend. The rearrangement has worked, though. Every time we even step into the office now we want to sit down at our desks and do something. Such a pity the poet has to work at site for the foreseeable future!

The dog had me up several times during the night again, and he had the poet up once. But while the poet still managed to get up and go to work at 7am, I went back to sleep. I didn’t beat myself up, though. I told myself I’d just work through my tasks for the day, a Pomodoro at a time, starting with two Pomodoros for THE SECRET OF WHITEHORSE FARM. During my first 10-minute break, I fielded washing.

I spent a whole Pomodoro on writing today’s blog post and in my break I deleted my ClickUp account. I get everything I need from TickTick now for half the price, and it’s far more stable. Now I just need to watch that they don’t continue to take payment. I should have two months left on the account, but it’s gone. They’ve deleted everything from now, which is a bit naughty, I think. Unless they send a refund…

The time came in for Thursday’s interview with Saga magazine (2pm), and Birmingham City FC announced their new manager. He isn’t either of my two suggestions from last week, and I don’t know a great deal about him. However, his appointment has garnered lots and lots of positive comments and replies, including from fans of the last team he worked for.

I wasn’t really feeling either the shorthand or the copy typing and I ended up getting distracted. So that I at least could claim I did some work on Monday afternoon, I put my Monkey Dust hat on, created the posters (one poster and one for Instagram), created an event on Facebook, shared the event and the posters, and I invited a few people to the band’s first gig of the year.

Snow arrived in the south-east of the country and it started to dot Scotland and some high places in the rest of the country. We don’t have any forecast until tomorrow, and then it fluctuates between 0% chance and 1% chance. We haven’t had any proper snow yet in our neck of the woods this winter. I was doing my world famous snow dance as I typed.

Monday should have been a longhand first draft of the science fiction mystery story, for next week’s workshop. But I couldn’t get warmed up on that either. I’ve said before that sci-fi is way out of my comfort zone, so I tried writing it straight onto Scrivener, just to keep it mechanical, a bit like the genre.

A quick editing job (for the big fat book in the tray) came in, the plates, so I turned that around and sent it back.

In the end, I wrote 1,015 words for THE SECRET OF WHITEHORSE FARM, 770 words for SCI-FI MYSTERY WRITING WORKSHOP ASSIGNMENT 1, and 1,549 words for the blog, giving me a total of 3,334 consumable words for the day.

2 thoughts on “Tuesday 9 January 2024: The office is done

    1. Hmm, I replied to this one yesterday, but now it’s disappeared… and this morning’s post didn’t auto-post either. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come…

      I said something along the lines of the room going from being filled with clutter to filled with energy.

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