Tuesday 30 April 2019

Still Tired

I'm still tired after driving, which is ridiculous. Mind you, it was even mistier this morning, then I had another lesson (I'm trying to get my skills up) and we went around some seriously awkward junctions. I want to be able to get to IKEA, and anyone who has travelled from Leeds to the IKEA near Junction 27 of the M62 knows that it is a challenge. It isn't as bad as it used to be, where roundabout followed roundabout and if you weren't careful you ended up heading towards Halifax on an unexpected motorway, but it is still complicated with lots of lane discipline. My awesome instructor also took me up some seriously challenging roads, and I was late getting back to set off to pick up bear, but the drive home was relatively okay. My life seems to be all about driving at the moment.

It's strange, though, going out all the time. I called in at Morrisons after dropping bear off and bought ingredients for soup which we had this evening, and I don't need to worry about getting enough bread in to last as I can always pick up some while I'm waiting for bear in the afternoon. I need to get some stuff packed up because I can call in at a charity shop without much stress, and when I get into the garden, such as it is (the lavender is probably still alive, hard to tell), I can take the weeds to the tip. The more I think about it, the more I think it is life changing, and the more I think I can fit in.

Writing stuff - I've been at the flash fiction, here. I don't know what it was about the picture that caught my attention, but it did, and I enjoyed writing it. And now I am off to collapse into bed! Hugs to all.

Photo by Hean Prinsloo on Unsplash

Monday 29 April 2019

Just Passing Through

My lavender plants are still alive.

I never thought about using foil on the window. Around here, it usually means that someone is growing weed, but it would work for blacking it out. I shall keep it in mind.

Today has been an adventure. I started off by driving bear to school. It was foggy. It wasn't really dark, thick fog, but it was bad enough. I could see more than a hundred metres ahead - just - but it wasn't easy to see what was coming. It didn't really show until we had gone a little way up the road as it was in the countryside, and then I had to find somewhere safe to pull over (allowing for limited visibility) to find where the lights were. I dropped bear and his pal off and then I drove home. That was an adventure in itself. I suspect that I drove most of the way home in the wrong gear and got overtaken by a police car. However the fog was lifting so it was not quite so nerve wracking, especially at the roundabouts.

About five minutes after I got home, the men to replace the windows came. They replaced two windows in the study and one in the living room and the windows look amazing. It's terrifying how much light comes through windows that are actually clean, and I have sooo much cleaning I need to do. It took me ages to warm up afterwards, though, and I think I'm still only just thawing out.

By the time the windows were done, it was time to sort out collecting bear. Instead of collecting him from school, I needed to pick him up from climbing, which was in an area I didn't know very well. I ended up getting there nearly an hour early as I was so worried about parking. I think I will get there that early again as the very few parking spaces filled up quickly and I had nabbed one that was easy to get out of. It was quite relaxing. I just sat in the car and got on with a little knitting. I think I will claim that time as 'me' time. As it got nearer to pick up, the parking became a nightmare and the road got busier and busier. I did some thinking, checked Google Maps on my phone and then bear and I came home a way that I had never driven before, and some of the way I had never been down at any time before. It was awesome, no problem and bear and I decided that it was the best way home.

I am now officially exhausted, so I'm off to bed.

Sunday 28 April 2019

So Much for the Curtains

I've done it again. I thought, 'I can just...' and it never ends well. Today I started on bear's curtains.

Bear is swearing that he can't sleep because the light in the morning and evening is waking him up. I would be more sympathetic if he didn't wake up at daft o'clock at midwinter when it's still dark. Bear has always woken early. I guess he's dealing with high school and hitting the teen years and is feeling the strain so would like the extra help. Today I got out the Doctor Who curtains and braced myself to line them.

The curtains aren't actually curtains, as our windows are 76 inch drop, which doesn't exist in curtain sizes here, and all the Doctor Who curtains I've seen have been 54 inch or shorter. However, most duvet covers are 78 drop, more or less, so with the help of some heading tape I have perfect curtains made from two single duvets (the window is only 46 inches wide). I thought I could just turn the duvet covers inside out, attach fleece, turn right side out and then hang lined curtains.

Actually I did just turn the duvets inside out, do two rows of back stitch at the top and then turn right side out. The fleece hung beautifully after a little trim. Sadly, white fleece does not stop light. They would stop plenty of drafts and add to the body of the curtain, but it would still be just as bright. So I've ordered some proper blackout lining from eBay, which was remarkably inexpensive, and I'll get the curtains lined as soon as it comes.

In the meantime DH taped some navy microfiber towels over the window. They are awesome at blocking the light and if the tape continues to hold them up then they will do just fine. 

Today has been a useful learning day. I've learned not to try lining curtains with white fleece if I want to keep the light out. I've learned that microfibre towels are remarkably good at keeping out the light. Also, I've found The Librarians on Amazon Prime. It's a series I hadn't bothered with before, but I put it on while I was wrestling with acres of fleece and duvets and I really enjoyed the first couple of instalments.  So it could have been a lot worse.

Now I am off to move furniture and plant pots for the men doing the windows tomorrow. 

I don't have any pics of the curtains, as there is nothing to take pics of so I searched for pics of curtains and found this, and I thought it was beautiful. I hope you like it.

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

Anyone who knows cats knows that those curtains are a whisker away from being shredded but it is a lovely pic.

Saturday 27 April 2019

Online Shopping Fail - Again!

The lavender plants arrived today. I didn't read the listing properly and I thought the 20 lavender plants would be slightly larger than the listing promised.  Here are 20 lavender plants.

I forgot to put anything in for scale, so, for the sake of feeling like a proper blogger, I went out and put a standard mug on the steps. The mug is probably nearly sort of in the same place as the lavender plants but a step higher and a little to the right.

You can see the debris that I still haven't cleared up properly from getting rid of the old lavender. To also help with the scale, here are six of the plants, which I have put for them to get going before I transplant them in the bed by the dining room window.

I hope they do okay. They look quite healthy, are exactly as described, and will be awesome in the bed, if they survive. I don't expect them to flower this year. 

Today I have started making a dent in the dreadful state of the dining room, including the huge heap of ironing. I feel very smug because there is still a day left before the first day of the new term and I know where all the games kit is and I have already ironed shirt and trousers for bear. The blazer has come back from the dry cleaners looking almost fit for purpose despite bear's best efforts, and I've even topped up his dinner money account. All I need to do now is convince bear to sort out his bag and duck from the inevitable panic if he finds some homework he should have done throughout the holidays.

Writing stuff - It's a day late, but here is the latest from the White Hart. Yesterday I also had a really awesome coaching session about writing matters, so I'm feeling hopeful that I can get back on track and be able to share some more stuff, and better stuff.

Thursday 25 April 2019

Yet Another Milestone!

We were up early this morning. The local schools are back, but bear is in a different educational district and on holiday, so we started working in the garden at 8am as we knew that the various neighbouring families would be stirring as they were getting ready for school.

A few years ago, the lavender in front of the study looked like this

It has grown and got very leggy and straggly so I decided to replant it, and as the windows are coming Monday, it had to go now.  Bear pulled out the lavender and I cut and squished it into bags. So we ended up with it looking like this

That is actually the window to the dining room, which I'm keeping covered due to the utter shame I have of the state of the ironing pile in there. The study is above it, 90 inches wide and will need some manhandling to put in, so I'm leaving the bed bare until then. Then bear put down the back seats and I filled the car. That was around ten bags of lavender plants which meant a lot of fragrance, and that, added to the rosemary essential oil, meant that poor Red smelled very herbal. I remembered to take a pic of the air freshener

I was so cold when I set off that I found the heater! And I went to the tip (?dump for those outside UK) by myself! And I reversed into one of the bays! I felt so grown up. Then I went straight to Tesco at Batley, where I picked up some uniform shirts for bear for next year. I had a coupon (from the last delivery, ironically) where I got £5 off if I spent £25. I bought underwear and shirts for bear, shoes for myself and a t-shirt for DH. I also picked up some new and sharp secateurs, and bear has been putting them through their paces. He has decided he wants to dig everything out and start over. I'm fine with that but holding out to keep the yellow rose (which is older than him) and the lilac.

Then I staggered home. Dinner tonight was sausage with pasta. We have ongoing discussions about sausages and the men have decided that the frozen sausages are just inadequate compared to the 'good' gluten free sausages, so I have always had something of a juggling act making sure that any sausages were used up in time. However The Debbie and Andrew frozen sausages passed approval, so we can have those again.

I am now off for an early night as I am exhausted and I have another round of gardening and tip run tomorrow.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Another Day, Another Milestone

Bear and I went to the White Rose Centre and got him shoes which was a major milestone. Bear seemed fine with my driving, and was okay with me parking miles away from the doors where it was practically empty. I impressed him as I drove straight into a bay and it was wonderful and straight and perfectly within the lines - and miles from any other car.

We had the usual issues with shoes. Bear never feels comfy in the size that they give him. He takes size five in trainers, size five/six in football boots and they wanted him to wear a three and a half. He left with size five, and very nice they look as well. Then we picked up some rosemary oil for the air freshener in the car. I have a sort of clip thing that goes on the air vent which holds little pads and you drop some essential oil on them. I swear I only put a few drops and there is a seriously strong scent, but there are a lot worse scents than rosemary. I may use lemon next. I love the scent of lemon.

We got some refreshments and discussed the garden. I'm going to have to remove the lavender under the study window as we are getting new windows and bear believes it's best to dig everything out and start again. After some discussion, we drove to B&Q, which I hadn't planned on, but managed just fine (and reversed into a parking space! - again, miles from anyone else) and came out with a spade, a small fork, some goggles and a random assortment of plants. Bear persuaded me to pay £1.50 for a very small selection of carrots that would probably not yield the same as the 79p bag from Tesco, if I was lucky. I now have a packed programme tomorrow for gardening early, then picking bear's blazer up from the dry cleaners in Batley, and possibly investigating garden centres. Bear is starting to get Ideas, and I'm happy to let him go for it.

Writing stuff - Today I got to publish an interview with JK Allen, with the launch of 'Heavenfire', the second in the Angelborn series. I have spoken with JK Allen a few times, informally, and she is an awesome and lovely person, and I felt incredibly honoured to do the interview. I look up to her so much. Anyway, the interview is here,

I need to do more 'writey' things. I was determined to scale back and focus on books, but now that I'm going to be in a routine with getting bear to and from school and without the driving lessons, if I make at least an attempt to manage my time then I should be able to do the flash fiction as well as the instalments from the White Hart and the newsletter (definitely, absolutely, almost certain to come out this Friday) and still find time for the books.

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Five More Days

To be honest, I love hanging out with bear, but I will be glad when the Easter Holidays are over. I'm running out of ideas. Fortunately bear has been playing football in the street, binge watching videos on violins, voluntarily practising the piano and keeping himself going with only a few bits of drama. But I need to be getting used to the new rhythm of driving him hither and yon and I need to get some stuff written and I need to be able to make plans without having to work around him.

I was out again today. I'm feeling more confident, but it's early days yet and I need to make sure I don't get too overconfident. Besides, I get nervous on the faster roads. I need to work on that, but carefully. I was looking at a trip to Bolton Abbey and the directions said it was nearly thirty miles each way. I was horrified - how could I possibly manage to drive sixty miles? Then I realised that I had driven a lot further during lessons, when I had driven for hours, and that basically a road is a road. Thank you, Eileen, I think I'm getting a little more confident, but there's room to grow.

I'm still binge-watching Lie to Me (in between bear) and I was a little disturbed to see the disclaimer that the psychologist face reader and obscure and strange plots was fiction. I'm sure that there are some very strange things out there, and that there is a lot of science behind it, but surely no-one would think that it was factual?

Mind you, people are strange and wonderful. I came across another piece about Icelandic elves on the BBC here, and I sincerely felt for the Icelandic Roads Press Officer explaining that yes, they had moved a rock out of respect for the elves. I felt that he got it. That it wasn't about whether the elves were real or not. It was about respecting other people's harmless beliefs and allowing space for a little magic and wonder. We should all do that more.

Writing stuff - I was lucky enough to host a spotlight on a character from Phoebe Darqueling's 'No Rest for the Wicked'. Phoebe is an amazing person and I consider her an authority on steampunk, and so I was thrilled to take part. The insight into one of the characters and the snippet from the book are here.

Phoebe is also working on the anthology, Cogs, Crowns and Carriages, published by Our Write Side and containing a chapter from yours truly and she does some amazing graphics for her work, so I feel incredibly grown up being in any way included. I am going off to bask in being grown up and eat chocolate.

Monday 22 April 2019

A Good Day

I had a nice drive today. I drove to a park but I made a mess of the parking so I didn't stay long. Then I called into Tesco, then into Aldi - and that was scary! The car park was packed. I wish I could show you the picture I took - I was right in the middle of a row of cars, though to be fair the space on the right was empty until about thirty seconds after I pulled in. If I work out how to black out the number plates, I'll post - I was so proud! And then I called into the Co-op which is a little way from us and off the main roads, because I could, although I think I knocked the car on the kerb on the way out.

And then I binged watched Lie To Me, in the name of research for when I'm writing about mind games. Dinner was a picnic of cold sausages, potato salad, coleslaw, rice salad (at least that was home made) and relaxation. I need to get back to making mayonnaise. It doesn't last as long as bought stuff, and it's probably less healthy, but it tastes immeasurably better.

Yesterday we had lamb burgers rather than a joint of lamb. We don't seem to get the value out of a joint, and lamb can be a little greasy, but the burgers were cooked on a grid and heavily spiked with mint.

Tomorrow I need to get out again, probably to the White Rose Shopping Centre as I need to take bear there for shoes, and I'd like another dry run first.

Happy Easter everyone!

Sunday 21 April 2019

Actually, Doing Okay

I can't tell you how tired I am. I am completely, utterly, entirely exhausted. However I've managed to get some driving done as I drove to Tesco in Batley again. Other big supermarkets are nearer, but I like Tesco and it's going to be one of my go-to places when I'm dropping bear off at school. It was a great drive. I'm going to be going again on Monday as I will be taking bear's blazer in to be dry-cleaned (again) and calling in at Aldi soon after. Aldi will be slightly trickier as I get caught up in Batley's one way system, but I have to learn it.

I spent quite a lot on some clothes for bear. I could have bought less, but I've bought him four shirts, all of which he approves of, and some cooler trousers. I'm hoping they continue to fit him until autumn. He's going to get some more spent on him next week as he needs a haircut and new shoes. Thanks for all the encouragement. Hester - I explained about the tests measuring teachers with the SATS and he believed me. I don't think it will work as well now.

Bear is very much his own creature. DH and I have been hanging out with him in the study, listening to Classic FM Hall of Fame 2019. Bear is insisting on the classical music and while DH and I are on our laptops, he is writing in notebooks with a fountain pen. I don't know where we went right. We watched Walt Disney's Fantasia which bear has seen but didn't remember. He was entranced.

Writing stuff - the White Hart is back, latest story here.

Friday 19 April 2019

Continuing Bear

I staggered downstairs at 7.45am this morning and bear had already started rearranging furniture. The day hasn't got much better.

The trouble is, we have too much stuff. That's the long and short of it. However, I can now drive, and through various ways and means, I can drive to charity shops. I can also drive to the tip. All I have to do now is sift through what I want to keep and what needs to go. I may just throw stuff out regardless.

And I am coming to truly loathe school holidays. At the moment bear is bored, but doesn't want to go anywhere and I am refusing to do his thinking for him when it comes to finding amusements. Fortunately, bear has decided to practice music and revise. I am not sure about a system that has bear stressed half out of his mind with worry about exams at 12, but it is what it is, and I need to find ways around it.

I told bear that I would start ringing around violin teachers after Easter. I had found someone that may be fine if they have a space, but I said that I was worried about parking. "The parking won't be a problem," bear said.
"That's fine for you, you won't be trying to park." I said.
"I know, that's why it isn't a problem for me," bear said, smugly.

He goes back to school on the 29th. I am looking forward to that.

Wednesday 17 April 2019

Still Wibble

Lots more driving by myself. I have tried reversing into parking spaces. So far, so good. Mind you, I've only tried this with spaces miles from any other car!

Bear is on holiday and is working hard at piano practice and revision. Also, lots of computer games and lots of playing out with the kid next door. I just keep feeding him snacks and letting him get on with it.

Back tomorrow when hopefully I make sense.

Tuesday 16 April 2019


Anonymous - if that was you in the big black van, you didn't even need to slow down! Though you may have wondered at the purple people eater shooting across like a rocket.

I've driven for four hours today. I'll be back tomorrow when I make sense.

Monday 15 April 2019

A New Low

Bear needs feeding up, and there is this complicated overlap about what he can eat when. Trust me when I say this, but this came from a place of absolute desperation. I bought frozen baked potatoes.

Access to ovens is a little hit and miss at the moment, and microwaved potatoes never seem to work for me. I need to manage a combination of different ovens, but I haven't hit the sweet spot yet that will get flavour, texture and time in perfect balance. Bear will eat baked potatoes, and I was so frantic that I bought the frozen ones. They were rubbish.

So what I found was that, effectively, I paid £4 per kilo instead of @ 80p per kilo for something less satisfactory. Bear had some very stern words with me.

On the bright side, I bought them when I drove out to Tescos in Batley, which is a good half hour away. I also picked up the jeans he needed, as he had grown out of all of his, plus trainers, also grown out of his, plus celery (his current favourite snack) plus sandwich meat. So I got some driving in. I think I should have hung back for a bus, and I may have been too assertive at a roundabout, but I was okay.

I'm feeling incredibly stressed and shaky about driving. The driving itself is fine, I'm confident I'm not a hazard. I'm just finding getting in the car tough. I'll be back when I can be positive.

Friday 12 April 2019

Another Day, Another Meh

I picked bear up from school, after stalling spectacularly on a hill - tried to move off uphill in third gear. Didn't work.

It was interesting as I called into the shop, forgot some things, bought other stuff on impulse and generally tootled. And I realised that while buying just what I needed, just when I needed, was a great strategy, I need more strategies to avoid impulse buying. I know I can take in a list of things I need, but sticking just to the list is going to be tricky.

This is one way that online shopping has been so wonderful for me. It helps me keep impulse buying at least partly at bay. I mean, all bets are off if drink (or eBay) has been involved, but it keeps the price down. When I look online, especially on somewhere like Tesco, I usually find myself looking around my favourites or similar items to the things I'm looking for. I can't walk past a display of cutlery and suddenly have the impulse to buy forks.

Aldi is a particular hazard. It has awesome deals on great stuff, especially chocolate, but they have an aisle of wonder, where you can pick up chainsaws or scuba gear or paint stripper or lots and lots of really sweet yarn.

One of today's impulse buys was a car air freshener. I feel like have been under chemical assault.

Writing stuff - latest instalment from the White Hart is here. I had far too much fun writing it.

Photo by Ellen Melin on Unsplash

I also submitted a short story to a writing competition. It was quite odd, as I was talking out loud to myself about the plot as I drove to pick up bear, as if the car could give me plot advice, and I had to be careful not to carry on the one sided conversation while I was wandering around Morrisons. I may get a reputation!

Thursday 11 April 2019

Not Brilliant

I didn't have the courage to go to pick up my prescription. It looks like the car hasn't made a drastic change. I can do things for bear, but not for me. Also one of the reversing lights isn't working, so I need to speak to the awesome dealers.  Also, a few bits of other stuff, which aren't really mine to share.

But lots of good stuff happened. I picked up bear and his pal and drove them home without incident. There were a few bits as I drove there, but nothing my fault, and I had no trouble avoiding the car that pulled out in front of me - and I didn't stall once, not even on the hills! (Barb, there are automatics around, but they are less common. When I looked on the dealer's website, they had 64 cars for sale, and only two or three were automatics and a couple more semi automatic).

Writing stuff - a little while ago I had a story accepted into a steampunk anthology, called Cogs, Crowns and Carriages, but there have been some production hiccups. The original publisher has hit something of a roadblock, but another indie publisher has taken it on. She put the call out today asking for quotes to use in publicity, as she was going to put some together using Canva. I sent over some quotes from my segment of the anthology (I don't know how many other people are contributing, but they are all awesome) that she could use and I thought I would have a go myself. As I said, other people are contributing to the anthology, so this is just from my bit, but I had fun.

I'm not sure of the release date. It was originally going to be November, before all the upset, but I will of course be sharing wildly.

I also had a go at a quote from The Forgotten Village. I plan to go through my previous stuff, make a proper list of characters, identify places dig out quotes, work on plot lines and make a full list of people who I have mentioned lightly with a view to giving them their own stories. Here is my go at the Forgotten Village quote

I was quite proud of that as it's the first time I've added a stock photo.

Now I am going to have a quiet evening and try and get everything lined up for the White Hart tomorrow. 

Wednesday 10 April 2019

I Did It

I drove around twenty minutes there, twenty minutes back, parked in a mostly empty car park, and only stalled twice. There were complicated roundabouts, roadworks and very scary lorries. I still managed it. I have to do it again today as they didn't have my prescription in so I'm picking it up tomorrow.

I did a run with my instructor to bear's school and back, and I was sort of fine. I'm still nervous on hills, but I did okay. Bear has agreed that I pick him up tomorrow and Friday, but he wants to go in with his pals in the morning for the next two days.

For some reason I am now incredibly exhausted, so sending hugs to everyone and thanks for the good wishes.

Tuesday 9 April 2019

About Writing Stuff

Another drive out today with my awesome instructor, trying to work out how to get into the Aldi car park in Batley. I did okay, and tomorrow I'm going out on my own. I am utterly terrified. I need to sort out a prescription, though, and rather than get the bus (my instinctive reaction), I am going to make a relatively easy journey to a shopping centre. I actually did the drive today, with my instructor, but didn't get the prescription. I'm so scared of going there by myself that I'm going to just have to go for it.

Akasha - I never learned to drive before for a few reasons. I never really had the money (my instructor cut me a good deal, but it was £25 per hour, and I've done a lot of hours), local public transport was excellent and it just wasn't important. I think you are in the US? In the UK it is considered relatively difficult to pass the test, with less than a 50% pass rate, and I think that what you have to do is quite strict here. I took nine months of serious lessons, and that isn't bad, especially as I'm in my fifties and I'm late to driving. But now (once I've got a little confidence) I can take my son, bear, to and from school and cut his commute from over an hour to around twenty five to thirty five minutes. Also it is easier to put a huge bag of books and PE kit into the back of a car than drag it on the bus. Until bear needed the lifts, it just wasn't worth it as there are buses near our house every ten minutes or so during the day and they are really convenient. I'll probably still take them sometimes as parking in Leeds centre is fairly tough.

So, lots of writing stuff going on. Now that I don't have so many driving lessons filling my time, I'm working more towards trying to earn a living as a writer. Most people who write do not make a living from it, so I'm trying to work out what is going to work for me and what isn't. I am under no illusions, but if I can earn enough to run the car and pay all the extras bear would like, it would be a help.

I was told that I should spend at least half the time I have to write in marketing. I'm not good at marketing. I find it all complicated and confusing. But it's worth looking at, especially the free stuff I can do.

I'm starting off learning about Canva. Canva is a site where  you can create your own graphics for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, emails etc etc. There are a lot of templates, backgrounds, art etc that you can use for free, and I haven't paid a penny so far, but there are also some items that you can pay for. I was getting overwhelmed trying to figure it out, but I took a step back and had a think. The normal, 'start at the beginning and work your way through' doesn't often work with me. I keep trying to learn stuff that way, but finally I'm accepting that I fail at being sensible and that I often do best when just dumped in the middle.

What I have started to do is go on Canva every day and make graphics. I've done mainly Facebook so far, but I'm also trying Twitter and Pinterest. I aim that every day I find a nice quote, make a graphic (some are better than others!) and post it. Canva even allows you to upload it direct to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. This way I'm learning how to use Canva, and perhaps making myself visible. Today I've posted in Facebook (and the same image on Twitter)

And Pinterest

And it was all free. Yesterday (I think) I did a Twitter post which was the most complicated I'd attempted yet.

I have the same aptitude for graphics as the average pigeon has for particle physics, but I'm getting the hang of it and I recommend going and playing if you find it interesting. 

I need to be professional about my writing, which is hard for me, so I have decided that after this week it will be a book review most Tuesdays, or some sort of blog tour, news about my writing or similar. I won't be loading up flash fiction on Thursdays as I hope to save that energy for submitting to magazines and writing novels. I will still aim to upload another chapter from the White Hart every Friday (I have lots of fun things planned for the poor people there!) so there will still be free writing from me. 

And I finally have the push to get that newsletter out. I have joined a group that uses newsletters and encourages people to swap information and links in newsletters and do giveaways so I need to actually get around to getting my own writer's newsletter up and running. I am aiming to finally publish my first newsletter next Friday, 19th April, which will have my news, any swaps and giveaways I have agreed to go in with (sorry! but they may be interesting, I have no idea how it is going to work), a household tip from Mrs Tuesday and some original, unpublished fiction. I've probably worked it out right, and I think I've got all the legals sorted. Please be kind, if you sign up. You can sign up here if you are interested, but as any news will also be posted on here, you don't have to.

Today I have put a piece of flash fiction up on my blog here, which I enjoyed writing a great deal. I can't say that I won't put up other pieces, but I will be focusing on other stuff. 

And speaking of which, I think I mentioned that a piece of mine had been accepted in an anthology. Well, here it is, Dreamscapes, from Cherry House Press, which will be published on April 30th or May 1st, details to follow. I feel very excited.

So lots and lots of writing stuff going on. Thank you for letting me share. 

Monday 8 April 2019

Going Up

Thank you for all the good wishes - she is a storming colour, isn't she?

My utterly awesome instructor came around and we delved into the differences between diesel and petrol. There aren't much, but getting going and hill starts are so different in my car to my instructor's car. But we trundled around, practising hill starts and I had a look at Red's engine for the first time. My instructor was so impressed at how clean it was, and all the thingies were topped up. The more he saw, the more he was impressed and told me I had got a good deal. I could identify the washer, brake fluid and coolant reserves quite well, but it took me a moment to find the oil.

That was today, really, leaning hill starts again. I did okay, and I'll do better. However I spent hours on hills stopping, starting, stopping, starting and wondering when I would get it all co-ordinated. Mind you, I didn't stall once, so I'm taking that as a win. My instructor thinks that the biggest issue is getting in and out of our road, and I agree. It's an awkward turn onto a very rough road, on a hill next to a blind corner. Challenge accepted.

And I filled up with petrol for the first time!!!

Eileen - I am only learning to drive in order to drop bear off and pick him up. He wants me to pick him up on Friday, but I'm not sure. Initially I was hoping to wait until after the holiday. I am just learning the new car, and don't want to put bear in a scary position. But once I start drop off and pick up, on the way home after drop off I can go past the biggest Tesco I have ever seen and a very substantial Aldi, so I'm going to make the most of it.

Sunday 7 April 2019


I have a piece of washi tape stuck to the top of my laptop screen with I T I on. It stands for 'Is This Important?' I'm trying to get focused and motivated, especially now that I can drive. Today I have been setting up a Bullet Journal (again), but this time in a ring binder. I did something similar many years ago in a ring binder and it worked really well for me. Now that I've finally passed my test, I need to get on top of things. I am so much not on top of things that it is ridiculous. I am also wasting a lot of time and frittering my efforts around the edges, so I'm trying to keep I T I at the forefront of my mind.

I have lots of things I should be remembering, like stuff for the house, stuff for bear's school, things I need to be trying to do, writing etc, and I feel so overwhelmed that I need to do something. So I'm making a start. I hope to have some sort of system functioning by the end of April.

Bear has found a legitimate and legal source (I think) of free music scores ( so has been scratching the surface of Vivaldi. I don't think he is covering the full score, but he sounds marvellous and he is enjoying himself. I'm just letting him get on with it.

I drove by myself for the first time today. My P plate from the front came loose and went flying off when I reached 20mph, which was unnerving, but I just kept going. I had a little drive around an industrial estate which was completely deserted because it was Sunday, and I'm still nervous about moving off. I am fine with the rest of it. Anyway, here she is.

I'll try and get a better pic tomorrow. 

Saturday 6 April 2019

Slow Saturday

Today has, against all odds, been a slow Saturday. Normally 2k words would have the kitchen sparkling, but my joints are really bad. I also nearly fell backwards downstairs again on the kitchen stairs and it worries me.

Sarah - bear has been wanting to play the violin for a while. I am somewhat sceptical, but I guess I can't put it off any longer. I'm waiting to see what the school says. Thanks for the tips re books, I have no idea what their process is. The school is seriously, seriously, seriously academic so I hope they give a proper grounding. Fortunately, he has picked up quite a bit from piano studies.

I am so stressed and fretful about picking up Red tomorrow. I'm worried that I'll have too many issues with getting the biting point to get home. The brakes are also much keener, though I didn't have any problems adjusting on the test drive. The exit from the car dealership is extremely narrow and I will be turning right on a busy road. I would be fine if it was my instructor's car. I've driven through far worse gaps with quite honestly inches to spare, and there are traffic lights which would be a help to get a gap to turn, not that I am likely to need a lot of help on a Sunday morning.

Once I get home, it is difficult to get off our street if you don't have control over moving off. I can see quite a few late night drives until I get the hang of things.

The driving is really playing on my mind, but I can honestly say that I am fine in my instructor's car. All I need to do is practice. 

Hugs to all.

Friday 5 April 2019

Thank You

Thank you for all the encouraging comments, they are much appreciated.

I haven't got much housewifery done today. Instead I got some writing done, a little research, a trip to Leeds to pick up a present for one of DH's friends (who is awesome!) and a trip to Aldi. 

It is really hard to find souvenirs of Leeds that do not involve the football team. I had something of a rummage around, and my joints were playing up before I picked up a cotton bag with the Leeds owl on the front. Here is a rather out of focus pic of one of the Leeds owls, near Millenium Square, that I took a while ago. I couldn't face dealing with my new handbag to dig out my phone to take pics today.

I really need to get my new handbag sorted out. 

I wasn't home long before bear got in. Bear has persuaded me to ask school about violin lessons. I am not entirely convinced, but he is very keen. I'm hoping I can rent a violin from school for him.

Writing stuff - The more I write, the more housework I get done, so I should be a whirlwind tomorrow. I managed the piece of flash fiction that I aim to get out on Thursdays, here, and the latest instalment from the White Hart, here. It really hit home that I need to get ahead. The flash fiction was not behaving and it took me time to work it out properly, so I need to get ahead to get the good stuff up.

Now I am exhausted, so I'm going to crawl off to bed. Hugs to all.

Thursday 4 April 2019

Odd Sort of Day

I've done all sorts of little bits today, but don't feel like I have achieved much. I've done a fragment in the garden, tracked down bins, ironed, washed (relentlessly), cooked food, failed to fry eggs on an epic scale, wiped down all the paintwork on the stairs (desperately needed!) and generally kept moving, but I can't see a big dent. There have been tiny incursions into the chaos, but less than I would like.

Back again tomorrow. Hugs to all.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Little to Report

I've had a 'nothing' sort of day. I managed to make sure that everyone was fed good food (the really good sausages with apple from Aldi with rice and beans), that everyone had clean clothes and I managed to tootle a little, but not much more.

I got a new handbag from eBay. It's gorgeous. It's new, still with the tape around the handle, and was filled with lots of scrunched up paper, but it stinks of mildew. I think I will see if I can get it dried out and perhaps put some cloths soaked in vinegar inside. It's not leather or anything fancy, so if the vinegar stains it, then it's not a big deal as long as the smell goes. It has about a hundred pockets and lots of zips and pouches, so I can tuck pieces of rag with vinegar on all over.

I also got myself insured to drive. It wasn't cheap, in fact it cost a fortune, but I got fully comp with everything on it. Hopefully I will get a discount next year. Around 30% of new drivers have an accident in their first year after passing a test, and I'm hoping I'm not going to be one. Statistically, it's more likely to be a ding, but who knows.

I also managed to write just over a thousand words on my next novel, which is much needed and I hope will give me the energy to get some more work done tomorrow. The more I write, the cleaner the house.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Staggering On

Today has been something of a fail. Start again tomorrow.

Thank you for all the encouragements. I love hearing that I am not the only person who gives a car a name. I'm looking forward to going for my first solo trips. I will have to apply for my insurance when DH is around as I don't understand the questions that I'm being asked. Apparently most UK cars are right hand drive. I didn't know that. I wasn't sure whether it was left hand drive, because we drive on the left, or right hand drive, because the driver sits on the right. It's a real adventure.

Jake's a Girl - I am perhaps not being helpful, but did you know that you can order the Aldi Special Buys online. You have to get in quick, because you usually get a chance to buy before they hit the shops and you only have a certain amount of time before they sell out and you have to scrounge through the stores. The arts and craft section is here. Yes, I looked at the car section online, but I resisted. I've ordered online before and their service has been okay.

Writing stuff - I was asked to do a review of a book which turned out to have quite a spicy and erotic side to it. I blushed but enjoyed it - Leann Ryans, The Omega Prize, review here.

Monday 1 April 2019

I Went to Aldi

I went to Aldi and I didn't buy any of the yarn they had as their special buy. There were packs and packs of it, dies and kits and all sorts - but I stayed strong. I just picked up a few bits and came home. I feel very smug. Next week I would in theory be able to go in my car. The thought terrifies me as the car park is very tight and the exit is up a slope. I may have to park on the road outside.

Thank you for the good wishes on the car. I am still nervous. She (definitely a she) is a Citroen C3 2015 1 litre Puretech 5 door hatchback in 'karma purple'. She looks like this and I'm putting in a link rather than a pic as I couldn't find a copyright free pic. She's a sort of aubergine/eggplant colour, with plenty of room for bear and his pals to expand into as they grow and a decent sized boot (trunk) for sports kit and projects and also some possible shopping. She should cope with our appalling road and be fine on the school runs. According to what I can see, she will be easy to maintain, inexpensive to run and should last for a few years yet.

I have been reading Bless's monthly goals, and I feel very disappointed with myself. I really admire Bless and anyone who can set goals and stick to them. If I set myself a goal I seem to ricochet off the surface of any goal as if it was made of greased ice and aim straight for something else. It's not a new revelation, but it is hitting me hard. I've started saying to myself, 'What is really important to you? What is it that you value?'

I have done so many posts on here starting with 'I'm going to...' and then completely failed to even start. I wrote a really good list of goals at the start of the year, but between flu (probably flu, v poorly), stress and the weight of the driving lessons, I haven't kept to it. But I've managed one - I've passed my test. I'm taking that as a win.

I think I will set myself weekly goals, and this week I aim to make two scarves as a friend of DH is visiting and I would like to gift the two scarves as the friend is awesome and give bear lessons that are supposed to be far too advanced for him (he laps them up). I'll commit to letting you know how that goes next week.