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And then . . .

As soon as I posted the last section, I went to check my emails, I have just had an acceptance. That means I submitted 12 times in September and six have already had an  acceptance. One submission has resulted in three being short-listed so I am hoping for an acceptance there too. This not bad when you consider that it includes magazines I have regarded as tricky in the past.

I now have two sets of submissions out with proper poetry magazines. It’s a bit of a culture shift. The editors of Japanese style poetry journals are generally helpful, supportive and encouraging. Many of them are American, and despite my use of “Pollyanna” as an insult, positivity does seem to be an American trait. They are also quicker to give a decision (my most recent six all took less than a month) and publish three or four times a year (with one being monthly). They also accept submissions by email.

Contrast this with the five British based poetry magazines I have submitted to, will be submitting too, or nearly submitted to.

The editor of one is quite aggressive, to the point of telling would be authors he doesn’t give feedback because it isn’t his job. He just closed his submission window early too, so I can’t submit, even though I had planned to.

Peacock – our first butterfly of 2015 –  crocuses  are the giveaway. It was 10th March when I look it up.

One of the others is nearly as bad, though two, to be fair, are lovely people to deal with. Response time is typically two or three months. Submission is generally via something like Submittable, which I don’t really like, and one still insists on paper submissions. It’s a way of pre-editing, I suppose.

However, if you want to submit traditional European style  verse, this is how you have to do it. One day, there may be a change, but as most magazines are happy to tell you that they can only use a small percentage of the submissions they receive, it could be a long time until they need to worry about what the poets think of the service they are given.

Peacock at Mencap gardens

Having finished the email I checked WP – comments working.

So I wrote the post, got ti finished just before midnight, checked WP, found it was not showing comments again, and posted.

Short Post

I’m still out of it, but am progressing. Julia returned to work this morning, was soaked in the rain and returned home wet and totally worn out. She is in bed at the moment and I will wake her in a minute when I start to cook tea. I am going to do fishfingers, potato wedges and mushy peas – it seems like a good time for comfort food. I will do her some tomatoes too – she has been enjoying grilled tomatoes from our garden crop. Then we will have apple and pear crumble.

Squirrel looting bird table at Rufford Abbey

I am, meanwhile, just about cured. I’ve had a lazy day and read a few blogs. I needed the word “evolution” tonight but couldn’t bring it to mind. That’s Covid for you. I used “Darwinism” instead and eventually remembered “evolution”. The first time this happened was about fifteen years ago when I first had cellulitis and couldn’t speak properly in the few days as I recovered. My vocabulary seemed to disappear and I ended up having to explain many of the words I wanted to use. It was extremely frightening.

Bin raiding squirrel at Clitheroe Castle.

When I woke this afternoon I found that the postman had called and left a parcel from my sister – two bars of Green & Black’s chocolate. It’s organic, so it must be good for me. She included a note, it seems it’s a get well soon gift and she expects us to share it. Julia is already well so I’m not sure she qualifies for medicinal chocolate. I will have to give it some thought.

Pictures are grey squirrels. Tootlepedal had some in his blog today and it reminded me I had some.

Grey Squirrel

The Story So Far

I’m not quite sure what to write about now. Covid is passing, I slept well last night and am feeling better today, though still have a streaming cold. Also still a little vague, having lost two pairs of glasses, a box of pills and all my spare handkerchiefs.

The main topic is that WP is still playing up after three days. I will answer comments then, sometimes (annoyingly not every time) an answer will refuse to load. At one point I lost all the replies from that session. It was about twenty minutes work – not a tragedy, but still a matter of great irritation. Experience shows that this heralds a new, and inaccurately named,  “improvement”.

I’m currently stuck again. Pressing the button to send a reply to Derrick resulted in a small circle going endlessly round and round. I reloaded, I switched off and started again, I pressed various random things and now it is still sitting there circling. That’s been about an hour now.

If there was a serious alternative I would use it, but as nothing seems quite as good there’s no point changing. Although I enjoy it, I sometimes wish I’d never started.

Meanwhile, I have now made 11 submissions this month. I may go on to do another and, even another, depending on how superstitious I am feeling. Alternatively, I may leave the 13th until next month – they are one of the few magazines that does not use a submission window system and it can then be number one of the new month. Next month, has very few places to submit to, so I will mainly be writing in preparation for December, which is another bumper month for submissions. I already have twelve noted. In comparison I have three noted for October and one for November. I must look harder.

I already have acceptances for this month, so something is going right. I’m hoping there will be a few more once the window closes.

Well, that’s it for now.  No change at WP – my replies still aren’t loading. Very irritating.


Covid – gradually improving

Well, I was wrong about one thing when I blogged yesterday – although I did eventually find myself awakening too early, my night was not crowded with bad dreams. I hate being ill and dreaming because there’s an inevitability about the horror and depression the fever dreams bring. Yes,  I want a good night’s sleep to recover, but I dread going to sleep because I will dream. Last night, this was not the case. Last night I didn’t sleep long enough to dream. I lost count of the number of times I woke but what with the coughing, the high temperatures, the blocked nose and the bladder, I didn’t actually dream. This is both good and bad. No dreams, but very little sleep.

Every time I woke I felt thirsty. Sometimes I drank, other times I didn’t, because drinking at night brings its own problems. During some of the wakeful periods, as I either added or subtracted bedding to adjust my temperature, I longed for a cup of tea or a hot lemon cold cure.

As I woke from yet another short sleep, Julia arrived, having got up before me, bearing two mugs – one of tea and one Lemsip. Obviously a wife who can read your thoughts is a mixed blessing, but in this case it was very welcome. I had my cold cure, dressed and had my tea. It wasn’t quite as quick as that, of course, because I was feeling sluggish. Since then, I am glad to report, I have been feeling gradually better.

We did our Covid tests tonight and were both still positive. This proves that the government guidelines are not foolproof, and that romance is not yet  dead.

I decided to go with bicycles as my theme for photographs.

More Covid

I assumed, in the early stages of Covid, that we had caught it at the same time and that Julia’s infection was worse than mine because I had had so many vaccinations.

Turns out I was wrong. Last night the main event started – temperature, shivering, thirst. loss of appetite, and a cough. Every time I cough I sound like a pair of Victorian bellows and feel like my bronchial tubes have been cleaned with a wire brush. I have done no work, no cooking and not much talking. Mainly I have coughed, spluttered, wheezed , slept and whined. One of the neighbours brought us a pot of tomato soup. The tomatoes were from their garden and were very good.

On Monday I will have to find out how this affects my Wednesday blood test – they may not want me in the surgery. It’s also going to delay my Covid booster, which is now due.

Now that the Covid has become more severe I am starting to worry that I will end up with another post-Covid slump. I do hope not, as I would hate another barren patch like the last one.

In the end, I got downstairs just before lunch, had a sandwich, watched two episodes of Murder She Wrote and a black and white Sherlock Holmes film – The House of Fear.

It’s not very sophisticated or complicated, but it was just what I needed this afternoon.

Then I went back to bed, woke up, ate the gift of soup, sat round watching rubbish on TV and decided to blog. I feel I’m not as sharp as I could be, but am a lot better than last time I had Covid.

I’m going to go and talk to Julia now then go to bed early. I expect I will have bad dreams and wake up far too early in the morning.

Orange Parker Pen

Covid, Filing and a Cough

As promised earlier, more dullness.

Time for dinner. We are planning something more substantial today, as appetites are coming back. I will probably still snooze all afternoon, because that’s what I would do even without Covid.

I’ve just finished sorting through dsh or Drifting Sands Haibun if you prefer a title that tells you something about the magazine. I’ve added seven more Haibun to my list, though it’s hard work. They do something  with the formatting of the haiku and I can’t work out what it is. I can’t cut and paste successfully, I can’t alter them manually after I’ve pasted, and I can’t even re-write them as there appears to be something in the gap that messes things up. It is like they explode when I move them. I will sort it in time – either with a flash of technical inspiration or by rewriting the whole thing. Even if I have to write them all manually, it isn’t a big job.

As a bit of light relief I ordered groceries for delivery. Next week is going to be focussed on vegetables and I have actually done a menu plan for the week. I say plan, possibly “guide” would be more accurate. I have a list of dishes in my head, I have the ingredients and I just need to sort it out into order.

Five minutes later . . .


Now I have some Tanka to sort as I go through my thoughts to find more subject matter.

Much later . . .

I have now traced 33 Tanka, 27 haiku/Senryu, 10 Tanka Prose and 14 Haibun. That’s 84 poems. I also know where my published western style poems are, so that’s an extra 21. Total – 105. I stopped counting after 100 so I’m not sure how many are left to find. Whatever it is, it’s a lot less than it was two days ago.

After a nearly two hours digging in archives, I have found another 7 Haibun and 3 Tanka prose. There were others, but I’ve already extracted them by way for looking at old submissions in my email boxes. That’s 115 and I suspect that I can still find at least ten more.

Having looked at my submissions record and thought about things, if I can find that 10 extras that’s probably about all I’ve written. It’s not an interesting pursuit, and it doesn’t make for a particulalrly interesting read, but it is my life.

Covid, filing and a cough. I think I just found my title.

Bean Soup with pumpkin seeds – my attempt at being healthy and sophisticated

Dull and Dullability

I’ve had two or three goes at starting this post and they have all petered out. I decided to take a break and pay an invoice, and found that I had several messages on my phone. I haven’t picked it up since ringing work on Wednesday. In that time I have been sent three messages – hardly the most thriving social life, but more than usual. One is a get well soon message, one is a picture of an Edward VIII post box and one is delivery details for my injector pens.

It seems, despite it not triggering the spellchecker, that dullability isn’t a word. Ah! It didn’t trigger the spellchecker in the title, but it has done in the text. I see it as a late Victorian to 1930s word. It should mean the ability to be dull, implying a certain amount of choice and style, calling some one dullable would be similar to calling them clubbable. Of course, they wouldn’t be as sociable as a clubbable person. It would have taken a knock in the Great War, as shellfire is generally considered to be the antithesis of dullness, and WW2 would have polished it off completely as aerial bombing followed by TV would have made dullability all but impossible. It would be such a useful word . . .

Covid, for instance, would allow it to flourish, as people work from home and no longer socialise with workmates. Or merely sit at home struggling to find 250 reasonably interesting words. I could release myself from the shackles of cheeriness and moan to my heart’s content if only it were possible for people to refer to me as a dullable sort of chap.

A two part photo hit – we have been eating soup, but dreaming of cake.

I may use that in a poem.

There will be more dullness later today.

Sticky Toffee Cake

Our Private Lockdown

At the moment, my eyes feel a little hot and tired, I occasionally cough and I have a sniffle. Last night I had an upset stomach and the suspicion of a temperature. In my mind I have the symptoms of a very mild cold. The main problem is that I am feeling very tired, and that isn’t really a notable problem as I often feel tired.

Nothing I have is unusual, and, if anything, I am feeling better than I did a couple of days ago. IT could be a cold or it could be “being under the weather” as we used to say. Nothing registered with me to tell me I was ill. Julia was much the same. Her symptoms are a little worse than mine, though she has had no stomach problems. She has had headaches for several days though. I was duly sympathetic, but didn’t really think much about COVID until last night.

After a day where I made her do nothing (which isn’t easy), relax (ditto) and keep warm, she showed no improvement.

That was when it clicked. COVID! So she did a test. Positive. Then she did another one to check, and it occurred to me after our last COVID infection, that I’d better test too. Both positive. As I say, I don’t really feel ill, though I did feel very tired last night.

Watch out people – this new one creeps up on you!

I rang the shop last night and we arranged for me to stay away for five days. Julia rang her manager last night, who didn’t answer, so rang again this morning. It seems three clients, including one Julia has been in close contact with, have all reported being positive. Of course, having learning difficulties, they don’t always notice, and even when they do they have been known to turn up and tell staff they are positive. Sometimes the staff at residential homes actually send them when they are positive because they don’t want them hanging round during the day.

I’m so glad we are retiring next year.

Fortunately we have cake. Julia bought some earlier in the week, excusing herself with the words “You never know when you might need some.”

Clementine Drizzle cake with pistachio topping


The Day Continues . . .

The previous post covered a few things I had in mind this morning when I sat down. This one will cover the sitting down bit. I woke at 7.28, a little late than normal but not bad seeing as I hadn’t set an alarm.

I was downstairs and ready to work by 8.00 and started – read emails, respond and file as necessary, answer WP Comments, organise my Inbox (including deleting over a hundred mails that were just hanging around), answer feedback requests from Amazon and eBay (which I had allowed to back up). Eat breakfast (prepared by Julia), do the washing up, start on reorganising my files on Open Office. The enthusiasm for that lasted about 20 minutes, Strat on the list of my published poems.

At one time I was very good about printing copies and used to keep a file of them as a way of keeping my confidence up. It’s hard to become too downhearted if you have hard copies of successful submissions. I got a bit lazy after that and all I have now is the list of submissions.

Numbers are building up and, as Lavinia remarked a few days ago, I will soon have enough for  book. Of course, I need enough good ones, but it is encouraging to see them mount up towards book length.

My Orange Parker Pen

Julia has not been well for a few days and I have been doing my pathetic best to make her feel better, but in the absence of medical qualifications,  pharmacy and, most importantly, a cooperative patient, I haven’t made much headway. She is a nightmare as a patient as she never believes she is ill or should rest.

Finally, after giving it some thought (as I have also been a bit seedy for a few days, I suggested COVID tests).

Both of us have had runny noses, sore throats and tiredness and Julia has had headaches and now has a temperature too. All COVID symptoms, but all cold symptoms too. And I spend my life constantly feeling sleepy.

However, the tests revealed all and  it seems we have COVID again. We didn’t have particularly bad symptoms in 2021 when we had it, and they don’t seem too bad  at the moment. We also have plenty of food. Guidance for work is that we should avoid contact with people for five days so we are off until Monday. It’s inconvenient for work but there’s not a lot we can do about it. Julia definitely can’t associate with her group while she is infectious and it really isn’t a good idea for me to go to the shop while I’m infectious as a number of our customers are elderly or immunosuppressed, or both.

Definitely a day of two halves. It started so well and ended on a rather depressing note.

Orange Parker Pen


Eat, Sleep, TV . . .

Yes, it’s another post about work/life balance. I have it about right, I think as I earn just about enough to buy food, fuel and add to my collection. In an ideal world I would earn more and buy more for my collection, but you can’t have everything and I’m in the fortunate position of having enough money to pay for the things I want, and only wanting the things I am able to afford. It’s not a luxurious life-style but it works for us. If I suddenly developed an urge to have holidays, stay in luxury hotels or have a new car every few years we would struggle, but we don’t. It’s Micawber syndrome.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.

Last night we dined as well as any of the Royal Houses of Europe – roasted cauliflower, mustard cheese sauce, roasted leeks and sweet and sour brussels and mushrooms. You don’t need swan, truffles and caviar to live well. The basis for my menu choices I hear you ask . . .

Well, I had planned cauliflower steaks but there was an element of softness entering into some of the florets due to me not getting on with it last week, so I cut it up and roasted it. We had the remains of a bag of ready grated cheese in the fridge. We had leeks. We had too many mushrooms due to a breakdown in communication. And I found the brussels at the back of the fridge while I was getting the mushrooms.

Yes, I share your incredulity at the stuff we put in our fridge, but Julia insists on cramming it with stuff that should really be in the vegetable rack and thirty years of marriage have failed to make her see sense.

When we move she wants a bigger fridge so she can store even more random things in it and make life even more difficult for me.

Header photo is of a previous roasted cauliflower meal, with healthy veg and nut cutlets.. Last nights efforts ween’t particularly photogenic. And I was hungry by the time I’d finished. The lower picture is just random vegetables.

Edit (later in the day): See the next post for more news of our mixed day.

Stir Fry Vegetables