Everything seems to have gone well today. I managed not just one post, not even just two posts, but three. Well, I will have done by the time I finish this one.
The procrastination went badly, as I booked the car in for service, rang for a prescription, signed some legal documents, spoke to my sister and started a letter I’ve been putting off for a while. I must start working on that again. Unfortunately I didn’t do all the writing or researching I wanted to do, but something had to give. I did cook baked eggs for breakfast and did avocados for lunch, in addition to some washing up and exercises and something else I was going to list. Unfortunately |I have forgotten the last one. But I did do it, so I haven’t been entirely idle.
Just remembered that I was supposed to be renewing a subscription to a poetry magazine too. Does a poet’s labour never end?
It was internet shopping, that was what I couldn’t remember. Even though I’m getting quicker it still takes me the best part of an hour to plan and do. Compared to the hour plus that it used to take me when I did the shopping in person, it’s actually a nett saving in time. I also don’t use the car, don’t buy sweets or magazines and don’t by random foodstuffs because they catch my eye. Despite the drawbacks with substitutions and such, it’s probably more efficient. The only problem is that you tend to get into a rut and eat the same thing every week if you aren’t careful. I remember being told this several years ago – people just press the button to repeat the same order week after week and their diet becomes much less varied. This is considered a bad thing as it limits the range of nutrients you are taking in.
First exciting fact of the day – I’ve discovered a new system for selecting titles for post. It will only last a week before I run into trouble, but it will be good while it lasts. At my age anything that helps to reduce mental wear and tear has got to be good.
Second – I just had my order of reading glasses from Amazon. They aren’t quite like I pictured them from the advertisement, and the spotted front isn’t exactly what I’d expected from glasses marked as “zebra”. I’m going to look like a 1980s advertising executive but for £2 a pair I can put up with that. They are a good size too, as many cheap sets are a bit tight on my big head, which is why they break.
Third, I remembered some of the Monday things I talked about in the Tuesday post before they were lost. I dropped my camera on my big toe (painful blood blister), ordered reading glasses on line for the first time (see point 2) and bought Julia a set of glasses with LED lights to help her with the adult painting-by-numbers kits I bought her to while away the lockdown. She has trouble seeing the tiny, pale grey numbers. So do I, we ended up using a torch and my eyeglass last time we had trouble, hence the sci-fi specs.
The facts have become steadily less exciting as I have gone along, so here’s a better one.
Four, I just had my third acceptance in three weeks. If your computer has a smugness alarm it will probably be sounding any minute…
It’s the first time I’ve ever had three pieces of work queued up awaiting publication. It’s probably linked to the fact that it’s the first time I’ve sent out nine submissions in six weeks.
With this one I had to agree to remove one of the two haiku that was in it and make it all into one paragraph. As I’d only just stuck the second haiku in as part of my last minute tinkering I wasn’t that bothered at removing it.
As for the single paragraph thing, I’ve had that before. Haibun editors don’t like white space and single line paragraphs.
I don’t mind them.
I think they make things easier to read, and add emphasis.
But if an editor suggests something it always seems sensible to accomodate them. They have much more experience than I do, and it’s foolish not to accept the help.
I’m now waiting for answers from several editors who have rejected me in the past. I’m hoping that I’ve improved since last time, but who can tell.
I’m going for the writing picture at the top again, because it’s too annoying to bother with much else at the moment. I have some decluttering waiting, and after that I need to do the online shopping.
And so we come to the end of the day. I have just put 63 items in my on-line shopping trolley. It tool me 53 minutes. I probably haven’t remembered everything, and I could probably have done without a few things if I really cut back, but where’s the fun in sitting at a computer trying to trim a couple of quid off the grocery bill. The easiest saving was chocolate, but I feel that’s money worth investing to keep Julia happy.
I will, by the time this is finished, have proved that I can write 2,500 words in a day without too much trouble. This is important as I’ve been struggling recently. The trick is to have a subject in mind. I’ve been trying to write articles without having an outline in mind. It doesn’t work so I’m going back to the old way of planning twice and writing once. Plan – write – plan – write doesn’t work for me.
I’m planning on writing at least a dozen magazine articles over the next year. One a month is a reasonable figure and it will help to pace me. How many actually get published remains to be seen. I have a list of magazines and a list of subjects. All I need to do now is allocate subjects to magazines and set times for writing.
In SMART terms I have specific subjects and magazines in mind, and can count up to 12, so they are measurable. They are assignable because it’s me who has to do it. They are generally realistic, though I may need some help with photographs, and the timing will take care of itself. I may write one a month, but editors will put them in when they want. My last one took six months to appear. The shop owner wrote an in-depth banknote article during lockdown, which will be published in two parts. Projected publication is “next year”. It seems a lot of people have been writing articles while they have been stuck at home.
I will also be writing fifty two blog posts on coins and collectables during the coming year. I’m not quite sure when that will start as it will need a lot of work to keep it going once I do start. The idea is to use that to warm me up for the articles and to form a body of work I can point to when pitching for work. Two thousand posts on bread, dung and why the old days were better are not going to do that so it’s time to get to work and organise myself.
That’s 2,500 words, and it’s now time to sign off, just after midnight, add photos and links and get to bed, because guess what?
Tomorrow is blood test day. I believe they are now charging for car parking again, so brace yourself for as tirade about the evils of the NHS tomorrow. After that I will calm down and try to establish a niche as a write on coins and collectables.
This isn’t the post I said I was going to write, you’ll have to wait for that. This is the post that covers what I did today after posting the previous post and making breakfast.
We had people in on Monday to dismantle the sheds and associated ivy/brambles/honeysuckle at the back of the garden. It has been a great aid to security, privacy and wildlife over the last thirty years, including highlights such as the fox cubs and breeding blackcaps. There’s never a year goes by without at least one nest in it and this year it is great tits. It’s difficult getting anyone at the moment as everyone wants work doing after lockdown and it’s two or three weeks before they can get back to finish off. This fits in well with the great tit family which should be fledged and away by the time we destroy their habitat.
When it’s all done I’m going to plant a mixed hawthorn and blackthorn hedge, which should provide a good habitat over the coming years.
For the moment it’s left a bit of a hole in the fence and though we’ve plugged it, it isn’t very elegant. As the house is home to a curious beagle I was going to make a better job of it today, so after breakfast I set off. I’ve just been told to increase my dose of Methatrexate to the maximum level. It seems to be working as I have use of my hands and my feet are a lot better too. However, it does mean that I worry about the effect of suppressing my immune system.
When I got to my first call in search of stout stakes and chicken wire I was presented with a queue of people which was positively festering in a shopping centre with the micro-climate of a tropical butterfly house. To be honest, it’s just the atmosphere a virus needs to spread, so I left.
The next shop I tried had a longish queue and I tried two builder’s merchants too. The queue at one of them contained more people than I’d ever seen in the shop before (I used to be in regularly when I was a jobbing gardener and it rarely had more than six people in. There were 18 in the queue. All these queues were outdoors, but after my activity on Monday when we took the shed down my knee is still a bit tender and doesn’t respond well to a lot of standing.
Before returning home I went to Aldi where the usual bunch of idiots managed to get into my social exclusion zone, including one of the managers who entered via the exit as I was leaving and was so close I could feel their slipstream. I bought ripe avocados, which were made an excellent lunch.
After that I emailed the lady behind us to say I’d be a day or two later than planned with the fence, clipped the front hedge (I said my hands were better – I couldn’t have done this two weeks ago) and dead headed the poppies.
I tried to order the posts and wire I wanted online but, just like a supermarket, they take the order and then, as you pay, tell you that two items are out of stock. I was only ordering three items, so I wasn’t impressed.
I had to take Julia to hospital for a scan as a follow-up to the pre-lockdown episode and, when I returned there were two emails and a brown envelope for me (marked as being from the Tax Office).
The news is that the lady behind us has offered to do the patching of the fence, which will save me a lot of hassle because I’m working Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They could find no immediate fault with Julia, though they may find fault later after properly examining the results. The Tax Office want to give me £16 back, as I have over-paid.
This is all good, and a welcome lifting of the gloom that has been gathering around me over the last few months.
The second email was from a local literacy project (I emailed them last night to make sure I actually volunteered instead of just intending to volunteer, as I so often do). They aren’t doing much at the moment, but will be in touch when they are ready for more interviews and training.
Then, just to settle myself down after all this happiness, I spent an hour on the computer arranging tomorrow’s grocery delivery. This is an improvement on last week when I actually forgot to do it. Fortunately we had plenty in to last an extra week.
Only a few repeated photos, I have no new photos to share.