Tag Archives: plans

Day 99

We had an email waiting this morning. It had several blurred screen shots, several paragraphs of broken English and a declaration that the would be purchaser would only pay £30 for postage and packing. We deciphered the note, calculated the cost of the parcel and found that it was going to cost a lot more than £30.

The trouble is that some people fixate on the P&P, ignore the fact that eBay charge us commission and fees on our postage costs and don’t appreciate that if we are sending a parcel with £400 of goods in it we want to insure it.

On top of that, this is now the ninth message we have had from him this week and the 22nd we have had this year. Not one of them has actually resulted in a sale. The problem is that as soon as you say yes to one of his irksome suggestions/demands he starts with another.

It’s £400, some of the stuff has been hanging around for a while, and the idea of making the sale is quite attractive. However, the sale is only good if you actually get the money. If anything goes wrong, eBay will undoubtedly side with the buyer and we will end up losing £400 plus postage fees. It’s easier, as I pointed out, to save postage and the labour of packaging and arguing, and just flush £400 down the toilet.

Some deals, as was pointed out to me as a young man working in sales, are simply not worth the effort. It seems counter-intuitive but I made one or two of those sales, including one where I lost the company £7,000 (which was a lot of money 30 years ago) and that always comes back to haunt me.

In summary – today was a day of frustration, annoyance and ghosts from the past.

We had veggie burgers (which we ended up buying from the shop rather than making) for tea, in nice fresh cobs, and I enjoyed them. We also had chocolate brownies as Julia saw them whilst shopping. Then we slept in front of the TV. Is this, I ask myself, where all that hope and ambition ended up?

I suspect there may be a poem concealed within that thought.

For some reason, whilst snoozing, I dreamed of cream teas.

Day 43

I’ve just finished the first phase of planning my submissions for next year. So far I have 53 submissions in the planner, and I haven’t quite finished. I will have about 75 by the time I have finished. No doubt I’ll miss a few, but you need some sort of target, and it should always be slightly more than you think you can achieve.

Set a target too low and it’s not worth having. Set it too high and you risk demotivating yourself. Last year I made 48 submissions, though I was ill for a couple of months and would have managed around 55 if i’d been fit. Seventy five for this year seems fair as a target. I still need to add a couple of magazines that always reject me (I need a challenge) and some ordinary poetry magazines too. Life isn’t all about Japanese forms of poetry.

It feels good to have the plan done, even if it is incomplete. At last I have something to compare myself to, and it’s always easier to work when you have  a framework in place. Without one, it’s easy to drift.

When I look at the actual figures, I see that I met or slightly exceeded the targets for numbers of acceptances last year, being on target for haibun and a few over for haiku. I also wrote a few tanka, which weren’t included in the targets, as I hadn’t even thought of writing tanka when I set the targets. Then there were the six “normal” poems. There is no target for them as I just fit them in when I have time and they aren’t a particularly high priority.

 

 

 

Plans and Haiku

Despite the first part of the day consisting of a mathematically implausible three halves, I did have a plan for the next bit of the day, which I’m going to describe as “bit” because it saves me having to be accurate.

The plan was to go home, write, wash up and make stew for tea. It also included, after my talk with the doctor, eating eggs for lunch and not sleeping in front of daytime TV whilst watching quiz with my lunch. Next time, I’m going to eat lunch at the computer.

It’s has all come to pass, apart from the not sleeping bit, but instead of being 5 o’clock, as planned, it is seven o’clock. As days off go, it has been OK, but not hugely productive. However, I have had another acceptance, this time from Wales Haiku Journal. It will be published in the next two weeks and is a haiku of eleven words. It almost feels like cheating to claim I’m having a poem published when it’s only 11 words long, but as Mark Twain said:

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Brevity can be tricky.

I now have a nine rejected haiku which can be sent out again. Just because they have been rejected doesn’t mean they are bad. I’ve shown that before, with many pieces. As it is, I have ten ready to go to another magazine and if everything goes as it normally does, and they take one, as they often do, I will have 18 haiku looking for a home. It’s amazing how they mount up. That’s how it goes – one day you have nothing, next day you have too many. It’s a shame that the same doesn’t apply to £10 notes.

I’m off to eat stew now, I’ll see you all tomorrow.

The haiku features a robin, so that’s the reason for the picture.

Addiction

I had it in mind to write two posts today, but when I looked for my camera to download the photos, I found I’d left it at work yesterday.  Not that it matters, they aren’t topical posts and they can wait.

Apart from that I’ve frittered my day away.

A goatlet, or whatever they call them. Never could stand the things, always escaping and looking at you with peculiar eyes…

I have submitted some work today, but apart from that haven’t made much progress in my plans to be one of the towering literary figures of the 21st century. This is a shame, as I woke up with such ambitious plans. I ended up washing dishes. cooking and watching quizzes. I think I may start telling myself that quizzes are coded messages from the devil. That way I might be able to  stop watching them. On the other hand, you may read a post in a month’s time about how I made a pentagram in salt and sat in the middle of it to watch Pointless. In that case you will know that my addiction to quiz shows is becoming serious…

It’s strange. When I gave up smoking I had one packet of cigarettes in use and one unopened. I threw the partly used pack away and put the unopened pack by the front door. It was there for five or six years. It meant that I could have one if I wanted, and that seemed to make giving up a lot easier. I haven’t really given up smoking, even now, and still feel like a cigarette as I write this paragraph. People who give up smoking and bang on about their willpower and stuff, are really boring, and I don’t want to be one of them. I merely decided one day that I was going to delay my next cigarette. That was twenty years ago. I might have one tomorrow, but I might not.

If only I could do that with food and quiz shows. Unfortunately I can rarely pass a fridge or a TV set without checking what is in there.

Soda bread

Shots from the archives – March 2016.

 

 

 

 

A Day That Failed to Deliver

Having made a plan for the day I awoke with energy and determination, dressed swiftly and went downstairs with high hopes.

At that point the plan failed to survive first contact with the enemy, hit the buffers and the wheels came off, as the mixed metaphors fell thick and fast, along with the cliches. The ‘enemy’ was, of course, my dear wife, who was already up to her ears in phone calls and had a list of things for me to do.

As a result I am now typing close to midnight and have only managed to tick three jobs off my list, though I have managed to do quite a few jobs that weren’t on the list.You have to wonder why I bother having Wednesdays off, as they have become just another working day for Julia during lockdown.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red Tailed Bumble Bee Mencap Garden Wilford

This is the third attempt I have made at today’s blog post as the previous two have degenerated into a whining complaint about the unfairness of life, the unfairness of wife and the perils of working from home. When we are all back at work I bet her clients, who know no boundaries, will continue to ring in the evenings and at weekends and we (along with many other people) will be worse off in terms of relaxation and work/life balance, than we were before lockdown.

This, along with masks and governmental ineptitude, seems to be one of the big stories of the day.

I have just spent the last hour wrestling with the shopping list for tomorrow. I started it in good time but stopped to eat, fell asleep in front of the TV and woke, stiff and grumpy, to find that I had two hours to shop and blog.

There is half an hour to go, so I will add a few photos from the gardens on Monday and sign off for the day. I pursued a red tailed bumble bee around the cranesbill and lilies but these two poor shots were the only decent ones.The cranesbill drooped under it’s weight and didn’t provide enough pollen to keep it, while the lilies provided pollen, but the bee was hidden deep in the flower as it collected.

Tomorrow I hope to be more positive, more productive and a much nicer person. I suspect I am only going to managed two out of the three as a major personality change is unlikely.

Teasel - Mencap Garden Wilford Nottingham

Teasel – Mencap Garden Wilford Nottingham

 

Plans, plans, plans

The plan for the morning was to rise early, sneak downstairs as Julia slept and get writing. I have haibun to write, submissions to make and a new ambition to fulfil.

I want to hit my sixth WordPress anniversary with an average of 365 posts per year. I’m currently on 333 a year. I think that means I have to write 365 next year, and a further 160 to catch up. That’s 1.5 posts per day.

So, I need to examine the reasons for my deficiencies in posting.

One, obviously, is idleness, indolence, sloth or laziness. There are some nice words for it, but it all boils down to one of my defining character flaws. I don’t like hard work.

Two, which is a similar thing, my talent for procrastination, time-wasting, loafing and wandering off on the internet, either to play games or browse Wikipedia. Recently I found a new games page and I am now a dab hand at Nine Men’s Morris and, thanks to Wiki, can also discuss its history and variations.

Three, memory. I sometimes forget to post. You’d think one a day would be simple enough to remember but I have a lot to remember, such as my name, computer passwords and what Julia just said to me. Some days it’s hard just remembering how to walk and breathe at the same time.

Four. Sometimes I just fall asleep at the keyboard, leading to fifty five lines saying ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg etc

Or, worse, with the pattern of a keyboard impressed in my face, like one of Dr Who’s more low-budget adversaries.

Today I will attempt multiple posts.

Watch this space.

Today’s picture is the recycled Robin from the Garden Centre in Scone Chronicles 3.

Plans, Politics and Phlebotomy

The day has gone so fast, as have my good intentions.

Despite this, it’s been a pleasant day. We had butterflies in the garden all day and the goldfinch on the TV aerial keeps singing. We’ve lived here 30 years and we’ve never had such a good butterfly year, or a singing goldfinch. Things aren’t all bad, despite the weather, the politics and the slide into old age.

The plan had been to get up early, for instance, but at seven this morning it underwent alteration, and I went back to bed. It’s been a bit nippy over the last few days and bed seemed such a nice warm idea.

From there the deviation from plan just seemed to snowball, and now, with an hour before midnight, I need to blog, make sandwiches sort my stuff for tomorrow and get to bed. Six am start tomorrow, ready for another blood test.

So many blood tests…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Small Tortoiseshell

Ten years ago “phlebotomy” was an interesting new word, a couple of years ago I still couldn’t spell it properly, and today it is woven into the very fabric of my life. I say woven, but embroidered might be more accurate. Which, of course, allows me to use the word “needlepoint”.

At times like this it’s probably good to spend a few minutes thinking about how lucky I am compared to some other people. I have a bed to get back into, for instance, and  a medical system that cares enough about me to stab me in the arm on a regular basis without charge.

Of course, this may change once we leave the EU. If we ever do.

I have a waking nightmare, which is becoming more real as time moves on. It isn’t about shortages, or poor quality food. It’s not even about the economy or that blonde buffoon being in power. I’m simply afraid that, like a hamster, we are all trapped in a wheel and no matter how fast we run we won’t be able to break free from the current cycle of politics, with its lies and low-quality leadership.

I actually saw a car on the road today with hand-written posters detailing how the European Union had been formed by the CIA as part of America’s plot to control the world.

This is what happens when you let idiots have an opinion. First you have to listen to them talking rubbish, then you have to leave Europe, and now we have to read posters about the CIA and world domination.

I was about to suggest that the CIA, from some of the things I’ve read over the years, would probably have trouble tying its own shoelaces, let alone dominating the world, when I found this site.

 

A Letter from a Younger Man

As part of the decluttering process I’ve been finding a lot of paperwork from 20-30 years ago. Most of it lost its importance (if it ever had any) many years ago and has gone either into the bin or into the shredder.
Last night, this included a motivational document I wrote over 25 years ago (while I was still working for someone else). It’s similar to things that I do now, apart from the fact that I no longer appear so convincing.
It set out, in great detail, the number of days I had left before the age of 55 (possible early retirement date), 60 (my realistic early retirement date – remember that Julia’s retirement date was 60 in those days, before they changed the system) and 65, which used to be the statutory retirement date before the government stole two years from my life by changing the default retirement age.
It even had financial targets.
And a note not to waste any of those days.
If I didn’t know how the story ends, I’d thing that the neatly written, well-planned document, marked the beginning of a long and prosperous life for a man who knew what he was doing and became a successful mover and shaker.
Instead, he became me.
Fortunately I’m big-headed enough to believe that being me is reward enough in this life.
I’m happy to say that I’ve lived up to the standards I set myself, even if I did have to lower those standards on a regular basis.
I’ve also reset those standards to include things like children, who are a constant drain on both your hopes and dreams, your fridge and your bank balance.
It’s not that bad, despite my jaundiced tone, just a bit of a shock to see an unexpected glance of myself at the age of 35.

Sunset Today and Plans for Tomorrow

I have a busy day planned for tomorrow. Drop Julia off at work, read some blogs and then head off to the launderette. I’ve searched out every scrap of clothing in the house and managed to last almost a month, but we now need clean clothes.

I also have to go shopping, take some photographs, research some posts, start the cooking for next week and sleep in front of the TV. That last one isn’t so much a plan as a statement of inevitability. Like white hair and wrinkles, it’s an unavoidable part of becoming an elderly gentleman. Women are different. Women are more industrious and less likely to snore through an entire episode of Bargain Hunt. Women are also more likely to spend their time in front of the TV rustling things during the quiet bits of programmes and talking over plot points. Well, I know at least one who is…

I tried taking pictures of sunset. As I left the supermarket the sky was quite dramatic. As I reached the car the light was fading. And as I started photographing, the camera “corrected” the sky despite me using several different settings to compensate. It may have been because there was so much light in the car park. Whatever the reason, the clouds should be darker, with fiery red showing through the cracks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunset over Basford

Ah well, time for bed now – back to our routine of early starts tomorrow.

Zen and the Art of Procrastination

It’s time to start sorting out my life. How many times have you heard that? I know I’ve said it several times.

As things stand, I’m not reading books, I’m not reading blogs and I’m not getting enough decluttering done. That’s not to say that I’m idling my time away, I’m still writing, I’m still cooking (in a determondly average sort of way) and I’m spending time on ebay.

I’m happy with the writing time but the time on ebay needs decreasing. Originally I was looking at it with a view to learning current prices and looking at starting to sell on ebay again. It hasn’t quite worked like that and I’m back, once again, to collecting.

The intention was actually to clear the house and live a life of zen simplicity interspersed with the holidays we’ve not had over the years.

It has struck me recently, as I’ve sat cogitating my hospital experience and the nature of mortality, that I’m on the downward leg of the journey to three score years and ten. I’m 60 next birthday (as I was recently reminded), and this isn’t a two way street.

I’m also mindful that health problems prevented my parents carrying out their retirement plans. They still had a long and happy retirement, but it wasn’t the one they had planned. In fact Dad is still with us and still enjoying himself. However, he would probably be enjoying himself more if things had gone to plan.

So there you are, a slice of philosophical misery. Not very cheerful but something I wanted to talk about for some time as it’s important, and I’m interested if anyone has any views.

I’ve been meaning to write it for some time but I never get round to it.