Tag Archives: writing

An hour to waste…

As I said yesterday, I should calm down and be nicer and more patient so I’m writing this while I’m practising waiting. This is different  to merely waiting because there is an element of choice about it. I’m waiting patiently and trying to be positive.

And they say men can’t multi-task.

I saw one on Sunday who could push a shopping trolley, look at his phone, give a bad example to his children and breathe through his mouth, all at the same time.

I’m currently waiting for a gas company surveyor to check our new earthing arrangements ready for the renewal of the heating system.

They gave us a four hour time slot and I have had to take a morning off work. Fortunately they just rang to say they would be here just before 9.00, so I will actually be able to get to work on time. If this wasn’t the case I’m sure this post would have been a lot less positive.

It’s not that I really want to go to work, but I have little to commend me as an employee other than reliability and I don’t want to lose that.

Today, in addition to attempting to be more positive, I’m pondering the nature of diaries. I kept one sporadically when I was about ten, then another when I was about sixteen and in my poetic phase. Neither of them gave any hint that one day I would be a blogger with five years of blogging behind me, though it’s fair to say that they did give evidence to suggest that my spelling, grammar and punctuation would  need work. Looking back on old posts this is a theme which continues. I cannot believe how bad some of my old posts are in terms of typos, proof reading and poor writing.

This is about the time of year I normally start thinking of good intentions, New Year Resolutions and writing projects.

I have just about cured myself of the curse of New Year Resolutions and now know that good intentions butter no parsnips. However, what would life be without something to look forward to?

And so, it looks like I may become a diarist.

This, in my mind, means writing words on paper with a pen, rather than blogging, which is about cluttering cyberspace with links and pixels and all sorts of stuff I don’t understand.

Which all comes back to patience. I can knock out a blog post with a computer, some random overspill from a cluttered mind and a few spare minutes. But a diary, in my imagination at least, requires time and space and the gathering of thoughts at the end of the day. Possibly a leather topped desk, a log fire and a smoking jacket…

Sounds good.

 

 

 

Twenty Minutes

I’m setting myself a target of twenty minutes for this post. If I limit it to that there will be several benefits.

One is that I will have to select a subject and get on with it.

Two, I’ll have to switch off my internal editor and just get the words down.

Both of these will be useful because I’ve been letting things slip recently and I need to keep active.

Three, I won’t be tempted to drift off and start playing games on the internet.

Four, I’ll be able to blog, do the washing up and have tea made before Julia gets home from the gym.

And now, having pressed a random button and closed everything down, I have even less time to write a post.

The big news is that I’ve had another acceptance. After five rejections in a row I was beginning to worry that I’d ridden my luck as far as it was going to take me. Now it’s beginning to look like hard work is paying off again and I may postpone my return to Limericks.

Not only have I broken the sequence but I’ve done it in record time. From submission to acceptance – four days. I know it was down to timing rather than writing skill but it’s still good to get the news that quickly.

I can hear they key in the lock, looks like she’s home early. This is generally a good thing, as I like the company, and feel that it’s OK to switch the heating on. Tonight it is a little too early for comfort, but I doubt that I’ll be in trouble as, let’s face it, she doesn’t expect much from me in terms of housework.

In fact, she doesn’t expect much from me at all. As I may have said before, the key to a happy marriage is a wife with low standards.

And with that thought, and 24 minutes elapsed, I’ll go and put the kettle on. We have chocolate cake too, though it’s slightly fire damaged from all the candles…

The picture is totally random – I’ve left the camera at work again, despite having photos to use. I tell you, I really am losing the plot.

Shipwrecks, Spiders and Sweethearts

What a literary shop we are.

One shop assistant used to publish photos widely as Eddie the Bugman. Whatever I say about his inability to keep his hands off my stationery, there’s no doubting that the “genius” tag applied by several people is well-deserved. Unfortunately he’s stopped doing it at the moment.

The other shop assistant is of course, a slightly known blogger and poet of niche forms that most people have to look up, such as haibun and clerihews.

Finally, we have the proprietor, a man who once won an award for his article on serial numbers on Bank of England banknotes. In case you are suffering from insomnia I can reveal he’s recently been back to the archives and another sleep-inducing slab of text on early serial numbers is in progress.

Don’t worry, I’m not being hypocritical here, I’m actually less subtle when discussing them when he’s listening.

Fortunately he redeems himself with the odd article about medallions, numismatic curiosities and, in this month’s Coin News, an article about the shipwreck coins of the little known SS Elingamite. As a result of the article and, of course, this blog, it’s now better known.

The coin that started his search was from the childhood accumulation of an Australian, and it has the ship’s name and the date of the wreck engraved on it. When I find my photos I will show you.

In the meantime, the header picture is stamps and the others are a sweetheart brooch I bough off eBay last week – it’s the central part of the 56 Squadron Crest – the squadron Albert Ball and many others flew in, though the hallmarks are late WW2 period so Ball was long dead by that time. It’s smaller than the photos suggest, only about an inch wide.

Sweetheart Brooch 56 Squadron RAF

Sweetheart Brooch 56 Squadron RAF

Hallmark 56 Squadron RAF sweetheart

Hallmark 56 Squadron RAF sweetheart

Hallmarks are for Birmingham 1944 and the maker is Thomas Fattorini. You could write a book about the Fattorini family, but I will resist the temptation.

Another One Bites the Dust

Hopefully, my masterful title writing has hooked you, and you are now wondering which of my many shonky enterprises is currently munching the dry brown stuff.

It could be the continuity of my blog. I started writing it last night but was diverted by a number of things, including a slow-cooked tea which refused to cook properly and an interesting programme on how they make cakes in factories, including fondant fancies and Battenberg, which are two of my favourite cakes.

Did you know they use jam to glue the cake slices together in Battenberg, but jelly to stick the marzipan? I didn’t. It really is fascinating. Not quite fascinating enough as I fell asleep before the end of the programme and missed my midnight deadline.

I’ve been burning the midnight oil recently, trying to correct the faults in my haibun, which are coming home to roost at an alarming rate. Another set came back today, meaning that I now have a run of five submissions without a single success to lighten the gloom.

I am not letting it bring my mood down. It’s frustrating that I no longer seem able to write acceptable haibun but I’m sure it will pass. If I write enough one of them, on the law of averages, will turn out OK.

With that thought in mind, I am off to lunch at IKEA. Number One son needs a few bits before he moves into his new flat and I want to be as helpful as possible in helping him  move out.

It will be a relaxing interlude, which will hopefully help my writing.

 

 

A Post I didn’t mean to write

The day dawned fair, and far too early. I wanted to turn over and have a lie in as it’s my day off and we weren’t going out but Julia had exacted  a promise from me the night before and so I had to get up and take her to breakfast before dropping her off for her first day of jury service.

I am a man of my word.

That meant I was able to get to the jewellers in time for a good two hours of moaning about the state of business before returning home to spend a couple of hours moaning about politics and sport with Number One Son. During this time he heated up last night’s beef rendang for lunch. I am eating well at the moment.

I also had an email to deal with this afternoon. My luck is really out as far as poetry editors is concerned as I just had another rejection. I thought the 3 haibun were all reasonable and had a good chance of success, but it appears I was wrong.

The rejection was accompanied by some notes, which was handy as it’s always nice (though rare) to get feedback. Sometimes it’s probably better to get feedback than it is to get accepted.

I don’t know if any of you have ever noticed this, but I often feel that once you have either posted your work, or hit the send button, it starts to deteriorate.

Even if it is accepted, the polished gem you sent never looks as good when it is printed. And when it is returned it looks even worse. I looked at what was sent back today and looked at the notes and wondered why I’d sent it. The first sentence of the first submission was just so glaringly wrong, yet two weeks ago it had seemed brilliant.

So, apart from writing better, I also have to start looking at everything with a much more critical eye.

Anyway, I had the afternoon off, so I set to work with the suggested improvements and have resubmitted them. Fingers crossed.

This wasn’t the post I meant to write, but it was what emerged on the paper as I started writing. I am not always master of my own keyboard. That, of course, means I have no suitable picture so I’m reusing the Dylan Thomas £5 coin photo. It’s a tenuous poetry connection, but it’s the best I can do. As I read the post where it originally appeared I see this is the second time I’ve used it as a random space filler.

Here’s more information about the coin if you want it -it is quite interesting.

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Dylan Thomas Alderney £5 coin

Resisting the Temptation to Rant

I’ve accidentally been thinking about death this morning. It’s a lovely day, blue skies, green trees, a great view and a Bank Holiday.

After rising slightly before seven I decided I may as well stay up and started catching up with some writing. I even avoided the depressing fight with my trousers this morning. As I sit and type I’m not wearing any. If I ever learn how to use Skype I may have to reconsider my dress code but for now it makes for a more relaxing morning.

We’re off for Afternoon Tea later today so I’ll have to wear a new pair of trousers so, quite honestly, I didn’t see the point of doing it twice in one day. Why, I hear the gentlemen readers ask, do you need a new pair of trousers? Because Julia says so. We are going to a hotel and she is demanding that my normal everyday costume of creased clothes with food stains is replaced by a clean and pressed ensemble.

I asked if she was going to be the one doing the ironing but she snorted and said: “You know where the iron is.”

I do. I also know where she stores the lettuce, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to be making a salad any day soon.

Fortunately there are a pair of trousers and a reasonable shirt (ie with all buttons and a check pattern) in the bottom of the clean laundry bag. They should be flat enough.

I suppose somebody will ask if I don’t explain it – people with fuller figures have to avoid shirts with lines as they tend to exaggerate the rotundity.

Anyway, I digress.

Death.

I was having a break from writing and thought I’d check up on a few symptoms I’ve noticed recently. With everything that I currently have it’s difficult finding room for new symptoms but I seem to have managed. I thought I’d better check just to see if they are important and see if I could spare the time to have them looked at.

I’m still waiting for news on the last chest X-Ray and the nonsense with Rheumatology (who have gone very quiet). In a couple of weeks I also have a routine blood test, so I think the NHS has plenty of my time as it is.

So, I logged on to the appropriate condition and looked at symptoms. I have most of them. Most of us do. Like all these sites they throw everything at it, alter the order and load it onto a website.

Not only that, but after whittering on about care plans and drugs they start talking of palliative care, a section which has plainly been written by a trainee with a text book. But I will not be tenpted into a rant.

So that is why I am accidentally thinking about death

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Great War Memorial Plaque

(I just had a look at my old posts on arranging my own funeral and notice I never did get on with discussing the sandwiches for the funeral tea. I may get back to that in the next few days.)

On the Up

We had 20 parcels to post today, which took some doing as many of them had multiple items in them. However, I’m  a professional parcel packer so it’s what I expect. I’m sure there’s a tongue-twister in there somewhere…

Then I returned home to be industrious. I normally waste my half-day by eating fast food and seeing friends, but today I have writing and cooking in mind. I’m going to cook tonight’s tea in advance, and probably Tuesday’s too. But first I’m going to blog.

Do you remember me saying I was back in the game a few days ago? Well, at that time I had two submissions out, both using my email system as an editor due to the lack of Word on the netbook. I’ve just had an acceptance on one of them, so I really am back in the game. This is a record, even for me. From the depths of despair to unbearably smug in just 12 days.

Julia says that one of my most annoying characteristics is my ability to be irritatingly happy. It is, she says, a characteristic I share with my father. At 30 I used to be dismayed at the thought of being anything like my father. In my 60s I take it as a compliment.

The result is that every time she accuses me of being irritatingly happy I smile broadly, knowing I’m carrying on a family tradition. And that, of course, makes me even more irritating…

Every marriage, they say, needs a little mystery to add spice to it. The biggest mystery in our marriage is why she puts up with me.

And that, in a neatly circular manner, brings me back to the beginning. I’ve come home to do some cooking as I really should make more effort. But not so much effort I can’t write a quick post first.

Sorry about repeating more photos, I will sort some new ones out for tomorrow.

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Greylag Goose Arnot Hill Park Arnold