Good with words

Fear... distractions.... the efforts of a self-employed writer to pay the mortgage.... all that jazz.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Enough is enough. I am going to muck about no longer. Or at least, only muck about in specified time slots.

I have decided my productivity is shameful and I should be working (and earning) a heck of a lot more, specially considering I sit at the computer for 7 hours every day. So I have ordered 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' and 'Getting Things Done' and am to be procrastinator no more.

This weekend I am going to clear out my study, pin up some new time charts, and organise ALL my files. (Apparently the book has a spider-diagram showing how to do this.)

You can look forward to excerpts and mantras next week.

More as it comes...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Seasonal Eating, Summer

Here's my Natural Collection slot on seasonal veg and what to do with them.... Summer!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Not doing what I am supposed to

Today, I have put towels in the wash, eaten granola (new favourite thing), downloaded new versions of Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, something called Photo Show, and blogged for Wales. Even though I have approx. 100 product descriptions to write by this afternoon.

When I am fired, I will sue Microsoft for tempting me with their interesting features.

Ooh, and my vegetable box arrived: cos lettuce, mushrooms (yuk), courgettes (running out of ways to eat these), tomatoes (for margharita pizza later!), cucumber, cabbage of some sort, and new potatoes!

New potatoes are my other favourite thing. What is a better dinner than new potatoes tossed in butter and salt? Damn the anti-carbohydrate brigade. DAMN YOU, ATKINS!!!!

Cyril's back!!

Undeterred by puppy dogs and feisty neighbourhood mogs, Cyril has emerged for summer!!

Well, so Steve says. Despite sitting impatiently beside the pond, splishing the water, pushing the water-lilies, and throwing bits of mud in the corners, I haven't been honoured with a visit from the lovely Cyril.

Every time Steve passes, of course, he hops out onto the rocks and looks at him.

Damn froggy. It probably doesn't help that Holly (who mistakes "Froggy!" for "Holly!") comes to help me look.

But tonight I will wait beside the pond with a camera, quietly, until he gets out. Promise.

Charlie gets some love

Time for a piccy of my darling kitty, who is currently lapping up the tropical sunshine. The hot temperatures seem to have soothed her usual grumpiness: she is cuddly and perfectly purry at the moment.

Here she is, sunbathing on my desk in Swindon. (I would take a new picture, but she is lying in a mound of dirty washing right now and that's not very photogenic.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Okay, but seriously, what's the deal? You move into a village in the middle of nowhere and everyone takes an instant dislike to the very sight of you? They scuttle away down lanes when you're coming, and cross over with their zimmers to avoid passing you?

I bet they meet in the community hall and discuss the new folks, and work out strategies for ridding the village of home-working no-children yuppies.

So I went to the Post Office to collect another parcel today. (Yes, I got another red card through the door. But if Posty insists on coming at odd hours, what does she expect? There, another person who hates me.)

I asked our neighbour Lucy if she'd ever seen dogs in the PO and she said yes, hundreds. I had seen one in there too, so I figured it was safe to take Holly. (Good to get her used to these things, and plus she can protect me from the butcher boys on the way to the PO.)

When we got there the Post Office lady peered down over the counter disapprovingly. I was surprised. "Is it okay to bring her in?" I asked.

"Not really," she shook her head, and held out her hand for my red card.

I quickly got my parcel and stamps, and right then, another lady walked in. WITH A LABRADOR.

Does Post Office lady look disapprovingly at her dog and roll her eyes? Nope.

Does Post Office lady smile warmly and greet the newcomer, as is appropriate for a village Post Office clerk to behave towards customers? Yep.


So I let Holly have a little sniff-and-greet, and after a minute the lab started looking a bit edgy. Holly was her usual lively self and most dogs get tired of her pretty soon, to be fair.

"I think he's had enough now," called Post Office Lady from behind the counter.


Holly and I walked out in disgust.

So do you see what I am up against? HMPH!! and DOUBLE HMPH!!

Steve says I should tell her to sod off next time (but using ruder words). But he has already taken up with one of the men across the road and we are adding to the list of People We Or Our Neighbours Have Fought With. So I am going to continue being nice and hope that my way wins in the end........

Just how long do you have to live in a village, do you think, to become accepted? Answers on a postcard.... oh, no, the posty hates me... best just leave me to rot in my cottage, afraid to step out the front door...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blessings in abundance

The Latvian Express

I have spent a lot of time on the train lately. Great Western are inviting people (children, I think) to name their new trains for rolling out next year, which is a romatic idea for what is bound to be a not-very-romantic project. These wonderfully-named trains will still be decorated with the same horrid purple-backed chairs with no leg room, digital scrolling signs telling you the next stop, and plugs for laptops. I mean, why not create something spectacular with the trains?

Something that actually makes people want to catch a train instead of drive?......

They could take their lead from European trains: go and ride in Italy or Latvia. Because some train journeys are about the getting there, and not the 'there'.

I like trains so much they even feature in our holiday itineraries. Trains in foreign countries are places you'll rarely find a fellow tourist... you have to stumblingly ask directions from a non-English-speaker, and risk missing stops. But they're so much better everywhere but England.

For instance, we caught a train at Riga and travelled to Jurmala, on the coast. It was a beast of a thing, with high, polished wooden seats and vast carriages. Lavish leg room, high ceilings, rickety rails. It reminded me of the Orient Express. The station? It was a small and unobtrusive building beside the tracks, overlooking the sea.

And in Italy, from Rome to Naples - it was the same sort of train, but carriages were split into rooms of four seats, with overhead luggage (like the Hogwarts Express). Huge windows you could open at the top and curtains at the little carriage door. People sitting together even talked.

See, some of us think train journeys can be enjoyable... shame the train operators don't share my views...