Tuesday, 31 July 2012

'The time has come', the Walrus said, 'to talk of ... keeping a blog up to date'.

Well, hello there!  How the bloody hell are you?  Oh, I'm fine, thanks for asking.  A lot going on in my house this year, some of which I'll not go into right now.  But I'm really thinking that it's time to blog again.  I'm actually itching to write at the moment, as is always the case in the summer holidays, when I have very little time to do it; absence makes the heart grow fonder, sort of thing.  I almost wrote 'fronder' then, which would suggest that the heart was becoming ferny, which, of course, is something that the heart might well do if left alone for too long.

Look at that: it's only been two minutes and already I'm off again, talking nonsense.

Linda and Matthew messing about with Photo Booth effects.
So, I am now self-employed, a freelance proofreader, doing work for Full Proof as I've already said.  So far I've had work every month, for four months.  I could not really have hoped for a better start to my new career, as I understand that it can be very disheartening and that jobs are very difficult to come by.  I work for Nick, who owns Full Proof, and he's very nice indeed, a lovely 'boss'.  Of course, I don't have a boss, because I'm self-employed!  And that means I have to do a tax return and pay National Insurance.  I'd better get on with that - no tax yet, as I'm not earning even nearly enough.  But who knows that one day I'll get my dream?  My dream is to pay tax!  It's just so that I can tick that Gift Aid box on forms - I always feel like such a flakey flakester when I have to leave it blank.

Another thing that is quite exciting - if you like words and books - is that my mum made a wonderful discovery the other day: UCLAN (Preston University or the University of Central Lancashire) do an MA in Publishing.  I had been itching to do the MA in English with the Open University, but I was finding it difficult to justify the £6k (not to mention, finding it difficult to find £6k, of course).  But now then, an MA in Publishing I can absolutely justify - perfect!  Still £6k, but I can spread it over two years, and maybe, if we live on beans on toast (or just beans; bread's quite expensive at the moment) for a long while, I think it can be done.  Don't hold your breath over that one - I've enrolled for three MAs in the past two years.  But I do think that this is the one I would really like to strive to do, so I'm going to apply and see if I can at least get a place.  I do think, after doing this little bit of student proofreading, that publishing is where I would like to be.

The most exciting thing, for me, will happen at the end of August.  I'm having a mini-break.  Yes, I am.  Oh my goodness, I can't even put into words how excited I am.  My excitement is on a par with the anticipation I felt on going to Barbados for my brother's wedding, because I was on my own (sans kiddies) then too.  This time I'm going to be away for just three days, two nights that is, and I'll be staying in the UK.  I'm going to Bamburgh, which is just about my favourite place in the world, and one day I think I will live there - if a house ever comes up for sale there, which is doubtful because it's so beautiful that I would imagine that people would be born and live their whole lives there.  Really.  It's that special.  Well, I think it is, anyway.  Bamburgh.  I am to stay in an attic room Bamburgh Hall Farm (it looks rather posh), and my room will overlook the castle - which is all I really wanted from my room; really, it could have been a mattress on a dusty wooden floor, and I wouldn't have minded as long as I could see the castle from the window.  I will just be at peace there, I won't do very much, just some writing, some reading, some walking, some photo-taking, some eating, some sitting-and-listening, some people-watching, and I'm fairly certain that the time will pass quickly and I'll come home exhausted after all of that relaxing.  But I think it's just what I need - I'm going to treat the weekend like a little home-made writing retreat.

Bamburgh in 2011 - who wouldn't want to go here for some peace and quiet?

September is not all that far away, and I'm looking forward to it - things change forever from September, when Matthew goes to school, I look for lots of work, and I get my freedom!  Don't get me wrong now, I do love my children, and I will miss having them at home, but it's going to be lovely to only have myself to think about while they're busy at school.  If I can manage to make freelancing work  I'm going to have a pretty near perfect life.  Not perfect to some people, sure, but perfect to me.

And there's my new book.  I wasn't content to be writing three novels, so I decided to add a fourth.  I think this is the one (I know, I sound like a teenager).  I won't say anything about it.  It's good, I think.  I'm going to work on it in Bamburgh, because that's where I'm setting it - although, since I don't really know too much about the people there, I think I might change the name.  I'm not very good at names.  It takes me ages to think of good character names, and place names are even worse.  (I can't even decide on what to call myself - to pseudonym or not to pseudonym?)  But I'm not in a rush, I just want to make it a good book.

I am on the verge of babbling, so I'll leave it there.

OLYMPIC FEVER!  I'm off to watch some more - isn't it good?!  I was never in any doubt that London 2012 would be excellent - ha! to the cynics and grumps!


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