Sunday, 24 March 2013

Bits and pieces

I have had a lot of work on this last week, a fact I was going to list under my Celebrate the Small Things post on Friday - but I was too busy to do it. I've had some lovely proofreading jobs on a range of subjects. In one of them, I read the astonishing fact that pure honey will always spin clockwise when it's poured. Well, now, there's a thing.

What else? Ah yes.
Beehive yourself!
My recording for The Paul Edwards Show this evening was inspired by a packet of cheese. On the wrapper was a QR code with the enticing message: 'Scan me and download a free sandwich app.' What on earth is a sandwich app? Does it provide instructions on how to fill two slices of bread? Might it perhaps regale me with amusing granary-related incidents? I'm intrigued, but my mobile phone has no internet wotsit, so I shall never know.

My husband spent over an hour one morning this week looking for something he'd ordered from eBay and that he knew - absolutely knew - he had received. He could remember opening the Jiffy Bag. He just couldn't remember where he'd put the contents. He tried all the obvious places and some not-so-obvious, including the recycling boxes and the bread bin. (Don't ask!) The mystery was solved when the postman rang the bell to deliver said parcel. I didn't comment; I didn't need to.

Went to see Steeleye Span on Friday, where singer Maddy Prior was giving out leaflets for an event she is hosting in Cumbria: Stepping Stones Festival. There were also details of some of her courses, including an 'Extreme vocal workshop with Rose Kemp'. At first glance, I read this as Ross Kemp, which would be an entirely different prospect.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Ether Books update

 Ether Quick Reads

Just a quick post (I'm supposed to be proofreading).

I have a couple of stories on This is a site providing short stories for people to read on their phones, tablets and wotnot. Some are free, others cost a few pence. Until recently, the downloads only worked on i-phones, but now an app is available for Android users, too. It can be downloaded free from Google Play Store.

Friday, 15 March 2013

TGI Friday!

Here we are again looking for small things to celebrate.
  1. The Paul Edwards Radio Show is back broadcasting through the internet every Sunday evening (and available as a podcast). Why am I celebrating this? Well, not just because Paul is a friend and I want him to do well, but also because he lets me a have a two-minute slot once a fortnight to share some of my thoughts. The wonders of technology mean that I can record something on my PC at home and email it to him. He does something clever at his end and low and behold, there I am broadcasting to the world (well, a small part of it). His website is here. Should you be interested in what I sound like, click on Recent Shows and I'm there at about 34 minutes in on last week's broadcast.
  2. Inspired by my blogging friend Susan Jones, I have set up an author page on Amazon, which is available here
  3. I have written a little something for the Writing Magazine last line competition. It's a bit glum, but I'll send it in. You never know.
It's our local eisteddfod tomorrow. Good luck, Kettering Camerata!

How are things in your world this week?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Generous spirits

Did anyone hear 'Twilight' creator Stephenie Meyer on Front Row last night? It was a nice little interview, but what really struck me was her generosity towards E L James when Mark Lawson described her (Meyer) as being 'inadvertently responsible' for the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey. She replied: 'I’m so far removed from it.  I haven’t read it – it’s not a genre that I have had any experience of. It’s kind of nice that she’s done so well and that she’s gotten a start, and that’s cool.'

There are a lot of nasty folk in the world, but in the two main areas in which I work I have met some lovely ones. The yoga teaching family is generous and open. If someone comes to my class and doesn't like it, I recommend somewhere else - and have had students come to me on recommendation from another teacher. Can you imaging Tesco saying, 'Sorry we can't help you. Have you tried Morrisons?'

My fellow bloggers, too, are constantly giving away helpful nuggets on writing, including details of competitions where, let's be honest, the fewer people that enter the greater the chances of winning. You see? People can be nice!

Friday, 8 March 2013

What a week!

It's been an odd week. Husband has been working lots of 12-hour shifts. That is bad enough, but these shifts were 6pm to 6am, so we've only passed each other in the kitchen briefly. Definitely not a small thing to celebrate.
However, there have been a few highlights.
  • I gave a short talk to a bereavement group on Monday evening, including a meditation on 'blocking out the bad stuff'. Seems an odd hook on which to hang a group, but they were lovely people and (most of them) seemed to like what I had to say. They gave me a huge bunch of carnations to say thank you, which I wasn't expecting.
  • On Tuesday, my choir recorded two psalms to be sent for approval to Coventry Cathedral. We are hoping to sing evensong there in the summer. I thought we sounded rather good!
  • On Wednesday I had lunch with my good friend Will. We are both freelance and meet up now and then ostensibly to discuss work, but actually for a good old natter. 
  • Yesterday I went to see Mum again and met her doctor. I've decided to call him Dr Gorgeous McLovely (but not to his face).
  • I've also done a fair bit of editorial work amongst the teaching.
  • spec4.jpg
    Another gorgeous doctor: any excuse!
Looking forward to a restful weekend. Apparently it's going to snow here on Sunday, so I shall have to spend the day on the sofa with a good book.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Very useful knowledge indeed

Something I meant to add to my list of small things to celebrate last Friday is that I now know how to save a life.

I've been on a half-day Heart Start course, an initiative co-ordinated by the British Heart Foundation to teachers members of the public what to do in a life-threatening emergency. Better still, it was run by a fireman! There were nine of us in the group, which meant there was enough of us to get some discussions going, but not so many that we had to wait for a turn on the equipment.

We were introduced to the DR'S ABC - danger; response; shout; airway, breathing; CPR - and shown a series of videos introducing various scenarios we might come across. It was like watching those first few minutes of Casualty, when you play 'spot the victim'!

We were shown how to do CPR, with and without rescue breaths. It is incredibly tiring to pump away to the rhythm of 'Nelly The Elephant' or 'Staying Alive'. We touched on the use of the  emergency defibrillators. These are idiot proof; it really is a case of following the on-screen instructions. We also had a go at abdominal thrusts and back slapping to remove some cotton wool balls from the throat of a 'Choking Charlie' dummy, and learned what to do in cases of severe bleeding.

It was a great way to spend a morning. I've done first aid courses before (I have to have a first aid certificate for my yoga teacher's insurance), but this was a refreshing approach that made us all feel we'd know what to do while waiting for the professionals to arrive.

Imagine you're walking down your high street and a man in front of you suddenly collapses. If you don't want to be one of the hapless majority who don't know what to do, check out these courses now, here. Lecture over.

Friday, 1 March 2013

You've got to laugh!

Sometimes it isn't easy to find some small things to celebrate, but this has been a good week, if rather tiring. Firstly, and the reason for the above title, I've been to two really good comedy gigs. Last Saturday, I went to see rising star James Acaster, who is a 'local boy made good'. His hapless support act died on his feet, bless him, but James was very funny. Then last night it was the turn of Milton Jones, who was brilliant. And as if that wasn't enough, tomorrow I'm going to see Sean Lock.

Other good stuff:
  • My mum continues to improve, post-op.
  • A client I thought had abandoned me has been in touch to warn me there is some work on its way. 
  • I'm just about to dash out to meet a friend for coffee - always a cause for celebration. We've decided to try somewhere new. Our town is only small but it has 17 coffee shops (there are FOUR Subway outlets and two Costas, would you believe). We eschew the chains and support the independents. Way to stick it to the man.
  • I've been selected to be a World Book Night giver again. Last year I gave away Rebecca; this year, it's to be Treasure Island.
  • I've entered two writing competitions this week.
  • I've won a competition in Freelance Market News to write a limerick on the Seven Deadly Sins. 
How about you?