Thursday 19 December 2019

This year's goals...mostly fulfilled!

That time of the year again. I reached a milestone age this last year and now it's December already and time to review whether I achieved the goals I listed at the beginning of the year. 

Writing Goals

I'm happy to say I finished the first and second draft of the follow up to Down The Tubes. I really hope to get it finished by next year!

My second writing goal was to crack on with another Little Guide.  I have made a lot of headway although it's a slow burner, something to fill in those little pockets of time on the go (when I remember!)

I didn't get round to updating my satirical anti-novel Lost The Plot but I did manage to get another novel into paperback. This was my first ever novel, now called Did You Whisper Back? which won a Southern Arts Bursary back in 1991 (after a major rewrite) and that's been out on Kindle for a number of years.  It's an important story about one young woman's struggle with mental illness and it's set in the 1970s when the stigma was much greater even than today.   I enjoyed designing the cover for it to match the subject matter and era.

Health goals

As I mentioned at the end of last year I was I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia ten years ago.  I wanted further investigation into ME too as there is a large overlap between the two conditions and I got the official diagnosis this year.  It was agreed for me to have a group of further sessions on activity management with a specialist and I have had one and a half so far.  The half session had to be cut short due to the condition below.

I would still love to get on top of the hyperhidrosis which is worse in the cold weather, paradoxically. In my goals for last year I planned to try CBD oil, and Turmeric with Black Pepper for the above conditions, which may have not helped with this condition but I like to think they're helping in other ways. 

House Improvement Goals

We got our bespoke book shelves and units in our sitting room (now filled with books!), we've had the upstairs shower removed to create more storage space and a shower installed over the bath downstairs.  I do feel better when I have more storage space and clearing things out.  But still plenty to be done.

Other Goals

I've not been able to return to drop in singing sometimes (because of ongoing health problems mentioned above). This is a cause for regret - but perhaps I can get someone to come to me instead.

Knitting - not achieved!

Help my sister with a website for her art - not achieved!  (But she needs to get some art ready for selling, even if only in card form).

Some of the unachieved will rollover to next year, no doubt, when I do next years's goals.  I find it enormously helpful to do this - it gives a sense of achievement and shows you really are getting things done, even when it feels to the contrary.  

When I put up last years's goals, my good author friend Chantelle Atkins said we should also try and arrange for another meet up.  I thought this would be a great idea although I wasn't too hopeful since going out anywhere, let alone travelling, is an uphill struggle. But I decided I'd really like to go to Mudeford and Christchurch on holiday and as this is nearby, we managed a meet up, yay!  We had a great catch up and natter in our AirBnB in Christchurch. Now Chantelle's latest book is just out - yippee!

My favourite beach huts at Mudeford.

I don't seem to have kept up much with this blog this year, maybe that will be a goal for the new decade.  I'd only realised the other day that yes, we're coming to the end of another decade! I do try to keep this blog mainly about writing. The only other blog post I managed between the years's beginning and end was a political one, and the less said about all that the better.  Onwards and upwards.

I wish you all a happy, healthy and creative new year and decade :)

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Notes From An Exasperated Remainer

I don't usually do political on this blog but recent events and being laid up in bed set off a kind of stream of consciousness outpouring...

It’s Brexit Day, not.

We’re fracturing before our eyes. I listened ill in bed, while they popped up like meerkats in parliament, here’s Liz Kendall, shrill, the never ending Tory psychodrama, something like that, she says, and earlier in the week, parliament taking over, shall it be EFTA or Norway with knobs on or Canada without bells and whistles, and I’m getting confused, and I consider myself with enough brain cells left still, and maybe a confirmatory vote, because we’re not sure now quite what the will of the people is or was, because let’s face it all the crap about the billions of pounds for the nhs on the side of the Boris leave bus was a lie, and there was big fraud on that side, but we must respect the will of the people, even though we don’t know what the will of the people is, not now, the will isn’t static, there are 16 year olds now who weren’t old enough then but it is their future, and I’m sick of hearing about the will of the people because half the people voted against leaving, so what about their will? But the hard line Brexiteers or Brexiters want us to crash out of the EU without a deal and let’s have WTO, even though Kenneth Clarke says people really don’t know what WTO means and that this is only a default undesired option for countries who’ve not set up better deals or something like that, but there are the people outside waving their purple flags, Nigel’s UKIP flags or Brexit Party flags because they have been betrayed by parliament they say and worse, Tommy Robinson is across the square with his brand of populism and not in a very long time has parliament been on the precipice, as Theresa May tries to get her Withdrawal Agreement through for a third time, division, clear the lobby, John Bercow bellows and the numbers come back and the PMs deal has been defeated again, though with narrower margins even though she agreed to sacrifice her leadership if she could just get it through and even Jacob Rhys Mogg would backtrack on his previous stance if the DUP will too but the DUP say not on your Nellie or they may as well have said that because of the Irish backstop and the fears of a permanent customs union but they don’t want to be treated any different from the mainland UK, are you following so far, and the joke is that Theresa May fell on her own sword and missed, and very few Labour MPs were persuaded across to vote for the deal and they are right when they say the Prime Minister should have reached across the house at the start not at five to midnight to start discussions and so parliament have had to have indicative votes to suggest where to go next because none of the ideas got an overall majority although a people’s vote came close, and people keep asking about Corbyn and Labour’s stance and they are between a rock and a hard place because their membership - of which I am one - are divided as much as the country and those in the deindustrialised areas felt left behind and neglected by successive governments and Westminster and you can’t blame them and there were those Leavers who marched all the way from Sunderland and many in parliament square converged there on this day to celebrate but now they say how they feel betrayed and will never vote ever again, and it was all David Cameron’s fault for running scared of UKIP and putting party interests before what was best for the country and being complacent about the result, or thinking it through and making a huge miscalculation that cost him dearly and left everyone else to clean up his mess, but there’s been no clean up, just a bitter divisive country, which Theresa May inflamed by putting herself with the people against parliament on the steps of number 10 in an unprecedented statement and my MP left the Tory party to become a tigger, that is one of the independent group, who changed their name to initially without realising that this is a big campaigning organisation and so now have changed to so more fragments and even more likelihood of a hung parliament next time round, which may be sooner than we think because of talk of a general election which Jeremy Corbyn would like, and I’ve not even started in Scotland yet who feel they’ve been sidelined, and if they don’t get a deal which keeps us close to Europe then they would be justified in having another independence referendum because they are outward looking and they welcome and rely on migrants, and the people who don’t want May’s deal are united against it for very different reasons, the hard line leavers say it’s worse than staying in the EU, and outside parliament all week it was the Pro Remainers with their blue starry European flags and roaring Stop Brexit and there was the petition to revoke article 50 which got 6 million votes or was that the call for a final people’s vote and businesses say we just want certainty and foods and valuable medicines from Europe may be in short supply or unobtainable altogether and the stockpiling has started
And slow forward a few days, well April fools day when there are more debates and I am still ill in bed listening and one MP is saying if people could look his way rather than elsewhere and there are titters and its quite clear that something’s going on in the balcony area, a demonstration has been referred to, and acknowledgement of the rights of people to demonstrate but they have to get on with the important business of the house but I can hear the cacophony in the house and crane up to see my iPad and see Ed Miliband glancing up every now and then to what must be the out of sight balcony, but it’s not until later when I google and see not the titters but the bums, looks like some sort of porno picture but no it’s extinction rebellion, they’ve superglued their arses to the glassed off area in the balcony in protest about the neglect of environmental issues being debated in parliament and slow forward again and the cabinet are locked in discussions for 7 hours or more and the upshot is OMG Theresa May has at last decided to reach across the house and have talks with Jeremy Corbyn and this is the final straw for the ERGers who thinks she’s committed treason for cavorting with the enemy even though she lost her majority and this is what civil countries do - ironically European countries! - where there are hung parliaments or more precisely coalitions, this is the way modern politics works, and isn’t this the whole point? We need to change the way we do things here if democracy is to survive and get up to date and be fit for the twenty first century, but people are saying it’s a trap for Corbyn, and he should keep his hands off Brexit because he could be blamed if it all goes belly up, and then there was the sewage leak onto the chamber where MPs were debating, you could hear the gush of water and you could not make it up

Kate Jay R © April 2019

Friday 4 January 2019

Goals for 2019

A fresh new year is a great time to start anew or to make yourself some goals for the year ahead and this year is especially important as I'll be reaching a milestone age whether I like it or not!  But I've been doing my year's goals for the last few years now, and for the last year or two I decided to include them in my blog - the writing goals at least. It's a good exercise in taking stock and reviewing what is important, as well as seeing which goals have slipped down the list or off it altogether!  This may be due to lack of time or energy or interest.  But that is life. Ideas evolve, things on the back burner move to the front one and vice versa, while others still are taken off the ring for the foreseeable. 

Writing Goals

Last year I made a lot of progress with my follow up to Down The Tubes. My last word count showed my work in progress to be just shy of 50,000 words which is the usual length of my books! However I've not finished the first draft yet.  I've not been writing quickly, just steadily, and not rushing at it.  But it's the research that's been slowing me down.  It always seems as if I'm not doing anything while I'm researching. There's nothing tangible to show for it, as I collect reams of facts or images or immerse myself in a subject area, even though I'll only be using a fraction of it. But that immersion is important.  So this is my first writing goal. To make good progress with Down The Tubes. Preferably finishing the first draft which I think is achievable.  The second and subsequent drafts should be a lot easier.

My second writing goal is to make progress with another Little Guide.  I have already started elaborating on the ideas but progress is very slow, in part, due to long term health problems (see below).

My third writing goal is to update my satirical anti-novel  Lost The Plot and to get another couple of books into paperback.  I'm never sure though whether all the time and effort putting an e-book into paperback is worth it since I don't sell paperbacks at all. They're nice to have and hold, and to give us gifts.  But I guess many people won't take the chance on an unknown writer - not for the price of a paperback in comparison to an e-book. 

Finally, I shall still try one or two traditional publishers or small presses. I think we all like that vote of confidence and self-belief that publishing affords, and yet at the same time I do like being in control of my own products.

Health goals

Nearly ten years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  But the symptoms are so similar to overlapping conditions, especially ME. In fact, many people with FM also have ME.  The ME specialists in my neck of the woods are good with ME and treat it a neurological condition so I would like to be referred to a specialist.  I did a free 30 minute phone consultation with the ME Association and my symptoms are very consistent with ME.  I'm not sure how this will help in the treatment stakes but at least they will do a batch of tests to rule out other conditions (I hope).  Some of these I have had to do myself. 

I would love to get on top of my other conditions, the worst being Hyperhidrosis.  

Because of the above, I feel I need more input from an enabler, especially with practical help. We (my sister and I) have some very welcome help in the form of transport but other practical help would be welcome too. 

This also relates to my resolve to practise assertiveness and not to be coerced into or expected to do things that make me feel distressed, in pain and fatigued and also not to feel guilty. I did go on assertiveness course many years ago and in a recent situation where I was expected to do something I couldn't, I just ignored it.  I can't change others behaviour but I don't have to engage with it.  So I am going to draw on that very rusty advice in future! 

To try CBD oil, Turmeric with Black Pepper, and Melatonin.  But I have to do these methodically and one at a time to know of there are any benefits.

House Improvement Goals

Making better use of the space in our sitting room, particularly book shelves and units.  Need to get something bespoke.

Also possible shower removal and have a shower over the bath. The removal of the shower can then give me a larger bedroom because as it is I have very little room for manoeuvre.

Other Goals

I would love be able to get back to drop in singing sometimes (but this will depend on getting on top of certain health problems)


Help my sister with a website (this is one of those goals which keeps getting postponed but I need my sister to have something to put on her website first! She has the original art but she needs to get some cards or smaller copies of her work.

Well, not sure all these are achievable and as always they will probably evolve during the course of the year but hey, c'est la vie.

Happy New Year!