Pulling teeth, blood from a stone, words from my pen

It’s half term and my brain has decided to go on holiday, leaving my body here to deal with the rain, lethargy and a visit from the anti-writing gremlins. I can’t seem to get any words down.  Even my list, usually overflowing with things that will never get done, is lacking in vocab. Only two words on it, but written in a variety of styles, as if to encourage inspiration.

Blog Post



****BLOg post***

BL… well, you get the idea.  If I could work out how to highlight it on here, I would.

In addition, there’s a weekly reminder in my phone that keeps pinging at me: BLOG POST. I’m determined not to be one of the seven gazillion bloggers who fail in the first few months, leaving their poor blogs sad and lonely. No readers is one thing, an AWOL writer, quite another.

So finally, today at 3.30, I dragged myself to the computer.  My usual warm up routine followed: checking emails and flicking through spotify.  For some reason I was drawn to the music of my (later) youth.  I was creating a playlist including The Proclaimers and The Beautiful South when my offspring lolloped in.

Much eye rolling about my musical taste ensued.  Then, further unasked for distraction. It was suggested that I try out some bands of the up-to-date variety.  DaftPunk (Who?) Currently number one, apparently.  Biffy Clyro – not a female country singer as I had assumed with a name like that, but a Scottish guitar band.  Think they have had a go with that pen name generator.

Delightful as this quality time was, 4.30 pm approached and I suggested that due to the late hour, offspring might like to commence the day’s revision.

Standard response received: “Its not my fault.”

Of course, I know that nothing is your fault when you are thirteen. No. Haywire hormones, overprotective parents and annoying teachers are to blame for everything.  I remember it well. Daftpunk aside, I’m not that much of an old fart.

“Anyway,” continued offspring, “you haven’t done any work today either.  Why don’t you stop listening to The Procrastinators and get on with some writing.”

Out of the mouths of teens…

It’s The Proclaimers,” I muttered and duly logged on to pull teeth, squeeze blood from a stone and finally get some words down.




Procrastination gets things done

Procrastination gets things done. So someone tells me. A distinctly positive, glass half-full sort of person. To be fair, the pro in procrastination does make it sound like a let’s-get-on-with-it, all action sort of word, along the lines of progression, proceeding and productive. I suppose what he’s saying is, you may not be completing your tax return or cleaning the oven, but you have, in desperation to avoid doing those things, finally put together the ikea chest of drawers which has been lurking quietly in the garage, wrapped in its packaging for the last two years.

It is most likely that I should have attributed “procrastination gets things done” to someone famous and worthy. The person who said it to me is an accountant not a philosopher, after all. Where would we be, I ask you, if it turned out that the bean counters had all the answers?


I thought this week’s procrastination would be setting up Google Analytics for this blog. But it didn’t take me that long to do: about an hour watching youtube videos yesterday and only ten minutes actually doing the dreaded technical stuff this morning. I’m not sure whether it was worth it to find out that the IT Director is my only reader.  I know, I know – I need to tell people about it.  Maybe that will be my objective for next week.  Ha ha.

Another potentially time wasting activity has been creating a pen name. There are websites out there capable of generating one for you. These are the first three presented to me: Nobe Benvenisty, Rolando Giacherio and Agripina Dyke. I am not making this up. None of these are quite what I was aiming for.

Have a go yourself http://www.namegenerator.biz/pseudonym-generator.php.

Not only did I spend/waste time on various of these name generators, I also researched the pros and cons of using a pen name. This caused me to waver. There was a perilous moment when I thought “Nah, I’ll just do everything under my own name.”

Then I changed my mind again. Procrastinator’s prerogative. I decided to go with a combination of family names in the end. Everything I’ve had published so far (okay, four stories) has been as a result of entering online writing competitions. My first proper submission using my new pen name is sitting in its envelope waiting to go to the post office…


Waiting for the great procrastinator…

When I log onto this blog it always takes an age to connect through to the page where I write the post.  On the tab, next to the whirling circle that is trying to convince me how very hard the wonderful world of web is working on my behalf, it says: Waiting for the great procrastinator. Never fails to make me laugh.

What doesn’t make me laugh is the experience I’ve had twice this week at 6.30 am. Outside the back door, something has given our rubbish a comprehensive going over during the night. The estate agent’s details, when we were buying the house, described the area outside the back door as “the courtyard”.  I know from that you are envisaging a beautiful tiled area adorned with tubs of vibrant flowers and perhaps an Italianate water feature.  Refer to the photo below to see how wrong you are:IMG_0918

Yes, it is a patchwork of cracked concrete, tiles, mismatched bricks, drains, weeds and dusty old leaves, and we call it “out the back.” It’s not beautiful, I admit, but a liberal layer of mouldering food, bacon fat-coated foil and other items that should really have gone into the recycling bin, does nothing to enhance it.  In these circumstances, the only thing even a  great procrastinator can do, is ferret around for rubber gloves and then get straight out there with a bin bag to clear it up.

A great job with which to greet the day.  Sets you up nicely.

Not sure what is responsible for the mess. Badgers are bothersome round here, and the most likely suspects. However, there have been two malicious looking cats hanging about. The day after the second great trash debacle, we spotted them sitting on the roof above the “courtyard”, looking like a couple of wise guys. I wouldn’t put it past them to have tipped over the bin and wrangled off the sophisticated device we have boncoed together to keep the lid on. (To bonco is the IT Director’s verb meaning to fashion something oneself, instead of just buying the actual item required to do it properly.) Perhaps he will get a word into the dictionary before I come up with anything – see Blogcrastination.

Anyway, whether or not the feline mafia of rural Gloucestershire are tipping over our rubbish bins, I’m pretty sure they are terrorising our sweet ginger moggy.  IMG_0588-001

The IT Director is a total techno geek. Techy gadgets are the only things he will buy immediately, without waiting for a boncoed device to fail first. In response to the trash and the evil cats, he’s ordered a spy cam for the “courtyard” to see what is going on out there at night.

Family Reactions to news of the spy cam:

Offspring 1 – “How much did it cost? You could have paid me that much to watch out the back all night.”

Offspring 2 – “You are sad.”

Me – I was slightly creeped out, to be honest.  It made me think of that Trinny and Susannah programme where they used to restyle women. I remember an episode where the husband of one of the women nominated her secretly. He hid a camera in their bedroom and they filmed her without her knowledge. I always thought that was bit weird. Imagine the production team having a laugh at her dancing round in her knickers, singing The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush into her hairbrush, or whatever.  So, with this in mind, I asked the IT director:

You are just going to be filming outside aren’t you?

“Why? Are you worried I might film you and what you get up to all day?” he asked, with alarming insight.

Err, yes, actually.”

“Well, don’t worry,” he said.  “It’s triggered by activity.  So, you’ll be fine.”

What can I say? My reputation precedes me.



My phone’s broken.  Not so smart now, are you, Mr I. Phone?

I won’t go into it what has gone wrong, mainly because I do not possess the language required to explain and, in any case, I have no idea what happened. I am stretching my technical knowledge just typing this post.  (What is a tag anyway?)

Do you know how long you can spend searching for ways to resurrect phones when they have died on you?  A Very Long Time. Time when you should be doing other more important things, like writing.  Technocrastination.  That’s what I’ve called it. And no I haven’t bothered to google it. (See Blogcrastination for further info.)

My IT Director has taken over dealing with the phone issue following several terse conversations along the lines of:

What is your pass code? err, don’t know.

When did you last do a back up?  You have to back it up?


And yes, we are married.

He has whisked the phone off to the Apple store today.  I am hopeful that by this evening I’ll have it back.

On the other hand, I have been most enlightened by my time without a phone.  It doesn’t half take over when it’s here.  I’m always checking for emails, what’s apps and texts.  I have a look at the news apps a few times a day as well.  And, oh, yes, there’s that other app, a silly addictive game that my kids put on there. Honestly, it was them. I do like to keep up with what they’re interested in, but I’m pretty sure I am the only adult woman in the world who has even played on that particular app.  At least it doesn’t keep a record of how many hours you’ve spent playing it, like Boggle does. (That one’s educational, so it doesn’t count.)  I suppose all of that’s technocrastination too.  Can’t win really.

When the phone gets home I’m going to be really strict with it.  Myself, I mean, obviously, because even though it is a bit of a smarty pants, I’m in charge.  Right?