Monthly Archives: July 2012

Success!

Just a quick post this week – it was a really mammoth week, one of the busiest I can remember in a long time, but I survived. I’m hoping for rather more peace, sleep and flexibility in the week ahead. Some creative inspiration would be nice, too, though I mustn’t be too greedy, I know…

In a post about herbs that I wrote back in May, I also mentioned some chilli seeds that M had sown. Well, here are some of the results two-and-a-half months later (I think there are two plants in this pot) – I really hadn’t thought that chilli plants could be quite so attractive as they have turned out to be: the blossoms are beautiful! And if you look carefully, you may be able to see that there’s a good crop of chillies coming; in fact, I’ve been quite amazed at how quickly they have developed. I hope they’ll turn red in due course, at which point I’ll take another picture. And then I’ll cook some and dry the rest, and photograph the results. And so on and so forth…

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Filed under Domestic, Food

Storing up some chinks of light

This weekend has consisted largely of catching up with shopping, household chores (yesterday) and time-consuming work projects I didn’t have the space for during the week (I sometimes feel I never get around to significant work during the week :( ). The coming week will consist of regular work / teaching commitments, PLUS exams, PLUS a deadline on Friday for my writing project. Today I forced myself to go out for half an hour – it was a glorious day, weatherwise – and really felt the benefit, brief though it was. I’ve decided that I need to prepare a few such chinks of light to get me through the week ahead: nothing time-consuming, nothing requiring me to go out of the way, but things that will remind me that I’m worth investing time and energy in, too. I’m not going to schedule them specifically, but I want to have done something off this list every day by the time next weekend comes around. I’m quite aware that a lot of these are pretty humdrum things that other people manage to fit in as a matter of course, but maybe that increases their significance…

  • going to bed early with a crossword
  • making a fresh fruit, ginger and soya milk smoothie (I might even manage this more than once – I can’t use a whole carton of soya milk at once…)
  • dyeing my hair
  • relaxing with a magazine while a facepack does its thing
  • making a pot of proper tea before a writing session, rather than a mug of something unexciting
  • eating lunch ONE day in a place that is not at my desk
  • …and making the effort to go and get a salad rather than the quickest sandwich
  • …and maybe even catching a few rays of sun on the way – it all helps to keep the mood buoyant!

Well, I’ve run out of ideas now, which probably only proves that I don’t think about such things often enough. If you know any quick pick-me-ups for the body, soul or general sense of well-being, do please leave a comment and I’ll gladly add them to the list for future reference.

 

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Filed under Up close and personal, Work stuff

Photo showcase: Sofa to go

Sofa to go

The sign says: “No dumping of rubbish” (but you probably guessed that…)

As a lazy kind of experiment, I thought I’d take a look through my Flickr stream to see if I could find any shots taken on exactly this day (15 July) one, two, three, four, five or six years ago. I had a sinking feeling when 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007 in turn all yielded absolutely nothing, but to my great relief there were six of them (and mercifully, not too shabby, either) for 15 July 2006, back when I was new to photography and couldn’t get enough of it.

This was my clear favourite – in fact it’s a picture that’s always made me smile and one that I should really print out and frame one of these days. A pretty mundane, non-picturesque site by the side of a country road (I think, though I don’t remember the precise location) is transformed into a sight of wonderful, belly-laugh audacity by that funky orange monstrosity (which in its heyday must have been a great piece of furniture!). I love the fact that someone had obviously made the effort to place it absolutely neatly in line with the sign and the edge of the verge, so that it almost looks as though it belongs there.

I’m a notorious one for missed opportunities when it comes to taking pictures, but this is a chance capture that makes up for so many of those. I wonder who left the sofa there, and what became of it…

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Filed under Out & about, Photography

A new project takes shape

As my Facebook friends already know, I was contacted a couple of months ago by an educational publisher I have worked with several times before. The material I have produced for them previously has all been to do with self-study language learning at different levels and in different modes/formats, but this time they asked me if I’d be interested in producing a more “fact-based” book. Both the topic and the type of content* they were looking for immediately appealed to me, but I didn’t immediately say yes: this kind of project obviously brings a lot of extra work with it and when you have a steady full-time job that more than fills your days a lot of the time, you don’t necessarily hold your hand out for more. On the other hand, I do know from past experience that this kind of writing keeps you on your toes in a different way, sharpens your mind and brings out a lot of new and differently packaged material that in turn stimulates the production of creative teaching materials – in other words, it’s a valuable form of re-investment.

While I was still in the fairly static phase of mulling these things over, I semi-casually mentioned the matter on Facebook and was immediately bowled over by how enthusiastic everyone else was about this kind of project. Those working in academic research reminded me of the hoops you have to jump through just to get an article published, let alone a book, while others who are in various branches of the teaching profession were also fired up by the idea of reaching a wider audience beyond the familiar class/student profile. Ultimately I was convinced that this was an opportunity that I needed to grab, and I’m very grateful to everyone who helped me take that decision.

Now, several weeks later, I’m several steps further on – they asked for some sample content based on the basic outline I’d been given, which I provided, and they were pleased with that, saying that I could certainly actually use most of it in the finished product and that the contract was mine if I wanted it. I said yes.

My first submission deadline is tomorrow – a detailed chapter-by-chapter, page-by-page(!) breakdown of the content I plan to include. I’ve been working on it solidly the last couple of days and it’s now FINISHED. It’s all subject to change, of course, depending on the feedback I get from the project manager and the person who’s been assigned as my editor, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll like the basic outline…

* I’m being intentionally vague here as I’m under contractual obligation not to divulge details (sorry!)

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Filed under Books & reading, Work stuff