long rambling blog entry

Normally I get up early, and write my blog when I have a nice quiet house to myself.

However, this week, I am writing my weekly blog entry before my Sunday tea, just as the weekend is on the way out.

It has been an odd few weeks and weekends lately. The past few weekends I have been helping out with planting bulbs across the local area. We did manage to get some extra volunteers the first week, but the weather has been so dismal since then that the volunteers must have all perfectly sensibly stayed in their beds. Nevertheless, the bulbs are now all safely in the ground where they should be, and with any luck a decent number will pop up in the new year, to brighten up some dull corners.

It is always a rather hopeful pursuit, the actual soil is often a mere skim of topsoil over builder's rubble, we always get the bulbs into the ground late in the year, casual vandalism, council mowing and weedkiller spraying all take their toll. So it is a bit like guerilla gardening, you rather do it, because you think that it is the right thing to do, and you rather hope that it might make a slight positive difference.

The weekends are so short, I tend to be a real meanie about agreeing to do anything. Simply for the selfish reason that I rather like having a free weekend to just potter and do whatever I like.

Anyway, after three weeks, the last of the bulbs are now in.

I have also been catching up on my large pile of newspapers, and others odds and ends of pottering. I have even caught up on some phone calls. We were using a cordless phone, which is great, but if you are on the phone for any length of time, it tends to beep politely a couple of times, and then cut you off. I really hate being curtailed like that, so I fished out an old phone from the loft, and it too is now plugged in to the spaghetti of wires, cables and dust, that lurks in the corner of the living room. I am sure that there must be a better way of organising all the cabling, but failing that, sticking a small table above it, so you cannot see it, does help.

Anyway, it is now possible to have a phone call for as long as you want, which is a vast improvement for catching up with people you like.

I have decided that it is winter, and to be honest have pretty much given up on the garden for the time being. Nothing much is doing out there, and it is a bit grim gardening with fingerless gloves on when the weather is this cold. The loft is also pretty grim in the cold too, so I'm finding stuff to do that means I can stay in the living room. Hence catching up on stuff.

Worth noting that my favourite plant in the garden at the moment is some teasel, which I have grown from seed. I did try and transplant some wild stuff, but it never took. So now I have some great towering spikey teasel, just outside my window. It will probably seed right across the whole street now! However it is a biennial, so you will have to be pretty slow with the weeding to get much bothered by it. There is a photo in my Flickr gallery.

At work things are starting to pick up, in fact things have rather moved on to a footing where I really don't know if I will be able to do what I am setting out to do, which is challenging/fun/worrying all at the same time.

Still looking for a promotion, but it is just a case of applying for things, while still trying to be spiffing at what I am getting paid to do too.

I am getting into all these free or cheap promotions with the Times, the book a week for £2.99 is pretty good, I got the last few. My wife reads far more quickly than I do, and she has raced through them most enjoyably. I have also just received the set of classic albums that they were promoting. I've only listened to the Doors so far, but I quite like trying out random stuff.

I have also just bought 12 Tales from Winter City, by the Young Republic, one of those random groups that I came across, and they have been rather growing on me for some time now. It is a US version of the Delgados, if that helps. Orchestral pop.

Otherwise, the credit crunch is really starting to bite, so really reining in the spending, and doing my best to be very canny. That said, there are plenty of people in far worse straits than me, I really don't have anything much to complain about.

I have been doing a bit of work on the downloads section of my website, I have added in a scan of a Future Shock that I wrote for 2000AD many many years ago, and just for ease a copy of the cover of that particular comic. I have also added a couple more stories to follow After the Burn which I wrote a while back. There is another short story, The Exquisite Corpse, which I finished a while back, and I'm now reasonably happy with. There are quite a few other bits and pieces that have not yet reached the stage of being sufficiently finished for web publication. With luck, over the winter, I'll work up some more material and put it onto my website. At present, my ambition is to work up enough material to self publish a book of short stories and poems. However I am not in any mad rush, keen just to write stuff that I really like, rather than worrying too much about it being like anything else.