Monthly Archives: June 2012

100 revisits

As you will probably have guessed I am a list writer 🙂  It’s a wet Sunday morning and I thought it might be time to revisit a list.  Not a regular to do list but the one I wrote back in March, 100 ways to be more creative.  A stream of consciouness, no stopping to think list.  I wrote it, looked at it and then forgot it.  I have made no conscious effort whatsoever to do anything on that list.  What a waste.  So today I am going to work my way through the list starting with the first thing on the list I have not yet done.  I have no idea what that is.  Here goes ….

  1. Morning pages – DONE (and still doing)
  2. Read – DONE (and still doing, currently re-reading A Prayer for Owen Meany)
  3. Meditate – DONE (and still doing most days)
  4. Listen to other people – Consciously working on this
  5. Get out of my comfort zone – I think so – I’ve just joined the gym and am going this afternoon and have planned visits for the rest of the week – pretty out of my comfort zone I’m not a great exerciser other than yoga and ballet.
  6. Go to an exhibitionDONE The last one I saw was the photographic history of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at the Bowes Museum.  Fascinating and not what I was expecting at all
  7. Go for a walk  DONE and still doing
  8. Try to do something I am convinced I can’t do DONE – I think joining the gym definitely meets this
  9. Use the house on the right bank DONE and still doing
  10. Pray DONE and still doing
  11.  Take advice from people in my mind DONE and still doing (not as weird as it sounds – Read Mindstore!)
  12.  Use the right brain – regular trips to the house on the right bank I think counts here (Mindstore again)
  13.  Try to draw
  14.  Keep a dream diary
  15.  Go on artist’s dates – have done a few but not enough
  16.  Play flute/sax/piano – don’t do enough
  17.  Sing – DOING – am singing in a concert on 7th July
  18.  Sight read something totally new
  19. Listen to music I haven’t listened to before – DONE and still doing I change the radio channel in my car every day now – it’s very enlightening!  Spotify is good too.
  20.  Read a totally new author
  21. Read autobiographies
  22. Go on a mystery trip.
  23. Do something repetitive over and over Hmm not sure Salutations to the Sun count
  24.  Do something backwards
  25.  Sew make something see it grow – too many unfinished projects
  26. Read poetry
  27. Write poetry
  28. Write for half and hour without stopping. Do that quite a lot now
  29. Write 300 word flash fiction – yes and was runner up in a competition!
  30.  Write haiku
  31. Write 6 word story I have done one ages ago but not recently
  32. Write a story about what’s just out of view in a picture.
  33. Describe my childhood bedroom
  34. Write my autobiography
  35. Write my imagined autobiography
  36. Scrapbook – Oh I haven’t done that for AGES
  37. Imagine a world where one fundamental thing is different – describe living in that world. Part one is done but I’ve not written it down
  38.  Do a mind map of my mind – these both will be fun why I have’t I done them yet?
  39.  Do a mind map of my life
  40.  Doodle in my Discovery Journal ditto above
  41.  Make a visual treasure map
  42. Imagine Jack was human – what would he want to do, to be, where would he want to go?
  43. Doze, manage the dreams as I doze.  I’m quite good at that
  44. Turn a dream into a story.
  45. Write Romilly’s Indo China story.
  46. Watch the old films I watched with Daddy.  Spent an entire wet Saturday doing that it was great.
  47. Go and see a film I really don’t want to see
  48.  Go to a charity shop, buy something for under £2.  Write its story
  49.  Rearrange a room completely DONE (several actually)
  50.  Wash the windows and let in the light DONE
  51.  Declutter DONE
  52.  Take a book off the shelf turn to page 46 – continue the story from the second paragraph.
  53. Go to an art gallery and mark the paintings out of ten.  WHY do I like some and not others.
  54. Wear clothes I’ve never worn together before. Do more than I used to
  55. Sleep upside down
  56. Sleep on the wrong side of the bed
  57.  Have a go at drawing on the right side of the brain
  58.  Learn poetry by heart
  59.  Learn a psalm
  60.  Spend a whole day saying yes to everything.
  61. Spend a whole say without ever using the word can’t
  62. Do a couple of pages in my sketchynotebookything
  63. Continue the 100 uses for a used matchstick list.
  64. List all my favourite songs
  65. Reduce the list above to only 50
  66. Make my desert island list DONE
  67. Have my desert island conversation with Kirsty Young Do this quite a lot (how wierd is that?)
  68. What if I had been born a boy?
  69. What if I had been born 10 years earlier?
  70. What if I had been born 10 years later?
  71. Plan the most exciting journey I can imagine, right down to the tickets and accommodation and travel etc.
  72.  Finish the house on the right bank
  73. Redecorate the Mill – money no object.
  74. If I had one million pounds – allocate every single pound.
  75. Escape for a day totally alone with just books and pencils.
  76.  Build a shed or bolt hole.  My wooden caravan.
  77. Tackle a really difficult world issue – how would I solve it?
  78.  Spend time in the house on the right bank  – really use it and explore it.
  79.   If I were Poppy what would I do?
  80.  Tell Julia’s story
  81. Tell Helen’s story – when does she realise this is her chance?
  82. Get a lump of clay and see what it turns into.
  83.  Go and sit in front of Orphelia – where did it take me as a child, where does it take me now?
  84. Learn how to make shadow figures.
  85.  Explore somewhere from top to bottom, learn everything about it. Who lived there, when why?  Make it up if nobody knows.
  86. What if there really was a Faraway Tree?
  87. Plan a journey by train around the world (man in seat 61)
  88. Invent a new animal.
  89. Tell the story from the Pensillia’s point of view.
  90.  Visit a small town I’ve never been to before.  Explore.
  91. Go out to the shops and try on clothes I would never dream of wearing.
  92. Pick a one day course on something esoteric and mind stretching.
  93.  Change something in my life/house/work/anything every day for at least a month.
  94. Climb a tree
  95. Keep a visual diary – do it without words.
  96. Draw what I hear.
  97.  Colour my calendar
  98.  Build a library of future histories
  99. Revisit Heath Robinson
  100. Explore colours?  Which are my favourites? Do they change? Why?

There’s quite a lot to do.  First on the list is try to draw.  I doodle, I’ve never really drawn though I keep a sketchbookythingy.  Today it will come out again, it’s been sitting on my desk all alone for far too long.  Then I shall continue down the list ….

More planners

Once I’ve started reorganising something I do find it incredibly hard to stop until it is as near perfect as I am ever going to get it, and then I go back and tweak a bit more.  In some cases this is good, for example decluttering needs to be done regularly but is far easier to do if you do a little bit every now and then.  Weeding is similar, although I fear I could spend 24 hours a day with my speedweeder and foam knee pad and never be entirely on top of the jungle that I call my garden.  Sometimes you have to let go.  I can re-edit the first 3000 words of Timesmudger until 9th October in time for the 10th October deadline for the Mslexia Competition, or I could send the edit I have finally finished.  It IS possible that the 9th October version is better, but probably it would be so over edited as to bear little resemblance to the rest of the book so that’s a case of too much tweaking.

My planner reorganisation will not be complete until the Uncalendar arrives and I can start using the Textagenda (I am not one for wishing my life away at all, but I do wish I didn’t have to wait until 1st August).  So I am spending the in between time on some more tweaking.

I used to use one list for work and home.  As I only work two days a week and some of that at home anyway it seemed silly to have two planners, but after a year I am not so sure.  Too mean to buy a planner for a measly two days a week I made my own.  In the enormous pile of notebooks I have stashed away in my study I found a red (it has to match the others!) hard backed, A4 spiral bound book.

On the LHS I drew a line down the middle and wrote the dates of the days I would be working that week and left the RHS blank for lists and notes.  I did that for every week until the end of term (not many HURRAH!).

Appointments go on the appropriate day, together with day specific jobs or memos to self.  I don’t need a whole A4 page for that so I drew a line across the bottom.  I manage the school twitter, facebook and now the website news so this is where I’ll note things happening on certain days that I need to tweet etc.

On the RHS I drew a line down the middle.  The to do list for that week is on the left leaving the right for notes  during the day,like  telephone numbers etc.   The great thing here is that I can put things on the to do list for the appropriate week rather than have one long list.  For those things that I have to think about in the long term I have started a list at the back of the book which I check each week.

I  leave the book at school when I am not there so that anybody who needs to know what I’ve been up to and can check what’s been done if they can’t contact me.

Then at the same time I found a lovely standard size filofax I bought years ago as my first annual family planner.  It didn’t work as that because I need A4  for the various letters/tickets etc.  But guess what – it matches my A4 folder, the same line and colour.  So that has now become my writing planner.  Sections for the two books, one for short stories, one for general ideas, one for competitions, one for the blog, one for the book that has been banging around in my head but I don’t have time to write at the  moment but need to get the ideas down and a year planner so I can see instantly where I have sent which book and when (and then when it came back 😦  )

Planning now over I have to do the work that I have planned!

Lovely bloggers

For someone who gets only a handful of readers, which is unsurprising when you take into account how often I update my blog, I was stunned when I discovered I had been given another blog award.  I’ve never had a blog award in my entire life.  In fact my awards in general would leave a considerable amount of space if listed on the back of a postage stamp (Standard letter not Large letter).

This award has come from the lovely Scribbler68 at    She is funny, witty and has knowingly or unknowingly perked me up on numerous occasions and she has the art of the 140 character tweet down to a fine art.

Now as the recipient of said award I am supposed to nominate 15 other awards but I have only just done that on my previous post (awards currently behaving like buses).  So I would like to direct you to the Inspiring blogger post and encourage you to read the blogs I have listed there.  And blog owners – please consider yourself Lovely as well as Inspiring.


I love planners, I love lists, I love goal setting, I love being organised.  I have books just for my lists, I love sitting down at the end of the year and setting out the annual family ring binder for next year (ring binder with monthly dividers, lists of birthdays and things to do for each month at the front of each mothly section and then I file tickets/school trip info/itineraries etc in the section for each month – just in case you wanted to know 🙂 )

If you are reading this you will fall into one of two categories, in my experience there are only two. Either you with think I am barking mad or you will be nodding sagely as you read.  It is quite possible that if you fall into the latter category you share my need to ensure that the washing is hung in a certain order and using only one colour peg per line …

So imagine my joy and excitement when I found this blog    a whole blog dedicated to planners, journals and diaries.  I have been reading it for a week and am still only part way through and I can’t keep up with all the links.  I think I had about 10 tabs open in Firefox this morning alone!

For the record I currently use one of these in oxblood for The Lists.  I replaced the  scrappy pad with an A4 spiral bound book and write todays list on the LHS and use the RHS for notes.  Today’s list is taken from The Master List which is a list of everything I need to do at all in the next month or so.  I have to be able to carry that around with me at all times so it is in a tiny Moleskine notebook (the really itsy bitsy ones) and lives in the pocket of my diary which is currently a Pielnoble 3 1/2 ” x 4 1/2″ filofax alike with a week to a view diary.  Then of course there is the Family Monthly Ringbinder and online I use Best Year Yet for goal setting and  reviewing.

But, now I have a lovely Quo Vardis Textagenda (also in Ox blood to match my folder)  and am planning on replacing the inner in my Filofax folder with this from Uncalendar  (in red of course, though I fear it won’t be very close to Ox Blood)   I’ll use the top diary part of the  Quo Vardis for diary and the bit underneath for the daily list leaving the Filofax folder for planning.  Oh this is so exciting!!  Oh and did you know my little pencil case is in Ox Blood too?  I do like things to match 🙂

Inspiring blogs

The lovely Jackie over at has nominated me for my first ever award.  Then like buses another one came along (see next post).  I have been shamed into writing my blog again so thank you to Jackie and Scribbler68 (more of her in the next post).

Jackie was one of the first blogs I started to read when I decided it was time to take writing seriously and she has certainly inspired me and kept me on the straight and narrow even if she doesn’t know it!  Reading other writers’ blogs, published writers, new writers and all the inbetweens is for me a bit like revising for exams with friends, or going to the gym and telling yourself you won’t get off the treadmill until the woman next to you does!  Without realising it they egg you on, keep you going and remind you that it can be done.

Now I am supposed to reveal seven things about me you would probably not know ….

1. I am entirely deaf in 0ne ear.  This is remarkably useful when I want to go to sleep as I “put my good ear down” but can be a bit of a challenge if sitting at a big dinner table with the wrong ear facing up the table.  Hearing aids are useful but don’t replace a fully functioning ear but as I have no memory of hearing in that ear I am pretty used to it.

2. I have sat on the knees of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  Apple Records was a client of my father’s and every year they held a Christmas party for the children of everyone involved with the company.  Each year one of their artists played Father Christmas.  That year JL played Father Christmas and YO Mother Christmas.

3.My cv is eclectic.  I have, in this order been  volunteer helath worker in Africa, secretary, theatre company gofer, actress, tv researcher, merchant banker, third world development worker, economic development worker  then I became a mother and didn’t go out to work at all and am now trying to earn a living from writing but supplement by working as a school registrar and helping with the family translation business.  I always wanted to be a spy when I grew up but if I was successful at that I wouldn’t be able to tell you 🙂

4. I used to spend many wonderful summers on a ranch in North Dakota.  My father and a friend were travelling in Europe just after they completed their National Service.  They bumped into five American girls in Rome who were on their way to London.  “Stay with my parents” said my father and gave them his address.  They duely arrived, slightly to the surprise of my grandmother as communication was obviously more limited in those days, and stayed for a few weeks.  When my mother went to Columbia she spent her holidays with one of the girls, now married and living on a ranch in ND.  In time her children came to visit Europe and stayed with us.  My parents were working in the States and I didn’t want to go to summer camp so I went to ND.  I am still in touch with the family, we have exchanged two generations of children over the Atlantic, but despite the fact that my father now lives in the US.  He and Claire, the girl he met in Rome have never met again.

5. I can burp the alphabet, including “W” although that one takes a bit of preparation.

6. I was taught English at Primary School bythe poet Ivor Cutler.

7. I am 48 and still scared of the dark.  When I was little I used to tell the ghosts to go away as they had completely succeeded in frightening me and they could move on to somebody else.

Now I have been asked to pass the baton on to 15 other bloggers who have inspired me  I am afraid I don’t read lots of blogs, just a few regularly so I could only manage 8, I hope I haven’t been disqualified!   Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to:

Celia at  such beautiful lino cuts

Froogs at the most inspiring make do and mender on the entire internet

Jane at wonderful handmade gifts and another Jack Black (not the actor) fan

Amanda at does what it says on the lid

Jane at who fits in more in her life than I can ever achieve.  all round gorgeousness and beautiful photographs

Debbie at  more beautiful edibles, makeables, doables, lovely stuff!

Catherine at  wonderful author and bravely blogging about not buying any clothes AT ALL all year.

In accepting your award, please:

1. Display the award logo somewhere on the blog.
2. Link back to the blog of the person who nominated you.
3. State seven things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.
5. Notify those bloggers that they have been nominated and of the award’s requirements.

I look forward to your posts 🙂