Thursday, 1 February 2018

Time Travel...

Today is 1st February 2018 and the time is precisely 11.07 am GMT, despite the fact it will show this post as being submitted at the somewhat ungodly hour of approximately 2am.  It may well be approximately 2am in the USA but it certainly isn't here.  Am I missing something?  With new advances being made in technology isn't it time someone invented an electronic gadget that automatically shows the correct time and date for your locality?  When Steve and I head off to do some Christmas shopping in Bruge last year, my mobile did me the service of showing both the local time for Bruge and  the UK - so how come my blog seems to be permanently on US time?

Anyone who follows this blog will know of my affinity to Doctor Who.  Is the fact my blog is permenently on US time - even though it actually shows UK time and date to me -  really just an indicator that Time Travel is not so much science fiction as science fact?  Okay so maybe one cannot walk from one era to another, but if I am writing this on a beautiful pre-spring morning in the UK with crocuses on the grass outside and sun shining through the latticed windows, how come the blog date will show me as writing it in the dead of night?  Hmm - puzzles indeed.  I never was much good at physics!

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Thursday Morning Warm-Up!

It is a much nicer day today.  The sun is shining and Steve set off on his Thursday travels about twenty minutes ago.  Last week he went to Stamford Bridge.  He said he may try Craven Cottage today but he may yet veer off in another direction if something catches his eye.  At least I didn't feel quite so abandoned this morning as I watched him disappear up the road and that is probably because he is much more his old self.  The Diabetic nurse on Monday was brilliant, giving us loads of time and answering all our questions.  She has suggested ways to tweak his diet which already seems to be working because his sugar count, although still high, is kind of stabilising, and that, in turn reduces both his anxiety and mine.  He has another appointment with her in early March so all we can do is see how things go.

As for me, well here is my plan for today.  I will always use this first hour after he has gone out to "warm up" by updating both blogs and attending to any emails.  After that, I will go through my latest Childrens Writers & Artists Year Book and see if I can find an agent or a publisher who is prepared to breathe new life into the Yucketypoo series.  With all the current concern about plastic on our beaches and in the oceans, the third book Yucketypoo's Big Beach Clean-Up seems to be more relevant than ever and it is such a pity the previous publisher and I were unable to take it further.  I bought the 2018 Year Book with some Christmas money a couple of weeks ago but, to my shame, I have not even glanced through it yet, so that is a definite Must for today.  I also need to prepare a worksheet for Saturday's Young Writer session.  Plenty to do then.

See you next week.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

The Start ... or Finish?

Belated Happy New Year to you! It has been an utterly crazy few months and it comes as no surprise to me that I have not been back since about October.  Firstly - although I may have mentioned this last post - Steve decided to retire from Tesco.  He just came home one day in October and announced he wouldn't be going back.  The general consensus was and about time too as he hadn't been terribly happy there for the last year or so.  The first few weeks were like a holiday. He got his sparkle back and everyone commented on how much happier he was.  Then, in November, his blood sugars went totally haywire.  Having been diagnosed diabetic almost a decade and a half ago, he has been on the same medication in all that time and this latest problem rocketed him into depression.  It is a depression that has been coming and going eversince. Sometimes he is fine for days or weeks at a time; his mood lifts, he says he won't let it beat him or ruin his life.  But othertimes, he sinks as low as it is possible to go and says it has beaten him and that he is tired of life and when that happens, he is almost inaccessible.  He won't talk.  He just gets angrier.  Not at me just at everything else.  It makes me feel so sad.   He kind of picked up a bit over Christmas, but then he has always loved Christmas, and for the most part, he just went with the flow.  Thankfully, he has an appointment coming up at the Diabetic Clinic where we hope they can give some answers, change his medication or offer alternatives which will make a big difference.

Shortly into the New Year we made one joint resolution together.  On Thursdays - which is the one day a week I never work - he goes out by himself and I get time to dedicate to my writing.  We gave it a trial run last Thursday.  He was out till early afternoon.  Today he went out at precisely 9.35 and, because he has been on one of his lows for a couple of days, as he walked up the road I almost felt a sense of abandonment.  He didn't know where he was heading and doubts he'll be back for lunch, so what time he'll actually get back today is anyone's guess.

On top of all that, we are looking to make our final move later this year.  We have almost decided to settle in or near Southend as that is where most of our grandchildren and our youngest daughter lives.  We have had a look at several houses online and finally decided to get some quotes from local removals firms, who have just started getting in touch to express an interest.  I need to secure the Young Writer group somehow and live in hope that the library will take it over but that will all be sorted nearer the time.  I have been running it for almost six years and, to be honest, am not sure how much further I can take it, so a fresh outlook and in put should rejuvenate it, fingers crossed.

So, on my first full day as a writer, I am sitting in the study, updating my blog.  What will I do later?  Who knows?  I have plenty of ideas but I am worried sick about Steve which isn't doing my Creative Flow a lot of good.  I know things will settle down again in due course, but until then we are on a very rocky road.  Watch this space for further updates ...

Sunday, 5 November 2017

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my Lord - how did I get all the way through October without coming back to say Hi to my silent and invisible readers!  The only thing I can put it down to is the fact I started a new job at the end of September and have been getting into a routine with a new shift pattern (and finding my feet) ever since!  Plus hubby Steve finally retired from Tesco after 34 years service and is trying to find ways to now fill his time.  The beauty of my new job is that I am off three full days every week and every other weekend means I don't work from finishing time Friday to starting time Tuesday.  Four seven hour shifts a week means I get whole mornings or late afternoons/early evenings at home.  Yay! Magic!  I now have the best work/life balance ever and Steve and I can do a lot more together, Run Of The Mill stuff like shopping, housework and tidying the garden and Terribly Exciting stuff like going places and  weekends away.  So, I hear you ask, doesn't that mean I will also have more time to write?  Well, dear reader, that is the plan, but we all know the best laid plans of mice and men etc etc etc!

I haven't got a great deal to tell you in the Writing stakes, really.  Poetry seems pre-dominant at the moment.  Well, that  and The Young Writers which is absolutely flying right now.  It has proved so popular that I do find myself wondering what will happen when I decide to call it a day - which is bound to happen sooner or later.  I'd still love to write a book about it because it has been such an exciting experience but what I really need to do is write another book for children, so you see my quandery. Lots of ideas, not enough time.  Og Mandino said that in The Choice.

Anways guys that is it for now.  I'll be back as Arnie says.  Keep smiling. Hugs and kisses!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

My Teddy Bears and Me

I am not sure when I started to collect teddies.  I collected dolls for a while - the porcelain kind and the older ones but eventually I lost interest in them.  I still have half a dozen or so collectible porcelain ones in their boxes in storage and eventually I will sell them.  They still have their certitifcates and original packaging, so hopefully someone somewhere will want to buy them, either for themself or as a gift for a loved one.  If I can find them and get to grips with ebay, I might try that. If my 12 year old granddaughter can suss out ebay I am sure I can if I put my mind to it.  As for the teddy bears though - I am not sure when I became an arctophile!

My mum had this tradition of always buying a bear for a child's first birthday.  Steve and I have sort of carried that on because we tend to buy all the newborns in our family a Build-a-Bear bear as soon as they arrive.  I have always been quite proud of the fact the bear my mum gave me on my first birthday still has his own eyes.  He is almost completely bald and peers down at me from his display shelf liked a wizened teddy-bear Yoda, but I would not part with him for anything.  At one year younger than me, good old Bert celebrates his 60th next year and I believe he contains more than an essence of every day of my life!  I like to think of him as the patriarch. He takes all incoming bears under his thin bald arm and helps them to settle in.

I had this idea once of writing a poem for each of my bears and I started to compile a collection but I have even bears more now so it is an idea that has reawakened.  I thought I'd take photos of them as illustrations; I'm not a bad photographer so it is definitely an idea I will consider seriously in the not too distant future.  In the meantime here are a couple of the original poems.  I know you don't like to comment but it would be good to get some feedback about this so I shall keep my fingers crossed.  Love you all to bits. Jilly xx

BERT 
(written 29.08.04)

Bert is looking threadbare,
his fur is falling out,
straw is leaking from his paws,
he has a balding snout,
but one thing I am proud of, 
you may feel some surprise,
for all the fact he's 46,
he still has his own eyes.

Bert was given to me
the year that I turned one.
He's been my best companion,
together we've had fun,
and now this king of teddy bears,
who simply lasts and lasts,
sits proudly in my cabinet, 
protected by the glass.

I sometimes hold him in my hands
and stroke what fur is there,
and thank him for the memories 
that we will always share,
for even though he's little
and shrinking more in size,
I'll always be so proud to know,
he still has his own eyes!
(c) Jilly Henderson-Long 2004


REWARD
(written on 11.9.04)

Reward looks puzzled and
lost in thought,
as he sits and considers 
(as teddy bears ought);
he's lost in a dream,
so must be a poet
who'll one day be famous
(though he doesn't know it),
I'm sure his mind's busy
although he's so rare,
my beautiful magical
one-off old bear!
(c) Jilly Henderson-Long 2004

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A Quick Reflection

2017 has been a funny old year so far.  At least it has for me.  I have been up one minute, down the next, full of ideas and enthusiam one day, completely apathetic the next. Most of the time I don't know if I am coming or going so how can I expect anyone else to?  One thing I have done is get back into the habit of writing regularly, whether it is my travel journal, my diary, a blog post, an article on Linked-In or a poem/story to mark a special occasion for someone else.  I have actually written quite a lot of poems this year, which is good.

There has been a lot going on in the background.  I have a book for children at a publishing company in New York (I would love to find a publisher or agent in New York - it is the publishing capital of the world!), and I have been seeking a publisher for my book about running a Young Writer group. The Young Writer group's 5th anniversary was celebrated and our first session back after the summer break looms large and exciting this Saturday (9th).  I am chuffed I got the new newsletter done in time, as well as the worksheets and an exciting appendage which I will go into more a bit later. I am in talks with a large company about producing a book with them but that one, I am afraid, at this point in time, is shrouded in secrecy.  I am just happy it is there hovering in the background in its rainbow mist - and when the time is right, I will let everyone know the details. So you see, I have not been idle.

There's been a lot going with friends and family as well. My friend Paul was ordained as a minister, my neice got married, we have two christenings coming up, Steve and I had our brilliant joint birthday do in July.  It has been somewhat manic, rather like a roller coaster ride.  And do you know what?  I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Technology - Who'd Have It ...?

So what is going on with Gmail?  Thought I'd ask this question since it keeps telling me on my smartphone that "Gmail has stopped working".  No explanation.  No reason.  Just "stopped working". Why?  Is it off sick?  Has it gone on strike?  Is it in a supervision with its manager or on holiday somewhere?  At least when someone is out of the office when one emails them, one normally gets an out-of-office message saying when the recipient is likely to be available again.  When Gmail stops, there is no such reassurance...

I am having severe doubts about the whole technologia issue lately.  Does the fact so many people are using a search engine or online/email service at the same time send the computer brain behind it into a downward spiral like a clockwork toy winding down?  Or is it all down to human error?  It is surprising how often I hear that "the computer has crashed" or "the tills have gone down".  Surely the whole point of technology is to make things (and people) more efficient?  Surely the idea is that it speeds communication up, not slows it down!

I quite often hanker for the old days when human beings were in control.  They may think they are in control in 2017, but they're definitely not.  Before I left the Day Job in the office, I can remember an afternoon when we were all sent home because the system failed.  That was fine at the time.  But then we all had to work twice as hard the next day to catch up with everything so it didn't really help at all. If a business has to come to a complete halt because the system has gone down, how is that more efficient?  At least in the not too distant past, if one person failed to show up for work because they were off sick and there were deadlines to meet, the rest of the team just got on with it.  If an office had to close for any reason out of the usual, the team would all rally round and help one another to get back on top, often generating a sense of comraderie.  All that seems to have gone now.  It is every man, woman or machine for themself and to hell with the rest.

I don't know.  Maybe I really was born in the wrong age?  If your quill stopped writing in Dickens' time, you just dipped it back in the ink.  Bliss!