Proofs to the left of me, proofs to the right of me…

Free advice to writers – don’t try and work on two versions of the same book at the same time.

A couple of days ago I laid out the proofs of the private family version of Surviving the Death Railway on the dining room table in order to proof read it (again) and create the index. An hour later the final proofs for the published version arrived in my inbox. I cannot resist work, so I will check these again too.DSCN9154 I have to occupy the dining room as there is no space left in my writing room and the state of it is making me feel ill.DSCN9152And yes, my chair is an old block of polystyrene. It is a hangover from my sculpture days. It’s good for posture and it keeps the nether regions warm… but it has seen better days. I’m thinking of converting to a Swedish exercise ball.

The day before the proofs arrived, the marketing team for Pen & Sword got in touch and I have a five-page form to fill in. This is great because I will not be doing the promotion and marketing solo, a job I dread (and am very bad at). However, it is also a headache as I don’t know the answer to many of the questions (local radio? clubs and societies?), or they are tricky for a jack of all trades (short summary of career and education).

In between showers I rush into the garden, collect slugs, dig for half an hour and catch the spring. DSCN9161 DSCN9165 I barely get to emails at the moment and many of your lovely posts are unvisited, I will post this and go on a whistle-stop tour, but then I must get back to the indexing and the marketing forms. I am extremely lucky to have a publisher, but I am a little sad that there are so few hours in the day and that I am neglecting friends.

I have become multi-tasking superwoman – while writing this post I have printed off (one by one) another ten invitation cards to the second of the two launch parties for the book. Anyone near Cambridge let me know, I’ll send one, and you could come and enjoy sandwiches and sangria on the 18th of June (or near Taunton on 21st May for tea and cakes).

I have read the finals proofs… thank god I did, I found some errors I had missed and some gremlins that had crept in via the text editors.

Re tulips… the deep red flowers are Anemone de Caen masquerading as tulips!

Woman versus holly and magpies – two:nil

Though it didn’t look very promising at half time.

Holly root

Holly root

I won eventually.DSCN5004

We have been putting up coconut halves full of fat and bugs for the birds. These have been a great success and we have much enjoyed the antics of a pair of long-tailed tits. They are thinking of nesting, but are convinced that our garage houses some rivals, so they spend much time attacking the windows.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHowever a much more serious threat has appeared. A pair of magpies have been eating from these coconut shells, and even investigating the seed feeders. We have found a simple solution, which might be useful to others. Two hanging baskets joined together make a really good guard. Small birds in, Magpies out.
DSCN5032DSCN5030I shall be away from my blog for a few days. I should have put up another POW post, but the garden demands have been non-stop so this will now have to wait until I return. I wish I could leave you with a picture of the miniature cherry or the apricot, but though both have started to flower they are not yet looking their best, so here are the current stars.

Camellia Mary Phoebe Taylor

Camellia Mary Phoebe Taylor

Anemone de Caen

Anemone de Caen (flowering now since late December)