Heat and Time-Eating Hell: 2013 365 Challenge #191

We are so lucky to have these beautiful birds flying overhead

We are so lucky to have these beautiful birds flying overhead

CreateSpace approved my cover PDF yesterday (I wasn’t expecting them to). I am impressed, because they adjusted the spine width and the bleed area, at no cost, in order to approve the picture for print.

Unfortunately I spotted a missing full stop in the ‘blurb’ and I wasn’t entirely happy with their revised spine. But, boy oh boy, tweaking an adobe file EATS time. I spent so long working on it last night I didn’t get around to doing my post, so I’m desperately writing this when I should be making the kids’ pack lunches for preschool this morning.

(Pre-school drop-off takes so long I don’t get home until after my 10am deadline. Unless I get my Claire post written now, too, today’s post will be a tad late!)

Dive-bombing the paddling pool

Dive-bombing the paddling pool

My only complaint about CreateSpace vs Lulu (my preferred print-on-demand service) is I can’t seem to find a PDF template on CreateSpace. That’s not to say one doesn’t exist. And they do have detailed instructions on sizes. However, I followed those detailed instructions and still apparently got it wrong.

With Lulu, you can download a PDF template and include it as a layer in adobe, to build the cover on top of (sorry if this is too much boring information!). Ah well. The proofreader won’t be finished for three weeks, so I have time to play! I just have to be stronger-willed about when.

Sliding in super-fast

Sliding in super-fast

The heat is also frying my brain at the moment. I know, it makes people in proper hot countries laugh, because it’s only in the high twenties (C) here. But we’ve had eighteen months of rubbish weather, so I’m acclimatised to rain and jeans. I don’t have the clothing or the temperament for hot! Chasing kids with sun cream, hats and water is exhausting.

Thankfully, I am super-fortunate that there is a drop-in centre in town on a Tuesday where some lovely ladies from the Methodist (or Baptist?) church provide tea and coffee, toast and toys, so the children can play and the Mummies can chat.

Hot dog trying to stay cool

Hot dog trying to stay cool

My son doesn’t normally enjoy it, but yesterday the courtyard was open and they sat out having a picnic. Kids love picnics. Plus there was cake. Can’t go wrong with free cake.

Then we went to the pocket park and another picnic. Home for milk and quiet time (and more tea for Mummy to try and stay awake!). Why is it that hot weather is so exhausting?

In the afternoon we took the dog to the Farm, because it’s getting hard to walk her with all the fields overgrown. She enjoyed the fuss made of her by the staff, but she didn’t like that she wasn’t allowed to chase the ducks and birds. My kids spent an hour watching the staff feeding the ferrets, mice, rats and guinea pigs, and I spent the time convincing Kara that they animals weren’t her dinner!

Then home for paddling pool and tea. At least the kids found a way to stay cool, sliding into the paddling pool and covering the decking with water. I’m really impressed with how my daughter has overcome her fear of getting her face wet. At the weekend she swam for the first time without her float jacket on and last night, in the paddling pool, she was more adventurous than her brother! That’s a first.

The kites are loving the weather. We have two or three pairs of them that fly over the house. When the electricity cables are taken down later in the year, we’ll be able to entice them into the garden. I’m looking forward to getting some amazing pictures. Life is good.

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Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:

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Ruth’s words haunted Claire. All during the evening, as she battled to put Sky to bed. During the night, instead of sleeping, the phrase Life’s too short echoed round her head. The lure of running away to New Zealand grew stronger, the longer Kim remained silent. Claire had sent her friend a grovelling text message, unwilling to intrude on the remainder of her wedding weekend by phoning. But Kim’s silence was deafening.

Would it be running away? Or running to? She tried to imagine what it would be like, being so far from home. No different to being on holiday. Four hours on a flight or twenty-four, it isn’t all that different. And how different could it be, staying in Kiwi hostels, compared with the UK ones? They looked a bit more informal, but some of the bunkhouses in the UK were pretty basic.

By the time the sun peered through the curtains, Claire dragged herself upright with a muggy head, no closer to a decision. Heading downstairs to make Ruth breakfast in bed, she was surprised to hear laughter coming from the kitchen.

Sky and Ruth sat opposite each other at the pine table. Sky was gesturing, telling some story from their trip to the Farm, and Ruth’s face was alight with amusement. When Claire caught the drift of her niece’s words, she flushed.

“Well, it was disgusting. I’m sorry, I had no idea a cow’s tongue is about a foot long and covered with slime. It slobbered halfway up my arm.” Claire shuddered at the memory of feeding the giant black and white beasts in the barn.

“I can’t believe you did it. I won’t go near them. Sheep, yes, they’re gentle. Even the goats are okay, if they don’t head-butt you. But those cows! Yuck.” Ruth giggled.

Claire blushed hotter as her sister and niece revelled in her discomfort. After a moment, she joined in. “I got my own back, anyway.”

“Yes!” Sky said, snorting with laughter, “You wiped your hands all over me.”

Ruth turned to raise an eyebrow at her sister, her smile slipping.

“Only her hands, and we washed them straight away.” Taking a seat at the table, Claire poured cereal into a bowl. “You’re both up bright and early for a bank holiday.”

“School hours become a habit,” Ruth shrugged. “Besides, I feel great today. You must have tired Sky out, yesterday, as she slept right through.” She shone a grateful glance at her sister.

“Glad to help.”

There was silence, as the three of them concentrated on their food. Claire was relieved to see Sky and Ruth both eating well. It was gratifying to see that her presence had a positive effect. The see-saw of indecision in her mind swung back down to staying put in the UK. Her job was to help her sister get better, not gad about on beaches and in rain forests.

“Where to next then, Claire?” Ruth looked up with genuine curiosity. Claire realised it was the first time her sister had shown any interest in her career.

“I don’t know. There are still loads of hostels in Wales I haven’t covered. Plus, of course the whole of the South of England, and a bunch I need to pick up that weren’t open when I was up north.” She said the last phrase in her best impression of a northern accent, and Ruth giggled again.

“It must be fun, seeing the country, getting to meet new people. I love the blog. You should write a book.”

With a stab of guilt, Claire thought about the job offer. She wondered if she should tell Ruth, ask her advice. It was so nice having a normal conversation with her, though, she was reluctant to spoil it. Ruth’s reactions could be unpredictable, particularly where opportunity and money were concerned.

“Maybe I will. Write a book. Lots of the people who follow the book are authors, with self-published books to promote. It seems quite easy, although I don’t know who would buy it, when all my adventures are there on the blog for free.”

Ruth sat forward, her hands clasped loosely round a glass of juice. “I’d buy it. There must be stuff you don’t put on the blog. Things that the YHA wouldn’t approve of?”

Claire thought about the unnamed Scotsman. Josh. The wedding show-down. Yes, there was plenty of drama. Perhaps that would be a better option than running away down under. She could head down to Cornwall instead, and lose herself in words.

“I’ll bear it in mind. Thanks, sis.”

***

2 thoughts on “Heat and Time-Eating Hell: 2013 365 Challenge #191

  1. Not a word about the hot weather, I promise. 🙂 It does make you more tired doesn’t it?

    Createspace does have templates. You can download on the page you get to right after you upload your manuscript. You have to select the paper type, etc, and they make one up for you. Definitely helps using it as a layer in photoshop.

  2. Thanks, Rinelle, I must have missed that. Will resist the urge to investigate until I’ve stacked dishwasher and walked dog or those things won’t happen today! It’s meant to be a housework morning not a writing one! Lol

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