Baking and Body Art: 2013 365 Challenge #80

What happened to painting the paper?

What happened to painting the paper?

I made the mistake of thinking I could write my post with the kids around this morning. Yesterday’s post that is – so with a 10am deadline. They watched two hours of TV and I just about managed to write the top half. With much pleading and trying to watch them cut paper, scooter, sweep and bounce at the same time, I managed to write the 750 word installment by 10.45am.

Never again.

No matter how exhausted I am I have to make sure it’s written before bedtime if I know hubbie’s working the next day. Oh how I have taken him for granted these last three months!

Body Art

Body Art

Anyway today hasn’t really recovered. We’ve done cutting and sticking, scootering and bouncing, painting on paper, painting our hands, painting in the bath. Cleaning the bath. More TV. Story reading, cookie baking (much squabbling over who was in charge of the bowl) and teddy tea parties.

Now at 5pm I’m finally free to walk the dog and think for five minutes together without trying to decipher two simultaneous conversations. I’ve tried really hard not to tweet every ten minutes or check my email today but since we put the PC in the kitchen that’s been hard.

When I did switch the screen off and sit down to the teddies’ tea party the game lasted all of three minutes before they were off onto something new. So I tidied the playroom, loaded some laundry and took the cookies out the oven. Maybe they get their short attention span from me?

Temporary truce

Temporary truce

I’ve always been scattered in my approach to getting stuff done – it was on most appraisals when I worked for a living – and generally it used to be okay. What I lacked in efficiency I made up for in lists and long hours. In those days I had enough sleep to remember everything that needed to be done.Today I realised I haven’t done a piece of artwork for a friend that she needs next week! Damn that short-term memory loss caused by sleep deprivation!

These days my scattered approach leads to grumpy kids and half done chores all over the house!  I’d like to say I’ll change but I think maybe I’m just at the point where I’ll pay for the kids’ therapy instead.


Claire stood behind the Skoda and fought the urge to weep. “It’s Monday: I can get a new phone today. I need to go to Sheffield. What arsehole parks like that?”

The hostel car park was the size of a postage stamp. Claire had been fortunate to arrive the night before just as someone was leaving. Now the Skoda was so tightly wedged in she had no hope of reversing out without damaging someone’s car. It was tempting.

Who would know? She looked up at the buildings all around. Someone’s bound to see, knowing my luck. So, do I go in and wake a bunch of backpackers to find out who is blocking me in or wait until everyone wakes? She inhaled and the morning air froze her nose and throat.

“I want my phone!”

She laughed as her childish shout startled some pecking pigeons. Slumping against the back of her car, Claire tried to decide what to do. Her brain still felt muffled, as if it was floating under water. The doctor had said it might take weeks for her to recover from her concussion.

I’m not sure I’ll notice when it’s healed. My mind seems permanently foggy these days. Think Claire, think.

And then it came to her. She remembered reading in the hostel notes that it was close to the train station. It seemed crazy taking the train when she had a car but it would be nice to leave the Skoda behind for a while and pretend to be a normal person again.

The walk improved Claire’s mood and she was almost smiling by the time her iPad told her she had arrived at the train station. She stared at the dirty-white temporary buildings and the single railway line.

Train station is a bit of an overstatement. Bugger. God knows when the next train will chug through here. They’re probably still run by steam.

As she thought the words she heard the unmistakeable sound of an approaching train. Stuffing her iPad into her bag she ran for the platform just as a two-carriage train pulled in with a whoosh of brakes. Claire tugged open the door to the nearest carriage and jumped on board. A dozen calmly-seated suits turned to stare as Claire tumbled into the carriage, red-faced and panting. She smiled automatically and slid into the nearest seat, eager to hide her rosy face.

With a jolt the train pulled away and Claire prayed it was actually heading for Sheffield and not Manchester. Please don’t let me end up there today. I’m bound to bump into someone I know and I look like something the cat threw up.

She pulled her fingers through her tangled hair, wishing she had taken time to shower and dress properly. There had been only one thought on her mind as she left the hostel and that was to get a new phone.

Outside the window trees and fields flew past, before they passed through Grindleford station and disappeared into a tunnel. Claire stared at her reflection in the dark window and wondered when she had stopped wearing make-up. I guess it doesn’t matter if we are headed for Manchester: I don’t suppose anyone would recognise me.

The train emerged from the tunnel into a grey landscape and her image vanished. A voice echoed down the train calling for tickets. Claire dug in her handbag for her purse, feeling her heart thudding against her ribs. I’ve never boarded a train without a ticket before. I hope he’ll let me buy one and not make a fuss. She felt the heat return to her cheeks and wondered if it would have been less stressful to wake a hostel full of people to ask someone to move their car.

Why is nothing every easy?


Waiting, Dragons, Tennis and Sleep

Wimbledon 2007 – photo by Kol Tregaskes on Flickr

Pictures of Love, my WIP, is out with beta readers. I’ve never had anyone but family or agents read my work before. The former have always loved it, the latter rejected it. So I wait with more than a small amount of trepidation.

To use the time well (hopefully) I have gone back to my Young Adult book, Dragon Wraiths, which I hope to enter in the Mslexia Children’s Novel competition in September. I had put the idea on hold, because the rules state: Women who have had a novel published commercially, for any age group, in any country, are not eligible.

As I hope to self-publish Pictures of Love in August, I figured that meant I couldn’t enter. But I read the rules again, more closely, and it says Self-published manuscripts are eligible, so it’s game on.

Only now I’ve read the rules again I’ve spotted that the entry is 3000 words with no synopsis.


The dragons don’t come in until Part Two, a third of the way through the book, and the weighty stuff about global warming etc comes in Part Three, (assuming I can research enough by the September deadline; it’s a new addition to the story).

How can I get enough plot into 3000 words to hook a reader, and still have character development, voice, YA themes and all that jazz, without a synopsis? I guess I have to finish the first draft and see how much time I have left before I worry about it.

That’s if I can stay awake.

Youngest child has had an ear infection, together with a lovely temperature of 39.2 for days, so sleep has been a rare commodity all round. Husband and I have been staggering about sighing I’m so tired; so much so that it’s my eldest child’s favourite excuse every time she has the screaming heebie-jeebies (by the way, I love that Word has that in its dictionary!).

“But mummy I’m just so tired, that’s why I lashed out and threw something at you.”

I have to bite my tongue on snapping back, “You slept for ten hours last night, I’ve barely had that this whole week!”

One of the by-products of sleep deprivation is that I, too, become a tiresome three-year-old.

As a result, my return to writing today, after two weeks without penning a word, as I wrestled with Lulu printing and e-book formatting (posts to come), only lasted until lunchtime. Then I had to admit defeat, close the laptop and turn on the tennis. I saw about three shots before I fell asleep.

Now I’m walking the dog, hoping the rain and soggy trousers will wake me up enough to finish my chapter before I collect the kids.

Or I might go nap in front of Murray.

This is WriterMummy saying night night.


P.S. Can’t sleep. Murray is making me too nervous. Come on Murray, hold your serve!