Saturday, June 17, 2017

A door closes, and another one opens

At the end of last year I decided I would most likely leave my job.
I'd been there five and a half years, which is long enough. I'd never ever been in one place that long, ever. I was ready for a change.
What precipitated this bold move was the opportunity for redundancy due to a work restructure; I'd basically lost my job and would be expected to apply for something new anyway, and voluntary redundancy was an option.
In fact, it was a golden opportunity. I could get stuck into my writing as I ecked out the redundancy payments, and when that ran out and I needed an income, assuming the writing 
wasn't paying off which is always the risk, I'd just get a job doing something else. Anything else. The opportunity was too good to let pass by, and the timing was brilliant. In fact, the whole plan was utterly brilliant and surely, surely, it was meant to be.
So I got stuck in, in joyful anticipation of my new life.  I made plans. There were spreadsheets and financial plans and time-management plans and deadlines for all this amazing work I was going to produce, and there was even, golly gosh, a huge overhaul of my inept Inbox and disorganised mess of folders and documents on the laptop.  I even postponed doing a couple of papers for my theology degree because I needed to spend the time getting the writing-ship in order. 
Friends - it  was such a good plan.
So when I got a phone call one night to say that I hadn't got redundancy, I could not believe what I was hearing.
Stunned silence was the phrase, as I thanked the bearer of this bad news, hung up the phone (old fashioned phone with a curly cord, people) and thought... what the hell just happened?
This was freaking unbelievable.
I had a plan.
When my colleagues found out, some suggested that they, the powers who had turned down my redundancy application, must value me and want to keep me on.
Screw valueing me and wanting to keep me on.
I was not flattered by that at all.
Because I had a bloody good plan. 
I had a new life as full-time writer waiting for me.
This was just so freaking unbelievable.
So I had to re-think all this. I had to start thinking about jobs to apply for in the new restructure since my one wouldn't exist, and there was no redundancy payment forthcoming.
One day, my boss told me of one of the brand new jobs I really should apply for.
It was a higher grade which meant a higher salary. It was also full-time.
Full time? Who did they think they were talking to? The reason I live with people who pay rent is so I don't have to work full time. 
I had no desire to be a slave to 8.30 to 5.00, five days a week. 
I decided to apply for a job, but not that one. I would get a part-time position, and focus on the writing a bit, and make the best of a hugely gutting situation.
But one weekend, away down in my beloved rural New Zealand, I pondered this some  more.
Maybe my superiors at work really did want me to consider applying for this job.  Maybe they did think I had something to offer. Maybe, I thought, I should at least not dismiss it without ponderation (legit word by the way, just looked it up) and, let's face it, there's nothing like actually earning a decent income which writing had not provided. Besides which, the job was good.
By the time I arrived back home, I had a change of heart.
I would apply for that job and I would make no more plans. I would delete the spreadsheets and the deadlines, and take serious heed of James in the Bible:  Look here, you people who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to such and such a town, stay there a year, and open up a profitable business.”  How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow?
James, brother, I hear you, for clearly I did not know what was going to happen tomorrow. So I applied for the job. 
I got offered the job
And I accepted the job. 
What it means is that my writing may go on hold as I adjust to this new opportunity.
Life surprises at times; doors really do open after one door closes and apparently, in most surprising ways.
To that end, please keep an eye on my Facebook or Twitter for details of some free book promotions coming up over the next week and with a bit of luck as time goes on,  words may be written or edited-- if I am still psychologically and physically sound at actually being a grown up and working a proper week like the rest of the world.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Secret Garden

I have been quite inspired to go and read some of the classics, following an article in one of the local papers about a father reading books with heroic girl characters, with his own daughters.  It so happened that I was away for a few days this past week and in the collection of books in the house, I found an old 1956 (from memory) copy of The Secret Garden.

So I decided to read it.
Now, two things struck me,
One was that I don't recall ever having read the story at all before.
And the second was that... I absolutely loved it. From beginning to end and in the middle, I loved it. I did skip over some of the garden description because, you know, short attention span and all that, quite unlike (I am sure) my grandmother who probably read this book when she was a girl and did no such thing as skip pages of botannical description.
It was actually a perfect few days to read something like this.  The weather was grand in that cold, early-winter way where the days are lovely, and there's not a lot of rain.
One afternoon I took a break from the Garden and went in search of some real gardens. As in giant ones, like farms, as I was, in fact, staying in the country - again.
One risks one's life walking down the rural roads because it's quite near to town, and people cut through quiet roads at a bloody great rate of knots so I'm forced to walk practically in the drain so I don't meet my demise.  What I do meet is the totally disgusting litter that people chuck out on the road. It's about time we launched an anti-litter campaign like they did in the seventies. Anti-litter art contests, telling adults off for littering, non-political songs that are just about common human decency to not pollute the planet with your crap. That kind of thing.
But there is also loveliness. 

Having left the road for a bit, I traipsed along the path by the stream and debated the sense of leaving home for an hour without an umbrella as the sky looked dodgy for a spell,  Then it cleared and it would have been a nice spot to have taken a snack, a thermos of coffee, like in the olden days, and the book, and plonked down on the grass (on a tartan rug, if I owned one) and read for a bit.

But then, there is the joy of finally arriving back home, quite knackered, actually, to a nice warm house with the fire going and the rest of the book waiting. Plus a date with the TV and the Lions v Crusaders in the evening.
The Secret Garden would have been a good one to read to the children, like we did the Narnia books, but not to worry - I read it to myself, though not out loud, and I thoroughly loved it.

Monday, June 5, 2017

How to Teach Your Kid to Drive

It's the Queen's Birthday holiday (Many happy returns, Your Royal Highness).
And here's a neat video. Absolutely not related to this public holiday (unless HRH had to teach her kids to drive?)
There's a whole series of "How To Dad" vids but thus one especially cracks me up.