Physical work as distraction therapy

So, that’s it.  The Angel Bug has been sent out to a number of readers for a read-through by fresh eyes, as both my proofreader and I have read it so often we can’t see what is there, what was there and what isn’t there anymore – editing can throw up errors you, yourself, just can’t see.

Now, some of these readers know my style of writing and like it, and some have not read any of my novels before, but are avid readers, and then there’s one in the USA.

The latter because in The Angel Bug one half of the story is told from the view point of an American, and at times he also interacts with other Americans in the USA. Now, I have tried to make sure that he thinks and talks in the right slang and idiom for an American, but what do I know? I’m UK born and bred! Anything ‘off-note’ however, should jump out at a bona fide American and then I should be able to remedy the problem before The Angel Bug is published.

Here’s a conundrum for you …

UK = ‘This is a herbal mixture’  USA = ‘This is an herbal mixture’ (said ‘This is an ‘erbal mixture’  the American using the original pronunciation of herbal – hence the required ‘an’ as indefinite article.)

So, how would you render this in a book that, hopefully, will be read both sides of the Atlantic? 

My solution – ‘an herbal’ when the words are in the mouth of an American, ‘a herbal’ when in the mouth of a Brit.  I’m hoping that this will make ultimate sense as it is read.

Now, I am sure you are thinking that you have read traditionally published books written by either Americans putting words into the mouths of Brits ( or visa versa), and they have been wrong, wrong, WRONG!  Or situations – like the ‘muffin shop’ in a Dartmoor village selling blueberry muffins, ( back at a time before the UK had heard of muffins that were made of cake  –  and not the traditional English Muffin – bread,  let alone had whole shops for them) – which particularly sticks in my mind along with the ‘Chalk pits on Dartmoor’ that the  American author also had. (They are  actually China clay)

However, any serious indie published novelist will have realised from reading the blogs on writing, publishing and reviews, readers are frequently far more critical of indie published works than they are of traditionally published works, and as a book can be bought via the internet anywhere in the world …  you ‘d better get that world and its use of language right.

Unfortunately, it is the self-publishing writers who slap their books up without even proofreading them that has brought this hyper-critical gaze to indie published works. Simple fact – no matter how good you are at spelling, grammar and use of the English language – you cannot proofread your own work. Your mind will always read what it expects to read. Hence those great but tricksy ‘can you read this’ lines that get sent around the internet with letters missed or replaced by numbers looking a bit like the letters .. and yes! You can still read it!   S1M1L4RLY,   Y0UR M1ND   15   R34D1NG   7H15   4U70M471C4LLY   W17H0U7   3V3N   7H1NK1NG   4B0U7   17.

So, why the title of today’s blog?  Physical work as distraction therapy.

Well, sending out your novel to new readers is a bit like sending your first child off to school for the first time…. a bit nerve wracking. So I find distraction and pleasure in physical work instead. (Strangely, housework is no good for this therapy – well, that’s my excuse!)

In this case making some beautiful reclaimed slate coasters, out of Delabole roofing slates that may have been on a roof for two hundred years or so … and now are transformed by cutting, filing and, the amazingly revelatory, rubbing down with wet and dry paper – that shows what time and the mineral content of the slate have made of it. Each one different. Each one attractive in its own way. Love them 🙂 Do click on the picture to see them better!

These are going to the St Dominick Craft Fair – I can’t sell them from my slate-ware website as they vary so much I’d have to photograph and put up a special box for each one!

And while I worked I did not think of  The Angel Bug, all alone, out there … but I did allow my mind to wander and to wonder, what next? To listen for the voice of my next narrator ….

 

Have you any favourite howlers from traditionally published novels?

How do you take your mind off things?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you … it takes my mind of things 🙂

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The pace of rural life ……

So you have been drumming your fingers on the desk and wondering what exactly was missing …  and then you realised … you hadn’t had your email from the practical hedgehog! And why.. because she’s had one busy weekend – where her fingers have not had time to hit the keys.

Rural life can be exceedingly busy if you throw yourself into local events and organisations. Take this weekend when we had the culmination of the Great Parish History Quiz.

No use just hitting the internet on this quiz –  all answers could be found without a computer – though only some were available online, and then only if you looked hard enough. The questions referred to our parish only, making it very specific. You needed your two weeks to visit places in the parish, to hunt out the interesting bits of information.. like ‘Who has a black memorial slab near the priest’s door in the church, and what is the symbol on it?  answer: Reverend Nicolas Sharsell and the symbol – skull and crossbones. (My boys always thought he must have been a pirate – where in truth he was a solemn minded man of the puritan cloth)

Final answers could be posted in the box up to 11am at the History coffee morning, for which I had spent the whole of Friday baking cakes and putting flowers in vases for the tables, to say nothing of the other times I had spent helping to create the quiz, making and distributing posters, road-side signs and quiz sheets. Not that I was alone, on the day a whole team of wonderful people turned out with cakes, raffle prizes and help to run the event!

And that’s part of what living in a rural village is all about – being part of the community, joining in, helping out, supporting events.  It brings people together and heightens the feeling of belonging. I have lived in a city and belonged to organisations there, but there each remained separate; living in a village is different. When you join in with things in a village you become linked to the whole village.

At eleven the answers were given out and, at the end, I took away the entries to mark. Which I could not do that day, as I had other errands to run, my car to load for a craft-stall the next day and a 60th birthday to attend in the evening.

Cards from prints of Jo Totterdell's botanical paintings (click to view)

Next morning, bright and early, with feet still a little sore from dancing to great 60s hits in high heeled shoes, I set off for an open garden event in aid of Hospice SW. I took with me my annmade slate-ware, local botanical artist Jo Totterdell’s card selection, to sell on her behalf, and the quiz sheets to mark.  I am pleased to take Jo’s work along as I think it is exquisite and so I’m also giving you a chance to look at some more of her lovely paintings here. You won’t find these on the internet anywhere either.

A weekend when different things I am involved in collide and make me over busy is a fairly frequent occurrence… I am told it is my own fault for trying to do too much.  There – that’s my excuses for a late blog – the pace of rural life 🙂

Is your life full of different clubs, groups and societies or do you go for the peaceful life?

Why are some of us, seemingly, programmed to ‘get involved’ while others are happy not to?

And do you feel more relaxed now that you’ve heard from me? 🙂

Do share your thoughts – you know I love to hear from you!

 

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Don’t let Google’s ‘Shopping’ fool you in the future!

What do you do when looking for a particular type of item – one you might not find easily in your local town? Do you put the item in the search on Google and get every listing that mentions it (or even something like it) or do you get to the items quicker by clicking the ‘Shopping’ button on the top bar and have only the relevant items shown – which you can then sort by button for price or relevance and whether it has free shipping or not?

For instance if you go into Google now and search for  ‘Slate Plates’, then click ‘Shopping’ on the top bar and, when those listings come up, tick the box at the side for ‘Free Shipping’ – annmade slate plates figure pretty high, if not top. This is because they are the best value quality slate plates out there with free shipping – and that is their natural or organic search listing.

After the Google’s new system comes into place in February the same search will not feature annmade slate plates at all – because as a small business I cannot afford to pay for inclusion in this listing.

And this from a company that said ‘paid inclusion listing’ was evil!

The ‘previously’ savvy shopper who ignored the Ad-Words because they knew they were paid for, and short-cut the trawl through the general listings by using the ‘shopping’ button, will now be presented with, what is in effect, a whole bunch of Adverts. The question is – how long before they realise.

The rules that govern ‘paid-for-inclusion-listings’ are not the same as those for adverts – they don’t have to explicitly state that these are adverts!

More – Google have quietly been slipping ‘Shopping results’ in the line of the general listings. Well, these were general listings and so that was fair enough. They are getting us used to clicking on these and expecting them to just be relevant natural or organic listings – however, in the future they will be the ‘paid inclusion listings’ masquerading as organic listings.

Google once claimed that ‘paid for inclusion listings were evil’. Now that it is answerable to shareholders it dances to a different tune – ‘make money, make money, make money’ – regardless of fairness, equality or Google’s own original aims and values.

Ok, Ok — I have a vested interest. I am a small-business owner – and it is the internet that has enabled my small business to reach all corners of the UK with my products – never mind just the UK – I have sold my slate ware to Australia, America and many EU countries too. Without the internet annmade slate ware would not have sold anywhere outside Devon and Cornwall.

It is the same for so many other small businesses – often niche, interesting, craftsman based businesses. The internet has allowed these businesses to flourish because people out there want these items and because of the internet they could find them easily. OK, so they will still be there – but much harder to find.

And this comes on top of Facebook’s new policy of not sending postings from pages you have deliberately liked, to you – instead encouraging the page holders to pay to promote their post to their followers – again hitting the little people hardest. (If you want to help the little-folk whose pages you have ‘liked’ then, if y0u actually get a FB posting from one of them, share or comment or at least like the post, as then FB’s algorithm sends it to a few more people on the list.)

It is a sad day for you the customer though, when your choice is curtailed by one of the very exponents of ‘free internet’ and a sad day too for all new entrepreneurs and people with an idea for a business that needs to serve a wide area to thrive.

We shall all be poorer – and I don’t just mean financially.

How do you feel about this? Does it feel like Big Business is trying to be the ONLY business out there? Is Google turning sour? I love to hear from you – do share your thoughts!

more information on what and how Google will try to fool you into thinking that these ‘Paid for Inclusion lisitngs’ are not Adverts but organic listings.

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Cheesy panic stations!

I sabotaged my own business this week. 🙁

Just for those who may not know my alter-ego – ann of annmade.co.uk slate-ware – it is this business I am talking about – not the novel writing,

So there I am looking at the google adwords – you know those that appear beside the main body of searches and in the faintly (and getting fainter) pink block across the top.You probably know that all these ads are paid per click – so each time you click on one of these, the business who placed the ad pays google some money. Sounds vague – well this is because the business owner has to put a bid on how much they want to pay for their ad to be displayed when a range of specific keywords are put in by the potential customer. And it is vague. You are given ‘guidance’ like – “the average bid for page 1 is 15p” – meaning that you need to be bidding something in that region to get your ad on the first page.

Now, for certain items like slate plates and slate place cards my products naturally (organically) appear on the first page of the seach results. Fot these I do not usually advertise as well. However, some of my products do not appear on the first page, like slate clocks and slate cheeseboards, and for these I do.

So, I put in the search box one of my paid-for keywords, ‘slate cheeseboards’ – and expected to see my ad appear. It was not there! I tried another – still no ad. I checked that I had not had my limit already spent that day (You can set your own limit for how much you want to spend – but that can quickly get used up at this time of the year and I often have to increase it in November) however, it hadn’t all been used. What was going on?

Exploring my ad campaign, I found that google were now suggesting that this keyword would need an average bid of 49p for the ad to appear on the first page. Call me a miser if you like, but 49p a click !!! At that rate I’d have to put the price of the cheeseboards up, and that would never do!

Better by far, I thought, to get onto the first page naturally – but despite having one of the widest ranges of slate cheeseboards available on the Internet, my slate cheeseboards did not show until page 3 – which I am sure you will agree, is further than most people tend to go to look for items.

My webmaster advised that if I wanted that particular term to show up I should have it in my item names (they mostly said cheese board or cheeseboard) and to put them into a separate group – not just within Tableware.

I then spent hours doing this – adding the plural – setting up the new category, finessing the categories the cheeseboards appeared in to reallocate them and then, feeling please with myself, I tried a search.

Arghh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All the results that appeared only led to an ‘error’ page for my website!

What do you do if the product you were looking for only gives you an error page – ….yep you just click it off.  Every single one of my dozen cheeseboards now led to an error page!

I had successfully sabotaged my own business! And at the most important time of the year!!  Which is pretty cheesy!!

Hot! Cold! Could I remember the exact words for each to put them all back? What of my bid for organic first page ranking? Panic, hair pulling  – you get the picture.

An URGENT message to my webmaster and a lot of holding my breath and crossing my fingers and the answer came back – maybe it can be sorted out!

***                        ****                           ******                     ********                *********

Fast forward a few days and my wonderful webmaster has almost sorted it all out – the links that have been developing all over the Internet over the past five years since I started my slate-ware business, once again lead the customer back to the correct page!

And everything is apple-pie again 🙂

Have you ever tried to improve something but got yourself into a worse predicament than when you started? Does the ‘mind’ of the Internet lose you along the way? Do share and make me feel a little better 😉

 

For FWT cheerleaders – same as last week – so close! Just  a pound and a half to go!

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In a ‘Mary Portas pilot town’ market

As you will know, if a regular reader of this blog, I make and retail Slate ware – mainly from my website annmade.co.uk – but also through Callington Country market and a few shops locally.  My usual outlet in Liskeard had been one of those shops that had closed in the past year, so when I was approached to have a stall at this new market I was both pleased and apprehensive. Apprehensive because I usually only do a few craft markets a year and this was a commitment of twice a month and because it was the first out-door market I have ever done! So what has this to do with Mary Portas, I hear you ask.

Well, as you can’t have failed to notice if you watch TV, Mary Portas is on a mission – to revitalise some of the country’s failing town centres – and after stiff competition from towns all round the country, Liskeard (a lovely old Cornish market-town, struggling in the economic climate, in a region of low wages, high house prices and with a record number of empty shops on the high street), is one of  her first twelve pilot towns.

For this market I teamed up with a friend who has worked outdoor markets for many years, Christine, of Cornish Creams who makes and sells fine skin care products made using all natural products, and rain-forest friendly ones at that!   Our products are so totally different that they make a nice contrast and the arrangement also covers me not being able to attend all day every time the market is to be run, due to other family commitments.

We arrived very early! Well, Christine said we needed to be there early, especially for the first one. She was right, but anyone who knows me will know that my natural wake-up time is eight o’clock, so struggling out of bed and into the shower at 5.45 was a trial!  And what a day I woke to. The forecast had been ‘overcast’ clearing later. Overcast turned out to be mist and drizzle as I drove to pick up my friend.

By the time we arrived at Liskeard the drizzle was  –  RAIN.

Now, the town council had been trying to get a market up and running again in the town for a while – but the opening co-incides with the Mary Portas initiatives and so her Channel 4 team were there to film some of the day as it unfolded.  As we were one of the first there they asked if they could film us setting up so our hands were filmed as we spread out our cloths to cover the tables – no products out, none of our banners or signs to show what we sell .. ah well – fame for our hands maybe but not for our products 🙁

Christine (Cornish Creams) and Ann (annmade - Slate ware) all set up

And the rain came down, as we arranged our stand and tried to hang our signs.  In a moment, when the rain paused, a neighbouring stall holder took a snap of us all set up.

Actors mix with shoppers in the rain

We were already thinking to ourselves ‘who in their right mind will come out to shop at this new outdoor market in the pouring rain?’.  Well we were amazed and pleased that the Liskeard people took no heed to the rain and turned out in force, in fact, not only from Liskeard but I met up with loads of people from all round the area that I knew from the various other groups I am, or have been, involved with, Poetry, Wreckers Border Morris, Bellydance, WI and other  markets so it was a lovely social time too.

UNintended entertainment

The rain kept coming, even past eleven when it had promised to clear from ‘overcast’ and the awnings were filling with water. Our intrepid town councilors went from stall to stall tipping out the water (all over themselves) and tightening up the sheets. It provided great unintended entertainment with cheers going up from the crowd .

Intended entertainment came later as the sun tried to shine though the now fine rain, in the form of a medieval enactment of a ‘court’ where ‘Mr Bun’ baker number one, accused ‘Mr Pasty’ baker number two, of  selling inferior bread.

The charges are read by the Town Crier

 

Dressed appropriately in medieval garb and addressing the crowd the plaintiffs made their case then samples of bread were distributed for the crowd to taste and judge. The Mayor  took the results by count of hands and the defeated Mr Pasty was led to the stocks to be pelted with wet sponges for selling his inferior bread, much to the amusement of the small children throwing them

Liskeard - on the Parade

Eventually the sun did shine and everything looked much better in the sun – and I ventured out to take this lovely snap of the border just behind our stand – looking positively Mediterranean with its flowers and palm tree!

The town council have taken up an empty supermarket right on the Parade (where this market was held) and it is in there that the New Pannier Market will be sited from September on – so we are saved the trials of the rain next time and hope the fun atmosphere continues as we  do this market every second and fourth Saturday from September to Christmas.

Lastly – an urgent message for DeborahKennedy2@….  please contact me back before 10/9/12 after which I must deem that you have refused the prize offered and make a re-draw.  And for my FWT? cheerleaders – the results on last Sunday were – same weight – but half inch down on both waist measurements!

New events are always exciting but also exhausting – have you ever run a market stall? Or even a stall for a local fete or charity – how did it make you feel to be the vendor rather than the buyer? I am always interested to hear other people’s experiences! Do tell..

 

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One Hedgehog, two hedgehogs, three hedgehogs, four ….

I don’t really collect hedgehogs … they seem to have gravitated  towards me. Ok, so I did buy one once and I will admit to having bought some sticky-backed op-art style pictures once (One of which, at least, was stuck to the door of my room at teacher training college).

The one I bought was purchased at the Ideal Home exhibition, Earls Court when I visited it with school and aged 15.  This first hedgehog was, seemingly, carved from a light grey stone and sat nice and coolly in the palm of your hand. It was a paper weight.  Yet I did not keep it – I gave it to my boyfriend of the time, Ricky.  He lent it back to me when I was taking my exams as a good luck token (and it was great if I got cramp from writing as holding its cool surface eased my fingers and I could then write on). I can’t show you a picture of this one as I gave it back to Ricky after the exams, but here are a small selection of the ones that have arrived to take its place and that I do have standing around (many, many more are packed away)

Ever since then I became associated with hedgehogs – in their ornamental state. People started giving me hedgehogs. They came as souvenirs, gadgets and gizmos, in all sorts of materials and as mass produced or hand made items, in wood, clay and even brass, some made especially for me. These handcrafted ones are the best! From ‘thank you’ carved wooden ones (second from back – left)  to the  one made by one of my boys when quite young (front right)

To be honest, the brass ones are quite sentimental. My – at the time boyfriend, now husband – made these as part of his teacher training course (in Craft and Design Technology) and they represent – us. They were made using polystyrene which was cut and ‘picked’ into the shapes. This was then buried in casting sand and the molten brass poured in. The hot metal would then dissolve the polystyrene and take its place in the mold (letting off pretty obnoxious fumes – don’t think you are allowed to do this now-a-days) The resulting castings were then cleaned up with a file and buffed up on a buffing machine.  Guess which one is me? 

Sometimes I feel as if the hedgehogs collected me, however, I now identify with them as a symbol. The practical hedgehog for my blog – three hedgehogs in a row for my business logo.

In my novel Divining the Line, Liz has a collection of small animal ornaments made from different minerals – a tweak on the idea of my own collection – and Perran, a water diviner by profession and with a geology degree,  is able to identify the minerals for her – creating a link between them.

My sister in law has the same problem with frogs. She collected a few – but then more arrived.

Have you ever had this happen, you take an interest in a design or collection and suddenly everyone gives you them? Or do you happily collect an unusual animal ornament? I love to hear from you folks – do tell!

 

Lastly – an urgent message for DeborahKennedy2@….  please contact me back before 10/9/12 after which I must deem that you have refused the prize offered and make a re-draw.  And for my FWT? cheerleaders – the results on last Sunday was another half pound down – with which I am well pleased 🙂

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Time for a Slate Clock and this week’s FWT? results

A few weeks ago I realised that one topic I had not blogged about specifically was slate-craft!  Which is strange, as it is an activity I do A LOT !

Most of you will know that this blog is also linked to the website  AnnMade.co.uk (and to the Facebook page of the same name).  Now I write whenever I can, but creating handcrafted slate-ware is my ‘day job’.   It’s a small business that I have built up from nothing over the past 5 years and AnnMade slate-ware has a good name amongst top chefs and restaurateurs as well as individuals from all over the UK and even as far afield as the USA, Holland, Eire and Australia.

My carefully hand polished and food-safe olive-oil conditioned Slate Plates were specifically asked for by Michelin starred Chef Richard Corrigan for his show on Channel 4, ‘Cookery School’, and they have been used multiple times on The Great British Menu, both in the heats and at a banquet. These and specialist shaped or sized bespoke slate cheeseboards or plates have been made for many chefs and hotels including Marcus Waverly at the Berkley. You may have guessed, I’m quite proud of my little business.

However, I also make a lot of other products for both home and garden, some of which are one-off items, sometimes made from reclaimed slates from Cornwall, notably the famous Delabole slate. This slate weathers well and after a couple of hundred years shows beautiful patterns and markings caused by inclusions of minerals like iron pyrites (fools gold)

While I was busy making a new slate ‘natural sun’ clock using a piece of reclaimed Delabole I decided to take photos as I went along to show you the process and get at least one specific blog into that topic!

Now ‘natural sun’ is just my name for this particular design that I created, where the hours are marked by slots in the slate creating a sun-ray effect to the edge, and each one is unique as each slate is different.

Hope you found this guide to making this type of slate clock interesting.  And talking of time – there is still just time to enter my great Draw to Win a Kindle (or 1 of 4 other prizes) Just click on the link to get all the details, and if you have already signed up make sure you tell everyone you know about it, so they can have a chance too. Only 147 places left!

Finally, for my great cheerleaders who are encouraging me in my quest to lose weight through resistance weights exercises carried out at home and taking less than 15 mins a day (want to know more? click here) .. the results for this week are in. Now you will recall that last week I lost 2 pounds (and was very pleasantly surprised at this stage) well, this week there was no change on the weight front. So still at 10st 1 lb and still tantalisingly close to that 10st goal!  However, the inches moved a little – both measurements, relaxed and pulled in tight were down a quarter of an inch. Considering that the pulled in tight measurement didn’t move last week I am happy with this.

What do you think of the process of making this design of clock?  Do you work in a similar craft?  I just love to hear from you folks!

 

 

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Life, death and losing weight.

I know the title sounds dramatic  – but week 14 of my FWT? odyssey has been just that.

The other half was away for a week and then everything began to go wrong. Fair enough, Monday was set to be a busy day before I had even started as quite a few orders had come in over the weekend, I had to carry out some important household repairs and had a Poetry meeting in the afternoon and WI committee meeting in the evening.

Luckily I had taken time out on Sunday to get most of the orders packed so when I received an email that told me I had to get to a shop, which had stocked my annmade slate-ware on a sale or return basis, some 13 miles away within the hour to collect the remaining goods as they had gone bankrupt, I was able to put the parcels in the car and set off immediately.

The goods collected and the parcels posted I just had time to check on the livestock before getting lunch ready. All was well. After working on making a shower waterproof and fixing a few other items I headed off for Poetry meeting and arrived back a few hours later to find that one of the nanny goats had produced two kids. Early.  Just dropped them and moved on. She wasn’t interested in them, despite their pitiful bleats – and they were so small, but I thought that perhaps this type of goats had much smaller kids. Grabbed up, rubbed dry, cuddled to get them warm, placed in the straw ready in a house, my 85 year old father and I then tried to lure their mother with tasty tidbits out of the field, away from the herd, and into the goat-house. She really didn’t want to come! She didn’t want to leave the others.

Eventually we got her into the house and by kneeling on the floor and supporting the kid with my hand under its small body, its spindly legs seemingly unable to hold it up, I managed to get the stronger of the two kids to suckle (The nanny was not keen on this either, kept flicking her leg out at the kid) The other was too weak to suckle – so a small amount of milk was squeezed from her mother’s tiny teats into a syringe and squirted into this baby goat’s mouth.

This to be repeated at intervals until it had enough strength to have a go at suckling with support.

Now you have to understand that we have kept goats successfully for over 25 years – just different goats – larger ones, milking goats with large teats that are easy to milk! We know how to look after goats, but this mother wasn’t keen on being a mother and even needed the distraction of food to allow her youngsters to feed.

I kept this routine up until by the third day she started standing to let them feed, they were both strong enough to get a feed and they seemed to be able to feed themselves having both been observed doing just that. I was confident that they were going to make it after all!

The next morning the weaker of the two was found dead. Well, this happens, if you keep livestock you have to expect some casualties (as a farmer friend of my father’s used to warn). The second kid would have a better chance, I thought, and so was shaken when my husband found this one cold and dead the following morning as well. Perhaps they were never destined to make it and who knows, perhaps their mother knew this from the start, but you can’t help feeling saddened.

On a happier note the other goats have produced since and we now have four very pretty goat kids to show for it, two nannys, two billys, and I can now see that those first kids were very undersized compared to some of the later progeny. Here are two of them, a girl and a boy – about 2 days old!

 

And as for ‘losing weight’ well,  this should be the week 14 round-up!

All in all, I really didn’t have any time to spare to write up my meals or my exercises before I fell exhausted into bed gone midnight. In fact, as this goat drama coincided with a family drama (where my father fell over and hurt his back, meaning I had to take over the night care for my mother on top of running the household and my slate business), I was so run off my feet that I didn’t even have time to do the exercises on those first three days (though I did plenty of exercise involving running around with half bales of hay and straw, and 25kg sacks of animal feed). However, I did get back on track and the results on Sunday morning showed another 1lb drop and half an inch off both measurements at waist level. So, my apologies to my cheerleaders for the lack of up-dates, but we are still on track, yay!

My thanks go to those lovely people who kept re-tweeting and sharing the wonderful Win a KINDLE draw that I am running on this blog especially on the days I had time only to make an odd tweet about it late at night. Please keep sharing!

Have you had times when everything seems to whirl out of control, how did you keep on track? I love to hear your comments!

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Canine-take-over – Bonny’s blog

Ann’s Blog BONNY’S BLOG    

Wo Wo.. (tail wagging)  Hello (smiles)

Don’t tell my pack-lady but finding the lap-top unattended I’ve grabbed the chance to stage a take-over to warn you about a video that my pack-lady’s pups made of me over the weekend!

I mean, there I was being exercised entertained as usual by my pack-lady, you know, my favourite game where she throws these rings for me, I’ve got five of them, love to gather them all up and gallop back with them to insist she does it all again.

She’s not bad at it, has a knack to make them whiz along the ground – I like to chase them like that! (It seems chasing these is ok, pack-lady doesn’t like it when I chase rabbits the same way – especially when I catch them!) But enough of that! Oh I was having fun, even though her pups were standing round getting in the way! Usually they are great fun, giving me lots of fuss and games, but that afternoon they weren’t playing with me.

Later I heard lots of laughing and music and sneaked my paws onto pup-twos lap, then worked my way up to see the screen pup-three was working on. There I was, catching my rings, as usual, but now a figure of fun for everyone.  Just look at what they did!!!

I appeal to you… don’t laugh at me .. I just love doing this, chasing and catching up my rings! (appealing look – waggles eyebrows)

I asked my pack-lady about the video – she said it was just a bit of Cornish fun… and she wanted people to find her blog  If that’s all it is I guess I don’t mind, after all my pack-lady likes to play and my motto in life is ‘play with me!’ 

What do you think??

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FWT? Week 13 and A Birthday Bonus

FWT? and A BIRTHDAY BONUS? – See details below of extra prizes in the Draw!

Here we are again at the round-up of another week of Fat Woman Thinning? At last I’m beginning to think it might be safe to drop the question mark at the end of FWT. At the start I really wasn’t sure this was going to work at all .. but now, and especially today, I am feeling more positive.

If you are new to FWT? Then a quick up-date. You see, I had to do something, menopause seemed to have changed the way my body dealt with things – my usual way of maintaining my weight no longer worked and the weight crept on… and on until by Jan the first this year I weighed in at 12 stone!  So, now I am using resistance weights as well as some aerobic and stretching, and watching what I eat (writing everything down as well) – but Not Dieting!

Also, I don’t go to a gym.  I don’t have time to spend getting there, nor the inclination to flaunt my lumpy body in front of others, so I have worked out what I can do at home and it doesn’t take long – the weights; never more than 15 mins and the aerobics and stretching is worked to follow a half hour of music.

So where am I now? After the previous week, where over indulging led to no weight loss, I kept a strict eye on the carbs, made sure I didn’t over eat and did all the exercises!

The results are in folks: Weight loss this week 2 lbs!! hurray, and I am now at 10st 7 lbs for my birthday! (my second secret goal!) Waist measurements, for both relaxed and pulled in tight went down half an inch too, so I am happy.

To celebrate this and as a Birthday Bonus I am adding to the prizes available when anyone signs-up to this blog in my Win a Kindle draw.

As you will know, if you have entered, this draw has to be only open to people living in the UK as the Kindle in question is already purchased and ready to send and the draw will be held as soon as a thousand people sign up, so you are all encouraged to share!

So here is the New Prize Line-Up!!

The first number drawn will Win the Kindle.  

The second number drawn will Win a Nero Slate Cheese boardfrom annmade.co.uk

The third number drawn will Win an copy of Divining the Line (in pdf form so you can read it on your computer or use calibre to convert it  if you have an e-reader).

The fourth number drawn will Win a pdf copy of Nothing Ever Happens Here and

The fifth number drawn will Win a pdf copy of Some Kind of Synchrony

 

 

So, here’s wishing everyone good-luck in the draw, please read the (full details HERE)

So what do you think, folks? Is this a good way to celebrate  – with no calories 😉

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