peartreealley: (travel)
For months, we'd been hoping to get up to the Peak District, and the plan kept getting pushed and pulled due to various outside influences--but once G had freedom, we decided to go for it. We planned to go for three or four days and stay with friends to maximize our countryside exposure (we've been itching to escape the city for weeks), but then had to cut it down to two days, in part because it's August and the height of the holiday season, and the time when our friends were available, both our cat sitter and back-up cat sitter were unavailable for any stretch of that long weekend.



Anyway, the Peak District! Since moving to the UK, most of my hiking has been flat, or at best, gently rolling. The Dark Peak isn't mountainous by Pacific Northwest standards, but my legs definitely got a workout. We began in Edale/Hope Valley, and then climbed our way out, up Jacob's Ladder, and to the plateau moor of Kinder Scout.

Jacob's Ladder

Once we reached the moors, navigation got confusing and the terrain became treacherous, climbing in and out of little ravines, getting trapped by boggy, sticky peat, and other adventures.



Our friend, C, turned his ankle on the moor. We limped on. Eventually, we made it to the edge of the plateau, and back down into Edale via a path that was not the one we had intended (this was basically true from the moment we hit the moor). G and I left C to rest his ankle and self-medicate in a pub while we continued on the remaining trek to get the car and pick him up.

All in all, we did something like 12-ish miles (of a planned 8-9 miles) through conditions much more difficult and dangerous than the ones we've encountered on the Ridgeway (and I was not shattered the next day), so I'm feeling pretty proud of myself--although I'm itching to get back on the Ridgeway. And, actually, the Peaks. It was just as magical as everyone told me it would be. I'm already looking at property pr0n in reach of the Peaks just in case....

Because just before our trip, a company in Liverpool contacted G for an in-person interview. He was like, "uh, can you do Tuesday because I'll already be in town." So with the cat situation as it was and a looming deadline on PS1, I took the train home on Monday (discount last minute First Class seat, FTW), while G stayed in Liverpool with our generous friends until he'd completed his interview.
peartreealley: (journal)
I've been having a dawning reality check the last couple of weeks, which finally crested over the horizon yesterday. I did the FateNet series (five novellas, total of 190k words) in 14-15 months from planning to publishing the last installment.

And I've been flogging myself with the Persephone Station series (three novels, estimated total of 180k) feeling like a total slacker because I'm not meeting my goals, with the delusion that I should be able to have it all out in... six months?

I mean, I understand somewhat where that delusion came from. It's only three books, my brain said. And you've gotten through some of the learning faff from the last series! But I didn't seem to taking into account that those three books were twice as long as the ones that came before them and so they might take... twice as long? I'm not actually sure if that's a straight multiple or if it's longer (more narrative complexities) or shorter (less shifting between activities). Twice as long is at least a somewhat realistic estimate that I can adjust from.

So I was talking to G the Project Manager about this yesterday, and he said, "While I do believe you can increase efficiency from the last series you did, perhaps you should consider a 10-20% increase in efficiency? Not... 60-70%?"

A long story short, I'm now aiming for twelve months from planning to final installment publication. (For my editors reading, don't worry--I still plan on having the first book to you in the timeframes agreed on. I'm just not also planning on having the first drafts of the second and third books also done by October.) If you're wondering, I'm counting twelve months from June to June. I technically started PS in April for a couple of weeks, but then shelved it until July to finish off FN, so I think that splits the difference.

Well, you learn. Eventually.

And twelve months is a lot friendlier for being derailed by relocation than six months.

***

G has three job interviews next week, only one of which is in London. I'm making peace with potentially relocating this autumn.

Out-foxed

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:02 am
peartreealley: (tea)
The other night, around 11PM, G and I were settling into bed when we began hearing an intermittent disturbance outside. The property next to us is a derelict, abandoned warehouse that tends to attract misbehavior from the local youths and seasonal squatters, so G bellowed out the window "who's out there?!" as we believed someone might be trying to use the dual-gated side passage between our house and the warehouse to gain entry to one or other properties, possibly were trying to break into our car (parked in front of the passage), or perhaps that someone had fallen off the roof--where we've seen squatters try to access the building before. It went silent for a while, and then the noise of attempts to climb in the side passage began again.

Eventually, we called 999 about a potential intruder and the police arrived to investigate.

We explained to the police officers what we'd been hearing and about the side passage. As we were explaining, the thrashing and noise started again. The police officer with us motioned us away, readied his taser and threw the gate open.

And then started laughing. And closed the gate again quickly.



In addition to the squatters, we also have at least three neighborhood foxes. That's a picture of a fox climbing the wall in between our house and the warehouse (taken level with the second storey balcony), and disappearing over the top of the side passage. We think they also go to the warehouse roof because the only other option is our enclosed patio and we know they're not going there. (We're not sure why they go to the roof, but hey.) We suspect the trapped fox had fallen off the wall into the side passage. Anyway, everyone relaxed and we wedged the forecourt gate open for a while so the fox could get free.

We apologized for wasting the police officers' time, and they pointed out that there's no visibility into the side passage and we had couldn't have known what manner of desperate, living creature was inside. But I think we were all glad in the end that it wasn't a person, and we were able to free the fox.
peartreealley: (Default)
Well. I wrote down a list of projects to work on, and promptly fell off the face of the Internet to work on them.

What's been happening since?


  • The Gryffindor and I went to a LARP-writing weekend at an isolated farmhouse in the Midlands. The 30 or so of us assembled tossed around ideas on Friday night, broke into groups of 5-ish, and then spent Saturday writing the LARPs. On Sunday, all six LARPs were playtested. We wrote one that smashed Torchwood/Warehouse 13/Laundry Files together (with the serials numbers rubbed off, of course), with office politics and disastrous team-building exercises. It was good times--we hope to run an improved version at the LARP con we're going to in November.

  • Over the May Day bank holiday weekend there was D&D, a geeky picnic, and a wander to Kew Gardens to observe the bluebells before they faded away.

  • G ran his first table top session since we moved to London, in a sort of shared 'verse with the LARP that he and I have been developing.

  • This last weekend, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We decided to spend it, as we often spend time together, with a mix of hiking, good food, and games--with upgrades. On Saturday morning, we drove deep into the Chilterns, and parked our car at a lovely inn that we had booked for a night. Shortly after, a taxi arrived and took us about 10 miles away from the inn, via the Ridgeway National Trail, which we've been working on in bits and pieces, usually on 5 mile there-and-back walks. We walked only forward, and we talked. We stopped at a pub on the trail for lunch. We walked, and we talked more. Upon our return to the inn, we changed into evening clothing, and returned downstairs where a bespoke tasting menu of food and wine waited to delight us. And it did.

    We're now halfway done with the 87 mile trail.

  • The next morning, we were off to a village north of Oxford, in which we played an epic time-travel RPG session that ties into the Oxford LARP we've been playing. My character was sufficiently traumatized by the event that I get to look at some interesting new costuming options for the LARP component....

  • Oh, and I've been writing and revising and editing and all of that in between. Progress is coming along on my Four Week Plan. I think I'll end up getting about 2.5 of the 3 items done on it by the time we leave for holiday, and given how much I stacked on, I'd still call that a success.

  • I've also been reading--books on nature, on spirituality, on fairy tales and folklore... thoughts about those are still forming. Another time.


  • And all the while, I've been slightly drunk and stunned by and grateful for this amazing life I'm living.

    Cheers,

    PTA
peartreealley: (Default)
I fell ill at the start of the holiday weekend, of which I'm now beginning to recover. This meant I missed out on a lot of the weekend's events--going to Oxford, and more time hanging out with our houseguest, AB, but on the other hand I read books and rested and marathoned through most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended edition), and those things are great in their ways, too.

Yesterday evening, AB left on her way to further adventures (she's in the UK and France for the next ten weeks, spending the first and last few days with us, and possibly an interlude in between). The Gryffindor returned to work this morning, and I'm better but not yet quite well.

This morning, I've worked on brainstorming some disparate thoughts, writing extensive story beats for PS, and misc. other writing tasks that didn't feel too intimidating, and I don't feel that I've wasted the day away, even if I don't have a lot of novel pages to show for it.

I have myriad thoughts to journal, but they're still marinating. I think a common theme has showed up amongst them, though: my deep desire to have a personal user manual or guide for being me. A written guide in which I can reference. "I need troubleshooting. What do I do?" "I'm now in this situation. How do I deal with it?" "Which of these foods do I eat to be at my best?" Explorations of rituals and routines are all part of that user manual. I have attempted to write them down, and there is of course the one in my head, and it's gone through at least as many editions as years I lived, and has an addendum a thousand pages long. But wouldn't it be so nice to have one I could download and reference from my head in the clouds?

x
peartreealley: (Default)
Good morning,

A short letter this morning. It's the beginning of the Easter holiday here in the UK (which is a four day weekend affair--it's a lot like Thanksgiving in the States). The Gryffindor is out at the farmer's market stocking up, I've just taken the grocery delivery (for things that cannot be acquired at the farmer's market), and our American friend arrives early this evening.

There's a thousand to-do's that still need their boxes ticked off, but before I get any further, I'm going to get some writing in.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend--whether it's Norwescon or Easter or even just laying around and vegging it out.

X

PS 1 First Draft
25364 / 65000
(39.02%)


ETA: G brought me back an Easter present.

(There are fancy creme eggs from the artisan chocolate stall inside.)
peartreealley: (tea)
Good morning, my darlings.

After a late train, the Gryffindor and I have woken in a little flat in
Edinburgh, where we will be staying the weekend. My window overlooks a
patio where magpies play and shortly we'll be out in search of breakfast.

If I disappear from the new flush of journaling for a few days, now you
know why.

Cheers,
PTA

PS: Also, trying out email posting.

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